My favorite thing about modern design isn’t the simplicity or minimalism, it’s the efficiency. While traditional furnishings are built primarily with appearance in mind, modern furniture is often made for functionality, creating furniture that serves multiple purposes while taking up a minimum amount of space. Modern beds are a great example of this; traditional beds are rarely used for anything but sleeping, but modern beds often put the space under or around the bed to work, adding storage or other utility, to ensure that they make the absolute most of the space available.
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The simplest form of bed storage is maybe the most intuitive one: the under-bed drawer. On most beds, the space between the bottom of the bed and the floor is left empty and unused. On some traditional beds, this isn’t much space to start. Tall mattresses paired with thick box springs mean that the bed frames themselves typically lie pretty low to the ground. But modern bed frames often eschew box springs in favor of a simple platform base, which allows the mattress to sit a little lower, while also keeping the bottom of the bed frame higher up off the ground. Many modern bed frames fit this more ample under-bed space with a large drawer, turning all that space into storage that’s both hidden and accessible -and much more convenient than just shoving stuff under the bed.
Storage drawers can show up on beds of any size, but a slight variant of the design – the trundle bed – typically only appears on beds that are full sized or smaller. Instead of having multiple small drawers, or one large divided drawer stored underneath the bed, trundle beds store an entire pull-out mattress beneath the main bed frame. These beds are great for families with kids – either growing families that need to sleep more children in a small amount of space, or just kids that like to have friends over to stay the night. The trundle bed can be stowed away with the sheets already on it (sometimes even with blankets, depending on the depth of the drawer), which means it can easily be pulled out or stowed away as needed, without a lot of hassle.
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Of course, having a slim, low profile is a common feature of modern furniture, so not all modern beds have this extra space incorporated underneath. Even for those that sit very low to the ground, though, it’s possible to add in hidden storage without taking up much extra space. This Truffaut bed is a great example: the head board and baseboard are just a tiny bit thicker than they would be on a conventional bed, but they’re designed that way to incorporate chest-style storage into both ends of the bed frame. The base of the bed is wide enough (and sufficiently cushioned!) to act as a seat as well, which means you get the functionality of a bench or ottoman in just a few inches more space than an average bed.
Large headboards are another smart spot to add in a little extra storage. Most traditional designs are largely decorative – and in fact most modern ones are as well. But it’s easier to incorporate small shelves, drawers, cubbies, and so on into a more streamlined design than it is to add them to a highly ornate one. This Liquido bed adds two shelf/drawers off to either side of the bed, but you can find narrower, usually more transitional designs that have the storage incorporated into the main body of the headboard as well.
Built In Nightstands
That said, it’s not uncommon for very minimalist modern beds to incorporate full nightstands directly into the headboard as well. While the Liquido’s “nightstands” are quite small and sit very close to the side of the bed, something like this Concavo bed extends quite a bit out to either side of the bed itself, with an extra wide headboard and two full sized nightstands. While this type of design isn’t, precisely speaking, terribly space-saving (it takes up about as much room as a standard bed and two nightstands would), it does give the bedroom set a more streamlined appearance, keeping everything both physically and visually integrated.
Built In Lights
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It’s also worth noting that storage isn’t the only functionality that can be added to a modern bed frame. One simple yet surprisingly elegant addition that’s often incorporated into the design of a modern bed frame is a basic, built-in light. The main advantage here is that if you have a light built right into your headboard, you won’t need to spare space on your bedside table for a lamp, meaning you can either have a smaller table, or simply a less cluttered one. These lights also have a lovely modern appearance, and can add to the geometric look and feel of a contemporary-styled space.
Ultimately, though modern beds are often much simpler in design than traditional ones, they’re also much more versatile in terms of what they’re capable of doing. So if you’re limited on space, or just want furniture that works a little harder, keep an eye out for clever, multi-function bed frames.
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