How do I Choose the Best Antique Bed?

Britt Archer

A buyer should take the overall condition of the bed into consideration when choosing the best antique bed for her home. Antique iron beds may become rusted or corroded with time. Antique wooden beds may be rotted or otherwise weakened. Look at the overall condition of the bed and test key pressure points before deciding to purchase a vintage bed. Some damage, such as weak support beams, can be replaced by a skilled craftsman, but this may be more costly than buying a different bed.

An antique bed.
An antique bed.

You should determine your style preference before embarking on a search for the bed. Beds run the gamut from antique canopy beds to trundle styles to Murphy beds. Each style and type of bed is equipped with different features. A Murphy bed is beneficial in a small environment where an antique canopy bed with four posters that is large enough for a king-sized mattress may not work. An antique iron bed that sleeps one may work well in a teen's cluttered room but wouldn't be right for a couple.

Some antique bed frames may not be designed to accommodate modern mattress sizes.
Some antique bed frames may not be designed to accommodate modern mattress sizes.

You should consider the maintenance routine needed to keep an antique bed looking good. Antique brass beds need to be cleaned and polished on a regular basis to maintain their shine, a drawback for people with busy schedules. Wood needs to be cleaned and waxed to remain strong. Know your own personal limits for cleaning and maintenance before choosing an antique bed for your home.

Antique beds don't always follow the same modern sizing offered by mattress manufacturers. If you're planning to use a modern mattress, carry a note with the standard mattress dimensions and compare it to the dimensions of the bed. If it doesn't fit, you may need to search for another bed or have a mattress custom made. A too-small mattress can make getting into and out of bed awkward. A mattress that is too large can put strain on the structural integrity of the bed, leading to undue wear and tear.

Always determine the value of your antique bed before attempting to clean or restore it. Certain cleaning methods and restoration can devalue the price of some antiques. Speak to a professional appraiser before making drastic changes to the appearance or structure of your bed. You should research the history of an antique bed before changing its look because some antiques have significant cultural or historical value and should not be used for everyday purposes.

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