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European Beds

European beds have come a long way since the Middle Ages, when most ordinary people slept on hay or, if they were lucky, the floor of a castle’s great hall. Antique beds designed in Europe had great influence on American styles and continue to evolve today as style trends shift.

Before the 18th century, European beds were very expensive and as such often only available to royalty. Over time, wealthy homeowners began to have beds built. The bedroom was a public space in many homes, as such the bed was covered in drapery for privacy and to provide warmth.

Multiple mattresses and layers of bedding continued to be common among royalty and the wealthy well into the late 19th century, so luxury antique beds were crafted with metal foundations strong enough to hold several mattresses made from horsehair, straw, and feathers.

With the invention of coiled spring mattresses in the early 20th century, comfort became a priority in European beds. The advent of electricity added to the desire for comfort because the bedroom became a place to read and pursue hobbies.


Quick Facts

  • The Melville Bed, made in 1700 for the First Earl of Melville, features 85 meters of velvet, 114.5 meters of damask, and 62 meters of supporting linen and buckram
  • British contemporary artist Tracey Emin’s piece “My Bed” set a world record for the artist at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary Evening sale when it sold for £2.546 million in 2014
  • Young kitchen servants in the 17th century were sometimes allowed to keep the feathers plucked from poultry for their marriage bed

Recommended Items at Auction

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FRENCH LOUIS PHILIPPE PERIOD WALNUT DAY BED
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
FRENCH LOUIS PHILIPPE PERIOD WALNUT DAY BED
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $200- $400
$2753 Bids
Rohe, Ludwig Mies van der (1886 Aachen - Chigao 1969), nach
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CET
Rohe, Ludwig Mies van der (1886 Aachen - Chigao 1969), nach
by Dannenberg
Est: €3,000- €3,600
€3,0001 Bid
Biedermeier Mahogany Day Bed
Dec 07, 11:00 AM EST
Biedermeier Mahogany Day Bed
by Stair
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$7001 Bid
Biedermeier Burl Birch and Ebonized Sofa
Dec 07, 11:00 AM EST
Biedermeier Burl Birch and Ebonized Sofa
by Stair
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
LETTO
Dec 09, 3:00 PM CET
LETTO
by Casa d'aste Martini
Est: €2,000- €2,300
€2,0000 Bids
Gilded brass bed, Spain,early 20th century
Dec 14, 5:00 PM CET
Gilded brass bed, Spain,early 20th century
by Ansorena
Est: €0- €135
€1800 Bids
VENETIAN PAINT DECORATED BED
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
VENETIAN PAINT DECORATED BED
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $200- $400
$1500 Bids
JOSEF HOFFMANN: HEAD AND FOOT OF BED
Dec 07, 6:00 PM CET
JOSEF HOFFMANN: HEAD AND FOOT OF BED
by Im Kinsky
Est: €2,000- €4,000
€2,0000 Bids
Louis XV Style French Walnut Single Bed
Dec 10, 11:00 AM GMT
Louis XV Style French Walnut Single Bed
by Cooper Barrington LLP
Est: £100- £150
£500 Bids
MAURICE VILLENCY BED WITH TWO NIGHT STAND SIDE TABLES. ALUMINUM LEGS. WITH SLAT PLATFORM.
Dec 08, 10:00 AM EST
MAURICE VILLENCY BED WITH TWO NIGHT STAND SIDE TABLES. ALUMINUM LEGS. WITH SLAT PLATFORM.
by Uniques & Antiques
Est: $250- $350
$1750 Bids
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White Leather Barcelona Style Daybed
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
White Leather Barcelona Style Daybed
by Doyle New York
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5000 Bids
Two D. Maria I style beds
Dec 15, 9:00 PM WET
Two D. Maria I style beds
by Tagus Art Auctioneers
Est: €100- €200
€1000 Bids
A Queen Size French Brass Bed with intricate floral casting on footboard with new timber base
Dec 09, 6:00 PM AEDT
A Queen Size French Brass Bed with intricate floral casting on footboard with new timber base
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD800- AUD1,200
AUD4000 Bids
PAOLO BUFFA (ATTRIB. A)
Dec 14, 3:45 PM CET
PAOLO BUFFA (ATTRIB. A)
by Wannenes Art Auctions
Est: €2,200- €2,600
€2,2000 Bids
OSVALDO BORSANI
Dec 14, 3:45 PM CET
OSVALDO BORSANI
by Wannenes Art Auctions
Est: €1,800- €2,200
€1,8000 Bids
(6) LOUIS XV STYLE BEDROOM SUITE
Dec 11, 9:00 AM CST
(6) LOUIS XV STYLE BEDROOM SUITE
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $3,000- $6,000
$2,0000 Bids
ITALIAN ART DECO BURLWOOD & ROSEWOOD BED
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
ITALIAN ART DECO BURLWOOD & ROSEWOOD BED
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $150- $300
$1000 Bids
ITALIANATE PARCEL GILT & PAINTED BED
Dec 11, 9:00 AM CST
ITALIANATE PARCEL GILT & PAINTED BED
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $800
$3500 Bids
ARFLEX (ATTRIB. A)
Dec 15, 7:15 PM CET
ARFLEX (ATTRIB. A)
by Wannenes Art Auctions
Est: €1,500- €2,000
€1,5000 Bids
VITTORIO VARO
Dec 15, 7:15 PM CET
VITTORIO VARO
by Wannenes Art Auctions
Est: €800- €1,200
€8000 Bids
Hans J. Wegner
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CET
Hans J. Wegner
by Svendborg Auktionerne ApS
Est: 1,500 kr- 3,000 kr
1,500 kr0 Bids
Hans J. Wegner
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CET
Hans J. Wegner
by Svendborg Auktionerne ApS
Est: 1,500 kr- 3,000 kr
1,500 kr0 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Beds


Wannenes Art Auctions

Wannenes Art Auctions

Austin Auction Gallery

Austin Auction Gallery

Bonhams

Bonhams

Stair

Stair