6 Different Sleigh Bed Styles & Which One Is Right For You
A sleigh bed makes a glorious centerpiece in a bedroom. It is characterized by curved or scrolled foot and headboard. Whether you are into a more modern or rustic-style, sleigh beds come in a variety of materials and colors to choose from. We’ll discuss the different sleigh bed styles in this article and help you choose the right one.
Different sleigh bed styles include the british colonial sleigh bed, upholstered sleigh beds, traditional wood sleigh beds, contemporary sleigh beds, wrought iron sleigh beds, and storage sleigh beds.
Sleigh beds offer a lot of old-fashioned appeal but they adapt easily to a variety of design styles. Some new sleigh bed styles include leather headboards and no footboards to suit a contemporary bedroom.
What Is A Sleigh Bed?
The sleigh bed was made popular during the 19th century in France and America, but its popularity continues to today. It is usually made of heavy wood and compliments a rustic-style bedroom.
A sleigh bed is a type of bed with curved foot and headboard that curve away from the mattress, and is modeled after a sleigh or a sled. Traditional sleigh beds have ornate designs carved into the wood, which adds old world charm. Modern sleigh beds have sleek designs that are covered in upholstery fabric.
Early sleigh bed designs featured inward or outward curves. Nowadays, the outward curve is preferred. The materials used range from iron, steel, leather, aluminum, and upholstery, all of which work well in any room along with a bunch of different decor styles. For information about other bed frames and foundation options read our article on mattress foundations vs bed frames.
- British Colonial Sleigh Bed
A British colonial sleigh bed is made out of full dark wood, usually ebony or mahogany. Some models have beautiful carvings, which deliver an antique look. Other models have foot and headboards made out of cane, which allows optimal air flow. The footboard is not always curved, so that the bed takes up less space and works well in smaller bedrooms.
The british colonial sleigh bed was actually inspired from Asian and African cultures and arts during the Colonial era when it was brought back to Europe. This sleigh bed from Amazon has the classic look of a colonial sleigh bed.
- Upholstered Sleigh Bed
Upholstered sleigh beds usually consist of wooden or metal bed frames that are padded with fabrics such as linen or velvet. Being cushioned and wrapped in fabric, they add coziness and lovely softness that will make any person want to snuggle into bed and relax. This azure sleigh bed from Amazon will definitely be a statement piece in any bedroom.
There is a wide array of fabric options to choose from, so you can select the fabric and color that you want to match the style and decor of your bedroom.This article from Sage Textile Research Journal explains why flocked fabrics are the preferred choice for furniture upholstery.
- Traditional Wood Sleigh Bed
Traditional wood sleigh beds are gorgeous and timeless. They offer a unique blend of traditional French-inspired design and contemporary living to fit into any style of bedroom. A solid wood bed frame features clean and classic lines, which bring a touch of hospitality and warmth to the room. Some traditional sleigh beds feature ornamental foliage or vine carvings ranging from simple to elaborate. This traditional cherry wood bed also has leather in-lay sections which add to its ornate charm.
- Contemporary Sleigh Bed
A contemporary sleigh bed has a timeless design, which can fit effortlessly in rustic-style or modern-style bedrooms. Designers have reinterpreted the classic look of a sleigh bed to create more sleek and minimalist sleigh beds. Contemporary sleigh beds blend different types of wood. Some models have their footboards and headboards cushioned and padded with a particular fabric to give the bed a more luxurious feel. The sleek design and dark wood of this contemporary sleigh bed from Amazon will elevate the look of a bedroom.
- Wrought Iron Sleigh Bed
Wrought iron sleigh beds are made out of iron with extended outward curves. They are inviting, elegant, and refined. Some models showcase intricate cast iron, which scroll along the head and foot of the bed. The castings create an atmosphere of drama and romance. A wrought iron sleigh bed can also feature antique brass accents or wood details as embellishments. The wood panels in this iron sleigh bed from Amazon add a warm accent to the bed.
- Storage Sleigh Bed
Storage sleigh beds are beautiful and practical, as they make a statement in the room and provide an extra storage space under the mattress. They actually expand the floor space and are ideal for smaller bedrooms with limited storage area. Using a trundle bed is another interesting option for adding storage space to your room. Trundle beds include a storage drawer under a main bed which can be used to hide a mattress, store shoes, or anything else that fits. You can read more about trundle bed mattress sizes and frame sizes in our article.
There are two types of storage sleigh beds; the ottoman bed ensures your belongings are out of sight and organized under the mattress base. Another type of sleigh bed with storage incorporates drawers underneath the mattress. This white sleigh bed with drawers from Amazon will create a country-living style to your bedroom.
Below is a comparison between the different sleigh bed styles:
|Sleigh Bed Style||When You Should Choose This style||Example From Amazon||Price|
|British Colonial Sleigh Bed||When you have a rustic-style bedroom.||Stanley Portfolio Louis Philippe Sleigh Bed||~ $1,500|
|Upholstered Sleigh Bed||When you want extra cushioning and a padded headboard and footboard.||Luxury Chesterfield Sleigh Bed||~ $4,600|
|Traditional Wood Sleigh Bed||When you want your bed to fit with a vintage decor.||Ashley Furniture Signature Design Sleigh Bed||~ $420|
|Contemporary Sleigh Bed||When you want a simple and minimalist bed.||Artiron Wood Platform Bed Twin Bed||~ $260|
|Wrought Iron Sleigh Bed||When you want to add a romantic feel and elegance to your room.||Hillsdale Furniture 1655BQR Janis Metal Sleigh Bed||~ $320|
|Storage Sleigh Bed||When you want to expand floor space in a small room.||Benjara Arched Button Tufted Sleigh Bed with Drawers||~ $1,360|
Make sure to also check out this article that includes 7 sleigh bed ideas to enhance your bedroom. Also, have you ever noticed the difference when comparing a sleigh bed vs a canopy bed? Take a look at our article to see how different they really are!
You might also be interested to know if a sleigh bed needs a box spring, make sure to read our related article to find out. And did you know that you can usually replace the rails and the footboard on a sleigh bed? Make sure to take a look at our article showing you how to replace the rails of a sleigh bed and how to replace a sleigh bed footboard for more information.
How To Make a Sleigh Bed More Modern?
Although sleigh beds deliver a lot of old-fashioned appeal, they can adapt easily to a variety of design styles to fit easily in a modern bedroom.
To make a sleigh bed more modern, change the style of the sleigh bed, paint it a new color, or add new bedding with different colors and patterns.
Tip 1. Change the Style or Design of the Sleigh Bed
The headboard or footboard of your sleigh bed can easily be transformed with just a few hours of upholstery work. You will first need to cover each surface with a layer of upholstery foam, then wrap each piece of the bed with batting layers to add a pillow or tufted look. After securing the batting, you can place the chosen fabric over each piece of the bed frame. Here’s a youtube video about re-upholstering a headboard.
There is a wide variety of fabrics to choose from like velvet, denim, brushed canvas, twill, and tweed. Changing the style of your sleigh bed via upholstery will help put a modern clean twist on your traditional sleigh bed. This quilted fabric will add a sophisticated look that will also serve to soften a wooden headboard.
Tip 2. Paint The Sleigh Bed a New Color
To freshen up your dated sleigh bed, paint it a new color. When choosing a color, you should consider the color scheme of your room. You can go with just one color or two. You can even make some beautiful drawings on your bed. Make sure you choose the right specialty paint for specific materials. This chalk paint is popular in home decor and comes in various colors. This youtube video shows you how to paint a bed with chalk paint.
Tip 3. Change the Color and Patterns of Your Bedroom by Adding New Bedding
Since sleigh beds are unique due to their curvy footboards and headboards, you don’t want to hide the curves under bedding. Avoid floor length bedding and choose a duvet cover or quilt that hangs no more than a couple of inches over the sides.
If you have a sleigh bed with lots of intricate carvings and details, then throw on simple, beautiful white or pale colored bedding over the mattress to create a sleek and elegant look. On another hand, if your sleigh bed is contemporary and minimalist, then you can go for bed linens with bold patterns and colors.
Furthermore, you can decorate your bed with colorful throw pillows, or with one long bolster pillow placed across the footboard. Make sure to also check out our 6 simple sleigh bed decorating ideas too. And, for more ideas on bedding and decor read our article on 5 ways to dress up a platform bed.
Are Sleigh Beds Still in Style?
You can find various types of sleigh beds made out of different materials, or wrapped in different fabrics to meet the taste and preference of everyone. As mentioned above, you can upgrade a dated sleigh bed or even customize your own.
Sleigh beds are still in style because of their timeless design. Sleigh bed designs can easily adapt to a rustic or modern appearance.
If you still don't think a sleigh bed is the best choice for you, take a look at our comparison between a sleigh bed vs panel bed to see which is right for you.
Ideas for Decorating Sleigh Beds
Sleigh beds have interesting headboards and footboards that lend themselves to personalized decorations and embellishments. The headboards of sleigh beds are a great way to create a focal point in the bedroom. If you want to learn more about headboards, then read our in-depth article about headboard types and their installation. Simple additions or tweaks to a sleigh bed’s headboard and footboard can completely transform the look of the bed.
Ideas for decorating your sleigh bed includes changing its color, adding wood or metal detailing, adorning it with lights, and adding decorative bedding.
Idea 1. Change The Color of the Sleigh Bed
As mentioned previously, you can paint your sleigh bed a new color. If your bed frame has a dark color, switch to a lighter color like white, or grey to brighten up the room. Choose a type of paint that works well on the material of your bed. Oil-based paints and water-based acrylic paints work best on iron bed frames. This article from Jstor, explains what paints are non-toxic and safe for the environment and people.
Idea 2. Add Wood or Metal detailing to Your Sleigh Bed
Adding wood appliques is a super easy way to add character to furniture. So consider adding some wood ornaments to the foot and headboard of your sleigh bed. They add charm and a subtle accent to your bed without the use of fancy tools. They just need to be glued into place. Metal decorations like cast iron embellishments can also be used but they need to be attached with screws to create an interesting look.
If you have a tufted headboard, you can attach crystal buttons, like these from Amazon, to make the bed look glamorous. Another way to add interest to a sleigh bed is to change out the bed original bed feet to something more ornate. These acrylic furniture feet from Amazon are just the thing to elevate the look of an ordinary sleigh bed. Another way to drastically alter a sleigh bed is to use bed risers. For more information about bed risers, have a look at our article about whether bed risers are safe and how to use them.
Idea 3. Decorate With Fairy Lights
If you have a wrought-iron headboard, you can wrap standard-sized lights around the spokes and rails making up the headboard. You have the option to choose between warm white light and cold white light, both of which add warmth and romance to your space. These string lights come with a remote to control the brightness of the lights and switch them on and off.
Idea 4. Throw Some Decorative Pillows on the Sleigh Bed
Remember, you want the beautiful curves of your sleigh bed to stand out, so avoid floor-length linen and choose a quilt or a folded blanket to place across the footboard for an extra elegant touch. Additionally, throw some pillows of different shapes in front of the headboard, or place a long bolster pillow, like this tassel pillow, against the footboard to complement the curves of the sleigh bed. Bed skirts are another bedding accessory that elevate the look of a bedroom. Read our article on quick and easy bed skirt hacks to add an elegant look to the bed.