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Panel Bed vs Platform Bed: What's The Difference?

Castlery   |   May 10, 2023

Choosing the right bed is essential to get a good night's sleep, and one of the most critical factors to consider is the type of bed frame you want to invest in.

When it comes to bed types, two common options to choose from are panel beds and platform beds. In this article, we will explore the differences between panel and platform beds to help you decide which one is the right fit for your bedroom.

What is a panel bed?

Panel beds are a traditional bed style that has been around for many years. A panel bed typically consists of a headboard, footboard, and side rails that are connected by a central support system. The panels on the headboard and footboard are the defining feature of a panel bed, which gives the bed a classic and timeless appearance.

A panel bed with matching neutral bedding and a wooden nightstand. @woodfinshome’s Madison Bed adds a touch of elegance to the bedroom. Also pictured: The Seb Nightstand.

One significant advantage of a panel bed is its durability. The sturdy construction of a panel bed ensures that it can withstand the test of time and daily wear and tear. Additionally, because panel beds are typically designed with a box spring, they can provide better support for your mattress, leading to a more comfortable and restful sleep.

What is a platform bed?

Platform beds feature a more modern and minimalist style that has gained popularity in recent years. Unlike panel beds, platform beds have a built-in support system that can hold your mattress securely in place. This design gives platform beds a low profile and sleek appearance, making them a popular choice for modern and contemporary bedrooms.

A platform bed with a sage green bedding and cushions. @benji_plant’s Dawson Bed has a low profile for that minimalist vibe. Also pictured: The Kelsey Chair in White Wash.

The lack of a box spring means that platform beds are typically lower to the ground, which can make it easier to get in and out of bed. They are also known for their simplicity, clean lines, and minimalistic design, which can make them a great choice for small spaces. However, because there’s no box spring, platform beds may not be suitable for heavier mattresses.

Recommended read: What is a Platform Bed and Do You Need One

Panel bed vs platform bed: Factors to consider

Comfort

The level of comfort provided by your bed is what helps you get quality sleep. Panel beds typically provide more support for your mattress due to the use of a box spring or foundation, leading to a more comfortable sleep. However, if you prefer a lower profile and minimalistic design, a platform bed may be a good choice.

Height

The height of your bed is also an important consideration. Panel beds tend to sit higher off the ground than platform beds because they use a box spring or foundation. If you’re on the taller side or have bad knees, panel beds are the better option as a platform bed’s lower profile may be more uncomfortable.

Size

The size of your bed is another critical factor to consider. Both panel and platform beds come in various sizes, from twin to king-sized mattresses. However, some designs may be better suited to certain sizes, so it's essential to consider your room's dimensions, mattress sizes, and sleeping habits before making a decision.

Support

Panel beds typically provide better support due to their use of a box spring or foundation, while platform beds rely on a slat system to support your mattress. If you have a heavier mattress or need extra support, a panel bed may be the better option.

Wooden bed slats of a performance fabric bed. Bed slats are often made with durable wood to ensure enough support for your mattress. Pictured: The Claude Performance Fabric Bed and Colette Sherpa Swivel Armchair in Teddy Brown.

Which bed frame is right for you?

So the big question is: which bed frame should you get?

Well, that depends on several factors, like the ones we listed above. It also depends entirely on personal preference and interior design styles.

If you're looking for a timeless bed style that will last for years, a panel bed may be the best choice. Panel beds are also a great option if you prefer a higher bed height, as they typically sit higher off the ground than platform beds.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a modern and minimalist bed style that offers a low profile and clean lines, a platform bed may be the better option. Platform beds can also be a great choice if you're working with a tight budget, as they often cost less than panel beds.

FAQs

Do platform beds need box springs?

Platform beds do not need box springs. Instead, platform beds are designed to provide support for your mattress directly with a slatted or solid surface, eliminating the need for an additional support layer.

That being said, it's important to ensure that your mattress is compatible with your chosen platform bed. Some mattresses may require additional support, and using a platform bed without the proper support can result in discomfort or damage to the mattress. So, be sure to check that both your mattress and bed frame are compatible.

Are platform beds comfortable?

Definitely! But as mentioned earlier, it’s always good to check if you (or whoever’s using the bed) are comfortable with the low height of a platform bed. This might not be the most suitable option for the elderly, or if you are taller.

Are platform beds more affordable than panel beds?

Generally, platform beds are less expensive than panel beds because they use simpler construction and fewer materials. However, the cost of both types of beds can vary widely depending on the specific design, materials used, and brand.

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