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What Is An Upholstered Bed? | Pros & Cons


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An upholstered bed is any bed frame (including the headboards) partially or completely covered in fabric. The fabric can be anything (other than wood) from linen to luxurious velvet. The upholstery material in beds is typically overlaid on top of additional padding. As a result, the headboards are softer to the touch and more comfortable. Many upholstery bed designs are finished with embroidery or button studding to elevate their appearance.

Why are upholstered beds popular?


If you’re a fan of interior design magazines or have scrolled Pinterest searching for inspiration, you might have noticed how heavily upholstered beds are featured. So what makes them such a popular choice?

1. They are versatile


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Upholstered beds are easily customizable, making them a top choice for those who love to put their stamp on things. Whether you’re a minimalist who prefers a pared-down palette and other simple interior design elements, or you love to go big, you can style your upholstered bed to complement your desired aesthetic. Here are some of the things you can customize in this type of bed:

  • Headboard design

The headboard is one of the most distinctive features of an upholstered bed. You can go for a button-backed headboard if you want a timeless piece, a vertically stitched headboard with unique lines, a more contemporary vibe, or metal accents if you like to mix things up.

  • Fabric choice

Once you’ve decided which headboard design to go for, you can pick a suitable fabric. Options are typically wide-ranging, from velvet to linen and even leather. Your fabric choice will depend on your bedroom’s vibe you’re going for. If you want to channel a natural and organic look, opt for a cool and crisp material like linen in a neutral shade. If extroverted glamor is more up to your speed, velvet is one of the best options. For those who are hypoallergenic or want a fabric that can stay cool in sweltering summer weather, leather or faux leather is worth considering. 

  • Pattern and color

Contrary to metal frame and wood frame beds, upholstered beds allow you more options when customizing the pattern and color of your bed frame design. If you want to incorporate a bright and bold statement pattern, consider the banana palm pattern popularized by the Beverly Hills Hotel. If you’re edging towards more subtlety, a ticking stripe pattern may be what you’re looking for. You can also go with solid colors such as the simple but stylish stark white or opulent deep jewel tones. 

  • Shape 

There are plenty of bed frame shapes to choose from as well. For example, if you want a dramatic effect, a canopy or wingback upholstered bed is ideal as it will draw the eye upward and add uniqueness to the room. On the other hand, if you like a more minimal look that won’t take away from your bedroom’s decor, a modern platform bed will blend in quite well.

2. They are comfortable


Many people prefer upholstered beds because of the plush comfort that they offer. Unlike in metal or solid wood designs, you don’t have to worry about creating a pillow headboard every time you sit up in bed. If you enjoy watching TV, reading, or scrolling through your phone while sitting in bed, a high-quality upholstered bed that offers a cushioned headrest can make the difference. 

3. They add a luxurious vibe to the bedroom


For most people, the bedroom serves as a much-needed personal space where they can relax and rejuvenate. As a result, a lot of effort goes into styling and designing a bedroom. An upholstered bed can effortlessly add an air of grandeur to your bedroom. – you don’t need a total bedroom renovation to bring a luxurious vibe with this bed type.

Are upholstered beds more comfortable?


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Comfort is an important consideration when determining what type of bed to go for. Upholstered beds are generally more comfortable than traditional styles like wood and metal. Because they are cushioned and wrapped in fabric, padded upholstered bed frames are cozy and perfect for sitting up and leaning against. 

Although wood beds are sturdy, it’s uncomfortable to lean on their headboards while watching TV or reading. For the best experience, you might have to purchase a couple of soft, fluffy pillows and prop them against your hard headboard whenever you want to sit up in the bed. 

With a metallic bed frame, you not only have to worry about the solid metal being uncomfortable to lean against but also about it being cold. Metal tends to hold onto cold temperatures more than wood or upholstered materials. As a result, metallic bed frames are all the more unpleasant to sit against. Furthermore, you may need to heat your bedroom a little more to create a comfortable environment during the colder months.

Do upholstered beds need a box spring?


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Upholstered beds do not need a box spring. This is because this bed style typically comes with a pre-designed support system that offers a firm base for the mattress to rest on. Unlike some bed types, upholstered beds are specifically engineered to function properly without a separate box spring. 

Even if you want to add a stable base for your mattress, a box spring isn’t your only option. You can also use an old mattress (depending on the type), slats, memory foam, an adjustable bed frame, or an innerspring mattress in place of a box spring. 

Do upholstered headboards get dusty?


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Upholstered headboards can get surprisingly dusty. Like other bed frames, it’s essential to look after your upholstered bed to keep it looking its best. These types of beds require a bit more maintenance to keep them in top condition compared to beds with metal and wooden frames. Depending on the type of fabric that your upholstered headboard is made of, here are some of the cleaning supplies you’ll need to keep yours clean and free of dust:

  • A vacuum cleaner (preferably one that features attachments such as an upholstery brush and a steam cleaning feature)
  • Distilled water
  • Fabric cleaner spray
  • White vinegar and baking soda
  • Baby powder
  • A mild detergent
  • Paper towels and/or dry white cloth
  • A homemade cleaning solution 

General cleaning guidelines


Cleaning upholstered bed

Follow the guidelines below o get rid of dust and any other debris that may have gathered on your headboard:

1. Vacuum the headboard


Dust can easily gather on upholstered bed frames and tarnish their pristine appearance. To prevent this, consider vacuuming your headboard and any other visible parts of the bed frame a vacuum regularly. Opt to use a small upholstery attachment to get into any cracks and crevices that may have accumulated dust. Vacuuming your headboard at least once a week or any time you clean your bedroom can make all the difference. 

2. Spot clean stains


You want to avoid spilling things on your upholstered headboard at all costs, but sometimes accidents happen. To prevent any spots that may form from spillages, spot clean the affected area using water or a stronger cleaning solution. Be careful to blot rather than rub the stained area. Otherwise, you risk working the stain deeper into the fabric.

Suppose you have a fabric cleaner spray handy. In that case, you may be able to use it on a stain – be sure to read the instructions on the label carefully beforehand and consider applying the cleaner spray on an inconspicuous area of the bed to test it out. Blot the treated area with a dry white cloth, and then leave it to air dry for a couple of hours. If the fabric has discolored, then avoid using the cleaner. 

3. Freshening your headboard


To keep your headboard smelling fresh, consider regularly spritzing a scented linen spray. Alternatively, you can also try pouring a handful of baking soda onto a dry cloth and pat it into the fabric. Allow it to sit for a couple of hours, then vacuum any lingering residue. 

Tips for cleaning an upholstered headboard based on the type of fabric


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Cleaning methods differ depending on the type of fabric. Here is how to clean different types of upholstered headboard fabric:

1. Velvet headboard


A velvet headboard adds an opulent look to your bed and effectively shows your bold personality. However, if the fabric is in a bright color, any discoloration due to dust collection or staining will be much more evident. Therefore, you want to take extra care of your velvet upholstered headboard if you’re going to maintain it. Follow the steps below to clean stains from a velvet headboard.

  • Remove excess moisture

If you’re dealing with a liquid stain, soak it with a dry white cloth or paper towels.

  • Blot with a mild detergent or homemade cleaning solution

Make a mix of mild detergent or dishwashing liquid and water and use the sudsy solution to blot the stained area gently. If you prefer a more natural option, mix distilled white vinegar with baking soda to create a foamy texture, then dab the solution on the stain.

  • Dry the treated area

Blot the area with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture, then leave to air dry. To speed up the drying process, use a hairdryer on low heat.

2. Wool headboard


Wool is a naturally warm and soft fabric best suited in colder climates. Its resistance to wrinkling, peeling, and fading makes for an excellent fabric choice for headboards. Many manufacturers opt to combine wool with synthetic fibers to make it easier to clean, so you always want to confirm the fabric composition of your headboard before cleaning it. In most cases, the most suitable method of cleaning this fabric headboard is steam cleaning. Wool tends to retain water, making any wet cleaning undesirable.

3. Linen headboard


Linen is another natural fabric, but it’s known to become brittle and brown over time, unlike wool. Furthermore, it can take quite a while to dry. Follow the steps below to clean your linen headboards:

  • Vacuum to get rid of any dust and debris on the linen surface
  • Treat any fresh stains by blotting affected areas with a white cloth to remove excess liquid
  • Clean carefully with a homemade cleaning solution/ mild detergent solution. Alternatively, try using the steam cleaning feature on your vacuum cleaner to prevent the headboard from becoming too wet.
  • Keep your doors and windows open to allow the headboard to air dry fully. This is important to prevent mold from setting into the fabric.

4. Suede headboard


Suede is a soft, open-texture fabric, a characteristic that makes it more susceptible to dust, debris, and stain accumulation. Here are some guidelines on how to clean a suede headboard:

  • Start by vacuuming the headboard using an upholstery attachment to remove any dust, hair, and debris. To avoid inadvertently damaging the fabric, vacuum it in circular motions.
  • Prepare a soapy solution (using water and a mild detergent), and then use a white cloth to apply the suds to the stained area. Blot the spot gently to lift the stain, repeating the process if necessary.
  • Dry the area using a clean cloth.

In some cases, you may be able to get rid of dry stains from your suede upholstered headboard using a pencil eraser. To use this cleaning method, brush the stain with the eraser using circular motions, applying extra pressure on the affected area. 

5. Leather headboard


Before cleaning your leather headboard, check the manufacturer’s label for specific instructions on how to go about it. That said, here are some general guidelines that might be helpful:

  • Vacuum the leather with a soft brush attachment to lift dust and debris
  • For more stubborn dirt and grime, use a soft, white cloth dipped in water to work in a moisturizing soap into the affected area. Make sure to wring the cloth before use so that it’s only slightly damp to avoid drenching the leather surface with water.
  • Finish by buffing the leather with a dry microfiber cloth and polish as usual

Leather is susceptible to damage to drying and cracking when exposed to direct sunlight, so make sure your headboard is kept away from the sun’s rays to maintain its condition. 

Upholstered bed pros and cons


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There’s no denying that upholstered beds are unique and eye-catching, but as with everything, there are upsides and downsides to these beds. 

Pros of upholstered bed


  • They effortlessly add a luxurious look and feel to your bedroom, especially when you go for styles like velvet and linen.
  • Upholstered beds are easily customizable as they come in a wide range of styles, colors, and designs.
  • They are soft and comfortable, making them ideal for those who love to sit up in bed to read or watch TV.
  • Upholstered beds can help you make a statement if you want a showstopper piece of furniture in your bedroom.

Cons of upholstered bed


  • Because they feature fabric, upholstered beds require more cleaning than metal or wooden beds.
  • Upholstered beds could contribute to allergies. This is because fabric attracts dust (and subsequently dust mites) more easily, which could exacerbate the severity of allergies.

Types of upholstered beds


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Here are the main types of upholstered bed frames that you’ll often come across:

1. Platform beds


These are relatively easy to install, and they typically don’t require a box spring. Platform beds have a contemporary, low-to-the-ground look, which gives a room a clean, streamlined aesthetic.

2. Storage platform bed


As the name suggests, these types of upholstered beds come with extra space where you can store your belongings. Depending on their design, they can either have built-in feature cabinets beneath the bed or leave enough room for items to be kept beneath the bed.

3. Wingback bed


Wingback beds feature wings on either side of the headboard that protrudes several inches outwards, giving the bed a taller and wider profile. 

4. Panel bed


A panel bed typically refers to a specific upholstery treatment that uses the seams to give the bed a paneled effect. This effectively adds a touch of glamor or quirkiness to a bedroom.

5. Sleigh bed


Unlike in most upholstery bed types, the focal point of a sleigh bed is the weighty footboard which closely resembles a sleigh. The footboard often features a button tufting to evoke a more traditional aesthetic.

Styles of upholstered bed


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Upholstered bed styles are often categorized based on the textile fabrics used in their manufacture. The fabrics can be further divided into two sub-categories: natural fabrics and synthetic fabrics.

Natural fabrics


  • Cotton

Cotton offers a soft and comfortable feel. Furthermore, it is durable to use as upholstery material, and however, it is vulnerable to fading and stains.

  • Linen

Although linen is prone to wrinkling and stains, it’s commonly used as a print fabric. Many upholstered beds with this fabric style feature unique designs, making them a popular choice.

  • Leather

Leather is the most durable fabric as it is relatively resistant to stains, debris, and scratches. This makes it easier to clean and maintain.

  • Velvet

Velvet is the fabric of choice if you want a more luxurious feel. This soft and plush is quite durable, and glitz velvet, in particular, has become increasingly popular in the upholstery industry.

  • Wool

Wool is a natural fabric that is resistant to pilling and staining. It’s also warm and soft and doesn’t require much upkeep.

  • Silk 

Silk is one of the most costliest styles of upholstery fabric. Although it helps to add a sense of elegance to a bed, the fabric is highly susceptible to staining and damage. As a result, it requires a lot of care to maintain its appearance.

Synthetic fabrics


  • Polyester

This comprises cotton and other fibers. Polyester is wrinkle-free and easily retains vibrant dye colors.

  • Acrylic

Acrylic imitates synthesized wool with characteristics such as built-in soiling, fading, and wrinkling resistance. 

  • Polypropylene

This synthetic fabric is durable and easy to clean due to its ability to resist stains and liquids.

How much does an upholstered bed cost?


The cost of an upholstered bed ranges widely depending on the type, size, and style you go for. On average, prices range anywhere from $150-$2000.

Final thoughts


Upholstered beds are a unique and fun option for those looking to upgrade the style and layout of their bedrooms. Furthermore, they come in different types and styles, so you’ll likely find one that suits your needs. 

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Last update on 2022-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Zoltan Szatmari

Zoltan is a test and industrial engineer from Europe who loves learning anything new and working on small projects. When he is not working, he is usually hiking or going to the cinema.

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