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Antique Country Beds

While, as we have seen with chaise lounges, some trends in early colonial beds design were to the highly decorative side, much of bed production was of a simple, rustic nature. Wood bed frames consisting of just posts and rails, square shaped, and with headboards being plain, undecorated cross members, enough to keep pillows in place, were the norm in country areas into the 19th century, and among the Shaker communities even longer.

Rooms with some importance might have beds with tall posts to support the tester framework but the average room was graced with only a very low bed, a bed quite primitive in structure. Having four posts/uprights peaking above the bed rails by only an inch at the foot, and by eight to twelve inches at the head, allowing for the headboard to be fit into them, such rustic wood beds were actually well suited to the low-ceilinged homes of the time, especially second floor ceilings which were often sloping, and this earned them the name "under eaves" beds.

While the influence of foreign designers increased in the mid to late 18th century, in the towns, in many country and isolated rural areas the basic design of beds changed little until around 1820. Prior to this the only interesting movement of note was the tendency among later country beds to have turned legs and posts rather than blunt geometric shapes, such as squares and octagons. While still largely free of ornamentation there was some gentle tapering which gave them a certain simple, rustic charm and elegance.

In the next section we turn to babies and kids beds in colonial America, baby cradles and trundle beds.

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