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Buying and Owning an Antique Bed

February 16, 2019

Buying and Owning an Antique Bed - English Georgian America

What's old has become new again in the realm of home design.

Decor aspects that our grandparents and great-grandparents used out of necessity, such as apron-front sinks and chippy dressers, are now trendy thanks to the popularmodern farmhouse style.

If you've been following this movement, you've likely daydreamed about owning a centuries-old dining table or an antique bed. Yet, once you've paid the price and hauled it into your home, are you ready to care for it?

The reality is that older furniture requires more attention than new pieces to keep it looking its best. Today, we're sharing how to keep your new-to-you bed in top shape, so you can enjoy all the perks of this well-loved item without unintentionally damaging it along the way.

Ready to learn more? Let's go shopping for the best tips.

Purchasing Your Bed

As you begin your hunt for theperfect antique bed, you'll likely encounter myriad different selections along the way. Think first about the look you're after.

Determining Your Design Style

Do you swoon over a French-inspired piece, or is a Georgian antique more your style? Beds built in the 18th century will look different from those crafted in theArt Deco era, just as Art Nouveau designs vary from 19th-century ones.

Browse online to find a few photographs of items that pique your interest, then research the origins behind them. Also, consider the material used to construct the bed itself. Are you attracted to walnut headboards, or are antique iron bed frames more your style?

Narrowing down and fine-tuning your preferences in this way can help you choose from among the sea of options.

Don't forget to also factor in your existing space when brainstorming the style you love. There's nothing like falling head-over-heels for an antique king bed only to realize you only have space for a twin.

Examining the Piece

When you find a piece that fits your needs and suits your taste, it's time to inspect it for quality. The most beautiful antique bed isn't valuable or even safe if it's too worn. Here are a few aspects to consider.

Check the Fittings

In what condition are the rails and fittings? If they're solid, inspect further to determine the style of bed you're looking at. Normally, if the rails are L-shaped and screw into hitches that are T-shaped, the bed is from the 1900s or newer.

Conversely, if the hitches are C-shaped and drop in rather than screw, this denotes a bed constructed in or around the 19th century. If the side rails are wooden and attach with bolts, this hints to European design.

Consider Mattress Size

Some antique bed frames are not sized for a standard mattress. In these cases, you'll need to procure a specialty mattress designed to fit those dimensions, which can come with a higher price tag.

Evaluate Overall Condition

Next, check the patina and the overall quality of the bed. Make sure the finish is high-quality. If it has been refinished, ensure the job was well-done.

Make sure the bed is sturdy before you buy. Put weight on it and see if it leans, moves or wobbles. Check the feet and look for any signs, such as filled screw holes, that they've been sawn down to make the bed lower.

This isn't necessarily a no-go, but it can help you negotiate a lower price, as an alteration such as this affects the bed's value.

Taking Care of Your Bed

Once the bed is situated where you want it to go, it's important to treat it with care. Of course, the specific protocol you'll need to follow will depend on the bed itself. If you're unsure about certain steps, talk to the antiques dealer for a step-by-step guide.

As a general rule of thumb, the following practices can help you keep your antique bedroom furniture looking good as new.

Choose Your Cleaner Wisely

Commercial, off-the-shelf furniture cleaners and polishers full of chemicals are often designed with modern furniture in mind. That said, they could wreak havoc on your antique bed.

Often, a simple solution such as teak oil is best for natural wood. You can also find furniture wax to safeguard your headboards and railings and keep them shiny.

Be sure to keep your bed dust-free with a dry, soft cloth that won't be abrasive to its finish. You don't have to do a thorough cleaning every day, but keeping the dust at bay can do wonders on its own.

Finding an Optimal Layout

To the greatest extent possible, aim to keep your antique bed away from direct sunlight.

Why? The sun's powerful rays can discolor your furniture and negatively affect some polishes and patinas. Along the same lines, keep the bed away from direct heat sources, such as space heaters.

Not only could the heat change the material, but it could also wear down the screws and bolts holding the frame together. Position the bed in a cool, shady part of the room to make sure it's always well-protected.

Find the Antique Bed of Your Dreams Today

While our ancestors might not have thought twice about lying down on a Louis XVI upholstered bed, these are the kinds of pieces that today's homeowner appreciates and seeks out.

If you're in the market to transform your bedroom into the regal, time-honored design of your dreams, we'd love to help.

Our fine antique reproductions give you all the look, style and class of bygone eras without the fussy upkeep and structural concerns. Now that you've found your antique bed, don't stop there.

Browse our selection ofside tables to complete the look and you'll be the talk of the neighborhood, for all the right reasons.