Antique Bed Mattresses

Sleeping Outside of the Box Spring

In an effort to get more sleep and better sleep people are thinking outside the box spring and exploring new and old options for sleeping that will give them the rest they need. Some trendy options for getting more style include sleeping separate from a partner and looking at different styles of beds that provide a more restful environment.

Antique beds or antique reproduction beds are stylish, great for smaller spaces and tiny homes, and provide options that people need to make their homes multifunctional spaces. Finding mattresses to fit antique beds can be tough because antique bed sizes are different than the modern twin, full, queen, and king sizes mattresses that are the norm today.

Antique beds sometimes have three quarter size mattresses that are smaller versions of today’s style of mattress. An antique bed mattress would usually be custom sized for the bed frame. A ¾ mattress is usually a mattress that measures 48” x 72” and 48” x 75”.  However, 95% of antique beds don’t use a three quarter mattress, they need custom seized mattresses to fit their unique dimensions without sacrificing comfort. 

Why Have Standard Mattress Sizes?

Throughout history, beds have been developed based on the climate of a particular area, what materials were available, how many people would be sleeping on them, and other factors. Mattresses were usually homemade with easily available materials. Mattresses were made to fit whatever the sizes of the household beds were. But after the Industrial Revolution mass production made it necessary to create a standardized set of sizes so that mattresses could be mass produced and sold in large numbers. 

How Modern Mattresses Got Their Names And Sizes

Mattress styles have been consistently evolving over the past twenty years as technology makes materials like memory foam easier to get. But the sizes of modern mattresses have largely remained the same. The basic mattress sizes that most people today use are the twin, full, queen, king, or California king. Have you wondered how those become the default mattress sizes that everyone uses? It turns out that standard mattress sizes are a relatively new convention. The mattress sizes that are used today were not the sizes that were used in the past. In fact, the “king” size mattress has absolutely nothing to do with royalty. 

Throughout the Victorian era and into the early 1900s most people had what modern people would think of as twin size mattresses, which would be upgraded to what today is considered a double or full size mattress after they got married. Mattresses were relatively small because rooms were small and people were smaller then too. In the late 1940s and 1950s, people were still sleeping primarily on the antique bed mattress equivalent of a twin or single mattresses and double mattresses when retailers who were looking for ways to sell more mattresses and make more money had an idea. They decided to market larger mattresses that would cost slightly more but promised a higher level of comfort. And since people were buying larger homes in the suburbs and had more money to spend thanks to a growing economy they were eager to purchase these new larger mattresses to show off their wealth and to get better sleep.  

People also started buying these new larger mattresses because people were getting larger.  According to an article published in 1963 at the turn of the century only 4% of men had been over six feet tall but by the 1950s 20% of men were over six feet tall. Women were getting taller now. These days people are still increasing in height and they are increasing in weight as well, which is causing an upward trend in mattress sizes to the California king and Texas king sizes. 

A “King” Bed

When people think about a bed fit for a king they usually think about beds used by monarchs in Europe in the Middle Ages. Every culture has its own unique bedding history that includes different types of beds and mattresses that were suited to the climate, conditions, and social status of the people in that culture. In Europe beds, mattresses, and bedding were symbols of status and wealth as well as necessary pieces of furniture. It wasn’t unusual for entire families to share one bed among the lower classes.

Nobles and royalty would usually have large ornate carved wooden beds that were raised extremely high off the floor. This was so that the people in the bed wouldn’t be disturbed by rats or other vermin that tended to run across the floors, especially at night. Beds also had high canopies that were draped with heavy fabrics. Among the nobility, these canopies and coverings were a display of wealth and the fabrics used would have ornate woven designs and be made from the highest quality materials.  Less affluent people would have beds with canopies made from coarse fabrics that weren’t decorative but were there to prevent rodents, insects, and debris falling from the thatched roof of the home into the bed where the family was sleeping. 

Box Beds

For the lower classes who had homes consisting of one large room box beds became popular because they gave people a little privacy as well as protection from vermin and from drafts during the cold winter months. Box beds were originally developed during the Medieval period in Europe but in various places throughout Europe and the U.S. they were still used well into the 20th century. 

Box beds were cabinets similar to an armoire or wardrobe that had a mattress inside. The doors had windows cut into them for ventilation and light, and often there were shelves that could be used as storage during the day but worked as steps at night so that people could climb in and out of the beds. Box beds used custom mattresses of canvas stuffed with straw or other material made to whatever size the box was. Often people who had money would put a featherbed over the straw mattress to make it more comfortable and warmer.

Box beds may look strange to modern people but they are making a big comeback. People who have tiny houses, people who live in small apartments in major cities who want to maximize space, and people who are trying to make their homes multifunctional are rediscovering the benefits of box beds. Antique size mattresses that fit into box beds can be hard to find, but custom antique size mattresses can be made to fit any unique bed. 

Antique Beds for Modern Living Call For Custom Mattresses

Antique bed styles and antique mattress styles are becoming popular again as people search for ways to adapt their beds to modern life. Old fashioned mattress sizes are becoming popular with people who are turning away from the modern huge bedroom suite complete with an enormous box spring mattress. Technology has freed people to pursue nomadic living in vans and trailers and to live in tiny houses in remote locations and to have a house that functions as a workplace, classroom, playground, and family space combined. As a result people are adapting how they live and how they sleep. Rediscovering the practicality and comfort of antique beds means that more people than ever need to think outside of the familiar box spring mattress and look for custom mattress solutions.

People who need a small home to function on many levels are using antique beds to save space and to create rooms that serve more than one purpose. And as people turn away from traditional beds and start to explore box beds, rope beds, Jenny Lind beds, metal antique beds, iron beds, spool beds, and other antique bed styles they need custom mattresses that are made from modern materials that will stand up to heavy use and still be comfortable.

Getting a custom antique bed mattress or an old-fashioned mattress size mattress isn’t as difficult or as confusing as you might thing. If you have an old box spring or a mattress that is roughly the size that you find comfortable we can create a mattress of a similar size for the antique bed that you have or want to use. If you don't have either, our mattress experts can help you measure by phone with the help of a few pictures that you send us.


Call us today to talk about your custom antique bed mattress needs and to find out how we can help.