10 Best Panel Beds

Last Updated October 2019
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Panel Beds Buying Guide

By Samuel Gilmour

A popular type of up-scale bed design is a panel bed. It’s technically a type of platform bed, though a bit different in that it has noticeable side rails. Panel beds are mostly characterized by the large panel-based headboard, and sometimes a footboard.

This allows for a good degree of design elements to be worked into the bed and can be crafted to fit with different design aesthetics and overall room looks and tastes. Functionally, however, a panel bed maybe not that dissimilar from most “standard” beds, using a box spring in most cases. Learn more in our guide to panel beds below.

What is a Panel Bed?

As mentioned above, a panel bed is similar to a platform bed, though the frame usually has some side rails on the two length-wise sides. This allows for the use of a box spring and mattress, or, in some cases, just a mattress over slats or a solid base to the bed.

The main features that distinguish a panel bed from other types are the tall, decorated headboard, usually in several panel sections with decorative elements, molding, and similar, along with a similar footboard. The footboard may or may not always be present, as some people prefer panel beds without footboards.

Top Sites to Buy a Panel Bed

Panel beds are often available at bedding and furniture stores. However, in recent years, the trend for many people has been to purchase bed frames and similar bed items, that don’t require trying-out (like a mattress) online. Even mattresses are available online with a free trial and return programs these days. Some of the most popular online retailers, and what they offer in terms of panel beds, are discussed below.

Wayfair

Wayfair is one of the main sources of home furnishing items and furniture in the US today. Their online service has a wide catalog of items, and they offer free shipping on most orders. Everything from bargain furniture to upscale and expensive options is available, so there’s sure to be something to fit almost any design aesthetic and home style.

Amazon

Amazon is a prolific online retailer that offers affordable prices on almost any kind of item you can think of. While their furniture selections are not always as extensive as retailers like Wayfair and IKEA that specialize in furniture, there are still usually several options to be found. Extremely high-end or designer/custom panel beds may not be most easily found at Amazon, but the options they do have are priced to move.

eBay

eBay offers marketplace seller items that are new from major manufacturers, including some furniture and bedding manufacturers and re-sellers. The selection is a bit hit or miss, and you may not necessarily find what you’re looking for, but the prices are usually very affordable. If you don’t have a lot of restrictions on your design aesthetics for a panel bed, eBay is definitely worth a glance, if for no other reason than the prices are so reasonable.

Walmart

Likewise, Walmart doesn’t have the largest selection of panel beds, but the prices are very reasonable. They fall somewhere between eBay/Amazon’s selection and those of more traditional furniture retailers like Wayfair and IKEA.

IKEA

IKEA is solely focused on furniture and home furnishings, so their selection is quite sizable. Their online site offers their full catalog of choices, ranging from very affordable simple designs to more exotic choices. While they still may be below the level of extravagance that some are looking for in a panel bed, their choices will cover the needs of the vast majority of shoppers.

Important Features

Why Choose a Panel Bed?

Panel beds have a certain look about them that may be ideally suited for people with a certain taste or style in their home furnishings. They can be custom-made and have a good deal of options in terms of design, wood, and finish types and embellishments.

At the same time, they offer the benefits of a platform-style bed, making it easy to get in and out, having ideal height for many people, and being very sturdy and long-lasting. This sets them apart from platform beds that tend to be rather plain and basic.

What’s So Special about Panel Beds?

Panel beds are generally seen as part of a higher, more elaborate class of furniture. They’re definitely not for everyone, as they may be out of the price range of those looking simply for a basic, comfortable bed to sleep in. But as part of an overall design aesthetic, especially for those with more lavish or up-scale tastes, panel beds can be an ideal type of bedroom furniture choice.

Do You Need a Box Spring on a Panel Bed?

Many panel beds require a box spring to support the mattress. This can be a drawback in some cases, as it sets the bed much higher, making it more difficult to get into. It can also be quite bulky, and expensive (though for those outlaying funds for a panel bed, usually, money isn’t a huge consideration).

However, there are some types of panel beds that have a solid wood support structure in place, in which case a box spring is not required. There are also slat bed variants that utilize wooden slats to provide the support layer, removing the need for a box spring.

Should You Buy a Panel Bed?

Like most furnishings, the choice of whether or not to buy a panel bed is going to be up to you largely. If it fits the style, looks, and taste that you want in your bedroom, and you can afford the higher price than other kinds of beds, then there’s no reason not to get a panel bed. Drawbacks, such as the extra height, overall larger bulk and weight, associated box spring needs in many cases, and so on are minor and can be easily overcome.

The elegance, style, and design of a panel bed are well worth it to those concerned with style, décor, and home aesthetics. It also doesn’t hurt that a panel bed can make your bedroom look like something out of a castle or manor house from days gone by, capturing an elegance that few other beds, with perhaps the exception of canopied four-posters, dare to reach.

Summary

When you’re looking to purchase your next bed or bedroom set, consider a panel bed. It adds an air of luxury, sophistication, and elegance of design to your home. It provides a comfortable, accessible, yet fancy and stylish bed that not only lets you rest your head but looks amazing and adds value to your home.

Panel beds may cost a bit more than other kinds of beds, but “you get what you pay for” remains an adage for a reason. So long as you don’t mind a box spring (most panel beds require one, though not all), and the somewhat higher bed height that comes with a panel bed, you can find a design with elaborate headboard and footboard woodwork that suits your design aesthetic and personal tastes.

All Related Topics

Buying Beds Online

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 | Captain's bed | Floor bed | panel bed | Portable bed | Princess bed | Fold 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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