Which side of the fence do you fall on? Do you think small is beautiful? Or are you firmly in the bigger is better court? We think it’s all depends what you’re talking about. When it comes to a birthday present we believe that, more often than not, the best things come in small packages.
However, when it comes to beds, we believe that, in most cases, bigger is better. We love a big bed and we know that you do too, with king size beds overtaking standard doubles in popularity in recent years(i). But a love of huge beds is nothing new. Throughout history, a whopper of a bed has been a status symbol, a sign of wealth and influence and a must-have luxury for those in the money. Why else do you think we call them king size?
Thinking of going super-size in your bedroom? Join us on a tour through some of history’s biggest and best beds before choosing the perfect bed size for your space.
Harvard Metal Bed Frame
King Size Beds: The Biggest and Best Beds Throughout History
Sleeping in a large bed is a real luxury. A big bed has been a must have since the middle ages, with the wealthiest and most important members of Medieval society starting the trend forgoing large when it comes to bedroom furniture.
Why is a big bed a must have?
But why choose a big bed? First and foremost, more space means extra comfort. Who among us would claim we prefer to snuggle up in a small double over stretching our limbs out in a super king size bed? This is particularly true for those people who share a bed with a partner. Whether they shuffle about or snore, most of us need an amount of separation when in bed. Yes, sleeping in each other’s arms might sound wonderfully romantic but the reality is it’s not the ideal sleep set up for most of us.
Opting for a larger size bed not only maximises comfort, it also minimises disturbance. With more space you’re less likely to be awoken by a partner who moves a lot in their sleep. You’re also less likely to experience motion transfer – the bouncing and movement of a mattress on your side when your other half turns over or sits up.
Big beds: a status symbol
Dormeo Octaspring Elite Duo Memory Divan Bed Set On Castors
Going for a king size bed these days is all about personal space. However, in years gone by, the choice to sleep in a big bed was nothing but status. While the poor slept on bags stuffed with hay, Medieval lords and ladies opted for the highest beds they could find. Some were so high off the ground a step stool was required.
Four poster beds with sumptuous drapes made of colourful, tactile fabrics were popular, and frames featured ornate carvings. Expensive and showy, these beds were designed less for comfort (although they were far comfier than the average peasant’s bed) but as a display of a homeowner’s wealth and status.
This passion for large, showy beds lasted right through the Renaissance era until Victorian times when the bedroom became a private space and the rich and famous began to shy away from receiving guests while sitting in bed.
The world’s biggest bed
Thought a super king was as big as it got? Think again. According to the Guinness Book of Records the world’s biggest bed was built in the Netherlands in 2011 by Commissie Zomerfeesten St Gregorius Hertme as part of the Hertme summer festival (ii). Measuring 26.5M or 86’ 11” in length and 16.4M or 53’ 11” wide, this enormous bed is around twelve times the size of your average double. Ideal if you need room to sleep 24 people together but not such a practical fit for your bedroom!
According to local stories, this record breaking bed was the result of a contest between two local mayors to create something their otherwise non-descript towns could be recognised for. It makes a change from giant balls of string we suppose…
Famous Beds: The Big Ones
We love getting a look at the beds of the rich and famous, weird and wonderful bed designs and beds that are big in size as well as in personality. Let’s take a look at some of our favourites…
King George II’s travelling bed
The King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1727 to 1760, George II was one of history’s richest rulers. So loaded was His Maj he could afford pretty much anything he wanted, including a luxury bed to sleep in on his travels. Designed to be taken apart each morning for transport, this four poster bed was made up of 54 separate components which were reconfigured every night by the King’s long-suffering flunkies. (iii)
The Babu Thousand Day bed
If you ever find yourself travelling through the Zhejiang province of China take the opportunity to drop in on Wuzhen, home to the Jiangnan Hundred Beds Museum (iv). Here you’ll see some of China’s most famed beds, including the Babu Thousand Day bed. Requiring the expertise of over a thousand craftsmen and taking three years to build, this spectacular Qing era bed is made of boxwood and measures a whopping 12’ x 7’ with a height of over 9’.
The Great Bed of Ware
Famous enough to have been namechecked by Ben Jonson and immortalised in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the Great Bed of Ware was built in the flamboyant Elizabethan era for an inn located in Ware, Hertfordshire. Now on display at the V&A and considered one of the museum’s greatest treasures, the Great Bed of Ware, over 10’ in width, was designed to accommodate a minimum of four couples.(v)
Elvis’s hamburger bed
Named ‘the hamburger bed’ by his daughter Lisa Marie, Elvis Presley’s plush, circular bed resembles nothing less than a fluffy hamburger bun. Ugly as this oversized piece of rock royalty furniture might be, it was nonetheless fitted with all mod-cons, with a TV, stereo and eight track player built into the headboard. It recently sold on eBay for $50,000.(vi)
Shaq’s oversized bed
Sometimes an average bed just isn’t big enough for its occupant. Lucky then that larger than life basketball player Shaquille O’Neal has enough cash in the bank to have beds especially designed to fit his looming 7’ 1” frame. Circular in shape, the master bed in Shaq’s 70,000 square foot Orlando mansion reportedly measures 15’ x 30’. He has also commissioned a slightly less obscene but nonetheless ‘Shaq sized’ 6’ x 8.1’ Tempur-Pedic mattress (vii).
So You Think You Want a Super King Size Bed?
Have your heart set on the biggest bed you can get your hands on? Hold your horses! Before going big and going home (with a big bed) there are a few things you really should think about.
Choosing a bed to suit your bedroom
Of course one of the biggest considerations you’ll have when choosing the size of bed that suits you is the available space in your bedroom. More on measuring up later. For now let’s think about the look and feel of your room.
A super king size bed frame can look great in a plush, modern master suite but transplant it to a smaller period style room and it might fit but it can look all wrong. Likewise if you have an awkwardly shaped bedroom, shoehorning a king size or even a large double bed in can create an awkward, unbalanced space.
If your room is anything less than mahoosive, consider whether the biggest of beds will suit your bedroom design and your décor. In some cases, a standard double bed will provide better balance to your scheme and leave you with more room to manoeuvre around furniture. Likewise, of course, a big bedroom often needs a large, statement bed frame that won’t get lost in the space.
The right size bed for you (and your partner)
Another consideration before splashing out on the biggest bed going is how you and your partner, if you share a bed, sleep. Do you spread eagle across the mattress with feet hanging over the sides? Do you and your other half fight for space every night? If so a king size bed is a great idea! But if you’re spooners and snugglers, choosing king size could be an unnecessary use of your hard earned.
Your own frame could also dictate the bedframe you choose. If one or both of you could give Shaq a run for his money when it comes to height or weight, a larger bed will almost certainly be more comfortable for you. However those who are below average in height or who have a slight figure may not require as much space for sleep.
Spending some time trying out different beds is a must. Pop into your local Bensons for Beds to try out different beds of different sizes.
Is bigger always better?
We know that in all the excitement of choosing a new bed the first thing that you’ll look at is style. But whether you’re a lover of luxurious upholstery or prefer a sturdy, traditional wood frame, when it comes to building the bed of your dreams the most important choice you’ll make is actually a mattress.
Every mattress is different. Supporting your body for comfort and less chance of aches and pains, a good mattress is a must for everybody and should guide your bed buying journey. Take a look through our complete guide to choosing a mattress for more on picking the right one for you.
King Size or Super King Size beds: Choosing a Bed for Your Room
It’s time to get down the nitty gritty. Read on for advice on choosing beds for different bedrooms, measuring up and making your perfect bed fit your space…
Which bed will fit your room?
Measuring up for a bed isn’t as simple as ‘will it fit?’. You’ll also need to ensure you have space to move around it. You’ll need to squeeze in bedside tables. There’s also other furniture to consider, especially if you have an existing bedroom furniture set that you don’t plan on replacing. And should you choose a divan bed with drawers you’ll need space to open them.
Oh and one other thing that’s often forgotten. You’ll need to check if you (or our delivery team) can get that new bed into your bedroom. Narrow interior doors or tight turns in your staircase may limit your options.
Our handy measuring guide will help you to figure out what fits and where. Our top tip? Mark out the dimensions of a new bed on the floor using masking tape to get a feel for your space.
The best bed size for a spare room
Sandra Bed Frame in Beige
When it comes to furnishing a master suite, bigger is almost always better. But what about your spare bedroom?
We know that you’ll probably want to give your guests the very biggest bed you can squeeze into your guest bedroom. But do consider their -and your- other requirements. Will a king size bed hinder your ability to add a wardrobe? Guests need somewhere to hang their clothing. And does a large bed leave you with little room for a desk or exercise equipment? If your spare doubles up as a gym, laundry room or office, you’ll need floor space.
Bear in mind that guests aren’t here to stay. A double bed, or even a small guest double, will usually be large enough for a night or two of convenient comfort.
How to make a large bed fit
Your bedroom is the size it is, there’s little we can do to change it without getting the builders in. But a smaller bedroom doesn’t always have to mean a small bed. Check out our top three ideas for maximising space in any room:
- Choose a storage bed: many beds give you oodles of storage space. Opt for an ottoman king size bed and you may just find you have enough inbuilt storage to do away with some of the cupboards or drawers that currently take up valuable floor space
- Minimise frame size: some bed frames will take up more space than others. Choosing a super king size mattress on a simple divan like this unfussy Slumberland Clima Airstream set up can save valuable inches around your bed’s perimeter
- Streamline your bedroom: most people hang on to far more belongings than they really need. Decluttering and organising your things can help to make much needed space for the bed you’ve been dreaming of.
Size Matters: Furnishing Your Bedroom at Bensons for Beds
We like big beds and we cannot lie. But we also know that many of our customers are owners of bedrooms that come in closer to party size than super-size. That’s why we have such a wide selection of beds in all sizes, from simple small singles to spectacular super kings, and types, from kids beds to adjustable beds. We have frames with heft and slimline, headboard-free beds. Beds that incorporate storage and beds on legs to create that feeling of floor space.
Whatever size of bedroom you’re furnishing – a dinky guest room, a spacious master suite or just your common or garden double – we don’t just have a wealth of beds to fit, we have all the tools you need to help you choose the right one. Simply pop into your local store to take full advantage of our teams’ in-depth knowledge and expertise. We’re also kitted out with handy extra technology, like our clever sleeppro® tool, to help you to find the perfect mattress to suit your sleep style.
In addition to giving you all the assistance you need in bed buying, we can also lend a hand when it comes to other bedroom furniture and all your bedding too. And once your shopping’s all done? We’ll organise delivery for a fee, and can even make sure old mattresses are recycled and the furniture you’re fed up with is taken away and donated to charity.
Drop into your local Bensons for Beds store to chat to start your bed buying journey or simply pick up your phone and give use a call on 0808 144 6160. However you prefer to shop, our team is ready and waiting to help you create a bedroom fit for a king.