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Platform beds offer a stylish combination of form & function 

click to enlarge This platform bed has six drawers for storage. $1,099 to $1,399 at West Elm.

Photo courtesy West Elm

This platform bed has six drawers for storage. $1,099 to $1,399 at West Elm.

Platform beds are having a moment in design. Fans of mid-century modern style appreciate their low, clean profiles. People who live in small spaces gravitate toward platform beds with built-in drawers for storage. And there are others who simply appreciate what furniture maker Shaun Wilkerson (3137 Magazine St., 504-899-3311) calls the bed's "clever nature."

  "Furniture buyers ... don't just want a bed," he says. "They want a bed that doubles as something else. They want a bed made of repurposed lumber and the story behind the bed. That follows through to, 'What else will this bed do for me other than give me a place to sleep and offer style to my bedroom?'"

  Platform beds offer form and function — and they don't require box springs, a plus for some customers.

  "A platform bed raises a mattress on a solid frame, which eliminates the need for a box spring," says Kendall Coleman, public relations manager for West Elm (2929 Magazine St., 504-855-2469; "It's typically low to the ground, and the 'platform' extends around both sides of the bed most of the time."

  "When you have a platform bed, you have a single plane or a large piece of plywood, and that is fully supported," Wilkerson says. "All you need to do is lay the mattress on top of it."

  West Elm offers four styles of platform bed, which range from a slim upholstered version to a sleek wood storage bed with six big drawers. Prices range from $799 to $1,748.

  "The design can cater to both the minimalist or the organizational enthusiast," Coleman says.

  Wilkerson crafts his beds from reclaimed cypress wood he acquires from local demolition contractors, along with secondary woods like plywood, pine and poplar. Wilkerson's beds cost $750 to $1,300. He makes every bed by hand and can convert any of them into storage beds by adding drawers, which costs an additional $400 to $600 depending on the number of drawers.

  "I offer one big roll-out drawer per side that can be divided any way they want," Wilkerson says. "That way is the least expensive."

  There are also storage beds that use hydraulic lifts to raise the box spring and mattress at an angle, providing access to the storage space.

click to enlarge Platform beds don't require a box spring, which creates a sleek, minimal look. - PHOTO COURTESY WEST ELM
  • Photo courtesy West Elm
  • Platform beds don't require a box spring, which creates a sleek, minimal look.

  "[Storage options] help you properly utilize the often neglected space under the bed," Coleman says. "Platform beds ... add a six-drawer dresser to your bedroom without taking up any additional space."

  For this reason, platform beds play a starring role in homes where square footage is at a premium or where owners prefer a minimal look.

  "People are looking for better ways to use the space they have," Wilkerson says. "This is a definite trend. They're interested in saving space and having the same or better appearance or functionality."

  Of course, the space under a bed can be used for storage regardless of the bed's design. But Wilkerson says that in the current furniture market, savvier customers have higher expectations.

  "A more sophisticated furniture buying public doesn't want the plastic things on wheels to make use of the storage area under the bed," he says. "They want it to look cool, stylish and to have the convenience factor."

  A platform hits all these marks and one other: "A platform bed is always a statement piece," Coleman says.

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