Medieval “box beds” are making a comeback for their benefits

February 27th, 2020

Have you seen some of the outfits displayed on fashion runways these days? I’m sure you’ve seen them at least once, even passively, in a magazine or a random TV show. Fashion gurus will clap and cheer with the occasional “oohs” and “aahs,” but most of us just don’t get it. Some runway outfits are far from ordinary. They require enormous amounts of confidence to wear, if you can even find somewhere to wear them to.

It’s the same thing with fads. Remember how selfie sticks used to be all the rage? Name one person who still uses these unironically. Would you believe me if I told you that, after sorting through the dusty artics of history, people are trying to bring back box beds?

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kotomi-jewelry via Flickr Source: kotomi-jewelry via Flickr

And it is working

Before the beds we know today and a few generations after straw beds, there existed the box bed. At first glance, it just looks like a normal old fashioned cupboard. The inside has a mattress and a few blankets, just like a normal bed only enclosed with wood. It may seem a little claustrophobic, but there were good reasons for owning one of these back in the day.

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Bassebretagne Source: Bassebretagne

The purpose of box beds

For starters, they existed in a time (19th-20th century) when entire families, parents, and all their children, slept in a single room. Believe it or not, the desire for privacy isn’t a modern phenomenon. Even then, people needed their own space. Having your own little nest in a box bed was nothing to look down on.

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National Trust Source: National Trust

Shelter from the storm

Another thing was the weather. Central heating is the norm today. Most homes have the basic technology to maintain temperatures inside buildings and homes at a comfortable level. We can’t say the same thing about the past. Winters were hard and not everyone could afford several extra covers to keep them warm at night. The enclosed box beds, coupled with the extra fabric lining in them, did a great job of retaining heat.

It’s also believed that in some parts of rural Europe, box beds were used as a protective tool. It wasn’t uncommon to hear stories about infants being mauled and hurt by predators like wolves. Leaving your child in a box bed while you worked was necessary in some cases.

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Wolfgang Sauber via Wikipedia Source: Wolfgang Sauber via Wikipedia

Why would anyone need a box bed today?

Is it just a fad? A few history majors looking to impress their social circles? No. There are legitimate reasons to get one for yourself. If you live or have ever lived in a city before, you know how expensive real estate is. The square space people enjoy in rural towns is a luxury in most cities. More and more people are moving into small studio apartments or shared living situations. Every new piece of furniture bought requires some deep thought and planning.

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Loïc via Wikipedia Source: Loïc via Wikipedia

Bringing box beds into the present

Box beds are small and comfortable. They offer an option for freeing up some space in cramped apartments. Let’s also not forget that box beds aren’t just planks of wood nailed together. They came with very detailed patterns back in the day, and some were downright beautiful.

Whether it’s a bed or just an art piece in your house, box beds aren’t as insane as some would think. While looking for solutions to modern problems, there’s no harm in borrowing from the past. Box beds are worth a second look.

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Entrance Source: Entrance


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