As you begin to shop for bedroom furniture, you will
soon notice that most stores have two separate bedroom departments:
Master Bedroom and Youth. Youth bedroom collections, while not
always juvenile in appearance, are differentiated from Master by the
scale and design of the case pieces (dressers and chests) in
addition to the frequent use of laminates on their tops, as well as
the sizes and configurations of the beds. The following overview
discusses bedroom furniture options in greater detail to aid you in
your bedroom design and purchase decisions.
Master bedroom furniture can be broken down into
five categories: beds, dressers, chests, night stands and
mirrors. The typical suite includes one each of the above pieces
with possibly two night stands. Lets examine your options in
Courtesy of Thomasville Furniture Industries
Beds have gone from being the focal point of the
bedroom as well as a symbol of status and wealth in the
fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, to being almost
insignificant in recent decades, and back again to play a role
of major importance in the bedroom today.
As master bedrooms are becoming larger and more important, beds
are trying to keep up through their scale and elaborateness.
Whereas not long ago your only choices within a particular
collection may have been simple panel headboards, today you can
expect to find at least two dramatic beds (the addition of a
footboard and connecting side rails differentiates a "bed" from
a headboard). In bed designs, other materials such as iron or
cane are often utilized to provide an accent or contrast with
the wood pieces in the group.
|The sizes of beds are the cause of
frequent confusion. While mattresses are available in six sizes,
the beds offered in master bedroom groups are typically
available in only two; Full/Queen and King. See the chart to the
Whereas the width of the headboard and footboard
determine the overall size of the bed, the length of the bed,
obviously, is determined by the length of the side rails. The
full/queen bed comes with 80" rails for queen and 75" rails for
full. The bed is scaled to be used with a queen mattress, which
is the most popular size. The width adjustment for a full size
mattress is accomplished with an extra set of rail slots set in
about three inches on each side of the headboard and footboard
posts. As long as you use a comforter or heavy spread you
probably won't notice the width discrepancy.
|Twin Extra Long
|Full (aka Double)
|When it comes to king size beds things get a
bit more complicated. This is due to the inexplicable condition
of having two different king size mattresses available. Most of
the world considers the Eastern King to be the standard king
size. To Californians and their neighbors, however, the
California king reigns supreme. By virtue of the fact that most
furniture manufacturers are based on the east coast, king beds
in most collections are designed to fit the Eastern king
mattresses. What are your choices if you happen to own a
California king mattress set in regards to purchasing a bed?
1. If you can purchase the Eastern king
headboard and footboard along with queen side rails you'll end
up with a long enough bed for your mattress that is about 6"
wider than it needs to be. Be sure to get the center rail that
is necessary to support the two box springs of your mattress
2. Find a bed from a company based on the west
coast - a somewhat limiting option, especially if your tastes
run towards the more traditional designs.
3. Buy a new mattress set. In most markets you
have a choice of which king size you want, although you may have
to wait a little longer if its not the standard size for your
area. Alternately, two standard twin mattress sets are the
equivalent size of an Eastern king. Keep in mind that if the bed
has a canopy of any kind, switching the side rails with those
from another size bed is not an option.
Fortunately, once you've selected the bed, the balance of your
decisions are relatively simple.
Your choice of dressers in a collection can be
viewed in terms of their size. The smallest dresser is called a
"Drawer Dresser" as visually you see only drawers. The largest
dresser is called a "Door Dresser", named for the door (s) in
the center of the piece which typically conceal pull-out trays
(not unlike drawers) or shelves. In choosing a dresser think
about whether you prefer more/smaller drawers or fewer/larger
drawers for your storage needs. You will find the more expensive
collections offer more drawers on a comparable size dresser.
Less expensive dressers are designed so that they appear to have
more drawers than they actually have.
The chest has become the most versatile piece in a bedroom.
Choosing a chest involves more than just visual preference. In
addition to size considerations, chest usage has evolved into
new storage arenas with the advent of electronics in the
bedroom. Today, the chest is home to not only socks and
T-shirts, but televisions, stereos and computers as well. As a
result, your chest choices are more interesting than ever.
The smallest chest in a collection is the "Lingerie
Chest". Narrow with many small drawers, it functions as its name
implies, as an appropriate storage piece for undergarments and
other small items. The "Drawer Chest" is larger overall, and
comprised of deeper drawers. The "Door Chest" is larger still,
and is designed with deep drawers on the bottom and two doors on
the top. Behind the doors you will find a combination of
pull-out trays and adjustable shelves. The top portion can
usually be modified to accommodate a small (19") TV or stereo
Henredon Furniture Industries, Inc.
|Finally, the ever popular "Armoire" or
"Wardrobe" is your largest chest. A grand piece on the outside,
designed with either two or four doors, the manner in which the
inside is conceived determines its functionality. A simple
clothes rod designates the piece as a "Wardrobe" and is
typically the least expensive option.
The addition of TV/stereo features including a
pull-out swivel tray for the TV, pocket doors that slide back
into the piece, interior wiring and adjustable shelves give you
the luxury of concealed electronics in your bedroom. An armoire
with this configuration is called an "Entertainment Cabinet" and
has become a separate category unto itself.
The latest incarnation of the armoire, and still
somewhat rare, is the "Computer Armoire". As its name implies,
the inside is designed to accommodate the components of a
personal computer. Features may include a surge protector,
drop-down work table and sliding keyboard tray. Look for this
piece in the Home Office rather than Bedroom department.
As with the dresser, the night stand selection is
usually limited to two; one with drawers and one with doors.
In selecting a mirror, the scale of your dresser
is of primary importance, as typically it is upon that which it
will be located. Two mirrors are usually offered in a bedroom
collection. The simplest is the "Single Mirror" - scaled to be
used over the drawer dresser. The more elaborate is the
"Tri-Mirror" - designed in three hinged adjustable sections,
this is the largest mirror and works best mounted onto the door
dresser. Other mirror options sometimes available are "Dressing
Mirrors" that sit on top of the drawer chest and full length
"Cheval Mirrors" that stand on the floor, the latter of which is
considered an accessory item.
Once the domain of thematic designs such as
"nautical" or "cowboy", furniture designed for today's kids is
more flexible and enduring than ever before. While splashy
colors and whimsy can still be found, styles that will grow with
them through high school and then do service in the guest room
are the hands-down favorites when the baby-boomers outfit the
rooms of their kids.
Courtesy of Thomasville Furniture Industries
Dressers, Chests and
Most youth collections are designed as "wrap"
groups, meaning that most of the case pieces (dressers, chests
and desks) are exactly the same depth (18") and height (30") so
that they may be pushed together to wrap around the room. The
top surface of these wrap pieces is typically not wood, but a
matching laminate such as Formica, substituted for durability
The smallest chest is a three drawer piece
called a "Bachelors Chest". This chest is merchandised by most
companies to be an excellent value in relation to the other
pieces in the group. The "Six Drawer Dresser" and "Single
Pedestal Desk" (with drawers on one side only) are next in size
and price and hutches are made in two sizes to fit on top of
these pieces. A corner piece is often available to fill the dead
space created in most corners. This piece can also function as a
desk with the advantage of a large surface area, but with little
In addition to these wrap pieces, a tall drawer
chest and night stand round out the group along with a single
mirror to hang over the dresser. Look for the
to be similar to master bedroom pieces in the use of joinery, wood
solids and veneers. Drawers should operate smoothly and easily
and the hardware should be scaled for small hands. Avoid pieces
with sharp corners whenever possible, as kids' heads seem to
have an uncanny desire to seek them out.
NOTE: There are bedroom collections available
with smaller scaled free-standing pieces not designed to "wrap",
which are also appropriate for youth or guest rooms. With wood
tops rather than laminates, these can be a good choice in the
long run as they tend to look less juvenile. However, they
require the care given "grown-up" furniture and you can expect
to pay a bit more for them as well.
As in the master bedroom, beds have become the
focal point of kids' rooms as well. Today there are numerous
configurations available, many of which can be adapted over time
to suit your changing needs. For example, the traditional
bunkbed in most cases can be broken down into two daybeds.
Storage and pull-out trundle units are also frequently available
to fit under the bed. The latest youth bed design combines
elements of a bunkbed, desk and storage chest in one space
saving unit called a "Loft Bed". But beyond cute or even
functional, sturdy is the word of the day when selecting a
child's bed/trampoline/fort. All bed styles will come in twin
size, with a select few also available in full (double).