We’ve all been there. Everything is paid for, all our bills are taken care, the move was a success and, yes, we have our new bed. The only problem is: It’s a gross, cold, understated metal bed frame. There is no header, no footer, and it looks like something that a college student would use to keep his door from falling off the hinge.

I’ve been there myself. Growing up in a traditional Southern home, I was always used to the finer things in life and the creature comforts like a real bed with a real bed frame. When I found out that two of my boyfriends only ever used $40 metal bed frames, I was beside myself with how inadequate it seemed. That’s what bachelors used. I couldn’t use it, too! Could I?

My first attempts with my metal bed frame

I first tried to raise my frame off of the ground so that it felt more legitimate. I did this initially with boxes under each corner. The problem was, I could easily knock my bed off of one of the corners by simply tossing and turning. That wasn’t practical.

Next, I tried putting a series of boxes under my bed frame. This made it slightly more stable, but it kept sliding around on the boxes. It felt shaky and unsure because it wouldn’t stay still.

A balance of power was learned over time

I finally learned to accept my metal bed frame. As soon as I accepted it, the ideas in my head started turning around. I started to think of how the bed frame, the mattress, and the room fit together. What would make it look and feel balanced in my room? What would make me feel good about it?

I soon learned that it didn’t matter that my frame was metal. What mattered was that it was stable and firmly held my mattress in place. After that, it was all about color and decoration. Also, I came up with a few good ideas on how to balance the metal frame in my room by complementing it with pillows and a bed skirt (more to follow).

A pretty metal bed frame that you can alter over time

paint job

The first thing you should consider is a hard-wearing, long-lasting, permanent paint job on your bed frame. This way, you can add some pizzazz to your room without having to go overboard. Something as simple as a bright red frame in a blue and black room can make a guy’s bed look pretty masculine.

By the same token, a pink and white polka dot job on a girl’s bed can make it really pop. Other ideas are painting it in your room’s accent color. That ties everything together without being too bold or busy.

How bed skirts create a boxy illusion (and feeling)

bed skirt

You can get a bed skirt and fill in that under-bed space which bothers you so much. It looks chic, solid, stable, and very fashionable. Get a modern print bed skirt or simply get a basic black or navy color. Use something that goes with your room but is a background color, not an accent color.

If you have the basic, low-to-the-ground, $40 kind of frame, then you can simply get a shorter bed skirt or sew it up a little on all four sides so that it doesn’t drag on the ground.

What to avoid when decorating metal bed frame

-Avoid painting it in thick paint one time

All you have to do is simply coat in very thin layers of outdoor, heavy-duty paint. Let it dry and cure completely. Then, add several more layers to your frame, letting it dry and cure completely in between each time.

-Avoid hanging beads or ropes or anything else from it

This is a common mistake among people who have a child-like decorating style. By all means, keep your awesome decorating methods. Simply don’t hang anything from your bed frame. It will never intact or stay intact the way you want it to.

-Avoid adjusting it with the mattress on top

Adjustable-size frames are so cool. They give you all kinds of sizing options. However, there is a locking mechanism in place which is supposed to be unlatched and then locked back in place when the adjusting is finished. If you try doing it with the mattress still on top (just for a minor adjustment), there is a high likelihood that you will end up skewing the frame and it will feel worse than ever.

-Avoid painting text or putting stickers on your frame

It can be tempting to put your favorite quote or your favorite line of text on your awesome new metal frame. Avoid this. No one will be able to read it and it will end up looking messy and like the movers marked it without washing off their marker script. Just leave any text off of your frame completely.

Creating bulk underneath makes your bed feel more solid

Sometimes, a frame feels better if you have something else under your bed. This is more psychological than anything else, but many people prefer the added heft and bulk of suitcases, couch cushions, metal fireproof boxes, etc. You can add extra heft by washing clothes which are out of season, folding them and putting them inside your suitcases, and storing them under your bed.

Couch cushions under your bed create a cozy design, Japanese-style

Depending on the type of metal frame you have, you may be able to actually create a little step-up design with couch cushions sticking out about 6 inches. This gives your bed a Japanese-style cushion or flat mattress design. The style goes really well with a minimalist design theme and neutrals combined with monotone color. Examples include a red colored bed with red cushions in a room of almost pure cream color. Another example would be a black toned bed and curtains in a room that is almost entirely light blue.

Softening the hard edge of your metal bed frame

If you’re clumsy (like me), then you may keep knocking your ankle against the metal frame. For this, I recommend wrapping it in things which are meant for this purpose, such as steering wheel covers or thin layers of packaging foam. I tape it all the way around to keep it from slipping or becoming loose if it gets turned around. I use double stick tape on the inside, so that it doesn’t have a tape-like shininess on the outside.

Using a larger comforter on top of your bed frame

This is probably the easiest solution that you could use for making your metal bed frame warm and cozy. Simply get a comforter which matches the size of your bed and drape it on top, allowing it to hang down on all sides.

However, you can increase this effect even more if your frame happens to hold your bed higher off the floor. You can simply get one size up on your comforter and drape it down to the floor. This completely covers up your bed frame altogether and it seems warm, comforting, and powerful. This a great solution if you have no other (or no cheaper) way out. I’ve done this many times with my own bed and have two comforter blankets that I change out, back and forth, which are both really great looking. They’re also soft and comfy, so I keep them on there until they need a wash and a replacement with the other comforter that I have ready and waiting.

Giving your metal frame a wood-like appearance

This is a great option if you’re bad at painting. You can warm up how your metal frame looks in your room by painting it with a wood swirl effect. This is a fantastic option because you don’t actually have to be good at (or even slightly skilled at) painting anything. Just take your metal frame outside where it can dry quickly in the sun.

You can do this with paint brushes, but I’m going to show you how to do it with spray paint. Get spray paint in three different shades of woody brown. Next, put your frame on the grass and spray one side of your frame haphazardly with one of the browns. It does not have to be good or even smooth. Just kinda cover it with that tone.

Next, let it dry and cure before adding some areas and splotches from another shade of brown. Repeat the drying and curing process before and after the third shade of brown. After that, you can simply flip the frame over and repeat all three shades of brown on the other side. This creates a nice wood-grain effect without it being too obvious that this is, in fact, a metal frame. Instant warmth.

In conclusion, remember to always adjust your metal frame without the mattress on top and to assemble correctly every time you set it up in a new home. Enjoy your cost-effective new bed and sweet dreams!