Everyone has their own decorating style, whether it’s minimalist, modern, farmhouse chic, contemporary, or undefined. For the most part, homes tend to have a consistent design style throughout. For many, vintage and antique furniture are a staple in their home design. An antique dresser may be the perfect accent on a Joanna Gaines’ inspired shiplap wall, or a vintage photo could be the finishing touch in a minimalist’s living room.
If you enjoy decorating with antiques, you’ve likely encountered an unforeseen problem at some point or another. Just like older homes have quirks that need to be updated, vintage and antique furniture often have variations that may not align with current needs. Antique beds, in particular, don’t always measure up to today’s sleeping standards. Don’t let this crush your dreams of a beautiful vintage bed frame though, you can still have that key piece in your home – there are just a few things to consider before finalising your purchase.
What to consider before purchasing an antique bed
- Mattress Size: Today, mattresses come in a variety of sizes including Twin, Full/Double, Queen, King, California King, Twin-XL, and more. However, Queen and King size mattresses weren’t introduced until the 1950’s. Prior to that, Full/Double beds were the primary standard. So, if you’re looking for an antique frame to fit your King size mattress, you’ll need to stick to those made after 1950.
- Firmness And Stability: Mattress firmness has a big impact on a person’s quality of sleep – and everyone’s needs are a little different. Prior to 1910, bed frames were designed to fit mattresses, without a box spring. When box springs were introduced to create a firmer sleep space and offer more stability, bed frames had to be resized to accommodate the new addition.
- Length: When Queen and King mattresses were introduced in the 1950’s, they were not only wider but longer as well. Twin and Full/Double mattresses were 72” long but Queen and King mattresses offered 80” – offering anyone over six feet tall a much happier sleep experience. Eventually, Twin and Full/Double beds grew to be 75” long, which remains the standard today.
- Conversions: There are ways to convert full/double-size antique frames to fit today’s standard mattresses (Queen-size is typically the largest you can go), but it may affect the overall value of the frame. There are conversion kits available as well as professionals who specialize in converting antique furniture (which is likely the better option to preserve the frame as much as possible).
While there are a lot of factors associated with an antique bed frame, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of beautiful pieces of furniture that were made after 1950 that will likely fit today’s furniture with no problem. If the piece you have your eye on is older, just make sure you do your research and take a lot of measurements before handing over payment. No matter what style you’re going for, quality furniture is an investment. Your bed is the primary place where you go to find refuge and rest in your home, so it deserves to be invested in.
Samantha Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favourite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.