Monday, September 17, 2007

The Sideways Bed



My latest fascination (if you could call it that) is with the "sideways" bed, and no, this is not a technical term. The idea is to place a daybed or small bed parallel against the wall and drape it with swags of fabric, usually attached to the wall. Many times the beds, which usually have headboards and footboards, can double as a sofa. This style of bedding has deep roots in French history and was quite popular during the Empire period especially. (And if anyone has any additional historical information to share please do so.)

I could see using a bed like this in a dressing or sitting room. Or, if you're single and sleep in a twin-sized bed, you could try this in your bedroom (I wouldn't advise this if you have a significant other). Personally, I don't think you should try this with any bed other than a rather narrow one as it might look rather odd. But, if space is tight in your bedroom or in your studio apartment, then you might want consider this type of daybed to create some multi-functionality in your home.




A photograph by Horst P. Horst in a 1949 issue of House & Garden. All of the fabrics featured in this photo were made of cotton.


A bedroom designed by Colefax & Fowler. The Louis XVI-style bed is given the English treatment with the use of Colefax "Climbing Geranium" chintz.


This daybed serves as a sofa in this room designed by Colefax & Fowler. In this case the daybed/sofa is placed within a niche, and the same print is used for the wall within the niche, the bedding and pillows, and the tent-like swag.


Although this is more of a canopy than the other examples featured here, I do like this elaborate treatment of a Directoire bed. I can't tell if the fabric is attached to the ceiling, the wall, or the bed, but it certainly creates a cocoon like feeling. Design by David Hicks.

Image at top: An Empire style room in the Morris Jumel Mansion in New York.

39 comments:

  1. Weedie9:21 AM

    I love the one Mr. Givenchy has in his country house.
    Hve you ever seen the one Charlotte Moss had made with the chnoiserie motifs?
    ANON was pretty combative about the beach house-
    I would just call it a country house wouldn't you?

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  2. I've always thought a bed against the wall is the perfect solution to those living in studio apartments. It's the perfect solution to the bed in the middle of the room problem. Although, I'm not sure how I feel about canopies.

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  3. Weedie- I have not seen the Charlotte Moss one- is it in one of her books? I'd love to see it!

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  4. H.Chic- Agree about the studio apartment issue. I've never had a bed with a canopy so I'm not sure what it would be like!

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  5. M. Wesley10:19 AM

    I love this Idea because Im currently doing it. I have a 10ft by 10ft bedroom and a twin bed, so I had to come up with something. Love your blog, Keep up the good work.

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  6. M. Wesley- I think it's a wise use of space (and a chic use of it at that!). I bet it will look great :)

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  7. Oh, I just love this idea too!! That red bed is to die for, can't believe that's cotton. Great post and great images Jennifer.

    ~Kate

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  8. Kate- I love the idea of cotton too. It's the American take on a French style!

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  9. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Billy Baldwin's famous brown apartment had a "sideways" bed, though it looked like a sofa. Also during the London Blitz, during WW2, the trendsetter Daisy Fellowes lived, for a while, in the basement of Lady Diana Cooper's house. What was particularly swell about this arrangement was the sofa-bed Daisy had installed against one wall. It was about the size of a queen-size bed, placed in the center of a wall, length-wise, and piled with cushions. It could be used as a bed or as a glamorous sofa, so Daisy could recline odalisque style.

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  10. I have a studio and have a daybed against my wall with tons of big pillows for daytime when it's used as a couch and then at night it's my bed when the pillows all move to underneath the bed. It's a great solution for a small space!

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  11. Anonymous- I forgot about BB's apt and that sofa/bed. I'm trying to envision the Fellowes bed/sofa. I'm sure it was glamorous, but I would think that only someone like her could pull it off. Maybe the rest of us should settle for a smaller bed with fewer pillows???
    Do you know where I can find a photo of the Fellowes' room?

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  12. Be the Change- That sounds very stylish! Small spaces require multi-functionality for sure.

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  13. I grew up with a canopy bed so for me if has childhood connotations. Lol.

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  14. I love this idea when you don't want to fully designate a space as a bedroom. You kind of lose the side table option otherwise. I think having a swag keeps the room looking balanced too. Beautiful examples!

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  15. Brilliant- Good point about the swag making the room more balanced!

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  16. Anonymous11:56 AM

    The decorator Robert Couturier used a really large bed--could even be a king--in his New York loft apartment in this fashion. I've never seen a big bed done this way before but it is surprisingly successful in a huge space with tall ceilings. Very dramatic!

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  17. Anonymous11:57 AM

    I'll have to locate a copy of the picture. I believe it was snapped by Cecil Beaton for British Vogue, probably 1939-1940 ...

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  18. Anonymous- Interesting about Couturier's bed. These comments are making me rethink my position on using small beds only!

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  19. Anonymous- thanks for the info on the picture.

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  20. Anonymous12:36 PM

    fyi ... It's Morris-Jumel Mansion, with a hyphen ...

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  21. Jennifer, such great ideas for the tiny space! I'd never seen the Horst room -- thanks for sharing.

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  22. you certainly struck a chord here. I have seen the "cotton" lay out before - this image is one of the best - so dramatic. Also, the C&F blue and white - charming.

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  23. The Swedish have cool daybeds that pull out longways. Hard to describe, but they are like couches during the day and pull out at night like a bed. Not like a sleep sofa either. never mind! I can't describe it. I love day beds, I think they add such atmosphere to a living room.

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  24. Trundle beds work so well agaqinst the wall like that. I also associate a small bed against the wall with a child's room, so I love your adult examples!

    The Texas company For Mercy's Sake (childrens furniture) has the most beautiful examples of beds against the wall (for little girls)...

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  25. Anonymous6:53 PM

    What's great about the Morris-Jumel bedroom is the wallpaper border applied to the TOP of the BASEBOARD! Now, that's pretty swell, no?

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  26. Great post, I adore the Horst photo!!!

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  27. I've always loved this look and think it would be great in a studio apartment. Also, I just love the idea of a piece of furniture called a day-bed...I think it gives a bit of a holiday mood!

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  28. M.Wesley10:27 PM

    This has been such a fun topic,I Love this blog. Its the first one I check in the mornings with coffee in hand.

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  29. angeline2:38 AM

    growing up, the "sideways" bed was the only bed in our parent-decorated homes, and i thought that was the norm. is this a first-generation asian idiosyncracy? or maybe my FOB parents were just retrospectively chic. ;)

    - angeline
    { from cakeandmilkpaperie.blogspot.com }

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  30. I love the look of sideways bed . I use it a lot in my show room decoration ...
    The next room I will make will be with a sideways bed !!I will send a picture

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  31. Lovely post as usual! I've always had a day bed in my home and thought they were so charming!

    Melissa

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  32. Serena1:19 PM

    Great post! I would be interested to see this idea in a more "modern/ minimalist" space, too. I've only seen it done in more traditional homes but of course it could work well - without the swags (but what to balance it?) - in a modern place, too... just not sure exactly what it would look like.

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  33. Anonymous4:12 PM

    Serena, if you have a copy around, check out "Billy Baldwin Decorates" ... he did the same thing in his own apartment in the 1960s, very modern/minimalist ...

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  34. I really want an all-white sideways bed/daybed in my office! So luxe...and so dangerous...

    http://www.stylesavestheworld.com

    be glam. live green.

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  35. I ADORE the first one - how fabulously decadent! There's a very simple version of the sideways bed in the film Plunkett & Macleane, btw - Liv Tyler's character's bed.

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  36. Love the sideways bed. Very elegant and interesting. The fabrics are sooooooooo important!

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  37. I have a "sideways" bed in my daugher's room and have been debating the whole canopy issue. I am thinking I will hang an oversized peice of art above the bed instead for a "twist". I love the red bed too! Great post, and lots of great discussion!

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  38. Love the sideways beds :-)

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