A platform bed consists of a raised, level base with a usually rectangular horizontal solid frame, often with a section consisting of rows of flexible wooden slats or a latticed structure meant to support just a mattress. This platform provides adequate, flexible support and ventilation for a mattress, and eliminates the need for a box-spring or a second mattress as a foundation. Many platform beds have a contemporary style that usually features clean lines, neutral elements and solid color characteristics.
A panel bed is a bed with a tall, decorated panel headboard (and sometimes footboard). Often the panel is divided into sections with molding, just as paneling on a wall is. Panel beds are similar to platform beds; however, panel beds have side rails which allow for a box spring and a mattress. While panel beds are typically traditional in style, they can also take on the look of just about any decorating genre.
A sleigh bed is a style of bed with curved or scrolled foot and headboards, thus resembling a sled or sleigh. Often made of wood and quite heavy, the sleigh bed is a result of the French and American Empire period of the early 19th century.
A four-poster bed is a bed with four vertical columns, one in each corner, that are often carved with intricate designs. The four-poster bed is traditionally more ornate and decorative than the more simplistic platform or panel bed.
A canopy bed is a decorative bed somewhat similar to a four-poster bed. A typical canopy bed usually features posts at each of the four corners extending four feet high or more above the mattress with connecting crossbeams. Ornate or decorative in style, these beds are often dressed up even further with fabric draped across the upper space between the posts.