In the days before winter heating advances people had to keep warm in winter however they could. It wasn’t practical to keep a fire going all night because when would they sleep? Instead many people across the world built box beds, otherwise known as alcove beds, to sleep in.

As homes became bigger and better heated box beds were no longer necessary. But, there was a time when even royalty used these practical beds. Here are some historic box beds that are quite charming!

Via: Wiki Commons/Uberprutser

These beds could be built into the wall or they could be built into an existing alcove. Or sometimes they were even built as free-standing pieces of furniture- a wardrobe for your body if you will.

Via: Wiki Commons/Wolfgang Sauber

Box beds aren’t for the claustrophobic among us, but they did keep a person warm by trapping body heat and preventing the cold air of a room from reaching a person. A blanket inside a box bed is far more efficient than that same blanket used in an open bed.

Via: Wiki Commons/Hanno Lans

Unlike a regular four poster bed that uses only curtains to partition the sleeper from the rest of the room, box beds have wooden doors or walls to keep both the light and the cold out. Some use a combination of curtains and wooden walls.

Box bed in Amsterdam. Via: Wiki Commons/Remi Mathis
Via: Wiki Commons/Dguendel

These beds were very popular in Scandinavia, but were also found across Europe, the UK, and parts of Asia as well.

Via: Wiki Commons/Sandstein

Because a person was isolated inside many box beds had shelves to place a candle, a book, or even a chamber pot. When it was so cold no doubt they wanted to save a trip to the outhouse whenever they could!

Via: Wiki Commons/Quistnix

Some box beds came with shelves built on the outside of the sleeping area as well so as to maximize the storage space of such a large item of furniture.

Via: Wiki Commons/Daderot

Some alcove beds were part of a larger bedroom, but others opened out directly onto the kitchen or main living area.

Netherlands Open Air Museum kitchen with 2 box beds. Note the brass bed warmers hanging by the fireplace. Via: Wiki Commons/Txllxt TxllxT
Via: Wiki Commons/Klioj√ľnger

Do you think you would have enjoyed sleeping in a box bed? It’s certainly one way to make it through the harsh winters!

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