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Beds

........ In that respect, nothing really has ever changed, and let s face the facts. The bedroom is the least public room in the home, and yet it s the room where we spend the greatest percentage of time. It is fundamental to our sense of well-being but has been disregarded for centuries when considering the home as a whole. Very often it is the last room that we get around to decorating, yet it can be the one space where key moments of our life occur. Beds are the setting for birth or death, relaxation, lovemaking, eating, taking naps, working or just reflecting on our daily lives. In fact no other place offers such a complete reflection of the human experience or of our sense of self.

The very concept of beds and bedrooms as a retreat and space away from the rest of the home where we can relax and revive the spirits is a notion whose appeal grows as the demands of modern life leave little room for quiet calm, contemplation and escape. As the amount of time devoted to sleep diminishes, so the importance for creating a calm space increases exponentially.

Nowadays the simple bliss of deep sleep in a bed that suits your tastes and lifestyle, whether that be primarily one of classical elegance, country simplicity, or colourful exoticism, is high on the wish list of modern life. Designing and decorating a bedroom with the bed itself as the likely focal point, has gradually assumed more importance, on a par with choosing a new kitchen or revamping the living room. It is also the perfect space in the house to call your own where individual tastes can be indulged.

Comfort as you might expect has always been a priority when it comes to bedroom style and bed design and the Elizabethans had the right idea with the focus on making the bedchamber a welcoming and restful place. Pine cones were burned on the fire to sweeten the air and copper warming pans were placed in beds. We can only guess at the extent of bed bugs and other undesirables in rooms that were not well ventilated, heavy with fabric and thick with fire smoke, so scent in all its forms was important. Pillows stuffed with lavender and rosemary aided relaxation then as they might do today, and the bed itself was such a symbolic form of domestic life that it was often a major feature in wills.

The same would have been true during Tudor times when the bedchamber and its one dominant feature, the bed, assumed great social significance as important as a car or boat might be today. The main bed in any wealthy Tudor home was an indicator of social standing and well-to-do householders often spent more on their bed than anything else in the home, with the bed designed to be dismantled and transported from one country house to another .......  cont.........