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The 17 Parts of a Bed You Need to Know About in 2024

The 17 Parts of a Bed You Need to Know About in 2024

While it may not seem like it at first, there are a lot of parts to your bed. There is much more to this resting spot than just the pillows and mattress.

All of these pieces have a function in making your bed a place to rest at night. While your bed may not have all of these pieces, they are shared across the different kinds of beds out there.

While beds may not seem like complicated pieces of furniture, anyone who has to build a bed can tell you there are a lot of different parts.

Most of these parts help support either you or the bed frame while you rest at night.

Main Parts of a Bed

So, how do all these parts fit together?

Let’s take a look at the different parts of a bed, both familiar and new. 

1. Mattress

As an image for a piece on where to buy a mattress, a gal in a brick and mortar store testing the product with her hand

LightField Studios/Shutterstock

The defining feature of the bed, the mattress, is the supportive structure for your bed. Whether it is soft or hard, it provides a place for your body to lay.

Mattresses also support your body by supporting areas, such as the spine or hips, that might have unequal weight put on them while you sleep.

Many people consider the mattress to be the most essential part of your bed. It is the cushion that supports your body while you sleep.

So, it has a significant impact on how you feel in the morning. A mismatched mattress can cause you to wake up feeling irritable or stiff in the morning, ruining your morning mood. 

2. Frame

Various parts of a bed laid out on a grey wood-look laminate floor in a small studio apartment

Andrew Angelov/Shutterstock

One of the defining features of your bed is the frame that the mattress sits on.

This structure forms the foundation that the mattress sits on and helps provide support while you sleep.

3. Headboard

headboard is the part of the bed that sits at the top of the frame where your head goes


The headboard is the part of the bed that sits at the top of the frame, where your head goes.

It’s mostly a decorative piece, but it does help keep your pillows in place if you toss and turn during the night.

4. Footboard

Most modern bed frames don’t have a footboard. Still, a footboard is a part similar to the headboard but on the opposite end of the frame.

It’s a decorative piece like the headboard, but it can also help keep bedding from being kicked off the back of the bed.

5. Hook-On Rails

Hook-on rails to support the bed frame and mattress


These structures sit along the sides of the bed, connecting to both the headboard and footboard.

The hooks that hold these rails in place sit on either end of the rail and help to support the bed frame and mattress.

6. Headboard Crossrail

This horizontal bar sits underneath the slat of the headboard.

This piece’s job is to provide extra support to the bed’s base and ensure that the bed frame stays sturdy.

7. Side Rail

Bed Side Rail

© 2018 Jesse Walker

Also called bed guards, these pieces help support the bed frame.

They run lengthwise from the headboard to the footboard and help keep people on the bed while they sleep.

8. Cleat

Cleats joints for headboard and footboard


This piece refers to the portion of the frame where headboards and footboards attach to the horizontal part of the bed frame.

These cutouts create a slot where the slats of the bed frame can slide into and lock into place.

9. Cut Slats

Cut slats joints with bed sizes


The cut slats of the bed are the cut sections that form the base that the mattress sits on top of.

The slats can be cut into solid pieces or held together through a spring mechanism.

10. Side Drawers Slots

Side Drawers Slots


Some bed frames have extra storage running along the sides or near the footboard.

The structure may or may not come with drawers themselves, but you can use the slots to store small items.

11. Front Legs

The front legs of the frame are the two legs of the bed that are visible when entering the room.

Many bed frames will have stylized front legs that catch the eye, while the back legs are more functional in form.

12. Bottom Side Rail

parts of a bed lying on the floor next to a window in a white room

Andrew Angelov/Shutterstock

These rails can be made of either wood or metal.

Their job is to run underneath the headboard and footboard to provide additional support for those two structures and the rest of the frame.

13. Canopy and Posters

Grey bedroom idea with white canopy curtains around the 4 corners of the bed

These two pieces are necessary to build a canopy bed.

The canopy itself refers to the fabric that drapes over the pillars, also called posters. Together, these structures form the drapes of a canopy bed.

14. Pillows

Four pillows on a white bed with a tall mattress in front of a fabric-lined wall to which round reading lamps are attached

Lifestyle Travel Photo/Shutterstock

Another iconic portion of the bed is the cushion that you rest your head on while sleeping. Many different kinds of pillows exist, differing in material, shape, and size.

In general, you want to match the size of your pillows to the mattress to make sure that two pillows cover the width of your bed.

15. Pillow Protectors

Pillow protector allows you to easily clean the protector

Luisa Leal Photography/Shutterstock

Also called pillowcases, these cloth protectors separate the skin of your face from the cushion.

Using a pillow protector allows you to easily clean the protector, rather than having to wash out the pillows after many nights of use.

16. Bolster

This long, cylindrical cushion fits underneath the pillows to provide extra lift or elevation to the pillows.

Some bolsters are made for use while sleeping, while others are purely decorative.

17. Ladder or Steps

Bunk beds will feature ladders, which allow you to climb up to the top bunk


Bunk beds and captain beds will feature either of these fixtures, which allow you to climb up to the top bunk or the bed itself.

Things to Consider

Couple putting together the various parts of a bed staring with the frame and including the drawers, the headboard, and more


Not all beds are built the same way. There are different kinds of beds, separated based on their materials and their specific functions.

Types of Beds 

When choosing a bed or understanding how beds are made, you must consider the types of beds available.

Standard Bed

The type of bed that most people use features, at its core, a square frame to support the mattress. Some standard beds will have a headboard and footboard as decorative elements of the furniture.

These types of beds will differ from household to household. The wide variety of materials that the frame and mattress can be made out of means that two beds can be very different from each other.

Water Bed

Emptying and dismantling a PVC waterbed mattress.


Waterbeds have mattresses that contain a padded frame filled with water. This padded frame helps balance the weight of the water inside the bed and protects it against tears and rips in material that would cause the water to leak.

While fun and unique in their design, early waterbeds weren’t as good for your back as a standard mattress.

However, modern waterbeds containing heated water can help soothe muscle pain in the back or body while sleeping and provide support similar to a spring mattress.

Day Bed

These smaller beds are usually twin-sized and a hybrid between a sofa and bed. Their compact size and higher bedframe mean they are for smaller rooms without the space to hold a larger bed.

Some of these beds can also be converted into trundle beds to create a larger sleeping space. The heightened bed frame can sometimes be paired with extra drawers or knocks for storage to make the space it takes up more multipurpose.


Teen boy's room decorating idea with a lounge look featuring a futon-style bed with gunmetal sheets below a floating wooden staircase

Kuprynenko Andrii/Shutterstock

A futon is a foldable bed where the mattress can be bent into the shape of a seat or sofa when not being used.

The frames of these beds adjust between a flat structure similar to that of a standard bed and a backrest identical to the shape of a sofa.

Sofa Bed

Similar to futons, sofa beds are foldable mattresses that fit into a sofa while not in use.

As another space-saving piece of furniture, these beds can fold out into a two-person mattress for guests to sleep in your living space or other room where the sofa is located.

Bunk Beds

Interior of children room with bunk bed


These smaller beds stack up on top of one another thanks to a bed frame that supports two mattresses, one over the other.

One or more sides of the bed frame will feature a ladder or steps that allow the person in the top bunk to climb quickly into the bed.

This kind of bed allows you to save on floor space since the two beds stack over one another.

A variation of this bed called the captain’s bed instead features a high bed frame that allows a desk to be placed underneath the top bunk instead of a bottom bunk bed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Due to how many parts there can be in a building bed, understanding them can get overwhelming.

So, here are the answers to some of the common questions out there about beds.

What are the main parts of a bed?

The main three parts of a bed are:

  1. The bedframe
  2. The mattress
  3. The headboard

What is the bottom part of the bed called?

The bottom of the bed frame where you place the mattress is called the bed base or foundation. Its job is to hold the mattress while you sleep.

So, What Are the Parts of a Bed?

While it may not seem like a complex piece of furniture, there’s a lot that goes into building beds to make sure that they stay supportive and sturdy while sleeping.

Because we spend a lot of our time resting on these pieces of furniture, it’s essential to make sure that the construction is good so that the sleeper can wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to go.

Understanding the different parts of a bed will help you know what to look for when purchasing a bed frame and find issues that may arise with the bed frame you have at home.