Buying a bed is no small task. Bed frames take up a good deal of space, come in all shapes and sizes, and aren't quickly discarded. Furthermore, your bed is the focal point of your night time retreat. It should be a place that supports and sustains you - especially in today's challenging world.

"Over the last year we've had an unusually high number of requests to design bedrooms," says San Francisco designer Kathleen Navarra. "It says a lot about the times we live in." Navarra says that her most requested bed frame style is a traditional four-poster, even if it has a contemporary twist like the "Willa" bed by Berkeley-based Oly Studio. "Clients love to have it draped, to create a sanctuary- it gives a feeling of safety," she says.

Though mattresses and linens have a great deal to do with how comfortable a bed is to sleep in, Navarra points out that the frame will impact how comfortable a bed is to read in. "I always ask clients if they read in bed, and if so do they want a number of pillows to make an open framework headboard comfortable or would they prefer fewer pillows and an upholstered headboard," Navarra says.

A popular upholstered bed frame available at Navarra's retail shop Jak is the "Ingrid" bed, also by Oly Studio. "It has a little Rococo element to it, and I find that clients are drawn to traditional elements again. Whether consciously or unconsciously, these styles are comforting."


As to the fabrics chosen for an upholstered bed, Navarra says neutral colors are always desirable given the size and price of the beds (the Oly Studio frames cost $3,000 to $6,000.) However, Navarra finds that the bestsellers on the floor of the store are often the most colorful. "When we play it safe, furniture will just sit there. But when we put wild fabrics on a piece of furniture it's snapped right up,"she says. "So I'd say if you like color, upholster a bed in hotpink - you'll love it forever.


Mark Flegel, president and CEO of Flegel's in Menlo Park and San Ramon, says that as far as upholstered beds,he's getting a lot of requests for dark wood beds with upholstered leather headboards. "Styles like the 'Dane' upholstered bed by Laura Kirar for Baker almost have the feeling of a wing chair that's very enveloping," he says.

Flegel also sees a big interest in chinoiserie-painted headboards. "One nice option with a painted headboard like Baker's 'Venetian Bed' is that it can be painted in custom colors," he adds. He also recommends that customers analyze colors in the room, such as the carpets,the window treatments and other pieces of furniture, to help them determine the bed frame color. "Bring us the size of your room and photos of what (furniture) you already own, and that can help us help you determine a style or motif." 

An enduring style that continues to be a bestseller is the Craftsman or Mission style produced by the Stickley company. Originally made in Fayetteville, N. Y. in the early 1900s, this style saw a revival in the 1990s that continues today.

"I think younger people appreciate the clean lines and classic styles of Stickley furniture - it's almost a reaction to their parents' more transitional furniture styles," Flegelsays. "It also works very well with the architecture of the Bay Area."

As to pricing, Flegel says bed frames range from $1,800 to $8,000 depending on the designer, the manufacturer and the materials. "There are a number of manufacturers that do a Mission-style bed, but there are people who really know their furniture that want a real Stickley - they look at it as apiece of art and often know more about Mission furniture than we do."

The other "mission" that attracts followers in today's furniture world is furniture created with eco-friendly materials. Diane Haydon, owner of Trove in Berkeley, sells home accessories and furniture that has been remaindered or that was made as a prototype.

Haydon says that bed frames made from sustainable woods are a hot ticket item in today's furniture market. "Before, you'd go to the major furniture shows and see just a small corner devoted to eco-friendly furniture but now it is taking center stage."

At Trove, Haydon carries furniture made by One World Imports, acompany that makes beds, chairs and case goods from reclaimed woods or highly sustainable woods like mango wood. Hayden points out that mango wood is not only "green" but it is also very affordable ($1,475 forthe contemporary Craftsman style "Metro" bed) and versatile. "It can bestained different colors and constructed in a range of styles -contemporary, ethnic or more traditional," Hayden says.

Other popular bed frame styles at Trove include those that showcasethe natural properties of the wood, for example a burlwood headboard."Their warmth and beauty evoke the outdoors," Haydon says. "There's something very comforting about connecting to nature."


Mark Flegel

Kathleen NavarraJak

Diane HaydonTrove