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What Is a Sleigh Bed? Everything About This Timeless Bed Design

A sleigh bed brings a bit of flourish. Here’s your guide to choosing one.

What Is a Sleigh Bed?

A sleigh bed is a bed that curves outward at the headboard and footboard. In appearance, it is modeled after the sleigh.

The Best Styles for a Sleigh Bed

Make no doubt about it: A sleigh bed steals the show, so you’ll want to tread carefully when choosing a style in which to fit it. Traditional style makes liberal use of rounded and scroll-like silhouettes – which will match the bed’s curved ends. Commonly, sleigh beds are made of wood and project a rustic atmosphere. The curved silhouette of a sleigh bed is the result of French influence from the 1800s.

Sleigh Bed Inspiration

sleigh bed design ideas This bedroom looks almost a preservation of a Victorian-era home. One of the main reasons for this is the tufted sleigh bed, featuring a delicate scroll and beautiful diamond-patterned tufting.
sleigh silhouette The straight lines of this bench at the foot of a sleigh bed create perfect contrast. (The curve at the end of this sleigh bed runs larger than most, making a bigger statement.)
sleigh bed guide A more understated take on the sleigh design, this neutral model turns heads with its oak coloring and nailhead trim fabric panels.
sleigh bed ideas At the end of the day, sleigh beds work because they’re simply fun. In this bedroom, a little bit of scroll goes a long way!

Sleigh Bed Ideas + Inspiration

Are you on the fence about switching from a panel bed to a sleigh type? These ideas will convert you!

  • Because they have a little extra “flourish” to them, sleigh beds work well in master bedrooms, where there’s a little extra space to work with.
  • When making a sleigh bed, tuck in the bedding. A long duvet that covers the footboard will cancel out the entire purpose of a sleigh design!
  • For an extra-minimalist feel, skip the duvet altogether. Try a large blanket or fitted quilt – tucked around all sides, of course!
  • Take the “curved” motif to your nightstands. Ditch the traditional stand for a round bedside table.
  • Remember, a sleigh design derives from the actual wooden sleighs commonly used by schoolchildren in the 19th century. During the winter season, play to this! Swap out your bedding for a seasonal Christmas blanket and pillows; imagine the sound of horses neighing and jingle bells ringing as you fall asleep at night!
  • Remember, sleigh beds come in all shapes and sizes. Just because you’re a minimalist doesn’t mean a sleigh bed can’t work for your style; some variations of sleigh beds curve only slightly.
  • Twin-sized sleigh beds are a great option for children, who will love the whimsical nature they represent.
  • Wood sleigh beds: A solid, curved wood panel is gorgeous and timeless.
  • Tufted sleigh beds: A tufted headboard and footboard that curves in a sleigh design.
  • Storage sleigh beds: When talking about these bed types, attention is often focused on the curved headboard and footboard – but let’s not forget what’s beneath the bed! A sleigh bed with an under-bed trundle or storage compartment incorporates function into a beautiful design.

On Choosing a Color

Debating on the right color for your new bed? You may want to consider the effects of temperature: Remember that warm colors like tan and brown bring higher energies – and cool colors like blue and grey calm and neutralize. Both categories are popular for bedrooms and perfect for when you want your room to feel ‘energized’ and ‘relaxed,’ respectively.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.