Interior Design Using Old Iron Beds
July 13th, 2012

Up until recently most interior designers have used “reproduction” iron beds for all their bedroom design needs. Why? Rather simple answer….it was easier and “reproductions” offered todays larger sizes, that weren’t available back in the 1800’s.

It was quite easy to go “on-line” and look up any number of companies that produced reproductions and order a bed to be shipped directly to the client. What could be easier…….. and what could be more common place. The likelihood of walking into your neighbors home and seeing the same exact bed you have in yours was quite high. Reproduction companies, though well meaning, don’t have a lot of imagination. In all fairness, they’re filling a definite need. The reason for their existence is quite simple if you think about it. The reason “reproduction” companies spring up, in any field, is because there aren’t enough originals to fill the demand for them. So alternatives have to be found……reproductions.

But if you’re willing to put a little time into finding an original antique iron bed, you’ll be setting yourself apart from the sheep that carry around their “resource” guide……that every other decorator/designer has.

One of the dilemmas in wanting to use an antique iron bed has always been the size. Most people have queen or king size mattresses today.

As you may already know, the largest size being made back in the early 1800’s was a double size. So when someone wants a king size, they have to have it converted to size they want. If they want a king size. that’s done by cutting the bed apart in integral places and adding additional tubing to increase the width of the headboard and footboard. Moulds should be taken of the original castings so when additional vertical rods are needed, they then are able to pour those needed castings . When trying convert a bed to king size it’s been done in the same manner in which the bed was originally put together close to 200 years ago. So try and make whatever adjustments to your bed in the same way you’d imagine them being made 160 years ago.  Beware of dealers that tell you they can convert your bed to king size.  Be sure and ask to see some of his previous work and the manner in which he does his conversions . If he isn’t doing it in the manner I’ve just described , go elsewhere. Also ask to see a proportional sketch of your bed in a king size. That way it leaves little to the imagination as to what it’s going to become.

When it comes to Queen conversions, none of the above is necessary. The reason being, the difference in width between the antique double and the modern queen is negligible…. It’s only a couple of inches on both sides. So a width conversion isn’t necessary like that with a king. The best way we accommodate the old double to hold the queen mattress is by welding the siderails, that hold the headboard and footboard together lengthwise, longer by 5″. Once put together the box spring and mattress will set on top of the siderails and extend over a couple of inches. Once the bed is appropriately dressed, that width difference is not noticeable.

I hope you’ve found this blog informative . I invite you to revisit my website


to answer any and all questions you might have about antique iron beds.

I also invite you to take a look at our company  Face Book page for multiple photo albums on Custom Finishes, Canopy Conversions and a comprehensive “Before & After” King Conversions album.

Cathouse Antique Iron Be#B1BE56

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