Here’s How to Put Your Bed on the Floor Without it Looking Sloppy

Here’s How to Put Your Bed on the Floor Without it Looking Sloppy

By Kate Reggev
Done right, a mattress placed on the floor or a low-lying bed frame has an irresistible cool factor.

As the largest piece of furniture and de facto focal point, a bed often sets the tone in a bedroom. While a high, imposing bed frame communicates a certain loftiness, low mattresses create an easygoing, cool-without-really-trying space.

The trick with a low-lying bed is making sure it doesn’t veer from casual to messy. It’s a careful balancing act, so we’ve gathered our favorite examples of bedrooms that are relaxed, yet put-together. Read on for tips for pulling off the look with integrated storage, minimal bed frames, and other design ideas.

If you’re considering forgoing the bed frame entirely, make sure it looks intentional rather than haphazard. Install light fixtures at a level that is appropriate for the low-lying bed, and keep big pillows away from overhead artwork or windows.

If you're looking for the ultimate minimalist bed frame, a platform bed with edges that extend beyond the mattress allow it to double as a bedside table, eliminating the need for other furniture.

In the master bedroom of this weekend home in California, the bed is tucked into a recess in the center of the room flanked by two low stairs and fronted by a teak headboard and cabinet. "Maurie told me he saw this in a 1977 issue of Architectural Digest and wanted to replicate it," says homeowner Stacey. The guest suite is an exact copy, but overnight visitors are treated to the original sunken waterbed.

If you’re looking for a casual look without sacrificing back support, take a page from this Los Angeles home that embraces the summery, California-style living. The mattress sits on a covered box spring directly on the floor, which is loosely wrapped in a breezy white cover.

For bedrooms that have windows, it can be challenging to place the bed so that it doesn't obstruct views. At this home with clerestory windows, the platform bed in the master bedroom can sit comfortably below the window while still allowing in daylight. The wood bed frame, crafted by a local woodworker, gives the illusion of a taller ceiling because it’s so low.

If sleek storage is what you're looking for, consider a long and low platform bed. At a New York apartment that's just over 500 square feet, the wood platform bed features storage panels under the mattress.

If you’re working with a room that has sloped or low ceilings, a ground-hugging bed frame allows for ample head height and takes advantage of windows that might sit close to the ground, like at this converted horse stable in Copenhagen. Here, Danish design reigns supreme: soap-washed pine flooring is consistent throughout the home, but the darker wood finishes on a custom bed frame made out of oiled white Douglas fir allow it to stand out.

Built as a live/work space for a sculptor, Indigo by Dutch practice Woonpioniers is an eco-friendly, prefabricated cabin with bent wooden walls. The low-slung bed in the loft accentuates the height of the pitched roof and mimics the experience of camping in the woods. 

In an apartment in Hong Kong, the bedroom sits on a raised floor that contains storage beneath. The Japanese-inspired cabinetry keeps the bedroom feeling fuss-free and simple, but the storage spaces are still accessible without needing to lift up the bed.

One of the tricky things about low bed frames is that bed linens are designed to hang off the mattress, usually down past a box spring. So if you’re letting your mattress rest directly on the floor or are placing it on a platform bed, you'll want to let the sheets and covers flow evenly onto the platform so that it looks considered, yet casual.

If letting your bed linens drape onto the floor or the platform bed frame just isn’t your style, keep your bedroom feeling sharp and tidy by tucking your sheets under the mattress and removing any extra blankets or fluffy comforters. A slim, white bed frame such as this one feels skeletal enough to still convey airiness.

Using wood palettes, a common shipping material,  is a cost-effective (and, if they're reused, also eco-friendly) solution for a low-lying mattress that doesn't sit directly on the floor. Its wood construction pairs well with just about any color palette, and it can also be painted.

The curving white wall in architect Jay Atherton’s bedroom is optimally sited to capture shadows from the redbud tree outside his window. The bed rests on a concrete floor. "It was important that the rooms be pure spaces," says Cy Keener, a carpenter, who helped design and construct the spartan home in Phoenix.

Plywood lines the attic guestroom of Mattie Iverson’s revamped Tudor home in the Queen Anne section of Seattle. The floor lamp is by Frandsen and the duvet is from Pottery Barn. The similarly colored bed frame lends a sense of serene continuity, and appears to float in the stripped-down space. 

The slightly oversize, chunky bedding in this Hong Kong bedroom underscores the entire apartment’s open, seamless aesthetic and allows the space to feel luxurious without the usual trappings of headboard and bed frame.

The snug attic in this former fisherman’s cottage in Copenhagen contains the homeowner’s platform bed, custom-designed by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen to maximize storage and fit the unusual space.

The master bedroom in this prefab passive house in the Catskills looks out onto a private, cantilevered deck. "This house for me is about contemplation," says homeowner Adrian. "You come here from the city and the place is saying, ‘Hi, meet yourself again.’" A low platform bed with stacked pillows instead of a headboard helps maintain that casual feel.

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