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Buying Guide for Beds

Samuel Gilmour

More and more often over the last decade, the trend in commerce has been to buy more and more things online. This can be seen with the rise of massive online retailers like Amazon, as well as the online offerings of many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. Now, almost anything can be bought online and delivered anywhere between hours to days, direct to your home. And all it takes is a few clicks.

Still, not everyone is comfortable buying every kind of item online. Furniture and household items, especially things like beds, are an area where many people have been holding out and insist on visiting a brick-and-mortar store before making a purchase. Nevertheless, that is starting to change. Learn more about buying beds online, and some of the best beds to buy online, in our guide below.

What Types of Beds are Available Online?

Almost all kinds of beds that are available today can be bought online. By some estimations and classifications, there are more than 3 dozen distinct kinds of beds in existence today. While we don’t have time to go into details on all of those beds, here are just some of the popular styles of bed to buy that you can find online, and a bit about what they are, and what they offer.

Platform Beds

A platform bed is, as the name implies, largely a platform for the mattress, elevated above everything else associated with the bed frame and hardware. There are typically no rails or other raised elements on a platform bed – just the platform itself (which may have a solid base, slat base, or require a box spring), and the mattress on top of that. Headboards and footboards may or may not be used.

Sleigh Beds

A sleigh bed is similar to panel bed (described below). However, rather than distinct headboard and footboard elements that are largely straight pieces of wood panels, sleigh beds have curved, sleigh-like footboards and headboards. The overall appearance of the bed, with footboard and headboard attached, is not dissimilar to that of a classic sleigh, which is where the name derives from.

Panel Beds

A panel bed is like a platform bed, though it usually has raised rails or small sides above the frame on the lengthwise run of the bed. However, a panel bed always has a headboard, and most often a footboard. These are made from wooden panels that are often worked elaborately with carvings and designs.

Four Poster Beds

A four poster bed is like a platform bed to some extent, regarding the interface between the frame and box spring or slats, and the mattress on top. However, a four-poster bed has four posts – one at each corner – that connect from the frame and go upwards, usually several feet above the bed.

This allows a corresponding frame to be attached to the top of the posts, and curtains or drapes to be hung from this frame, allowing for privacy, increased warmth, darkness, and/or aesthetic style with this kind of bed.

Canopy Beds

Canopy beds are often confused with four-poster beds. They are similar in accessories but distinctly different in design. While a four poster bed has posts connecting to a frame, on which curtains or drapes can be hung, a canopy bed usually has a canopy attached to the wall at the head of the bed, which may then have a frame or rods on which curtains and drapes can be attached down, around, or on all sides of the bed.

Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds are often thought of in an institutional setting, such as hospitals or retirement homes. But, more and more often, they are now available beds to buy for everyday consumers. These beds often have motorized mechanisms that raise and lower the angle of the bed and mattress, to make reading, getting in and out of bed, and going to sleep more convenient and comfortable. The adjustment is usually managed by a control, either wireless/remote or hard-wired to the bed.

Murphy Beds

Murphy beds, also known as fold up beds, are a great choice for consumers who occasionally need an extra bed in their home, but have other uses for that same space when the bed is not being utilized. They fold up into a vertical position when not in use, and are stored in either a recess in the wall or a special cabinet or closet. They’re relatively low-cost, and help keep floor space available – great for apartments, for example, where space is at a premium.


Daybeds often convert to a couch when not in use as a bed. They are forerunners to futons, but function in a distinctly different manner. In most cases, daybeds use bolsters as the “back cushion” element, rather than the mechanical folding of a futon. Like Murphy beds or fold up beds, these can be a great option for occasional additional bedding needs that can be used as other furniture and not take up extra space when not in use as a bed.

Top Sites to Buy Beds Online

There are several prominent online retailers, and retail arms of brick-and-mortar stores, that stock a number of different styles of beds. These represent a good cross-section of the best beds to buy online, and a good mix of price ranges, design aesthetics, and choices. If you’re going to buy beds online, we strongly recommend you look at several of the following sites before making your purchase decision, to find the best choice to fit your needs, as well as the best price on your chosen style.


Overstock has a variety of brand name merchandise options at heavily reduced prices. They source from overstock and clearance items from major manufacturers. This means that selection is not always going to be guaranteed, and the number of different types of beds available may vary considerably from time to time. But the prices are usually quite competitive, and definitely worth considering when you want to buy a bed.


Amazon excels in providing many different kinds of merchandise for low prices. Their furniture selection is not as impressive as their selection in many other areas. However, between their own offerings and those of third-party marketplace sellers, you can sometimes find exactly the kind of bed you’re looking for. The convenience and speed of finding things on Amazon mean it’s always worth a look when you’re trying to buy online beds.


eBay has grown considerably over the years and morphed from an online garage sale space to something not too dissimilar from Amazon. Of course, the auctions of collectibles and similar are still there. But major brands have set up shop, too, offering brand-new merchandise, often including closeouts and overstocks, at discounted prices. Again, like Overstock, selection can be hit or miss, but the prices are usually exceptional


Retailer Walmart is known for low prices. While bedding is not one of their most well-known categories, their online store includes their own offerings and those of several different third-party sellers. The selection may be somewhat limited, but if you find something you like, you know you’ll get it for a competitive price.


IKEA is many people’s first choice when they want to buy furniture online, and that includes buying a bed online. They have a range of different options, from their low-cost DIY-style beds to more exotic and higher-end beds. Quality is always fairly high, and though prices, in general, may be a bit higher here, you get what you pay for.

Important Features

Things You Should Look For When Buying Beds Online

Briefly, like any purchase, there are a few key criteria you should consider when you are looking at listings to buy a bed online. Some of the questions to ask yourself, and areas to consider, include:

  • What size bed do you need vs. what is being offered?
  • Does the bed come with a mattress, box spring, both, or neither?
  • Who is the manufacturer and brand and what is their reputation?
  • What materials is the bed made from and what kind of frame does it have?
  • What is the price of the bed?
  • Are there any warranties, discounts, rebates, or other considerations?

Advantages of Buying Beds Online

Like any purchase, there are both advantages and disadvantages to buying a bed online. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Generally, prices are better when you buy beds online.
  • Shopping for a bed online is convenient and fast.
  • You don’t have to deal with salespeople and their tactics to try to upsell you or get you in and out of the store fast.
  • Most online retailers offer free delivery and returns, and some even offer free haul-away service for your existing bed.

Disadvantages of Buying Beds Online

At the same time, there are disadvantages to buying beds online. These include:

  • No ability to test out the feel of the bed before you purchase it – “try before you buy” – which is often a hallmark of buying a new mattress or bed.
  • More assembly and DIY is usually required than when you buy a bed from a brick-and-mortar store with their own delivery and installation service.
  • You have to be careful to read the fine print, dimensions, and any disclosures or disclaimers, as some online sellers have sketchy or shady marketing practices.

Usually, you won’t get any freebies or extras in the same way as you might when you buy from a traditional furniture store or bed/mattress retailer. Don’t expect discounted or free sheet sets, comforters, duvets, pillows, skirts, or anything of that nature to be included unless explicitly stated at the time of purchase.

All Topics:

Bed Styles & Types

Upholstered bed | Camping bed | Swing bed | Triple bunk bed | Low loft bed | Pull out bed | Sleigh bed | Cot bed | Round bed | Floating bed | Captains' bedFloor bed | panel bed | Portable bed | Princess bedFold up bed | Four poster bed | Futon bunk bed | Indoor hammock bed | Wood bed frame

Bed Sizes

Twin over queen bunk bed | Twin platform bed | Twin xl bed | Queen storage bed | King platform bed | Full size platform bed | Full size loft bed | Twin xl bed frame | Queen size loft bed

Bed Accessories

Bed table | Bed desk | Bed tray | Bed rest pillow | Toddler bed rails | Bed bench | Bed slats

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