Furniture Glossary: Beds

The centerpiece of the bedroom, beds range in style from sleek platform options to elaborate canopies.
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June 22, 2015
By: Kerstin Czarra and Kayla Kitts

Photo By: Randy Weinstein


This type of infant bed is typically used for newborn babies up to four months old. A traditional bassinet features a small hood above the baby's head, while leaving the rest exposed. The confined space and cozy surroundings are considered soothing and familiar to newborn babies. At home, bassinets are situated on a sturdy base that serves as a rocker. Many, however, are portable with the ability to be carried from place to place. Design by Camilla Forte

Bunk Bed

Familiar to many a sibling, a bunk bed is a type of structure in which one bed frame is stacked on top of another. The benefit of a bunk bed is that it allows two people to share a sleeping space without losing floor space. This may be why they are perfect for children around the same age or in smaller rooms such as dormitory rooms or camp cabins. The beds are supported by four pillars, one for each corner. To reach the top bed (surrounded by a railing for safety), a ladder is used. Design by Erica Islas

Canopy Bed

A canopy bed is a decorative piece akin to a four-poster bed. A canopy is identified by four vertical posts at each corner extending up from below the mattress, forming a frame above the bed. A piece of fabric draped over the posts and frame creates a ceiling or canopy effect over the bed. Design by Douglas Dolezal

Captain's Bed

This type of bed features a visible platform base with built-in storage inside the platform, such as drawers or cubbies. The unique name derives from its use on ships where space was limited and storage was essential. Modern takes on this bed include storage built into the headboard, footboard or compartments surrounding the bed. Its sturdy structure and optimal storage make it a practical solution for small apartments and children's bedrooms. Image courtesy of South Shore Furniture


A crib is a small bed used for infants and toddlers. Cribs are designed to confine the baby to the bed once they outgrow a bassinet and it becomes an unsafe sleeping option. High, adjustable sides prevent the child from climbing out, while providing visual and comforting exposure to the rest of the room. Many cribs remain stationary while others feature rolling casters for a portable and easy-to-move option. Cribs usually contain cloth bumpers around the interior sides to provide padding against a wooden frame. Design by Susie Fougerousse


Daybeds can be described as a hybrid of a bed and chaise lounge or sofa. They can be made of wood, metal or a combination of both materials. They typically boast a back and sides and are the size of a twin bed. The bed may feature a trundle (slightly smaller bed built in below the top area). They are a popular piece for a home office or guest room.

Four-Poster Bed

This style of bed (similar to a canopy bed) is somewhat dramatic due to its four vertical columns — one at each corner. Some styles contain a flat wooden panel that rests at the top of the columns. Historically (dating back to the 16th century), theses pieces are made of oak. Aside from the aesthetic, the columns were used to hold bed curtains that could surround the sleeper from drafts. Design by Christopher Grubb

Platform Bed

Typically found in more modern settings, a platform bed features a raised, flat structure that supports only a mattress. They provide necessary support through slats or solid paneling. Because of this architecture, there is no need for a box spring or mattress foundation. Many platform styles feature clean lines and a solid color. They can also be outfitted with storage drawers under the bed. Design by Randy Weinstein.

Sleigh Bed

A sleigh bed is easily recognized by the scrolling curves on the top of both the headboard and footboard that appear to be in one fluid motion, replicating horse-drawn sleighs. The structure of this bed is made of sturdy, solid wood in a variety of tones and styles. Dating back to the 19th century, the smooth curves and sleigh-like appearance were preferred by Napoleon and European aristocrats. Once the style reached America, it became an immediate fixture in the Southeast region and can be seen in historic Southern homes as well as modern, traditional homes to this day. Design by Joyce Bradshaw

Trundle Bed

Also called truckle or trumple beds, they are a pair of beds: a twin bed and a slightly smaller bed on rollers or casters directly underneath. Like bunk beds, they are ideal for saving space in a room. Many trundle beds can be made to pop up to be the same height as the top mattress — mimicking a full-size bed. Image courtesy of Patricia Brown

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