Famous Beds Through History

Posted by Lauren Jaques - Senior Buyer, Frames and Furniture on 29th Dec 2022

Famous Beds Through History

Some beds are one in a million. Some rise to fame – while others, after providing their owners with years of comfort and support, retire in relative obscurity. Here, we take a look at some of the world’s most famous beds – from beds that have made history, to the rising stars.

While some of the world’s beds are made to be great – other beds have greatness thrust upon them. 

Leaders in bed-making technology – like Tempur, iGel, and Silentnight, to name a few – have created beds and mattresses that have revolutionised the world’s sleep for good.

Even NASA scientists have had a hand in creating the beds that made history: in the 1960s, a new material was created to absorb the G-force pressure astronauts endure during lift-off and landing. This viscoelastic material had both high-energy absorption and soft, pressure relieving properties. By the 1970s, the material was refined by Tempur: and memory foam was created. By 1991, the comfortable, supportive, and breathable foam was made available all around the world – in the form of pillows and mattresses.

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But other beds have become famous, not for being great beds to sleep on, but for what they have represented to the world. From beds that famous people slept on, to beds that have become famous art pieces or cultural icons in their own right – let’s take a look at the beds that have changed how we’ve slept and how we’ve lived over the years.

From the Hollywood Ottoman Bed to the Beds Made in Hollywood

A collection of film reels and cases, a clapper board, and a Hollywood road sign.

While shopping for a new bed , you may have come across the phrase Hollywood bed, or Hollywood ottoman bed. Stylish, grand, and luxuriously comfy – a Hollywood bed is a singular kind of bed, typically made up of a mattress on a box spring, an ottoman base with low legs, and an upholstered headboard.(1)

Hollywood beds come in a range of sizes and colours to suit all kinds of bedrooms. If you want something fit for the stars in your own space – try any of our ottoman bases paired with a matching, tufted headboard, for a comfy place to rest your head while you enjoy a late-night movie or morning coffee in bed. With a range of size options, you can pick a Hollywood ottoman bed with plenty of room to stretch out, or something streamlined and small that is perfect for less roomy bedrooms. With beautiful fabric finishes and plenty of colour options to choose from, your Hollywood ottoman bed can be a larger-than-lifestyle statement if you want it to be – or something more understated and classic. A Hollywood ottoman bed certainly lives up to its name, fit for any kind of celebrity bedroom.

Hollywood beds are not to be confused with beds made in Hollywood – as in, beds that don’t necessarily have a box spring base and a comfortable headboard, but beds that achieved fame for one reason or another in the glamorous Los Angeles city. Beds have existed in our films and TV shows for as long as these media have existed – they have glamourised movie bedrooms, our favourite characters have slept on them, and sometimes they’ve even possessed magical qualities.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: when a king size bed isn’t big enough

You might remember the Bucket household’s bed from Charlie and the Chocolate factory – one of cinema’s most famously crowded beds. Grandpa Joe, Grandma Josephine, Grandpa George, and Grandma Georgina all slept head to toe in this bed – and it didn’t look much larger than a king size bed. This sleeping arrangement was charming, but must have been far from comfortable, and we hope they were able to upgrade to a super king size bed in the end – which is 30cm wider – or separate double beds.

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Bedknobs and Broomsticks: a singular double bed

In Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a bed knob enchanted by Miss Price’s magic allows Charlie, Carrie, and Paul to travel wherever they’d like on their bed – from the centre of London to far-off, mysterious islands. Its magical powers help the children to fend off evil and save the day, while enjoying many adventures along the way. (2)

Any child would dream of an enchanted bed, and although we don’t sell them (you’ll have to ask Miss Price about that) we have some other special beds that can make your child’s room feel a little bit magical.

Let your children’s imaginations run free with the help of an exciting themed bed. Our  Wig Wam X Bed Frame has a fabric roof complete with lookout holes, just like a camp bed a Wild-West adventurer might sleep in. This bed will inspire your little one’s imagination, and transport them straight to the wide, open plains of the desert – all from the comfort of home. These beds are guaranteed to make bedtime something to look forward to, and will make your child’s room feel extra special.

Make your bed Hollywood-ready at Bensons for Beds

If you’ve ever noticed a bed in a film that’s given you a bit of style envy or inspiration – why not turn that feeling into action, and make your dream bed a reality? We’ve created a range of beds inspired by classic and contemporary styles –  shop our range to find one that’s ideal for you.

Royal Beds from History

A sketched image of King Henry VIII in his royal finery

What were royal beds from history like, and where are they now? 

It might be hard to believe, but King Henry VIII’s bed ended up in a hotel carpark, before it was rediscovered, restored, and put on display at Hever Castle in Kent.(3)

Historical royal beds are treasured today, because of their unique, striking, and beautiful designs. Many of them were very different from the royal beds of today, reflecting the cultural changes that have occurred over the years.

Bed rails are not just for cribs – in the past, royal beds featured them too. Being allowed entry into the royal bedchambers to see the monarchs rise and get ready for the day was an honour many years ago. Due to the crowds, the royals started installing bedrails to keep spectators at bay.(4)

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Royal bed rails were beautifully decorated, and were often personalised with a crest or with initials –Charles II and Queen Catherine’s bed rail featured an ornate letter C carved into the design.(5) In today’s age, it might not be as fashionable to carve your initial into your bed frame, but there are other stylish ways to personalise your bed – try picking a bed frame and matching headboard in your favourite colour, and pair them with matching bedroom furniture that reflects your personal style.

Amazingly, one of the most spectacular royal beds was never slept in: King George III’s consort, Queen Charlotte, ordered a bed to be made with 4,200 flowers embroidered on its curtains. Each flower took at least a day to stitch. To this day, it is one of the most elaborate royal beds ever commissioned.(6)

Sleep like a Royal

If you like the idea of sleeping in a bed fit for a king (or queen), take a look at the collection from  Royal Warrant holders,  Hypnos, and discover why they can lay claim to making the "Most comfortable beds in the world". Hypnos has been supplying beds to the Royal Household since the reign of King George V. And, as if that wasn't impressive enough, the Luxurious Earth Collection of Hypnos mattresses, available exclusively at Bensons for Beds, has been endorsed by the Eden Project

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Can a single bed be fit for royalty?

Although a queen bed or king bed might feel synonymous with royalty, there’s no reason why a  single bed can’t be grand and luxurious.

We’ve come up with a few tips to help make your bed feel fit for royalty:

1. Add a headboard

Whether you have a single bed, a double bed, or a super king bed – a bed of any size can be fitted with a headboard. If you’re in a smaller space, a headboard is a perfect addition to a single bed or small double bed if you still want to make a statement but don’t want to sacrifice on floorspace. Headboards not only look great, but they can protect your head and wall, and they’re super comfortable to lean back on, too.

2. Upgrade your bed frame

With the right bed frame, any bed can be a statement piece. From ornate, metal designs; to soft, dreamy, upholstered pastels, your bed frame can be as customisable as you want it to be.

3. Find a mattress worthy of a princess

Finding the right mattress is important for any royal bed – reading The Princess and the Pea can tell us that. But not every mattress will suit everyone – because our bodies, and our sleep styles, are all unique. If you want a new mattress but you’re not sure where to start, head into one of our stores and speak with one of our sleeppro experts, who can talk you through your pressure points and help you find a mattress that’s perfect for you.

4. Choose some luxury bedding

The perfect way to finish off your bed is with some luxurious bedding. Think soft pillows, silky sheets, and a comfy mattress protector. With the perfect combination of stylish and comfy, you’ll be missing your bed any time you’re away from it.

Beds as Art and Protest Pieces

Side view of the Tate Art Gallery in Liverpool

Some beds have meant more to us than anyone could have imagined. These are the beds that were created to be viewed, to make us think, and to inspire change.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in

John Lennon and Yoko Oko chose to make their honeymoon a 'bed-in for peace,’ where they sacrificed their alone time and invited the press to their hotel room so that their campaign for world peace could be heard and recorded.(7)

From bed to art installation

When artist Tracey Emin had a vision – her ‘lived-in’ bed standing in the centre of a white space – she realised she wanted to display her bed in a gallery. That is when "My Bed" was born. The art installation: an unmade bed, surrounded by various items and keepsakes, represents an emotional time from the artist’s past.

Emin’s piece is full of life and movement. It was displayed in the Tate, and it was nominated for the Turner Prize.

Styling your bed

Your bed is one of your most personal pieces of furniture. It’s where you spend most of your life, and all of our beds tell a story about us. Are your keepsakes tucked under your divan bed in under-bed storage drawers? Do you have an assortment of bright, colourful bedroom furniture to match your headboard and bed frame? You can make your bed as vibrant or as understated as you want, with a range of storage and customisation options at Bensons for Beds. Shop online, call us today on 0808 144 6160, or drop into one of our stores, to create a bedroom you’ll love.

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(1)  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Hollyw...


(3)  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales...

(4) https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales...



(7) John and Yoko's bed in | National Museums Liverpool (liverpoolmuseums.org.uk)

(8)  Tracey Emin, 'My Bed' | Tate

authors profile
Lauren Jaques
Senior Buyer
Lauren has worked at Bensons for Beds for 1 12 years. Lauren is a real industry expert in the area of home furnishing and has buying skills in abundance combined with a keen eye for product detail and flair for design.
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