Twin Sleigh Bed – What is really a French bed, can vary widely depending on who you talk to. Definitions differ from one country to another and from one context to another, ranging from a certain bed width to a bed frame style. When a hotel tells you that the room you have booked has a French bed, ask for clarification. The term “French bed” is often used in European countries to indicate that it is not a specific type of bed, but merely a mattress width. Called “grand lit” in France, a French bed is one wider than a twin, but narrower than a double.
It is also known as “piazza e mezza” or one and a half in Italy, this twin sleigh bed is usually 48 inches (1.2 m) wide and can support one or two people, as long as the couple is willing to sleep very close together. A French bed can also be one made in the traditional French style, rather than a mere width. They are beds made with a headboard and with boards for the high feet, often of the same height. Almost always made of wood, the frame of the bed is usually carved in a complex way with detailed work and floral motifs. French-style beds are much less common today than in the mid-nineteenth century when a bed was considered a significant piece of furniture.
The twin sleigh bed made in the French style can easily be confused with sleigh beds due to the boards for the high feet and the artisanal grade. The best way to distinguish the two is to look at the shape of the headboard and footboard. French beds almost always have boards that extend straight up, while a sleigh bed has boards with a curved shape that mimics its name. In Germany, a French bed has a third definition, which has nothing to do with the width or style of the headboard, but rather with the construction of a mattress.