History of the Platform Bed
If you are interested in buying a platform bed, this brief history will give you some insights into the development of the platform bed; a unique bedding trend.
The Origins of the Platform Bed
Not much is truly known about the origins of the platform bed. Early man most probably slept on the ground. It was cold, hard and offered no protection from crawling insects or small animals. While no one knows the exact moment in time the first platform bed appeared, it is sure that readily available piles of leaves and branches were covered with animal pelts which provided superior warmth and comfort to sleeping on the ground. The basic platform bed was born and has developed ever since in numerous styles and incarnations but always on the basic priciple developed by early man.
The early Egyptians created a wooden framework glued and lashed together which were found in many burial tombs. For instance they found in King Tutankahmen tomb a gold gilded ebony platform style bed. While common people slept on simpler objects, the trend developed to decorate the woods surface with gilding and paints and also to use carving to enhance the beauty of this utilitarian object, sometimes ivory was used as inlay or even as the enite foot on the best constructions. The ox foot was a popular motif for this style of platform bed, which might be more accurately described as a chaise or daybed. However described, this period was indeed the first know representation of platform bed construction.
The Asian Platform Bed
Early Asian societies also developed the concept of a timber platform bed frame to raise the sleeper of the ground. The Chinese began to craft very elaborate and carved platform beds, some of which became almost a small bedchamber. Because the boxspring as we know it was not invented until the mid 1860’s, almost all incarnations of the bed up to that point can really be considered platform beds, though we generally think of a platform bed as having a solid surface for sleeping rather than having a rope, leather or slat base for the mattress to lie upon. Interestingly Asian platform beds had no significant impact on western bed design until early in the 20th Century when design became a more international in it’s influences and concepts.
The Modern Platform Bed
Early twentieth century design in both Europe and America incorporated elements that helped lead to the wide variety of platform bed styles available today. Minimalist influences in painting and sculpture found their way quickly into furniture design, offsetting the more elaborate desings found in the Victorian period. The Asian apporoach of “less is more when done artfully” and the cultural appreciation for natural materials also helped to define the basic feel, shapes and decorative elements found on today’s platform bed designs. Mission furniture also drew on these trends toward precise craftsmenship and a simplicity of materials which lead directly to the basic geometric building block theme still seen as crucial elements of a modern platform bed. In the 1940’s futon and futon frames incorporated the platform bed ethos and continue to this day to be a popular offshoot of the platform bed idea.
Zen Platform Bed
Asian platform bed design had continued developing over the course of time, each country and region building on past traditions and incorporating new design elements. While not used exclusively for sleeping, these “platform beds” ranged from heavily decorated with carvings, paint and gilding to simple timber frames but with intricate joinery which might be decorative or entirely hidden. The simplest of the platform bed designs had what we would call today a zen sensibility. Existing in a beautiful yet functional way which draws attention neith to nor away from itself. This became extremely popular for a platform bed appearance during the 70’s in the U.S.
Metal/Wood/Leather Platform Bed Combinations
While the standard platform bed was generally wood, either decorated or plain, the metal platform bed begun to be seen more frequently in the recent past. The designs were low and had many of the simple linear characteristics of the wood platform bed, the materials ranged from iron, steel to stainless steel. As with wood, the joinery had to be clean and the overall feel simple, though many decorative variations flourished including combinations of metal and wood, wood and leather, or even upholstered platform bed designs grew increasingly popular.
Today’s Platform Bed
Today the variety of quality styles and platform bed designs is almost endless. From our humble beginnings of simply trying to get warm and off of the ground, an entire industry, style and sensibilty has arisen and will continue to evolve over time. The platform bed will be around for a long time.