Ideas + Inspiration

Ideas for Choosing a Modern Bed

The clean lines and stark edges of modern design doesn’t mean you can’t find a comfy modern bed. And since you spend a third of your entire life asleep, your bed had better be good. As the focal point of the bedroom and one of the largest (and maybe most expensive) pieces of bedroom furniture, choosing the right bed for your needs is one of the most important decisions you’ll face when furnishing your bedroom. From aesthetic choices to the overall footprint, here are some tips and ideas to consider when selecting a modern bed.

Size Matters

Modloft Jane bed in master bedroom.
Jane Bed By Modloft

As a general rule of thumb, allow for at least 8 by 8 square feet of floor space AFTER you factor in the size of your bed and other furniture in the room. Since the average bedroom is 200-300 sq ft, that leaves you with enough wiggle room to allow for doors opening into the space and walkways around your furniture. For a queen-sized bed, at 60″ by 80″ (that’s 5 by 6.5 feet), the minimum size bedroom would be 10 by 10 feet – other furniture notwithstanding.

Logical Layouts

modern platform bed with matching dressers
Linea Bed from Huppe

Make sure your furniture around the bed doesn’t hinder your movement. Leave space along either side and at the end of the bed; keeping lounge chairs, night tables, and dressers out of the way of most of your bed’s entry/exit points ensures you never wake on the wrong side.

Clear a Path

modern platform bed with decorative blue throw.

In smaller spaces, you may find it necessary to get creative with layouts and other furniture choices to ensure you have enough room to maneuver. A good starting place for most needs is to allow about 24-30 inches of space for a walkway on either side and the end of the bed. If you have doors that open into the room, though, allow at least 36 inches for clearance (the width of a standard door).

Get Unconventional

modern leather headboard.
Me Time Leather Bed By Blu Dot

If space is hard to come by, consider alternate layouts such as placing a night table at the head of the bed or eschewing one altogether. You can get similar functionality with a wall-mounted reading light and a neat stack of necessities next to or even tucked under the bed.

Ingenious Solutions

modern white platform bed.
Swami Queen Storage Bed from Calligaris

Whether a minimal aesthetic is your aim or floor space is at a premium, some beds do double duty as storage units. With a bed like this one from Calligaris, you could even forgo a chest or closet space and store shoes, containers, and more right under the bed.

Built-in Bliss

modern wood storage bed.

Platform beds not only add storage, but they can also eliminate the need for a separate box spring under your mattress. Many have drawers that are good for primary or supplemental storage, depending on your needs and other furniture. Just be sure to take into account the space you’ll need to pull these drawers out when planning your walkways. Another kind of built-in design includes beds with nightstands built into the headboard, which lends a seamless look.

Keep a Low Profile

modern large platform bed.
Worth Bed By Modloft

Your bed is the most important functional piece in its namesake room, but it doesn’t have to be the center of attention. Low profile frames let other features take the spotlight, like a great backyard view or special ceiling detail.

Offset Accents

platform bed with built in nightstands.
Monroe Bed By Modloft

When using a bed with built-in nightstands, you can select accent furniture that doesn’t exactly match the bed frame. This helps to keep your overall look more interesting and personal (and less like you ordered the whole room from a catalog).

Statement Piece

modern black and white bed with large headboard.
Ludlow Bed by Modloft

The bed is the focal point of the bedroom because its sheer size dominates the space. A tall headboard reinforces this point with a dramatic edge. Depending on the height of the frame (and of your ceilings) the headboard might act as wall decor, or build your wallscape around it for contrast.

More is More

modern dark grey button-tufted bed.
Thompson Bed By Modloft

If you’re not in the minimalist camp, simply add more texture and visual interest for a cozy and sumptuous effect. This button-tufted bed is nevertheless modern thanks to its straight lines, and the wall decor in large rectangles reinforces the drama as the round artwork complements with contrast.

Room with a View

rustic wood bed.
Currant Platform Bed By Greenington

Particularly for rooms on an upper floor (or in a remote location) where privacy is less of a concern, you may like to place your bed by large windows. A simple bed frame and lots of clear floor space add to the impression that your bed is a hideaway among the trees.

Room to Breathe

farmhouse bed with two pendant lights.
Spindle Bed with Slats By Ethnicraft

On the other hand, smaller spaces or just different aesthetic needs may call for a lighter look. Beds with slim silhouettes, airy spindles, and slender slats create visual space as the eye moves through the frame. This kind of bed even works in front of windows since it won’t obstruct the view as much as solid headboard. And tapered legs add to the visual flow so the overall effect isn’t weighed down.

Show Off Your Style

floating bed.

The flip side to a neutral, go-with-anything bed is a fabulous centerpiece. The bed is naturally a bedroom’s focal point because of its size, but its style can easily influence the rest of the room. Showstopper beds come in all kinds of variations, from futuristic floating frames to modern canopy beds suitable for the kings and queens of loft living.

Canopy Chic

modern wood canopy bed.

A modern canopy bed can be a dramatic centerpiece without overpowering the whole space. Keep the look light by hanging lightweight fabric or forgoing the drape altogether. A beautiful, sleek wood frame looks just as classy without the curtains.

Quiet Time

modern dark grey bed with chandelier over it.

Upholstery is no longer relegated to medieval tester beds or studded and button-tufted headboards. Some modern frames are fully upholstered all the way around and give a luxurious, soft contemporary look. A large piece of soft furniture will help absorb sound for a quieter night’s sleep, too, which might be especially helpful in bedrooms without wall-to-wall carpeting.


bed with textured blankets and pillows.

Perhaps more important here than in any other room, everything you touch in the master bedroom should feel sumptuous and comfortable. Nubby rugs, thick covers, and squishy pillows will be in contact with more of you in the bedroom than other places (unless you’re au naturel in every room–we don’t judge) so make sure to choose all surfaces with their tactile sensations in mind.

Luxurious Linens

mattress on the ground.

Bedding is an easy and fun way to update the master bedroom with little commitment. Plus, when covered by a slightly more permanent duvet or comforter, you’re free to go wild with pattern, color, and even material without detracting from the room’s overall scheme. As with your mattress choice, though, select high-quality linens for the best feel and longest lasting solutions.

Toss a Throw On It

modern grey throw blanket.

A super quick update can be affected by adding throws in various colors and styles. They’re great to grab in case the temperature drops and add a pop of color and texture wherever they’re, well, thrown.

Pillow Fight

modern bed with pendant lights.
Carmichael Bed By Gus Modern

Some people are rock-solid sleepers who barely need to make up the bed in the morning – for the rest of us, consider these designs to keep your bedclothes where they belong. A wraparound headboard might help keep your pillows in place if they’re prone to sliding off the side of the bed. And bed frames with footboards keep covers from falling completely onto the floor if you toss and turn. Your mileage may vary, of course.


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