Nowadays, many of us are concerned about the levels of toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in our homes…and our bedrooms in particular!
NOTE: I covered VOCs in more detail in my eco-friendly paint article, so I won't go back over old ground here. Suffice to say you do not want them in your life, period!
We spend hours of research and potentially thousands of dollars on things such as wool comforters, organic crib mattresses, organic mattress toppers, eco-friendly mattresses, and eco-friendly bedding.
But we often overlook the one thing that - quite literally - forms the foundation of our sleep system…the bed frame.
Eco-friendly bed frames are the unsung heroes of sustainable sleep. They carry the weight of your world of slumber on their shoulders without a moment's grumble.
Your mattress and bedding can have all the eco-credentials and certifications in the world. Still, it doesn’t mean much if they’re sat on a bed frame made from unsustainable materials and coated in toxic chemicals.
It’s time to give eco-friendly bed frames their moment in the spotlight as I find yet another excuse to do a bunch of sleep tests! 😁
They Say: A sleek silhouette and minimal details keep The Thompson's silhouette organic yet refined. The solid ash frame is beautifully shaped, then hand-finished in your choice of 7 custom hues. Expert craftsmanship is on display in the hand-carved wood frame and fabric-wrapped headboard.
We Say: Maiden Home has been on my radar ever since I researched and recommended them in my article about eco-friendly furniture brands.
I loved their direct-to-consumer business model back then…and I still love it now!
The Thompson Bed is a high-quality solid wood bed frame. It’s made to order from sustainable solid ash in North Carolina by the Maiden Home team of skilled artisans.
No nasty chemicals, coatings, or glues are used. These beautiful platform beds are simply hand waxed in a color finish of your choice (Natural Ash, Driftwood, Pecan, Coffee, Charcoal, Whitewash, Greywash).
You also get to choose from a range of fabric and leather finishes.
All size options come with a 48” headboard.
Delivery takes approximately 8-10 weeks and costs $95 for a full white-glove service.
They Say: Bring Spanish and Old World charm to your bedroom with our stunning Mission Viejo Reclaimed bed. The head and footboard are carefully crafted using reclaimed wood. The bed features oversized nailheads from oxidized metal and beveled panels, which accent the unique markings of the old wood.
We Say: I’m not sure if I've mentioned this before…but I freaking love Etsy! 😁
They’re one of my favorite zero-waste stores and have totally hit the nail on the head here. Literally…this bed is full of nails!
This stunning reclaimed bed is a real statement piece. It wouldn't look out of place in an English castle…or maybe the Excalibur in Vegas?
This bed is made to last a lifetime. From reclaimed non-toxic solid wood. It doesn't get much more sustainable than that!
Due to this item's handmade and bespoke nature, delivery takes around three months.
However, the good news is that domestic delivery is free, and Etsy will offset all the emissions generated by the delivery of this bed.
They Say: This bed frame is the perfect match for PlushBeds premium mattresses and foundations. Designed to be noiseless, the Quiet Balance Bed Frame features unique sound-absorbing construction. With superior, edge-to-edge support and a high weight capacity, it’s built for lasting stability.
We Say: I’ve also recommended this excellent metal bed frame in my eco-friendly furniture article, so I won't repeat myself in this article. Click here to read the full write-up.
I’m more than happy to recommend this bed frame in two articles for numerous reasons:
We Say: Etsy is a veritable treasure trove of vintage, antique, reclaimed metal bed frames.
They’re usually one-off pieces that sell quickly, so I’ve not reviewed/tested a specific item.
However, if you’re in the market for a quality pre-owned metal bed frame, I’d recommend giving Etsy a look first.
Simply click here and try search terms like:
Keep checking every few days if you initially come up empty-handed. Thousands of new items are added to Etsy every week.
If you have no joy finding your perfect vintage metal bed frame on Etsy or want to broaden your search, you could also try another of my favorite pre-loved furniture websites…AptDeco.
AptDeco will be especially useful for those in the Northeast and the San Francisco Bay Area.
They Say: Crafted of pecan veneers, cane rattan, raffia, and hand-tied jute rope, the Surfside Queen Rattan Bed epitomizes a relaxed California casual lifestyle. The signature bed is finished with a light driftwood tone and a distressed finish of sandblasting and bleaching. Melding the serene oasis of the California coastline with modern surf culture, Surfside is defined by the use of natural materials and driftwood motifs.
We Say: I was impressed with VivaTerra when I tested them out for eco-friendly furniture. So I decided to get more specific with their range and check out what they offer in terms of bed frames.
What I found (and loved) was a quirky rattan offering that gave me real Cali surfer vibes.
This bed combines sustainable natural materials with engineered MDF and particleboard (made from renewable resources).
The distressed look of this bed is achieved by a combination of sand blastic and bleaching and bleaching. I was concerned about this but have been assured that a natural oxygen-based bleaching agent is used.
This unique product is handcrafted in Vietnam by VivaTerra’s artisan partners and will be delivered to you (free of charge) in three boxes, ready for you to assemble.
They Say: The 5 Little Monkeys Platform Foundation is the perfect foundation for our kids Sleep System bed. It provides excellent support and takes only minutes to assemble. Stylishly upholstered, the foundation is quite versatile. It can be used as a platform bed, or you can remove the legs and use it as a foundation / box spring in a bedroom set.
We Say: If your little one is growing out of their crib, it might be time to start shopping around for their first big boy/girl bed.
The worry of VOCs and toxic chemicals is never far from our minds when shopping for products for our children.
Well, worry no more. 5 Little Monkeys have got your back.
All their products are 100% safe, non-toxic, and healthy for your child.
This foundation is CPSIA Certified to ensure it’s free of lead, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals.
It’s also Proposition 65 Compliant, so 5 Little Monkeys are legally obliged to disclose any chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Thankfully they don't use any such chemicals, so have nothing to declare!
You can read about 5 Little Monkeys' commitment to certifications here.
The foundation had been designed to fit perfectly with The Sleep System, but any mattress will work (just double-check the dimensions).
5 Little Monkeys are not just about non-toxic sleep for those who can afford it. They also give back to those less fortunate and are currently partnered with the following charities:
They Say: Simple and minimalistic, this bed can be put together in minutes with absolutely no tools required. The interlocking slats make it one of the strongest beds on the market, and the 9 block legs act as pressure points to distribute your weight. Try and make it squeak.. we dare you!
We Say: This is a very cool bed frame. It reminds me of my hours spent playing tic tac toe with chalk on the playground most school days as a young child.
This simple and minimalist frame is a breeze to put together. In just a few minutes, and with no tools or DIY knowledge, you’ll have one of the most robust bed frames I’ve ever seen. One that will easily give you many decades of faithful service.
U.S. and Canadian shipping usually takes two to ten business days (the further West you live, the longer it takes). It can not be shipped to Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alaska, or Hawaii.
This high-quality bed frame is made from responsibly sourced wood and covered by a five-year warranty.
There is also a 100-day sleep trial, so you can test it out at home and return it for a refund (minus a 10% restocking fee) if you’re not impressed.
Bed frames are usually made from either solid hardwoods, engineered wood (bits of wood glued together), or metal.
Hardwood is an excellent choice for solid wood bed frames.
According to the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), hardwood is a sustainable product because “the net volume of hardwood growing stock in the USA increased from 184,090 million cubic feet in 1953 to just under 400,000 million cubic feet in 2007”.
Also, according to the AHEC, there are 20 species of hardwood grown in the U.S.
A sustainable wood bed frame can also contain engineered wood.
Engineered wood (MDF, particleboard, chipboard, etc.) is usually a cheaper option for wood bed frames. They’re made by gluing bits of smaller wood, wood particles, shavings, wood chips, sawdust, etc., together and applying pressure. Due to the manufacturing process, you have to be careful to avoid toxic glues and coatings.
Eco-friendly bed frames can also be made from metal. Sustainable metal bed frames are made from salvaged or recycled metal.
The ethics of the company making your bed frame is just as important as the materials used.
Some telltale signs that you're dealing with an ethical company include:
Non-toxic bed frames should be free of toxic adhesives and coatings.
The EPA’s TSCA Title VI and Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products are strict standards that regulate the levels of formaldehyde in adhesives used in composite wood products.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “many wood stains and finishes emit toxic chemicals that build up in your home and can have serious health consequences”.
You might want to consider buying an unstained/uncoated bed frame and then applying your own zero VOC wood stain, non-toxic paint, or natural linseed oil. This gives you peace of mind and more control over the finished look of your bed frame.
Natural bed frames carrying recognizable certifications give added peace of mind that they’re eco-friendly and non-toxic.
Some of the leading certifications to look out for when shopping for a non-toxic natural bed frame include:
Mattress sizes and bed frame sizes are pretty much standardized between manufacturers, so it's not necessary to buy both from the same place. However, it's always best to check your dimensions before committing to a purchase.
I’ve done the leg work for you to ensure that the recommendations in this article are as free from VOCs and other nasties as possible.
When doing your own research, the best ways are to check product pages and speak to the manufacturer/supplier directly on social media.
The most straightforward alternative to a bed frame is to put your mattress and a box spring directly on the floor.
This is beyond my DIY skillset, so I’ll leave it to the experts to explain. This video is the best one I found on the subject.
According to Craftknights, “As a whole, Pine or Poplar wood are the best choices when you are on a budget. Both are easy to work with and strong enough to build a bed frame. Douglas Fir or Maple wood are great choices if you want something that is a little more durable, but it will also be a bit more expensive”.
There are many things to consider when shopping for an eco-friendly mattress to sit on your new non-toxic bed frame. The main one that's relevant to this article is size.
Bed frame and mattress sizes are pretty uniform these days. So any twin mattress brand should fit a twin bed frame, for example. However, some variations can occur (particularly if your bed frame is bespoke, handmade, or vintage).
To avoid costly ordering mistakes and returns, you should always measure the exact available space on your bed frame before placing an order.
Click here for a full breakdown of exactly what else to look for in an eco-friendly mattress.
Yes, providing that the fabrics used are non-toxic and sustainable.
As mentioned in my eco-friendly furniture article, the EPA has found that VOC levels can be two to five times higher inside homes than outside. They speculate that a potential cause of these increased VOC levels might be building materials and furnishings.
Don’t let your bed frame be a contributing factor to poor and potentially harmful indoor air quality in your home. Support your sustainable mattress with a non-toxic bed frame.
Buy cheap buy twice, as my dad always likes to say, most definitely applies to beds. Fast furniture is just as bad as fast fashion. Cheaply made beds will not last more than a few years.
Buying a quality, well-made, non-toxic bed frame that’ll last a lifetime will ensure that you're not contributing to the approximately 10 million tons of furniture waste that we in the U.S. send to landfills every year.
Where do you buy your eco-friendly bed frames? Have I missed your favorite brand? Have you ever been brave enough to bring out the power tools and build your own bed? Drop me a line and let me know.