Captain's beds are normally found in solid wood and wood composites, though metal framing can occasionally be found. In general, you will be deciding between a solid wood framing, or a manufactured wood framing. Solid wood will be much heavier duty, durable, and long lasting, while manufactured wood will be more affordable, better for temporary guest rooms or children's rooms, and easier to assemble. Oak and pine are extremely common woods, though maple and cherry are also readily available. You can also find an abundance of options for stylish wood such as cedar, rosewood, Peruvian walnut, or other exotic hardwoods.
When searching for a captain's bed, storage options should be your top priority. According to interior decorator Courtney McLeod, a captain's bed's entire purpose is to provide a comfortable space to sleep while also making use of the wasted space under normal beds. Look for large, full-length drawers on one or both sides, as well as an access door or narrow drawer on the footboard for extra storage options. You want to make the most out of the space under the bed for winter clothing, holiday decorations, or other keepsakes you want protected but out of the way.
Captain's beds can come in all standard bed sizes, though the larger the bed the more storage options you will have. Twin size captain's beds can support mattresses measuring 38" by 75", and full size can support 54" by 75" mattresses. Queen will be for 60" by 80" mattresses, and standard king size is normally for 76" by 80". It's not impossible to find larger or smaller captain's bed frames, however with a twin and full size bed you may only have options for drawers on one side instead of both. With the queen and king sizes, you will almost always have full size drawers on both sides.
Focusing on storage options is important, but you also want your captain's bed to provide plenty of comfort for whoever may be relaxing in it at night. According to Suzanne Kasler, you should look for captain's beds that have full mattress support, instead of support slats. This not only adds an extra layer of protection for your items stored below, but also prevents sagging of the mattress over time. While a full mattress support will be slightly more costly and add more weight overall, it can help prevent dust, moisture, and insects from getting into the storage drawers below.