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Why the Sleigh Bed is Here to Stay

Why the Sleigh Bed is Here to Stay Header

Sleigh beds have a distinctive style of their own. These ornate beds feature a high curved headboard with a low profile footboard, attached by low side rails and resemble the elegance of a horse-drawn sleigh. Also known as "French beds", sleigh beds have a rich history that dates back as far back as the Roman era. Napoleon Bonaparte is best known as the military and political leader of France, but he also influenced the popularity of the sleigh bed. As different styles and trends come and go the sleigh bed remains as a timeless and classic addition to any bedroom.

Celebrity moms like Halle Berry and Samantha Harris bought cribs designed in the sleigh bed fashion for their daughter's nurseries.

History of the Sleigh Bed


Harpers Engraving of Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Remnants of sleigh beds were discovered during the 19th century and were dated back to the Roman era.
  • Napoléon was a major proponent  of sleigh beds and required all his beds to be made in this fashion and became popular throughout France in the early 1800’s.
  • Sleigh beds were popular during the “Empire Period” in France,  which lasted from 1795 to 1820.
  • The first sleigh beds were fashioned with mahogany veneers.
  • During the Empire period, the headboards either curled outwards or inwards.
  • Originally, sleigh beds were designed for one person and were used as daybeds.

The American Empire Period


Antique Sleigh Bed with Extra Tall Headboard
  • The sleigh bed style reached the United States in 1815.
  • The American Empire period was a reflection of the French Empire period and lasted from 1800 to 1820.
  • The Charles P.  Rogers Company is America’s oldest sleigh bed manufacturer .
  • Sleigh beds became popular in the U.S. southeast and served as a status symbol.

Types of Sleigh Beds


  • Typically constructed from wood; oak, pine, cherry, etc.
  • Recent styles feature leather upholstered headboards.
  • Sleigh beds are also being constructed from metal, iron, brass, steel and aluminum.
  • Modern sleigh beds feature taller headboards than traditional sleigh beds and curve outward instead of the inward curving of traditional sleigh beds.
  • Available in sizes ranging from Full to King size.
  • Designed with a platform frame or as a regular box-spring bed.


Known for its regal presentation, the sleigh bed is still popular some 300 years later. These beds continue to offer a sophisticated and luxurious atmosphere to any bedroom. The added bonus of sleigh beds is that they can be used in both contemporary and traditionally styled bedrooms.

American Drew Bob Mackie Classics 581-309R Cal King sleigh Bed


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