An essential guide to divan beds

Your bed will no doubt be an important purchase, especially given that we spend a massive 210.2 hours each year asleep (Chemist 4 U), so it's important that you're taking the time to find the right one for you.

If your current bed is well-loved and you're looking for a replacement, consider taking Britain's most popular bed type — the divan bed — into account. Combining functionality, style and coming in many different styles, you're sure to benefit from investing in one of these. Here, we will be talking all things divan beds, to help you make the right decision with this important purchase.

We’ll cover:

divan bed

What is a divan bed?

A divan bed is one of the most popular bed types. It is made from a timber frame divan bed base, which is typically painted or upholstered in attractive fabric, and commonly comes with a mattress. However, it’s possible to buy these separately if you prefer.

Divan beds are compact and usually offer storage solutions, making them great for small bedrooms. They're also extremely versatile, as they can be customised with your choice of headboard and footboard.

Which divan bed base is best?

There are two main types of divan bed bases to choose from: platform top and sprung top.

Platform top

Constructed with a wooden frame, these bases are sturdy and usually have a hardwood top panel with a layer of padding, which means platform divan beds will offer a firmer feel. This makes them ideal for those who suffer with back pain and need more rigid support when they sleep. However, be aware that the overall feel of your divan bed will be down to the mattress firmness you choose.

Sprung top

With a unit of springs attached to the base, these divan bed bases are more gently supportive and flexible. Although they are a little more expensive, the springs can make your mattress last longer by acting as a shock absorber, so are a good way to get value for money.

Personal preference and requirements will dictate which type is best for you. So, when picking your new divan bed, be sure to consider the level of support and firmness your body (and your partner’s, if you’re sharing) will need while you sleep — you can then choose a customisable duo feel mattress to ensure both you and your partner are supported.

Pros and cons of divan beds

Divan beds have a whole host of benefits, however depending on your personal preference and room style, they may not be for you. Here, we discuss the pros and cons of these bed styles.

Pros:

  1. Great for storage: Divan beds offer a range of storage options, from pull-out drawers to a lift-up ottoman design. This means even the smallest of bedrooms can benefit from maximised space and less clutter. Use the former for smaller bits and bobs, and the latter for larger items like spare bedding and duvets, for a tidy bedroom that will aid your sleep.
  2. Compact: Divan beds are extremely compact: the base is usually the same width and length as the mattress, and there’s no need for a headboard or a footboard. This leaves you with more room to manoeuvre, which is especially helpful in smaller rooms.
  3. Customisable: Although you can leave them off to save space, there is the option to add a headboard and footboard to your divan bed. As well as being a practical option, this allows you to make your divan bed look nice and complementary to the rest of your bedroom décor.
  4. Easy to transport and assemble: Their simple shape and compact size make divan beds relatively easy to move. They’re also easy to assemble, making them a convenient option when it comes to moving or redecorating.

Cons:

  1. Less underbed space: The storage in your divan drawers may not be as big as the actual available space underneath other bed frames. So, if you have plenty of things to store under there, you may benefit from choosing one of our other beds instead.
  2. Hard to hoover underneath: As there will be no underbed space, you will have to reposition your divan bed to hoover underneath it.
  3. Not suitable for narrow doorways: If you have narrow doorways, you may want to consider getting a divan bed as these usually come in two larger parts, which can be tricky to get into, or through, smaller spaces.

What are the storage options for divan beds?

The classic divan bed has pull-out drawers embedded in the base, but there are now plenty of other options available as well. The best one for you will depend on where your bed will be situated and what you plan to store inside your divan bed.

Storage drawers

If you’ve got particularly limited space in your room, the standard 2-drawer or 4-drawer choice will allow you to subtly make your divan bed into a storage bed. This can make it easier to deal with clutter, so your room will look orderly and organised more often. However, if your divan bed will be pushed up against a wall, you might want to choose one longer drawer to ensure you still get the benefits of underbed storage.

Alternatively, you could pick a divan bed with continental (conti) drawers. These are mini drawers that are ideal if your bed is placed against fitted furniture and will allow you to access the available storage even if you don’t have the room to open full-sized drawers. Conti drawers will also be a great option if you don’t have that many belongings to be stored.

Ottoman storage

Ottoman divan beds have an easy-lift bed frame that reveals storage space in the base, making them a great option for those wanting to store bulkier items underneath the bed, or who don’t have the space to access drawers. Plus, as there aren’t any drawers to the exterior of the divan bed this can give it a sleeker appearance. However, do be aware that these usually take up more vertical room than divans with drawer storage options due to the lift-up base.

Beds without storage

If you want to benefit from the comfort of a divan bed but you don’t want or need the storage, divan beds without drawers — or with legs — could be for you. These reveal more of your floor to create an illusion of space and are a more budget-friendly option.

Alternatively, if you regularly have guests round, you might want to opt for a divan bed with trundle: the lower level (where drawers usually are) pulls out to reveal an extra bed, so you can quickly accommodate guests, no matter how short the notice is.

Divan bed decorating ideas

When you spend your time and money finding the perfect divan bed, it’s only right that you choose some stylish bedding to go with it. Dressing your divan bed in an eye-catching way will make it a beautiful showpiece in your bedroom.

Bedding

Divan beds accommodate the standard UK mattress sizes, meaning you won’t be limited for bedding options.

A ruffle-edged pillowcase and duvet set will create a more traditional look, whereas bright and bold patterns, like on-trend tropicals, will inject liveliness and colour into your room. You might even want to incorporate texture with crushed velvet and chunky knit throws. Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to mix up your usual style to lend your bedroom a new aesthetic. Plus, you can use your divan bed storage space for spare bedding, so you’ll be able to quickly grab another set when you want a different look.

While the decorative elements of bedding can be more fun to pick out, don’t forget about the more functional considerations when it comes to it, like duvet tog and pillow fillings. For more information about these, check out our guide on the importance of bedding.

Divan wrap

Played it on the safe side with a plain bed and now wanting to know how to make your divan bed look nice and coordinated with your room? A divan bed cover wrap may just be the answer for you. Encasing the divan bed base, these clever wraps allow you to switch up your bedroom look in minutes — and as often as you’d like!

To add modernity to your room, choose an on-trend colour, like grey, sage or blush. Or, go classic with a deep brown — reflective of dark wood which was popular in the décor of previous periods. With options for non-iron versions, as well as a range of fabric types like sateen and cotton, you’re sure to find the perfect look for your divan bed.

Headboard

Adding a headboard to your divan bed can be the ultimate way to transform an otherwise simple design. So, assess how much room you have and get planning.

Think about the headboard’s purpose as well as the aesthetic. For example, avid night-readers and bedtime tv-watchers will benefit from a plush upholstered headboard for maximum comfort to lean against, while those just using it for decoration might opt for a sturdier design.

As well as colour choice, there are plenty of style options available. So, whether you’re looking for a segmented headboard or one with vertical lining and decorative jewels, your dream bed look can be catered for. And, as the assembly process is straightforward, all you’ll need is the headboard, the bolts that come with it and a screwdriver. Here at Dormeo, we’ll assemble your divan bed for free upon delivery (which is also free on all mattresses and beds!).

Footboard

If you want the comfort of a divan bed with the aesthetic of a typical bed frame, adding both a headboard and footboard could be the solution. A shallow footboard will complement any divan bed nicely and give your room a lovely cohesive finish if it matches your headboard.

Divan beds are a great way to maximise both comfort and space in your bedroom. With a range of options for sizes, designs, colourways and storage options, it’s no wonder that these are Britain’s favourite beds.

So, if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, take a look at our range of divan beds. Most come with a mattress and matching headboard, as well as the chance to pick your own bed base colour and storage drawer design, so you’ll get the ultimate personalisation service. We even throw in free delivery on all mattresses and beds when you order online.

We have plenty of other helpful guides that may help inform your bed and mattress purchases, as well as a blog filled with expert sleep tips. If you have any questions about our divan beds or any of the other products we stock, don't hesitate to get in touch with our expert team who will be happy to help!

Written by Phil Lawlor

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