Best Beds for Reading (or Working) in

Hedge and I recently upgraded to a grown-up bed, after having both spent our single days on used mattresses and IKEA beds. Since Hedge loves to read in bed and I like to work on my laptop (read: fall asleep to my Facebook news feed) at night, I wanted to find a bed frame that was well-suited for these functions.

Surprisingly, my Google search attempts only resulted in disappointing links to books I should read in bed, and those hideous reading pillows that look like E.T. with a headlamp. So I realized, maybe no one cares has written about this topic. After 2-3 months of info-gathering online and in showrooms, I now have knowledge to share. Below is a roundup of the best beds for reading or working in:


NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Noz

The Jane Bed by Modloft was the highest quality option within our grown-up-but-not-yet-baller budget of ~$1,000. It’s sturdy, modern, and upholstered in nice neutral colors. Several sites also offer free white glove delivery + assembly with this bed. Also, before starting my research, I had sketched a design for my ideal bed frame, and this one came really close thanks to its slightly slanted, very wide headboard:

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Headboard

Headboard is wide enough to rest your book/glasses/phone/iPad before you fall asleep.

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Profile

Slightly slanted headboard is a good angle because the incline starts after the top of the mattress. Another added bonus, in case you too have a small dog who likes to climb into bed, is that this bed has wide side panels, which can serve as a stepping stool (critical for Viv, since she’s not allowed to jump up/down from furniture due to a past back injury).

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Noz vs Hedge

Headboard angle is suitable for me to sit up against, and for Hedge to slouch into for reading. He is in a Jedi robe.


NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Bolton Bed

The ultimate reading bed, which I got to lie in at the NYC showroom, is the Bolton Bed by Poliform. The headboard is split at the middle, and each side is adjustable with a push latch: you can push it down to a lower height, or push it down again to bring the headboard back to full height.

Honestly though, this mechanism is a little excessive – I’d probably end up keeping the headboard at full-height all the time; but in general, the bed is stunning both in cloth and in leather, and it comes with optional under-mattress storage (the Jane Bed does not).

The price on this DeLorean of beds is (retail) $10K for basic fabric upholstery and upwards of $20K if you choose fancy distressed full-grain leather.

Side note: there are a few Poliform beds that get the reading-in-bed angled headboard right, but they’re all in the same general price range.


NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Nyvoll Bed

IKEA has recently stepped up its bed game with the Nyvoll Bed ($179-249, Full-King). It’s not upholstered, so you’d want to prop pillows against the headboard for comfort, and the frame and headboard are too thin to rest anything on. But for the price, it’s much more functional than the ubiquitous Malm beds.

Another side note: IKEA does offer a bed with clunky angled headboard cushions but at $900 for a Queen, you’re better off with the Jane or any other bed, because that is a lot of money for a bed you’d have to put together with an allen wrench and tiny flat IKEA tools.


I see a lot of DIY headboard projects, which are aesthetically great, but not suitable for reading or working on, because they’re all flat, parallel to the wall. Of course, you could get ambitious and build a headboard frame at an angle, but I love the idea of a thick cushion-headboard. I first saw this idea at the Ace Hotel in Portland, OR:

NOZNOZNOZ - Best beds to read and work in Ace HotelThe only challenge with incorporating this idea would be that regular bed frames don’t come long enough to sandwich your cushion-headboard behind your mattress, so you’d most likely end up sacrificing some bed length for the cushion (the Ace Hotel custom-built their bed frames long enough for this design).

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT. If you’ve got other bed frame suggestions that you love reading or working in, share them in the comments!


16 thoughts on “Best Beds for Reading (or Working) in

  1. I like this option, reminds me of the headboard my dad made for his waterbed (oh, yes) back in the 80s from plywood and carpet. The modloft option def is more appealing.

  2. How was overall assembly of the Jane Bed? Any regrets post-purchase? I’m currently looking for a low-profile, simple-but-interesting frame (on a not-yet-baller budget) and this seems to be a top contender from what I’ve been able to find. Very much appreciate your post!

    • Hi Keith!
      So, where I bought the Jane bed (Modloft), I actually received white glove delivery which included assembly + installation (install in this case was just putting the bed where I wanted it). It took the guys no time at all, but DID require 2 people to be able to slide the components into each other. Since then no regrets. The bed looks new still, Viv my lil Frenchie uses the wide frame as a steppy stool (as I’d hoped) to get in and out of the bed without jumping, and no creaks or noises or anything structurally that has concerned me. I definitely highly recommend the bed! Let me know / send a picture if you end up going with it!

  3. Do you know how thick your mattress is? I have a 13″ mattress and am afraid it will eat up too much of the headboard on the Jane bed because Modloft pictures it with a 8″ mattress. Thank you. Viv is adorbs.

    • Hi Willow, my mattress is actually pretty tall, at about 14″. The photos you see are with that mattress in the frame. There is a slight 1.5″ drop between the upholstered frame and the slats, so it helps keep the appearance low-profile. Also thanks re: Viv!! She’s a slumbery bean. Let me know if you have any other questions re: bed frames!

    • Hi Iann, so glad the blog post was helpful! The fabric is definitely quality looking/feeling, or I wouldn’t have kept the Jane bed! It has a tighter-than-linen weave, so it’s pretty durable. BUT I did create a “run” in the weave because I was playing with Viv in bed and her little claw caught on a section of the weave. Only I seem to be bothered by this run – I’m a detail freak (shrug). My client has the Dove Grey version – the color is nice, but MODLOFT may be retiring that color in exchange for another light color but that is more beige. That’s a future concern, in case you don’t buy a bed for a while. As for the Chelsea bed, I love it a bit less than the Jane because of the base, and also the headboard. The headboard is a more traditional 90º simple headboard, vs the Jane which has a more comfortable incline to it that makes leaning against the headboard feel more like a sofa. Hope this info is helpful!!

  4. Hi, I am grateful that you’ve shared your research. I really want a bed that’s comfortable to read in, and the Jane bed looks great. I’m wondering about the side panels. Are they solid enough to sit on? Do they get in the way when you climb in and out of bed?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Dan, so happy the post was helpful!! The side panels are actually surprisingly sturdy. I got the bed so that my 30LB dog could easily climb onto and off of the bed, and that has been no problem. I’ve also myself stood on the side panels with no creaking or issues, but I tend not to do this because there’s just no real need for me to stand on the bed unless reaching for something! I don’t myself find that they get in the way, but that’s a personal matter of how tall your mattress will be in this bed frame, and how you tend to get out of bed, you know? They’re no more than 6-7″ wide so I easily swing my legs onto the floor without crashing into the sides. Good luck! Let me know if you end up going with the Jane bed after all!

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