How To Decide What Kind Of Bed Frame Is Needed

Here is how to determine what type of steel bed frame you need.

How To Decide What Kind Of Bed Frame Is Needed

Shop our Selection of Steel Bed Frames by Clicking Photo

If you are not sure what kind of frame you need to support your mattress and boxspring this blog will answer that question. There are hundreds of different steel bed frames to choose from. Some bolt up, while some hook in using down hooks. There are models that have attachments that connect to a headboard, headboard and footboard, or neither if you so choose. There are even numerous center supports designed to replace old time wooden slats. So lets find out How To Decide What Kind Of Bed Frame Is Needed to complete your bed.

Start Here:
To determine what type or kind of bed frame you will need to purchase, simply browse the various bed configurations below that best matches what you have or plan to purchase.

2 Quick Definitions

· Wood headboard – any headboard /footboard made from wood. Examples: Oak, pine, cedar, spruce, cherry, etc.
· Metal headboard- All headboards/footboard constructed from these. Examples: Iron, brass, antique brass, metal, wrought iron, etc.
Wood Headboard only
These frames can either come as a bolt up or with down hooks

Metal Headboard only
These bed frames are normally only available as a bolt up style frame.

Wood headboard and footboard no wood side rails
This style bed uses a frame that traditionally has steel rails running head to foot. Down hooks attach the frame to the bed. King and queen models need center a support bar with support feet. These models typically do not bolt up because the bolt head are visible at the footboard end and are not aesthetically pleasing.

How To Decide What Kind Of Bed Frame Is Needed.

Huge selection of Bed Frames and Parts Click Photo for Pricing

Metal headboard and footboard
A brass, metal, or iron bed is usually generically considered a metal bed. Metal beds nearly always bolt up at both the headboard and footboard ends using matching nuts, bolts, and lock washers. They are connected to long steel side frames that are made from angle iron or steel. King and queen models must have proper center supports and will prevent possible damage to your mattress set and bed.
Wood headboard and Footboard with wood side rails.

In the old days many companies and people simple cut wood slats to support the center spanning width. Often times the wood side rails, headboard, or footboard would split where they hooked in. Today we use multiple steel slats that screw in place of wooden slats and have adjustable feet that can bear some of the load increasing the life of your headboard, footboard, or wooden rails.

Still not sure what kind of bed frame you need? Let us help you find a frame that will fit your needs. Contact STLBeds at 636-296-8540

You can also visit our steel bed frames page to browse some of our various models.


Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

22 Comments Leave your comment »

I have a modern-era brass headboard&footboard, sans rails. The hb/fb have upward-facing, heavy-duty hooks attached. The reverse of the usual situation. Do you have these rails, and if not, can you suggest the manufacturer of this bed?
Thank you,

Comment by T. Miller — June 4, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

Hi T
I am sorry I am not quite sure what you have. If you could contact me toll free I would be glad to try to locate what it is that you are looking for or make a suggestion. I will follow up with a reply to your question for others to read and learn from. 1-888-785-2337.

Comment by Doug Belleville — June 7, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

i have a countour cherry wood headboard and footboard it did not come with rails but in both hb/fb it has holes for bolts or screws is the side wood rails necessary or can we buy the regular rails with the center support and attach it to the bed??

Comment by erika suarez — July 22, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

I have a metal headboard and footboard, the headboard does not have any screw holes in it, but the foot board does. The legs of the headboard are hollow–does it slip over something on the frame? Right now I have a standard metal frame. what kind of attatchment do I need for the frame or do I have to get a new one?

Comment by Jessica Jensen — February 2, 2011 @ 12:24 am

For beds with Headboards and footboards such as yours that are metal they require a frame like this one. Which we keep in stock. Simply contact me. Why Your Headboard does not have predrilled holes I cannot explain. Please feel free to snap a photo and send it to me and I would be glad to diagnose the problem otherwise this is assembly is standard for your type of bed. The only other thing I can think of is that there are leg extenders that slide into the hollow part of the hollow headboard which may be misplaced or missing. The extenders would have the predrilled holes you need to assemble.

Comment by Doug Belleville — February 5, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

I have a photo of the above rail hook, but don’t know how to attatch it to this forum. Please send eMail address.
T. Miller

Comment by T. Miller — February 14, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

Please let me know how to send you a photo.

Comment by T. Miller — June 17, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

T you can send your photo to

Comment by Doug Belleville — June 27, 2011 @ 7:49 am

I have an old bed that is all wood, hb/fb and side rails. The side rails have hooks at the ends that go into slits on the hb/fb. What kind of frame or what/not do I put on this bed? Thank you.

Comment by Elaine — March 8, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

I appreciate you sharing this post.Much thanks again. Will read on…

Comment by Jakob Perlman — April 18, 2012 @ 5:26 am

We have a beautiful oak bed with side rails and footboard. The problem is since my back surgery it is just to high with the big mattress and box springs. Would it be feasible to place a stand alone steel frame below the bed and drop the box spring and mattress onto it ? Also how high off the ground is the steel frame. We have a California King.
Thank you

Comment by Sherry Kessell — November 5, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

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Comment by Shaneka Waldal — November 7, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

I have two white and brass headboards twin size and the frames were jimmy rigged to fit. I would like to have the matdhing foot boards and frma e that goes witth them but i bought these headboards from soiegel in the 1980 s.
can you help? do you know of a company that will’atch footboards to headboards?

Comment by Rick Lewis — March 2, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

I am sorry Rick I do not. Perhaps a reader will stumble upon you question and be able to answer it.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 3, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

I have the same problem as the very first comment! A modern metal headboard and footboard, both with big upwards facing hooks that I need rails for. Or some kind of adapter for a bolt up queen bedframe. Did you have any luck with this before? Thanks!

Comment by Danielle — August 3, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

I have a full size metal bed with hooks facing upward on headboard and footboard. Needing rails, do you have any suggestions?

Comment by Mary Gondos — November 18, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

My daughters bed has a head board and a footboard connection with wood side rails that hook into the headboard and the footboard. We wanted to get rid of the footboard but I don’t know what to do because these are no legs and what would the side rail hook into? Confused and annoyed.

Comment by Julie Goins — May 6, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

Julie prepare to be UN-unnoyed ;-) Many people opt to loose the foot to gain extra space in a bedroom or because they move and just don’t have room for it, there are frames designed to hook into your headboard no matter the size twin, full, queen, or king with rails that extend out to the foot end of the bed. At the end and in some sizes even the middle there is cross support bars and feet. Here is a link that will be helpful in your quest for the right frame. Click here to shop Hook In Frames For A Headboard Only.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 10, 2014 @ 2:36 pm

I just purchased this bed from Craigslist, but it doesn’t have the rails. What frame do I need? It is a twin size bed.

Comment by Francis — November 9, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

Francis, The post has been removed. Feel free to contact us at the toll free number at the top of the page for help.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — November 14, 2014 @ 8:52 am

I have a metal headboard with predrilled holes and feet on legs but the footboard had no feet ends on legs or predrilled holes

Comment by Jennifer — March 13, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

Jennifer, One can only assume it is not the correct footboard or if it was recently purchase someone didn’t finish the footboard properly. Feel free to contact me at the toll free number at the top of this page to send email or text me photos. We can discuss further after that the possible solutions. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 24, 2015 @ 7:44 pm

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