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Difference Between Headboards & Bed Frames

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

Headboards and bed frames are considered two essential and beneficial bedroom items. Without these two cornerstones, your bedroom just will not be fully rounded and complete. Moreover, if you are looking to buy a new bed set or doing a revamp this summer, you surely cannot overlook their importance! But what is the difference between headboards and bed frames? Aren’t they identical and don’t they serve more or less the same purpose? To get the answers, read on as The Mattress Warehouse explains the difference between the two and some valuable info on a variety of bed frames.

What is a bed frame?

When you think of a bed and its significance, do you think about the entire unit or just the mattress itself? It’s true that the mattress is an essential part of the bed, but don’t overlook the importance of your bed frame.

A bed frame, also known as a bedstead, is the support structure your mattress rests on. In general, it is manufactured from wood, iron, plastic, or a combination of these materials. Without your bed frame, you will only sleep on a mattress on the floor. That doesn’t sound too convenient, does it? For restorative sleep, it is important to have a high-quality bed frame, as well as a good mattress. For more in-depth information about headboards, check out our article that answers the most asked headboard questions. Below are some of the reasons why a bed frame is so important.

Here are a few typical features of bed frames:

Mattress support

The first and foremost feature the bed frame brings to the table is its supportive function. It provides secure housing for your mattress, prevents it from moving around, and helps maintain the original shape. Furthermore, a good frame or base can increase the longevity of your mattress.

Aesthetically pleasing

Let’s face it, a mattress doesn’t look nearly as aesthetically pleasing without the bed frame. Like shoes without socks, these two items complement one another perfectly and who wouldn’t want a complete package?

Additional storage

With the bed raised a couple of centimetres from the ground, you can tuck some additional items like shoes, boxes, or books under your bed.

The good news is, most beds nowadays come with a bed frame so you will likely buy the whole set from the start!

Differences between headboards and bed frames

On the left is a typical tufted headboard covered in grey material. On the right side is a steel bed frame.
Some steel bed frames come with built-in head- and footboards.

Headboards and bed frames are often viewed as two similar items. Moreover, sometimes they look like a single, inseparable set. Many frames include headboards and footboards while others only come with a foundational piece. While there are several similarities between headboards and bed frames, there are however distinct differences.

Below are a few common noticeable differences:

Size and structure

The length and width of bed frames are generally more or less the same as those of the mattress (single, three-quarter, queen, etc). On the other hand, you can expect the diameters of a headboard to be about half the size of bed length. And headboards stand upright against a wall, whereas bed frames form the base of the bed.


One of the main purposes of a headboard is to provide additional soft support so that your head does not bump the wall while you snooze. It is also a great addition to the bedroom if you like sitting upright in bed to read a book before bedtime (a good habit, by the way). In addition, it prevents one of the most annoying things on earth – your pillows falling off the bed while you sleep.

The most important purpose of a bed frame is to support your mattress. It keeps your mattress in place so that the mattress doesn’t move around or sag around the edges. A good quality bed frame will contribute to the overall support and, in turn, greater sleeping experience! 


Both headboards and bed frames can be used to create a specific look and vibe for your bedroom. Use these two different bedroom furniture items in combination to create the perfect theme. Wooden pieces give off a more rustic feel, whereas metal frames and headboards can be used to create a bohemian or industrial theme. To learn more about how a headboard can transform your room, click here.

Summary of the differences:


  • Stands upright (or mounted) against the wall
  • Generally the same width or a bit wider as the beds width
  • Provides head support
  • Usually cotton, leather, linen, or wood 

Bed frames

  • Approximately the same size as your mattress
  • Overall greater body and mattress support
  • Usually wood or metal

Types of bed frames

When it comes to choosing your bed frames, there really is something for everyone. Below we’ve listed some of the most popular bed frames.

Sleigh Bed

Inspired by the French and American 19th century, the sleigh bed frame has the unique design of a… you guessed it! Sleigh. Wooden bed frames are more popular among sleigh bed enthusiasts. This kind of bed frame is ideal if you want to create an old vintage look in your bedroom.

Platform Bed

Platform beds are a very popular choice if you want to go more minimalistic. A Platform bed frame is designed in such a way that it doesn’t require a mattress foundation but instead, acts as the foundation itself. It usually has a strong frame with spaced slats in between to support the mattress.

Bunk Bed

If you have kids in the house, bunk beds are among the most popular to choose from! Bunk beds are designed in such a unique way so that two bed frames fit on top of each other. This is an excellent space saver option and ideal for children and adolescents or young adults.


Trundle beds are for those who are looking for something more compact and practical. The trundle bed is basically a bed on rollers, that is stored underneath another bed. These beds share the space-saving benefit you would find in bunk beds. While stored, the bed frame is out of sight. So it doesn’t really take up extra space unless you wanted to store stuff under your bed. An ideal bed for if your child has a friend over every now and then.

Shop the full range of bed frames at The Mattress Warehouse

Whether you are looking for something practical, aesthetically pleasing, or just a specific vintage style, there is a bed frame that suits every need. From sleigh beds to bunk beds, and everything in between, The Mattress Warehouse has it all! Check out our wide range of bed frames either online or in-store, if you prefer. You will also enjoy the benefit of free delivery to all major city hubs on every purchase!

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