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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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HÄSTENS EXCEPTIONNEL ET LUXUEUX LIT " 2000T "
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
HÄSTENS EXCEPTIONNEL ET LUXUEUX LIT " 2000T "
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €20,000- €40,000
€1,4007 Bids
Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona Daybed
Jun 05, 10:00 AM EDT
Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona Daybed
by Caza Sikes
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$1,5001 Bid
L. Rossi: Neoclassical-Style Carved and Painted Poster Bed
Jun 09, 9:00 AM PDT
L. Rossi: Neoclassical-Style Carved and Painted Poster Bed
by Abell Auction
Est: $700- $1,000
$3501 Bid
L. Rossi: Wonderful Chinoiserie Ebonized and Giltwood Pagoda-Form Bed
Jun 09, 9:00 AM PDT
L. Rossi: Wonderful Chinoiserie Ebonized and Giltwood Pagoda-Form Bed
by Abell Auction
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1,0001 Bid
Hans J. Wegner, Daybed, model GE 7
May 29, 11:00 AM CDT
Hans J. Wegner, Daybed, model GE 7
by Wright
Est: $2,000- $3,000
$1001 Bid
L. Rossi: Carved and Ebonized Walnut Four Poster Bed
Jun 09, 9:00 AM PDT
L. Rossi: Carved and Ebonized Walnut Four Poster Bed
by Abell Auction
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5001 Bid
French stenciled queen size bed with bronze with rails
Jun 02, 12:00 PM EDT
French stenciled queen size bed with bronze with rails
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $300- $600
$1001 Bid
Italian Wrought Iron and Carved Wood Headboard
Jun 18, 11:00 AM EDT
Italian Wrought Iron and Carved Wood Headboard
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
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Rococo style bedroom set
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Rococo style bedroom set
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5000 Bids
Louis XVI Style White Painted Single Beds, 2
Jun 18, 11:00 AM EDT
Louis XVI Style White Painted Single Beds, 2
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
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6 Piece Louis XV style bedroom set
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
6 Piece Louis XV style bedroom set
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $350- $600
$1500 Bids
Tito AGNOLI (1931-2012) Lit de repos
May 30, 5:30 PM CEST
Tito AGNOLI (1931-2012) Lit de repos
by Francois EPIN Auction
Est: €2,000- €2,500
€2,0000 Bids
Giorgio Collection Italian Mahogany Sleigh Bed
Jun 23, 12:00 PM EDT
Giorgio Collection Italian Mahogany Sleigh Bed
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $600- $800
$1000 Bids
MARTIN VISSER, SOFA BED BR 02.7 WITH ARMREST BA 02, 1960
Jun 12, 3:00 PM CEST
MARTIN VISSER, SOFA BED BR 02.7 WITH ARMREST BA 02, 1960
by Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH
Est: €900- €1,200
€8000 Bids
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)
May 27, 7:00 PM CEST
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)
by Vendu Rotterdam
Est: €1,500- €3,000
€8000 Bids
EUROPEAN CHERRY & WICKER "ROCKING" CRADLE ON STAND
Jun 01, 10:00 AM EDT
EUROPEAN CHERRY & WICKER "ROCKING" CRADLE ON STAND
by Clements
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
DENIS SANTACHIARA, 'PISOLO' STOOL WITH GUEST BED, 1997
Jun 12, 3:00 PM CEST
DENIS SANTACHIARA, 'PISOLO' STOOL WITH GUEST BED, 1997
by Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH
Est: €500- €600
€4500 Bids
FRENCH FAUX BAMBOO TURNED BED
Jun 07, 10:00 AM CDT
FRENCH FAUX BAMBOO TURNED BED
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$2000 Bids
ITALIAN INLAID ROSEWOOD DOUBLE BED
Jun 08, 10:00 AM CDT
ITALIAN INLAID ROSEWOOD DOUBLE BED
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $150- $300
$1000 Bids
Luigi CACCIA DOMINIONI (1913-2016) Lit double "Tris"
May 30, 5:30 PM CEST
Luigi CACCIA DOMINIONI (1913-2016) Lit double "Tris"
by Francois EPIN Auction
Est: €6,800- €7,500
€6,5000 Bids
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Charlotte PERRIAND
May 28, 6:00 PM CEST
Charlotte PERRIAND
by Artcurial
Est: €8,000- €12,000
€8,0000 Bids
Tobia Scarpa A COUPLE OF VANESSA BED STRUCTURE, AQUAMARINE LACQUERED METAL...
Jun 13, 10:30 AM CEST
Tobia Scarpa A COUPLE OF VANESSA BED STRUCTURE, AQUAMARINE LACQUERED METAL...
by Pandolfini Casa d'Aste
Est: €800- €1,000
€8000 Bids
A French carved fruitwood headboard,
Jun 04, 10:00 AM BST
A French carved fruitwood headboard,
by Roseberys
Est: £200- £300
£1400 Bids
French Provincial Carved Cane Back Headboard
May 30, 12:00 PM EDT
French Provincial Carved Cane Back Headboard
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Beds


Westport Auction

Westport Auction

Abell Auction

Abell Auction

Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH

Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH

Auctions at Showplace

Auctions at Showplace