Thursday, March 10, 2011

The X Factor

I'd be willing to bet that most of us have upholstered headboards. It's understandable; it's quite comfy leaning against that padding while sitting up in bed. But I have to say that I do find metal campaign style beds quite fetching too. I come across photos of them frequently in my old French decoration books, and let me just say that they look really dreamy. If you have a moderately feminine bedroom, the simple, masculine shape and metal construction (usually steel) offer an interesting contrast. If your bedroom is more on the manly side, then these beds offer an additional shot of testosterone. And if you're a die-hard girly girl, then these beds probably aren't for you.

Most of the examples that I've found are daybeds like the one featured above, though I have seen a few Empire style headboards and footboards as well. I think that what I like most about them is that pleasing X motif. It's simple yet emphatic looking. And if you're worried about comfort, I would suggest piling some large Euro pillows against the headboard and calling it a day... or night.

I do admit that the footboard is a little imposing looking for such a small bed, but regardless, it's a canopy bed with a nice architectural presence.

A 1950s example. The combination of the metal bedframe and that leopard print fabric (where have I seen it before??) is a little odd, but for some reason I like it.

Oomph's Southport headboard is not quite Campaign nor Empire, but it is an interesting alternative to the padded headboard. It's evocative of a garden gate.

If you refuse to let go of your upholstered headboard, then what about this brass and steel mirror, attributed to Bagues, that is available through Parc Monceau? It's similar in feel to the campaign beds, and yet you don't have to get cozy with it.


  1. I do enjoy your wonderful vintage images!
    I too am an addict of nostalgia...just love those wonderful old decorating books,
    and adore the canopy bed!

  2. I have seen antique Empire daybeds of typical form, but made of cast iron. Wouldn't a pair be chic in a Sleeping Porch?

  3. We have an old painted wicker "X" design headboard at the beach and while it does look stylish, I have to admit I need multiple pillows to feel comfortable reading. That being said, I DO love the mirror!!

  4. Great minds think alike! I did a post earlier in the week on the same thing. We didn't even use the same images! It is an iconic design element for sure!

  5. I am a bed freak--almost any kind of antique (especially French) bed makes me happy. But daybeds are my true love (real daybeds less than 35" wide). I believe that Elsie solve the reading in bed problem years ago with her especially designed embracing pillow. I love this post. Mary

  6. Thank you from oomph for the posting. We love all the XXX's you have chosen. We love XXX's too and have made them into tables AND headboards to prove it!

  7. Anonymous11:06 AM

    the mirror is nice. I like these beds on the small size and used as a day bed/sofa.

  8. Thanks for the interesting post. I, too, love French daybeds. The fabric you referred to is Brunschwig & Fils "Monkey Toile" one of their all time best sellers. Love it!

  9. I adore brass so that mirror is completely my style. For a headbord I still prefer an upholstered one. Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo Hannah

  10. Where do you always find such wonderful vintage photos?

    I love the look, but generally clients prefer something more comfortable to lean against in the master bedroom. So generally such wonderful follies get reserved for the guest room.



  11. I love the comfort of an upholstered head board. But my daughter still has the iron headboard I found in a warehouse loft storage space when I was in my 20's (a while ago!). I paid $20 for it and had it sandblasted. I painted it and it still looks great - many years later. It was white - with brass finials for a long time. I recently painted it flat black. Still looks wonderful.

  12. It is such a classic image, love your images Jennifer!

    Really beautiful !!!

    Art by Karena