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Platform Bed VS Bed Frame, Which is Better?

Settling the score, once and for all.

In the interior design world, MUJI-inspired or ryokan-like Japanese-themed homes are all the rage. So, it’s no surprise that more homeowners are forgoing the traditional bed frame, instead opting to place their mattresses directly onto an elevated built-in platform in true Japanese fashion.

Platform bed vs bed frame
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But are they really worth the hype? Or is sticking to a regular bed frame still the best way to go? We take a look at several key factors to find out which type is worth going for.

But first, what are the HDB guidelines about platforms?

Like any planning process, you should first do some research to see what is (or isn’t) allowed.

Punggol Breeze (Block 617B) by Earth Interior Design
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For instance, you may want a platform bed for its storage capabilities – but did you know that this actually isn’t allowed? According to the HDB guidelines, the space underneath the platform can’t be sealed with cement or other materials, nor can it be used for storage.

So, since using the platform bed as a storage area is out of the question, you may want to consider alternatives like floor-to-ceiling cabinets.

1. Price

Our take: bed frames

Clementi Avenue 3 by Le Interior Affairs
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For a regular bed, you only need a bed frame and mattress. However, things aren’t so simple with a platform bed, since it involves some carpentry work that can push the overall cost higher than what you’d spend on a regular bed.

As such, when it comes to your budget, the answer to this question ultimately lies within your renovation priorities. Those on a tight renovation budget may find a store-bought bed frame to be the more cost-effective option, while others who have a more sizeable budget (and have other specific design requirements or constraints) can go ahead with a custom built-in platform bed.

2. Aesthetics

Our take: it depends on the look you’re going for

Bedok South Horizon by Fifth Avenue Interior
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By virtue of being custom made, platform beds can also serve as a design feature to nail the look you're trying to achieve.

Dakota Breeze by Design 4 Space
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That said, so can the right store-bought bed frame - be it simple wooden ones for an uncomplicated Scandinavian aesthetic, or luxurious leather ones with a headboard and/or footboard. The only problem is, you may end up spending a lot of time shopping before you find one that fits all your requirements.

3. Ease of getting on and off the bed

Our take: bed frames

Tampines Street 62 by Charlotte's Carpentry
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Being at a lower level, a platform bed may not be ideal for a mum-to-be or those with knee or back problems. Instead, a store-bought bed frame can be your best friend, since it’ll bring your mattress up to the level of an average chair and ease the pressure on your knees whenever you need to get up.

4. Safety

Our take: platform bed

Rivervale by Mr Shopper Studio
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Restless sleepers (or parents of rambunctious kids) may find that a platform bed is a much safer choice. With a shorter distance between the mattress and the floor, you’d harmlessly roll over onto the platform, while falling off a bed may potentially have you hitting your head against the floor.

5. Storage

Default winner: bed frames

Fernvale Lane (Block 403A) by Cozy Ideas
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Space is tight in Singapore, so it’s only natural to find space wherever you can. But because HDB guidelines dictate that platforms can’t be used for storage, your best bet for extra storage space is a bed frame – especially those with flip-up storage units within.

6. Flexibility

Our take: bed frames

Tampines GreenVines by Ovon Design
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Let’s face it – no matter how nice your home is, you’ll probably get bored of it at some point. While large-scale layout changes are possible with a bed frame, you don’t have the luxury of doing so with a platform bed, since it pretty much dictates where everything goes.

Plus, it’s going to take a hefty sum of cash (not to mention a huge hassle) to have it changed – so think carefully before deciding!

Overall verdict: a regular bed frame

Clementi NorthArc (Block 210A) by MAD About Design
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Honestly, it’s tough to pick one clear winner – but based on the criteria listed in this article, it seems that going with a bed frame is still a better choice than the platform bed.

But of course, different people have different lifestyle needs, so you may be drawn towards a platform bed for your own reasons. To help you make an informed choice, we’ve listed out several reasons why a particular bed type might work better than the other:

Pick a platform bed if:

  • You have a more generous renovation budget
  • You’re a restless sleeper, or if you’re buying a bed for your kids
  • You favour a simple, streamlined look
  • You’re certain that you won’t change the room layout

Pick a regular bed frame if:

  • You have a tight renovation budget
  • You’re suffering from knee or back pains
  • You’re pregnant, or are planning to have kids
  • You prefer the look of a traditional bed frame
  • You need extra storage
  • You foresee yourself changing the room layout regularly

This article was originally published on 7 April 2022 and last updated on 16 February 2024.

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