Divan bed buying guide

Divan bed buying guide

 · 10 min read
Last updated and fact checked:

More and more people are waking up to divans. They’re a popular choice for those who like a bed with a solid appearance. They can have a platform top and/or storage underneath. They come in a range of feels, including ortho, medium firm and soft, and in a wide variety of colours and styles.

  • Divan beds have a solid base that can feature drawers or ottoman storage area.
  • The mattress can be either open coil, pocket sprung, memory foam or hybrid.
  • A wide range of colours and materials such as chenille are available.
  • Divans are ideal for use around the home, from spare room to master bedroom.

Divan bed buying guide FAQs

  • What exactly is a divan bed?

    A divan bed features a high-quality solid base, which is usually a wooden frame that’s upholstered in a material such as damask. It can be configured to include storage drawers or hinge / gas lift mechanisms (in which case it’s known as an ottoman divan). It gives a highly stable sleeping platform and is available in a range of firmness options and fillings.

  • Why is it called a divan bed?

    The name divan comes from Persia, where this design featured in council offices called divans or diwans. Questions might be asked, therefore, about the amount of work that was being done in these places relative to the amount of snoozing, but that’s beyond our remit here.

  • What’s the difference between a divan bed and a regular bed?

    Most regular beds are just a frame and a mattress with space underneath, which all too often gets clogged with accoutrements on display to everyone. A divan does away with this clutter zone by shooing all these bits and pieces into the wardrobe or offering additional storage in a neat and tidy drawer or ottoman bed-type arrangement. Where you have possessions looking for an orderly home, a storage bed like this is ideal.

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Some people like to sleep on something solid. A minimalist frame with skeletal ironwork is not for them. No, for them, it has to be chunky. This is where a divan can deliver. 

Alternatively, what do you do when you want to combine storage and sleep? Watch an extremely lengthy presentation on Goods Containment Methods through the Ages? Sleep on a suitcase? Or, you could do what sensible people have been doing for years on end: get a divan bed. 

We’ll dive into a divan and tell you all you could ever possibly want to know about this multipurpose marvel. We’ll look at its construction and the different sizes of divan beds it’s possible to buy. By the time we finish, you’ll be feverish with divanticipation to get your hands on one. 

So, throw back that bedding, sit up and let’s see what divans are all about. 

What is a divan?

Divan beds are just like regular beds when it comes to the mattress bit. Under that though, divans split into two types, and both tend to be fully upholstered. 

No-drawers

The first is a solid platform on which the mattress rests. For some, this is what a bed is all about. It gives super-stable support to the mattress, which makes for a secure and safe sleeping experience. 

For others, they may simply prefer the solid look that a no-drawer divan gives. If you don’t need the storage, then there’s no point bringing in yet another place that the odd sock might find its way into. 

With drawers

The second is a cunning combination of comfortable sleeping space and storage solutions. The usual mattress-driven sumptuousness delivers the former, but - here’s the clever bit - under this layer is a bed frame that contains a storage area. 

Big deal, you may think - I’ve been lobbing stuff under my bed for years. Looks like a mess, but that’s life. I just don’t look too closely, and neither should you. Stop looking. 

Well, the beauty of a with-drawers divan is that the storage area is all neatly hidden within drawers. Yes, the drawer is the draw.

You pull it out, pausing to enjoy the glide action as you do, and can access everything everywhere all at once (yes, this was the original inspiration for the Academy Award-winning feature), all the way to the back where those tiny spare curtain hooks are inexplicably stored. 

Then, when you’re done with your drawer, you close it, pausing once more to revel in its smoothness before guiding it back to its initial spot. And what are you left with? A beautifully tidy spectacle - just a drawer that fits in seamlessly with the rest of the bed because it’s part and parcel of the whole structure. 

Hold on a minute, you may be asking - just how many drawers do you get? Is it one enormous and frankly unfeasible drawer on one side of the bed that I’ll struggle to manhandle? Or is it a huge number of little drawers, like you might find in an old apothecary shop? We’ll come to that. Let’s just recap first.

Who uses a divan bed?

Divan beds are for those who like a bed base with a solid profile. They may have a house with insufficient places to put possessions, so they want the storage option. Or they may just want the particular look that a divan gives to a bedroom, and the feel it gives to the sleeping experience. 

The divan is another of those beds that musicians have found themselves raving about in recent years. It’s not for nothing that those Brummie boys led by Simon Le Bon-Nuit named their band Divan Divan, so enthusiastic were they about finding somewhere to fling all their gig gear, hairdryers and big jackets after the show. 

And you only have to ask Meghan Trainor which kind of bed she prefers, and she’ll leave you in no doubt, instantly retorting that she’s all about the base. As the sultry songstress is keen to point out, the solidity of this bed sets divans apart from the general mass of beds. 

What types of divan are available?

At Bensons for Beds, there are divans to suit all pockets, from entry-level choices that are good for those on a budget to grandstanding showstoppers that will make your bedroom the talk of the town (but not in a bad way). 

Most models in the range allow you to choose between no drawers, 2 drawers, 4 drawers or a configuration called 2 + 2 which allows space at the headboard end for bedside cabinets. Some include an ottoman selection for those who like the hinged opening style. There is also a good range of firmnesses, with some orthopaedic options available. 

All of the examples listed here are made in the UK, and many feature a Tencel cover, which is a surface twice as soft as cotton. Do note that you’ll usually have to buy a headboard separately, and there are plenty of models available from Bensons for Beds. While in this area, you can buy a divan bed base and mattress set, or mix and match to suit your needs. 

Aside from budget, a significant factor in deciding which bed to get is just how big your bedroom is and what space your new bed is looking to occupy. For that reason, in the following list of great divan options, we’ve listed them according to size. 

If you follow the links, you’ll find that each example will be available in several other sizes too. But it’s not the case that all models are available in all sizes. Hope that’s clear. If you need a lie-down, we can suggest some options.

Small single

So, let’s crack on with a size ideal for a guest room. This is the pocket rocket of the range. No, it doesn’t achieve much in the way of gravity-busting velocity, nor will it spice up your salad. However, it delivers comfort and practicality beyond its modest dimensions. Just how modest? Well, the Sandro Memory Divan Bed Set small single is a mere 75cm wide and 190cm long. 

The Sandro is castor-mounted, which helps with movability and has a five-year guarantee. Colour choice is three-fold: latte, dove grey and slate grey. Comfort is delivered by a combination of memory foam and coil-springs, and the mattress needs no flipping, which will be a relief for many. 

It’s also available in single, small double, double and king. Whichever size you pick, you should note that it’s just available in soft. For a medium firmness option, you’ll need to go for the Sandro Memory Support Divan Bed Set

Single

There are some terrific single divan bed options available, such as the Slumberland Natural Solutions 2800 Divan Bed Set. It comes in a range of sizes starting at single, which is 90cm wide and 190cm long. 

Why is it called 2800? That’s because of its 2800 pocket springs, each made from recycled steel. This divan bed will also give you an elite level of comfort in an eco-friendly way. It does not use animal products in the construction, favouring instead organic cotton, bamboo and flax, plus fully recyclable packaging.

There’s a choice of five colours, medium and firm varieties, and an eight-year guarantee is included. Once again, the mattress is of the non-flipping variety - a regular rotation is all that’s required (once a month is recommended).

Small double and standard double

A great example of a small double divan is the Silentnight Backcare Firm Support Divan Bed Set. Budding sleuths among you will have already deduced that this is the ideal choice for those wanting a high level of support in the back region. It blends firm support with the plushness given by eco-comfort fibres.

A small double divan bed comes in at a trim of 120cm wide and 190cm long. Colour-wise, it goes with an ingenious spin on the Fordian ‘any colour you like, as long as it’s black’ line. It’s just available in grey. But it is a very attractive shade of grey.

For a standard (135cm x 190cm) double, try the Slumberland Duo 1000 2-in-1 Divan Bed Set on Glides. It’s a double in more ways than one, offering two different sleeping surfaces. One side is for use during the cooler months and features a snuggly wool-rich teddy bear-style fabric. 

When the warmer weather comes, flip the mattress for a cooler sleeping experience thanks to the SensICE technology, which draws heat away from the body. We are unable to substantiate the rumour that boffins are currently busy in the lab seeing if this heat can be harnessed in order to produce a nice cup of tea in the morning. If it’s true, our hopes go with you, guys. 

Five different colours are available, and it comes in firm or extra-firm. 

King size and super king

So, on to the big boys. There are plenty of king size divan beds (150cm x 190cm) to choose from, and we’ve picked the Staples and Co Artisan Classic Divan Bed Set as a fabulous example of what’s available. Constructed using 3000 pocket springs and a range of natural materials such as organic alpaca wool, this is a seriously comfortable proposition. 

Available in medium, firm and extra-firm, it comes with a 10-year guarantee and a choice of no fewer than - wait for it - 15 colours and 25 different fabrics.

While you’re making your mind up about which of those to go for, let’s move on to super king size, which is the whopper of the bunch, coming in at a mighty 180cm x 200cm in the case of the iGel Advance 3000i

Those of you wondering what iGel is will be gratified to learn that it’s a layer that regulates temperature, so it’s not too hot nor too cold. Like Goldilocks’ porridge, but a good deal less messy to sleep on. 

Boasting a 10-year guarantee and 10 colour choices, this sleeping sensation is available in medium and firm. 

Divan beds and you

So, divans are a perfect choice for those wanting a little extra storage space and those who like the nice solid chunkiness that only a divan bed frame offers. The spectrum of looks and colours is wide enough to suit most bedroom styles, and you can be sure of a decent firmness range too. 

One final point worth mentioning. When you get to the checkout, you’ll notice that Bensons for Beds offers a collection and recycling service for your old divan base and mattress. Just another plus that enables you to sleep better at night, on the divan of your dreams.

Image Credit: ASR Design Studio at Pexels

Martin Jennings-Wright
Martin Jennings-Wright
Martin joined AgeGroup in 2023 after over twenty years running cinemas, making him something of a cine-bore! He’s well-versed in classic musicals and what he doesn’t know about Hitchcock is strictly for the birds.