How Different Are Beds From Around the World
Everyone needs to sleep and a good bed can do wonders for improving sleep quality. In the United States, the traditional beds have wooden slats, a box spring, and then a spring mattress. More modern forms of beds have different types of foams. But what about the rest of the world? What would a Japanese bed feel like? How about an Indian bed? Beds from around the world do have different characteristics. Some beds are close the floor, others are extremely elaborate, and one type of bed uses banana leaves!
European beds are typically the most similar to American beds; however, a few unique features can be found. Most French beds were historically extremely elaborately carved—particularly in the middle to upper class—they elaborate beds have flamboyantly large curves and elegant details everywhere. A Danish bed utilizes wooden slats, like most Western style beds, however the sleigh style is one of the unique features of a historical Scandinavian bed. Sleigh style beds from Scandinavia differ from the modern sleigh bed, in that the sides are usually curved and quite high, like the sides of a sleigh.
Oriental beds represent a wide range of cultures—Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern. An Indian bed, also known as a “Charpoy,” typically included a wooden frame, with legs, covered with a tightly woven rope like material of some kind. Indian beds could be quite large and in the upper class, tended to be covered with a pad and several pillows. A futon bed is a type of bed that originated in the Japanese culture. A Shiki futon makes up the core of a Japanese bed. While one can sleep with only a futon, a Japanese bed typically has several other components. A Tatami mat will often be the base of the bed, providing some flexibility, and buckwheat hull pillows support the head. Westerners often also like to add a tri-fold mattress pad to their Japanese bed, which adds a layer of softness. All of these components are usually laid directly on the floor. By contrast, Chinese beds were covered with a futon like pad but they were more likely to be raised off the floor. Tightly woven rope like materials, covering a low wooden frame, formed the base of most raised Chinese bed. This style can be seen in other cultures as well.
The history of beds in Africa is quite short. African tribes tended to be nomadic and also did not have to struggle with extremely cold temperatures in the majority of the continent. However, sleeping platforms were constructed in some areas to overcome the heat. This African bed consisted of a low rectangular frame, with legs, the top of which featured a woven material of some kind. Sometimes that material was banana leaves. These beds are still used in areas of Africa today.
Try a Globally Inspired Bed
Whatever the culture, comfort while sleeping was often the prerogative of the rich; but luckily now most people can now afford this luxury. Any person considering leaving the arena of the box spring, would be wise to look into a more Zen bed. The Japanese bed provides surprising comfort and excellent support. On the other hand, if you are more interested in improving your aesthetics, consider looking at charming antique Scandinavian or French beds. Everyone has to sleep. Why not bring a little adventure to the night?