Victorian Beds

Gently Used, Vintage, and Antique Victorian Beds

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Victorian Beds

HOW TO STYLE A VICTORIAN BED, 2 WAYS

On the hunt for a bed that doesn’t shy away from making a statement? Why not put a Victorian bed to work? Like other Victorian furniture, Victorian beds sometimes get pigeonholed as “too traditional.” Consumers often deem them too puritanical for modern interiors, while others balk at the price tag. On the contrary, a Victorian bed can be a powerful design element, especially when paired with unexpected elements like modern color and impactful patterns. As for the price tag? As you'll come to see, when styled right, a Victorian bed is more than worth it.

When scouting Victorian beds for sale, you’re likely to come across two mainstay designs: wood Victorian beds and iron Victorian beds. Each one can be styled in a completely unique way that can alter the look and feel of a room. To help you envision what a Victorian wood or iron bed could do for your space, we’re spotlighting both styles and sharing styling tricks and tips for both.

Victorian Wood Beds

It’s likely that most Victorian wood beds that you run across will bear the name “Eastlake.” Named after the movement’s founder, Charles Lock Eastlake, Eastlake style takes its cues from the Arts and Crafts movement. Eastlake was notoriously averse to the Rococo revival that took place during the latter half of the 19th century and favored a more modern and refined style. Eastlake beds are among some of the most ornate of Eastlake pieces. They most often feature dark finishes and liner and geometric carvings. Bamboo, in fact, is a commonly used motif in Eastlake bed designs. Most carvings are not heavily relieved, but rather, lightly incised.

Because of their dark finishes and imposing frames, Victorian Eastlake beds will dominate a room. Visually, they can be lightened with an abundance of pillows in lighter hues, as well as a neutral color duvet or coverlet. Because Victorian Eastlake beds tend to have very high headboards, they may better lend themselves to rooms with higher than average ceilings. One bonus of Victorian Eastlake furniture is that, unlike Mission-style furniture which also showcases Arts and Crafts influences, Eastlake furniture can be more easily paired with contrasting styles. Mission-style furniture tends to be so specific in its architecture that it’s difficult to team with furniture from alternate eras. Thanks to its smaller scale and more refined ornamentation, Eastlake furniture tends to be more compatible with styles like campaign, Art Nouveau, and Rococo.

If you love the idea of a Victorian wood bed but balk at the idea of introducing such a dark, attention-grabbing piece to your space, consider using a petite Eastlake bed in a kid’s room. Whereas a standard-size Eastlake bed can monopolize a room, a smaller-scale one can act more like an accent piece. The smaller scale also makes it easier to liberate one from its overly traditionalist connotations. Sync one up with colorful decor, including bright Mid-Century Modern tables and dressers. If you’re concerned about things looking cohesive, try bridging the gap with a dark but playful wallpaper, such as a woodland theme paper checkered with colorful forest animals, or an intricate aviation paper peppered with colorful hot air balloons. Just like you would with a larger Victorian wood bed, keep the bedding simple to let the relief work shine. If you are tempted to go with print, opt for something simple like plaid or buffalo checks.

Wrought Iron Victorian Bed

For those who appreciate Victorian design, but crave something more minimalist, Victorian iron beds may better fit the bill. Victorian iron beds vary widely in design. Some are simple with linear iron spindles while others display more Art Nouveau stylings. The latter tend to read more like statement pieces, making them ideal for larger bedrooms.

Iron beds often dictate more elaborate bedding, including flowing skirts and scalloped sheets to soften the hard edges of the frame. Design pros will likely guide you toward white bedding as opposed to something more elaborate and printed. If you are inclined to integrate some pattern, try throwing a printed coverlet over the foot of your Victorian iron bed. Ethnic textiles such as suzanis, mud cloths, and Otomis can provide bold pattern and eye-catching color without running the risk of looking overly busy. In the event you do have a more ornate Art Nouveau-inspired bed frame, you can also try to match your frame’s curvature to a throw’s design for a more pulled-together look.

Have elevated or pitched ceilings? A Victorian canopy bed made of iron can help accentuate them. While it used to be commonplace to dress a Victorian canopy bed’s canopy in gauzy textiles, these days most designers will encourage you to keep the posters bare. A bare canopy calls attention to both the bed’s architecture and your room’s.

Lastly, worth keeping in mind when shopping for vintage Victorian beds with metal frames is that most people prefer the support offered by a solid bed frame. Given this is the case, Victorian metal beds may be better suited to bedrooms that are not used on the regular such as guest rooms. Victorian iron beds are also common choices for kids rooms. Their minimalist frames mean they can easily be used in pairs without taking up too much space, literally and visually.