5 Best Sleigh Beds 2020 and 2021
I'm a big fan of upholstered sleigh bed frames.
Unlike divan bases, you get a headboard built in and unlike metal or wooden bedframes you won't injure yourself if you walk into it during the night. The mattress also doesn't move around very much as it's wedged in at the foot of the bed.
You can also buy wooden sleigh beds but they tend to be less common so this guide will just focus on fabric sleigh beds (which is sometimes wrongly spelt as slay beds, believe it or not).
If you're looking for a mattress to go with your sleigh bed, then most people choose between memory foam and pocket springs - or a combination of the two (a hybrid mattress). There are other alternatives such as 'open coil' mattresses but these just don't offer the same level of stability, which has been shown to be a key factor in achieving good quality sleep (Shen, Chen et al in 2012). Another option is a latex mattress. There's a lot going for a latex mattress but they are relatively expensive if they are made from genuine natural latex rather than a manmade alternative (Dunlopillo are the market leaders).
Pocket spring mattresses are what a lot of people go for and you should be looking for one with a figure of more than 1000 springs ideally. Many of the best ones use natural materials such as wool and cotton to regulate your temperature, which is another proven way of improving the quality of your sleep. Other features to look for include 'hand side stitching' which makes a mattress more stable and resilient at the edges. Our research has found that it tends to be more expensive mattresses which offer this feature, as machine side stitching is cheaper for manufacturers.
Memory foam mattresses are a popular alternative to pocket springs. Studies in medical settings have shown that they are good at spreading out your weight and relieving pressure on any one part of your body (Gunningberg, Lindholm et al, 2013). However, other researchers have found a slight increase in body temperature when comparing pocket springs to memory foam (Chiba, Yabi et al, 2018). The material also behaves slightly differently during heatwaves and cold spells, with it being marginally firmer when cold than when warm. There are also some environmental issues about memory foam, both during its manufacture and once you've finished with it and it is taken away to be disposed of.
For example, Garrido, Font and Conesa (2017) looked at what happens when a memory foam mattress is incinerated, which is a common way of disposing of a mattress. They recorded 'relatively high emissions' of Ammonia, Nitric Oxide and Hydrogen Cyanide and suggested that reducing emissions of these 'must be considered'. Some memory foam mattress makers are much clearer about their sustainability plan than others.
On the plus side, you're much more likely to get a home trial period with a memory foam mattress than with a pocket spring mattress. That means you can try it out for several weeks before making your mind up.
We've picked out five of the best sleigh bed frames you can buy in the UK by looking at value for money, specification, customer reviews and awards. The price shown is correct at the time of writing and is for a king size sleigh bed and doesn't include a mattress.
1. Birlea Colorado Upholstered Sleigh Bed - £489
This Colorado sleigh bed is one of the most popular models from a company called Birlea which is based in Derbyshire.
It comes in a choice of either 'stone' or a much darker grey. It gets a customer review score of 4.8/5 at the time of writing and if you buy it from Happy Beds then you get a five year guarantee which is much better than the year or two which you get on most sleigh bedframes.
Sleigh bedframes come with either sprung slats or solid slats. As you might guess from the name, sprung slats give a bit of a softer and bouncier feel whilst solid slats give a firmer feel. Generally, sprung slats are the more expensive option although that's not always the case. This particular sleigh bed has sprung slats which will give it a bit of a bouncy feel.
As with most sleigh beds, it arrives flat-packed so you'll need to put it together yourself but several reviewers say that it wasn't too difficult. You can only buy it as a king size sleigh bed or a super king size sleigh bed.
As an overall brand, Birlea scores an average of 3.7/5 from reviewers on TrustPilot or 4.7/5 on Google reviews (as of January 2021).
2. Dreams Lucia Upholstered Sleigh Bed - £499
The Lucia is one of the cheaper sleigh beds available from Dreams and you can sometimes get a discount if you buy it during a sale. It gets glowing reviews of 4.8/5 from about 2000 customers.
It's got a simpler and subtler design than some sleigh beds and comes in three colours including a grey or silver fabric or a faux leather. There's also a much better choice of sizes than you get with most sleigh beds. You can even get this one as a single sleigh bed, as well as the more common sizes of small double/queen size, king size and super king size. It's even got a little drawer underneath for stuffing your spare bedding into.
Another plus point is that you can choose from sprung slats or solid slats. Solid slats are a little cheaper and firmer whilst sprung slats are a bit, er, springier. If you really really want to push the boat out, you can upgrade it to an adjustable sleigh bed which will lift your head up in bed.
One thing to look for when you're buying a sleigh bedframe is the size of the gaps between the slats. If the gaps are too big then there's a risk your mattress won't get enough support (you can read our bedframe guide for more on this fascinating topic). According to The National Bed Federation 'as a general rule, it is advisable to ensure the maximum gap is no greater than 7.5cm'. With the Lucia bed, the gap is only about 5cm according to the blurb from Dreams.
It's deep enough at the foot end for a mattress which is up to 29cm deep. Very few mattresses are deeper than that, apart from a few which have a massive pillow top. Even then, I guess it would just stick over the top a little bit so would probably look OK.
This Julian Bowen Ravello sleigh bed is what we went for in the end and we've certainly been pleased with it. Other customers agree and give it an average of about 4.7/5 at the time of writing. The Julian Bowen brand scores an overall average of 4.1/5 on TrustPilot.
It only comes in one colour which is described as 'mink' but you can choose from either having feet or a drawer. Personally, I think that the feet look classier but I'm not going to fall out with you if you would rather buy it with a drawer.
It's got a sprung base (which feels a bit softer than solid slats) and it only comes as a king size sleigh bed or a super king size sleigh bed. As with most sleigh beds, you have to build it yourself which is easiest with two people. I managed it on my own but it took a bit of patience.
It comes with a 5 year warranty if you buy it via Happy Beds.
4. Sleep Zone Crushed Velvet Sleigh Bed - £299
I'll be honest - this crushed velvet sleigh bed is not to my taste.
However, I also don't like Mrs Brown's Boys and it was voted the best comedy of the 21st century so I have to accept that not everyone likes the same things as me.
Customers certainly like the Capella sleigh bed, as it scores an average of 4.3/5 after more than 40 reviews.
You can buy it in several colours including silver, gold or black and as a double sleigh bed or king size.
It's got a sprung base and most reviewers say it was easy to put together.
5. John Lewis & Partners Etienne Sleigh Bed - £1299
You'll have noticed that this Etienne sleigh bed from John Lewis & Partners is three times the price of some of the cheaper sleigh beds in our top five.
So what are you getting for trebling your budget?
Well, the main difference is that it is made from oak which is a hardwood which is much more expensive than the cheaper woods used in most bed frames (pine seems to be the most common choice in cheaper wooden furniture). That should make it a little sturdier. It's also got an 'artistic weathered finish' which is how I'm going to describe my ageing face from now on.
It's available as a king size sleigh bed and a super king size sleigh bed.
When we checked, it was scoring 5/5 although admittedly it had only had a few customer reviews.