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Divan Bed Buying Guide

Divan Bed Buying Guide

Divan Bed Guide

A lot of people struggle to choose between divan beds and traditional bed frames. While a lot comes down to personal preference, there are several considerations that could influence your decision. 

What is a divan bed?

First things first, what is a divan bed? A divan is a type of bed that typically comes in two parts - a solid divan base and a corresponding mattress. In most cases, the divan base is made of a wooden frame that’s upholstered with a fabric covering to conceal the basic structure. 

While the divan base often contains additional storage space to help you keep your bedroom neat, tidy and cluttered, that’s not always the case. With some models, the storage space will be sacrificed and replaced with spring support for a comfier night’s sleep. In others, storage simply doesn’t factor into the design. 

Some divan beds have wheels attached to the bottom of the base, allowing for easier movement. Don’t worry though, these wheels can be locked to prevent the bed from sliding around the floor. Divans can also include a range of other aesthetic and functional features, such as headboards and footboards, castors and glides.

What’s the difference between a bed and a divan?

The main difference between a traditional bed frame and a divan is the base. Divans have a solid base, and all the sides are covered, so that the base resembles a box. On the other hand, bed frames are generally just that, a frame! Usually, wooden slats run laterally from one side of the bed to the other, supporting your choice of mattress.

Though the distinction between a divan and bed frame doesn’t sound like much, the designs can feel substantially different. This is due to the way that the slatted and box structures support your mattress. 

While slats allow air to circulate, they don’t offer consistent support to all parts of the mattress. This means they’re less suited to memory foam mattresses, which can begin to ‘seep’ through the slats over time. In contrast, divan bases do provide equal support across the entire mattress. This does tend to make mattresses feel a little firmer than they would on slatted bed frames. However, you can compensate for this greater firmness by opting for a slightly softer mattress.

What are the benefits of a divan bed?

There are several benefits to divan beds. These include:

  • Additional storage space
  • Compact design
  • Customisable
  • Support is spread evenly

The fact that many divans include storage makes them a fantastic option if you’re short on wardrobe space and are looking for an alternative storage solution. As the divan base acts as a platform for the mattress, this type of bed is also better suited to smaller rooms than bed frames, which are often a little wider and longer than the mattress.

Additionally, your divan can be customised with various feet, wheels, headboards and footboards, ensuring you get the look you want. With a lot of bed frames, that choice is made for you. We’ve already spoken about how divans offer consistent support across the entire mattress but it’s worth reiterating that this makes them a great choice if you’re pairing the base with a denser mattress.

Are divan beds comfortable?

Comfort is a hugely personal thing. What’s wonderfully comfortable for one person might not work so well for another. Consequently, it’s difficult to say whether you’re going to prefer a divan to a traditional bed frame.

However, we can say that there’s absolutely no reason why a divan bed should be any less comfortable than a slatted bed. When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, the price and quality of the design is a much bigger factor than whether you choose a divan or bed frame.

Of course, there will be people that will tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve slept on a divan or that there’s nothing better than a wooden slatted frame. Most of us enjoy what we’re used to. We’d recommend getting a feel for both, seeing if one style jumps out at you and then opting for that design. After all, it’s your comfort at stake!

Are divan beds sturdy?

Yes, divan beds are sturdy, durable and robust. That being said, the better the materials used, the longer the bed will last, so it’s worth looking into what your divan is made from. Divans don’t have any wooden slats, which can occasionally break, and they distribute weight more evenly, so they can take a little more impact before damage is done.

The box shape also lends itself to making the design stronger and sturdier than a traditional bed frame. However, when it comes to sturdiness, there isn’t too much difference between a good quality, slatted frame and a divan. If they’re built well, both should last for a considerable amount of time. 

Does a divan bed come with a mattress?

Divan beds are often paired and packaged with a mattress, though the bases can also be bought on their own, without a mattress. Whether you opt for a divan base and mattress set or just the base on its own depends on several factors.

  • Do you have a mattress already?
  • Does the divan you want come with your preferred mattress?
  • If you want an alternative mattress, does it match the divan’s dimensions?
  • How much do you want to spend?

How much space do I need for a divan bed?

Divans come in a wide range of sizes, so the space you need will largely depend on the model you choose. The good news is that divans take up less room than an equivalent traditional bed frame. So, if you want to maximise available floor space or you’re working with a smaller bedroom, they’re an excellent choice.

The dimensions of UK divan beds are matched to standard UK mattresses. This means you can find divans in the following sizes:

These divans measure up in the following way:

Bed/Mattress SizeDimensions (Metric)Dimensions (Imperial)
Small Single75 x 190 cm 2’6” x 6’3”
Standard Single90 x 190 cm3’0” x 6’3”
Small Double120 x 190 cm4’0” x 6’3”
Standard Double135 x 190 cm4’6” x 6’3”
King Size150 x 200 cm5’0” x 6’6”
Super King Size180 x 200 cm6’0” x 6’6”

How much does a divan bed cost?

Like most beds, the cost of a divan will depend on the brand, quality of materials and design. They typically range from £100 to around £1,000, though some models can cost significantly more than this. In most cases, divans will be slightly more expensive than traditional bed frames, though this isn’t always the case.

The price difference is largely a result of the fact that divans have a more complex design that incorporates a greater number of features, such as storage and wheels. Despite this, there will almost always be a good quality divan in your price range.

Remember that a divan base is nothing without a comfortable mattress, so you may want to think about how you spend your money and split your budget.

What types of divan beds are there?

Divan beds come in all types and sizes and are manufactured by a large number of companies. Some of the best-known manufacturers include:

Divan bed bases

There are two types of divan bed bases:

  • Platform bases - this type of divan bed is sometimes referred to as a solid top base. The design doesn’t include springs or any other type of softener, so will feel firmer and sturdier
  • Pocket sprung bases - this type of divan incorporates a pocket sprung support system into the wooden frame, making the base softer and more comfortable. It’s a more luxurious design but you do compromise your storage space

Divan bed feet

There are three main options when choosing feet for your divan:

  • Castors - castors are very much like wheels, so allow the divan to move easily around the room. They’re a good choice for carpeted rooms but on slick flooring you may need to ensure they can be locked, otherwise, the divan can slip around
  • Glides - glides are round-bottomed legs that allow for relatively easy movement of the bed. They exist somewhere in the space between castors and legs. Glides are well suited to both carpeted and smooth floors
  • Legs - legs offer the greatest stability but make moving the bed around the room that much harder. Legs lift the divan off the floor, so aren’t compatible with divans that feature storage. However, the space between the divan and the floor can often be used to stow smaller items

Divan bed storage

When it comes to divan storage designs, there are plenty of options available:

Storage TypeDetails
No StorageMakes for a more compact design. Divans with legs have no storage
Two DrawersOne drawer on either side of the divan or at the end of the bed 
Four DrawersTypically features two drawers on one side of the divan and two on the other
2+2 Continental DrawersA four drawer design in which the two drawers at the foot of the bed are full size and the two at the head are half size. This ensures you can open the drawers if you have a bedside table
OttomanOffers the most storage of any divan design, as the top of the bed lifts from the side or the bottom. This means all the space beneath the top is available. Hydraulic springs are often used to make lifting the top easier

How to put a headboard on a divan bed

A lot of people don’t know how to build a divan bed or how to put a headboard on a divan bed. But both processes are relatively easy. 

Smaller divans usually come in one piece and you don’t need to do anything but attach the legs, glides or castors. Larger divans come in two separate pieces. After attaching your chosen leg fitting, it’s simply a case of joining the parts with the linking bar. With Ottomans, there’s a little extra work, as you’ll have to screw the lids together.

To attach the headboard and footboard, you want to find the pre-drilled holes in the base and screw the headboard bolts into them. This will allow you to slide the headboard or footboard into place. To adjust the height of the headboard, simply loosen the screws, move the headboard to the right position and retighten the screws.

Author: Lucy

Lucy is a copywriter, trend spotter, and our resident sleep expert! Lucie has been with the team since 2018 and her articles cover a sweeping array of subjects from general product care, the latest bedroom design trends, ways to promote healthier sleep and jargon-busting explanations to help you understand what goes into our products. Do you have questions for Lucy & the team? Call one of our sleep experts today!