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Antique beds make a dramatic statement in modern homes. From luxurious Louis XVI designs to classic iron beds, this furniture features artisan craftsmanship that is virtually non-existent in the 21st century.
Most antique beds available today were built in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They are crafted from hardwoods such as burl walnut, oak, and cherry, and often feature tall headboards with ornate carving and woodworking.
Tester beds, which included a solid panel above the bed held by four tall posts, accommodated curtains and elaborate fabric drapes that were common in the 18th and 19th centuries. Until the 19th century, most beds were located in the parlor, so drapes were used to add privacy and warmth. Homeowners often hired decorators to design the bed dressings that expressed their social status.
Wooden beds were first manufactured in the late 19th century, leading to fewer intricate details. Iron and brass beds also became popular during this time. Iron workers casted each bed individually, polished the castings and then hand-applied the finish.
The production of iron beds stopped during World War I so that the iron could be redirected toward the war effort
Renaissance beds feature holes in the frame to hold ropes that made up the bed’s platform
The Great Bed of Ware, built in 1580 and housed today in the Victoria and Albert Museum, could easily sleep 15 people