top of page

Types of Beds and Mattresses

Bed and its Types

Beds, mattresses and bedding are an essential part of hotel accommodation.  The bed is a piece of furniture primarily used as a place to sleep & relax.

Earlier beds were piles of straw & other natural material. An important change was raising them off the ground to avoid dirt & pests.

Parts of a bed

  • Frame – on which the mattress rests. Sometimes has raised edges so that the mattress fits in and is held in place. Frames are of two types

  • Platform/box frameusually made from wood. Support the mattress on a platform or box. Platform frames are raised off the floor by legs but box frames lie tight to the floor.

  • Metal frame consist of four lengths of angle iron with metal legs attached to each corner .The metal legs have castor wheels/furniture glides attached to them

  • Base – may be made of open/coiled springs or wood strips that provide additional support & suspension to the mattress. Springs are added to the base to increase the life of a bed. Wire springs and coils are attached together and covered with padding. There are four types of springs

  • Box spring – made of heavy gauge steel. They are mounted on a wood frame and covered with a pad. They act as shock absorbers, cushioning the weight and movement of the sleeper

  • Metal coil spring – Springs are attached in two layers. The bottom layer of springs is tightly coiled for support and the top springs are loosely coiled for flexibility.

  • Flat bed spring – there are strips of metal attached lengthwise to a frame and small coils with hooks at both ends. Flat bed springs are normally found on rollaway beds.

  • Stretched spring – highly coiled springs attached on one side to the frame and resilient thick metal wires on the other. The wires crisscross each other and cover the middle of the frame, with the springs lying on the sides.

  • Mattress – lies on top of the springs and provides extra padding.

  • Headboard – made of painted/ varnished wood or upholstered. In hotels, they are usually mounted on the walls behind the beds and not on the frames. They are usually made to match the other items of furniture in the room and the theme. They protect the wall from greasy stains that can develop on the walls due to guests head.

  • Footboard – lower in height than a headboard and is made of wood or metal. They are usually the same material as headboards.

Tips on buying beds:

  • Comfort

  • Quality

  • Frame

  • Special Need

Types of Beds

  1. Platform Bed: Platform bed is a simple wooden or metal platform on which a mattress is placed. Because there is no box spring, it is usually very low set. 

  2. Box bed is a bed having the form of a large box with wooden roof, sides, and ends, opening in front with two sliding panels or shutters; often used in cottages in Scotland

  3. ZED BED –  Zed bed gets its name from their three-part folded frame resembling the letter Z. It is a bed whose frame folds order to be more easily stored and moved. Sometimes also referred to as camp beds.

  4. roll-away bed (or “cot“) is similar to a zed bed but has castor wheels /rollers. They can also be folded in half and easily stored.

  5. Murphy Bed/ SICO Bed/ Wall cupboard bed –  Space saving bed. These beds come in handy when rooms are let more than once in 24 hours, for meetings by day and a bedroom at night. This way the staff need not undertake the task of converting the room from one purpose to the other. Bed folds during the day & unfolds when needed. There are two main styles of Murphy Beds.

  • The original panel where the whole bed simple folds down from the wall in one go.

  • The Bifold or closet style where doors are first opened & bed folded out from within.

  1. BABY COT/ CRIB – is a small bed with metallic raised frames on all sides to protect small children/ infants from falling off. These are available as guest loan item and are usually collapsible to save storage space.

  2. Sofa Bed: Popular form of space bed. It is a multifunctional piece of furniture that can be used as a seat during the day & bed at night.

  3. Trundle Bed: Space saving bed on wheels or casters that slides underneath another bed when not use. When needed it can be slide out & dressed. Does not have a box spring. It can be stored beneath a twin bed also sometimes referred to as a “sleepover bed”.

  4. Hammock: it is a piece of suspended fabric. Hammock is a temporary, portable sling made from either rope or fabric. The two ends of the bed are tied to fixed points – usually.

  5. Air Bed: Uses an air-inflated mattress

  6. Canopy Bed: Also known as four-poster beds in U.K. Name refers to any bed which is covered by a cloth Canopy. They have a canopy frame above them from which fabric will drape which is usually rectangular.

  7. Futon Bed: This is a traditional Japanese bed. It refers to a thin mattress laid on for sleeping & then rolled up.  In west refers to a particular style of sofa bed usually consists of wood or metal frame & a thin mattress with a cover. Used as a bed at night or as a Sofa.

  8. Bunker bed – Two or more beds one on top of each other

  9. Loft Bed/ Chest bed/cabin bed: A space-saving bed. The basic form is just a raised bed. Space underneath is left empty & can be used to store. This is similar to a bunk bed, except there isn’t a lower bunk. This leaves space underneath for storage, other furniture, etc.

  10. Adjustable bed is a bed that can be adjusted to a number of different positions

  11. Bassinet is a bed specifically for newborn infants.

  12. Sleigh Bed: Sleigh bed refers to the aesthetic design of the bed. It has a headboard that is larger than footboard. Both head & Footboard are curved with top rolling slightly outward. Most commonly found in wood.

  13. vibrating bed is typically a coin-operated novelty found in a vintage motel. For a fee, the mattress vibrates for duration of time. Alternatively it is a modern bed which vibrates by use of an off-centre motor. It is controlled by electronics for varying time and amplitude settings and is used therapeutically to ease back pains.

  14. Water Bed: Uses Water filled mattress.

Care and cleaning of beds

To clean open-spring beds

  • Dust and brush the open springs periodically and wipe with an oily rag.

  • Use an underlay cloth made of felt on bed base.

  • Check for loose headboards and footboards regularly.

  • Remove the dust from the base of the bed using a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment.

  • Remove any stains, dirt, or grease marks from the headboard, footboard, base, and legs of the bed as well.

  • Periodically polish the wood or metal areas, excepting the springs.

  • Remove dust/dirt from the castor wheels, applying a little oil when they seem to squeak or feel stiff.


Mattresses and its Types

A mattress is a mat or pad, placed on a bed upon which to sleep or lie. An ideal mattress should give support and at the same time conform to the body contours

Word mattress derived from an Arabic word meaning “to throw”.

History: Earlier mattresses were filled with a variety of natural materials, including straw & feathers.

Tips on buying mattress:

  • Type

  • Construction

  • Firmness

  • Comfort

  • Durability

  • Size

  • Appearance

  • Covering (ticking – outermost layer.)

Types of Mattresses:

  1. Spring

  2. Air

  3. Foam

  4. Water

  5. Solid stuffed

Spring Mattress

These mattresses have an inner layer of springs between layers of insulation and padding.

The springs may be tied together with wire or helical hooks. Usually, they are well padded with layers of cotton, coiled hair, rubber, or plastic foam, and the whole unit is then tightly covered with a strong fabric called ticking. They vary in depth from 12-22 cm approximately. Their quality and price depend upon the number and gauge of the springs, the type of padding, and the quality of the ticking.

Gauge determines firmness & support. The lower the number the thicker the spring.

  • Open Spring: These have hourglass-shaped wire coils sandwiched between

  • Wireframes: Each spring connected together with wire to make up the spring unit.

  • Pocket Spring: The springs in these are cylindrical and each spring sits in its own individual pockets & pockets are connected together. Very comfortable mattresses.

  • Continuous Springs: In these, the springs are made from wire that is linked and intertwined in a mesh-like pattern. Continuous spring mattresses are ideal for double beds because they compress to the shape of the body. Thus they are also referred to as ‘posture-springing mattresses’.

Air Mattress

An air inflated mattress well-known brand is Aerobed.


  • Cushion of air can adjust to increase the comfort of the body.

  • Level of firmness can be controlled.

  • Some airbeds have independent chambers & trizone system.

  • They don’t need to be turned

  • They are very light.

  • They are sometimes connected to an electric air pump

  • The portable version of an air bed can also be rolled up and packed, so is meant for travel or temporary guest use.

Foam Mattress

These mattresses are made from synthetic rubber/plastic that is whipped into foam with a chemical setting agent while in a semi-liquid state and poured into heated moulds. In the moulds, the foam gets shaped, set, and vulcanized without losing any of its tiny air cells. A good foam mattress may be about 10 cm deep (minimum) and have layers of foam, with the firmest layer at the bottom and the softest at the top. They normally have a right and a wrong side.

These mattresses are extremely resilient—they regain their original shape rapidly after being laid on and therefore require no turning.

They are not prone to attack by moths and other pests, either.  The latex ones are more durable than the synthetic foam mattresses.

  • Latex/rubber Mattress:

    • latex is the finest polymer.

    • Resilient feel with excellent durability.

    • Anti-microbial activities.

    • Comfort to the body contours.

    • Breathable.

    • No turning required.

  • Polyurethane/Vinyl Foam Mattress:-

  • Body heat reacts with foam to soften it.

  • Mattress moulds and remoulds to body contours.

  • Provides excellent support & enable natural movement during sleep.

  • Helps to maintain correct posture & align spine horizontally.

  • Anti-microbial properties.

  • Non absorbent

  • Occasional rotation required.

Water Mattress

These resemble interior-sprung mattresses in appearance. Well~ designed ones have water-filled cells in the centre of the mattress. These cells are covered with vinyl—covered urethane foam and the perimeter of the mattress has a row of innerspring coils that are meant to provide support to a person sitting on the edge of the bed. The cover fabric can be removed—there is a zipper along the top of the mattress~—so that the cells can be serviced as necessary.

Water filled mattress distributes your weight & avoids pressure spots.. Special waterbed conditioner is used to condition the mattress & prevent bacteria. Sometimes have an in-built heater. Two concerns about waterbeds are:

  • One can feel seasick.

  • Mattress may burst.

Solid-stuffed mattresses

These mattresses are made by filling a fabric with padding. The padding may be in the form of animal hair, cotton, kapok, wool, or coir. All stuffed mattresses are prone to attack by moths and other pests. They are also absorbent and require frequent turning when in use. They may also require frequent re-making as they tend to sag easily. For these reasons, hotels offering quality service do not opt for these mattresses.

Care and cleaning of mattresses


  • Alternately rotating and flipping the mattress on a periodic basis can help minimize body impressions.

  • Turn spring mattresses over weekly for the first six weeks .and every three months after that. Turning the mattresses regularly may increase their lifespan by 50 percent.

  • Reverse the mattress from head to foot as well.

  • A system of labelling the mattresses at the corners to indicate the months of rotation help GRA’s to follow a periodic mattress—turning schedule.

  • While making the bed allow the mattress to breathe for at least 15 minutes-other guestroom cleaning tasks may be accomplished during this time. It is important to air the mattress in this way to dry out the moisture absorbed from the body during the night

  • Every bed should be covered with a moisture-proof mattress protector. The ideal ones are made of vinyl and are stain resistant, non-allergic, and flame-retardant.

  • The mattress and base should be cleaned with a soft brush every month.

  • Check for tears, distorted springs, or any other damage periodically;

  • Check screws and nuts on the legs or castors of the bed frame and box spring at the same time, and tighten if required.


  • Foam mattresses do not need turning. However, the single—layer ones may be turned.

  • Dry clean or wet the mattress.Vacuuming is the only recommended method

  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner on a daily basis as this may pull the upholstery out of shape.

  • Do not bend, fold, drag or drop the mattress.


BEDDING – The term ‘bedding’ may be applied to all the bedclothes placed on the bed, such as blankets,  quilts, pillows, and all other bed linen, such as sheets and bedspreads.


Recent Posts



bottom of page