So you’ve found a beautiful old antique iron bed, gotten home and set it up in your bedroom only to find that once you get your big thick “pillow top” mattress and large square European Pillow Shams…….your headboard is pretty much hidden.
What are your options?
The first possibility is to have the headboard raised on your bed. That can be done by any welder. It’s a rather simple fix. Have your welder cut the tubing just a couple of inches above the “hitch level”. That is the connecting point at which your side rails attach. Before the cuts are made you’re going to want to measure what you have on the bed to see how much you’re going to need to have welded in. Your welder will then cut a piece of tubing that is the same diameter as the tubing on your bed. A suggestion to your welder……ask him to dowel the added tubing for additional strength before he welds it. After the welding is done, you’re going to want the weld marks to be completely grown down,with a grinder, so it’s completely smooth. Then you’ll touch it up to look like whatever finish your bed already has.
Another possibility is to eliminate the use of your current box spring, and use what is called a “bunkie board”. A bunkie board is only 2″ thick and has no springs in it. But gives better support and longevity to your mattress….that the old box spring did, which was approx 9″ in thickness. By using the bunkie board you’ve effectively lowered the height of your iron beds mattress by approx 6″.
On rare occasions I’ve had people ask me to lower their foot boards. Raising or lowering a foot board is much more problematic than a head board because all of the interior design of the foot board needs to be cut and welded. It can be done…..but you’re going to change the intended proportions of the bed. You’re also not going to achieve any better look in the long run.
So whether you decide to weld or use a different box spring…….. alterations can be done to achieve more exposure of your head board. The reason this was not an issue in the 1800’s is because their spring unit and feather mattress together only measured about 6 to 8 inches. That’s a far cry from the mattress and box springs we use today.
Also most all iron beds only had one thin set of pillows, that were rarely ever propped up against the headboard and were instead usually laid flat on the mattress at the head of the bed.
Hope this has been helpful to you in your dealings with the height and alterations of all antique iron beds.
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.
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