The history and evolution of the bed and mattress

One might think that beds are purely functional. After all, we are unconscious for most of the time we are using them. However, over time they have been, and still are, status symbols of the highest importance. They are or can be also one of the most expensive items of household furniture that we buy. A trip to a furniture store unfolds a dazzling array of these things we hardly ever really see. The price ranges are enormous and the variety astounding.


Let’s look at how beds have evolved and changed over the years.

In pre-history, beds were very rudimentary affairs. Maybe a pit was dug and grass and hay thrown in with a goatskin on top for a bit of added comfort. This lasted for a very long time, and it was not until the renaissance period that beds started to be thought of differently. The people of this era were much more ostentatious in their outlook and status was becoming very important to the wealthy families of Italy and France particularly. The idea of this kind of status also permeated into Great Britain. A look at the contents of the bedrooms of some of the grandest houses in the UK demonstrates this almost obsession with grandeur and decoration. Baroque and rococo bedrooms had huge four poster bed in them. So, not only had the bed risen off the floor, it now also had walls.

Photo source:


Photo of the ritz hotel bedroom LondonPhoto source:


For the sleeper, the most important part of a bed is the mattress. Not only did raising the bed off the floor eliminate pests and vermin, it also provided a decent platform for a new innovation, the mattress.

The first mattresses were usually made of hay or some other suitable organic material. They progressed into being cotton stuffed and then to being stuffed with feathers. These beds were, however not as comfortable as some would wish and a great deal scientific inventiveness went into the design of mattresses.

There were two breakthroughs roughly one hundred years apart. There is discussion about the geographical origin of the first but there is no doubt about its roots. In the late nineteenth century, a German engineer produced the first car. Of that, there is no doubt. That car needed to have a smooth ride. Somebody invented coil springs in order to achieve this. The original leaf springs did not suit the rich people who owned cars.

Thankfully we have some very comfortable mattresses today as a result in the evolution of technology and peoples love of sleep and comfort, here are a few from our selection:

Sleepzone® springs, providing almost twice the support of bonnell units

Traditionally tufted pillowtop for superlative comfort Multiple fillings

Damask top

Vertical white damask border No turn – rotate regularly

Mattress depth: 30cm

Handles: 4

Vents: 2

Comfort Rating: Medium / Firm

Sealy PostureTech 620 spring system

Memory foam comfort layer

Correctly supports and aligns the spine in its natural shape, helping to reduce aches and pains

Eco-friendly Tencel fibres help keep you cool and dry



What does this have to do with sleep? Somebody realised that a whole bunch of coil springs spread flat with a nice cotton covering to keep the springs away from the body would be a really great surface to sleep on. The coil spring mattress was born.

The second breakthrough was also, possibly, a result automotive engineering. One of the properties of a liquid is that it cannot be compressed. This idea was used in hydraulic dampers for car suspension systems. It is also used for the transmission of power. Somebody filled a very large bag with water and sat on. The water did not compress, it cannot, so it moved aside. This somebody felt that sleeping on such a hydraulic platform might be very comfortable. So, roughly one hundred years after metal springs to sleep on, we have hydraulic dampers. Hail the waterbed.

Still, science has not finished with sleeping innovation. NASA, the USA space agency, also got into the act. They needed to keep their astronauts comfortable whilst weightless. The result of this need was, yes, memory foam. This product is now widely used and readily available. Who says the space program is a waste of money.

You can view a timeline of mattresses over history from humble straw to NASA (memory foam) in this following article:


So with all the history and science out of the way shall we now look at some of the range of beds from our modern & contemporary bedroom furniture sets?

Items from our Contemporary Bedroom Furniture Range


Minuet Bed

Manufactured in a combination of tropical hardwood & veneers with a beautiful Wenge finish the elegant Minuet bedroom collection is a delight to behold. Complete that look that you desire with our fantastic award winning furniture, and brighten up your home with this stunning Minuet Bed

Baltimore Low Foot End Bed

We are proud to welcome to our collection of modern and contemporary furniture this exceptional bed from the Baltimore collection. Handcrafted and carefully built by experts, this bed featuring a low foot end is sure to impress. Working wonderful brightening uo your home either on its own or alongside our other ranges.

Montpellier Antique French Style Bed

Made From Solid Mindy Wood

Slatted Base

Easy Assemble

This Item Comes Flat-Packed

Montpellier Blanc Antique French Style Bed

Natural Solid Mindi Wood


This Item Comes Flat-Packed



Items from out contemporary dressing table sets


Montpellier Dressing Table Set

Solid Mindy Wood

Stool & Mirror Included

Freestanding Mirror To Be Fixed On wall




Minuet Twin Pedestal Dressing Table Set

Complete that look that you desire with our fantastic award winning furniture, and brighten up your home with this stunning Minuet Twin Pedestal Dressing Table Set. Hand crafted and carefully built to the highest quality, Minuet Twin Pedestal Dressing Table Set will be sure to amaze

Please Note Stool & Mirror Not Included
Add some additional modern style and beauty in your wonderful home today with this fantastic new dressing table from the Baltimore collection. Handcrafted and carefully build from the finest of natural materials, this solid natural wood dresser will astound and brighten up your bedroom in an instant.


Come and have a look at our bedroom furniture over at Homes Direct 365

Homes Direct 365 Contemporary Bedroom Furniture


Homes Direct 365 Contemporary Bedside Tables


Homes Direct 365 Contemporary Chest Of Drawers


Homes Direct 365 Contemporary Wardrobes


Homes Direct 365 Contemporary Cheval Mirrors


Homes Direct 365 Contemporary Blanket Boxes & Ottomans


Homes Direct 365 Contemporary Chaise Longue Benches


Homes Direct 365 Contemporary Chairs & Stools









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