What You Need to Know Before Buying an Antique Bed Frame

Michelle Hawco
Published on November 12, 2018

What You Need to Know Before Buying an Antique Bed Frame

An antique bed frame can be a beautiful and charming addition to your bedroom. However, it’s not always easy to make an antique bed frame work in your bedroom. Not for style reasons, but for functionality.

Antique bed frames may not conform to standard mattress sizing, which can make it difficult to find a mattress that fits appropriately. There are options that work, but it’s a good idea to find out about them before you shop for antique beds so you know what you’re up against.

Shopping for an Antique Bed

As you’re antique bed shopping, keep mattress size in mind. When you’re actually looking at beds, bring a measuring tape. Compare the dimensions of the mattress area on the bed to standard mattress sizes. That way, you can consider whether you’ll be able to fit a standard mattress on the bed without modification. Even if that’s not the case, it’s best to know ahead of time so you can factor conversion or the price of a custom or specialty size mattress into how much you’ve budgeted for the cost of the bed.

Finding a Mattress to Fit Antique Beds

It’s more complicated to find a mattress to fit an antique bed than it is to get one for a regular bed frame. But it isn’t impossible. Often, antique beds fit a three quarters size mattress, which is typically available online or at specialty retailers.

However, sometimes, you’ll need to get a custom sized mattress to fit your antique bed frame. Like three quarters size mattresses, custom sized mattresses are available, but are not as easy to find as a standard sized mattress. As specialty sized mattresses, both options may be more costly than a comparable standard sized mattress and you may be more limited on available mattress types, options, and features than you would be with a standard sized mattress.

Converting Your Antique Bed

If your antique bed doesn’t fit a standard sized mattress, and you can’t find or don’t want to use a three quarters size mattress or a custom sized mattress, you have one more option: a bed conversion.

With a bed conversion, you can use a standard sized mattress on your bed frame. DIY bed conversion kits are typically available, and will modify your antique frame to be able to hold a standard sized mattress. Although this solves the sizing problem somewhat easily, it’s not an ideal choice for some, as you’ll alter your antique bed frame and may decrease its value.

Finding Bedding for Your Antique Bed

Another consideration for antique beds is the bedding you’ll use. If you have a custom sized or three quarters sized mattress, you may not be able to use standard sheets, or have to make modifications. Antique bed frames tend to be smaller in size than standard ones today, so some comforters, duvets, or quilts may be awkwardly large on an antique bed even if you have the right size mattress. Of course, if you’re using a vintage quilt or other bedding with a standard sized mattress, you may notice that it’s too narrow and need to switch to a standard sized cover instead.

Antique furniture can come with quirks, and antique beds are no exception. Buying an antique bed can make finding a mattress and bedding that’s appropriate for the frame more complicated, but not impossible. If you want an antique bed and have found one you love that doesn’t fit standard mattress sizes, consider your options for making it a functional place to sleep.

Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.