For Your Home: Metal beds take on a whole new vibe

Vicki Payne
The Charlotte Observer

I grew up sleeping in an antique iron bed. My parents still have it and use it in a guest room. Its style is way too “antique-y” for my taste. Perhaps this is why metal beds haven’t been on my design radar for years.

But today’s innovative designs have forced me to take a new look at this category. The basic iron or brass bed design has been reshaped it into exciting new forms.

New finishes, different metals and manufacturing techniques make them one of the most innovative things happening in the bedding category.

The last big change in bedding was the reintroduction of the upholstered bed. I am always amazed at how many versions of this style have come about in the past five years. It seems like everyone at every price has a fabric-covered bed in their collections. This usually heralds the end of a design trend, giving way for a new player. Could it be the metal bed?

Wesley Allen has long set the standard for iron beds. Their styles range from traditional to modern. It’s these new modern, contemporary frames that I find extremely interesting. The Lugan bed is a wonderful example of what happens when designers take traditional metals like tin and iron and hammer, forge and finish them in distinctive ways. This design works into a variety of design settings.

Urban dwellers need to consider metal beds. Their sleek lines and dark finishes float in a small bedroom, giving it more visual space. The Sunset, also by Wesley Allen, was Asian inspired. It’s rectangular metal shape is based on the Chinese character for the sun. But to me it is pure contemporary.

If curves are more your style, consider Bob Mackie’s new Metal Bed by American Drew. The S-shaped curves of metal are finished in a flat brass finish. It is definitely a fresh new design concept based on the traditional brass bed. Think of it more as a work of art and layer it up with rich luxury bedding.

Mixing and matching furniture pieces is the only way to create an interesting bedroom decor space. Gone are the bedroom suites.

Want to freshen your old furniture look? Try replacing your matching wooden bed with a metal one.

If you are starting from scratch, think about using a small wooden chest as a night stand on one side of a metal bed and a round table on the other. Recycle an old dining room cabinet as a dresser. Splash on a coat of color to make it more interesting. Purchase some fun lamps that bring that color back over to the side tables. Keep your bedding neutral if you’re adding colorful furniture.

You’ll discover a metal bed that fits perfectly into your existing or desired decor. They are virtually indestructible and come in a variety of sizes, finishes and styles. They are worth your consideration. I’ve moved them from my “What’s Not” to my “What’s New” list. Perhaps you should, too.

Designer and home improvement expert Vicki Payne is host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV and in national and international syndication. Reach her at