You can see why the sleigh bed has such enduring appeal. The tall headboards and raised footboards are both imposing and cocooning – bringing a sense of occasion to the simplest of bedrooms. Its roots may be over 200 years old but today’s designs are anything but dated.


What makes a bed a sleigh bed?

Think Santa’s sleigh. The curvaceous head and footboards (usually wooden but sometimes upholstered) define this timeless look. The footboard usually extends higher than the mattress, making it a rather grand option – perfect for creating a boutique hotel feel.

What era are sleigh beds from?

The sleigh bed is a staple of early 19th-century French Empire stye, so called because of Emperor Napoleon I’s fondness for the look. The sleigh bed draws on Grecian and Roman design – the curved top and tail resembling the shape of a scroll.

Do you need a special mattress for a sleigh bed?

Think about the depth of the mattress. A luxuriously deep mattress that sits higher than the footboard may feel heavenly to sleep on but will spoil the aesthetics.

Best sleigh beds at a glance:

Best sleigh beds for 2023

Annecy Sleigh Bed

Size: King, super king
Height: 118/84cm
Material: Weathered oak frame with linen upholstered headboard and footboard
Price: from £1,799

Our winner of the best overall sleigh bed perfectly balances classic and contemporary influences. With its soft scroll detailing, cabriole legs and the gentle curves of the head and footboards, the Annecy has a romantic French feel but is subtle enough to suit more relaxed schemes – as well as, of course, more glamorous boudoirs.

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Nelson King Size Fabric Ottoman Sleigh Bed

Size: King
Height: 98.5cm
Material: Bed frame constructed from a mixture of solid wood and plywood. The ottoman frame is metal with bentwood slats. It's covered in upholstery.
Price: £670

If storage is a priority but you don't want to scrimp on style, this lavish king size sleigh bed from Habitat could be the answer. The ottoman frame, which the mattress rests on, lifts to reveal hidden storage, ideal for tucking away bedding or clothes. With its on-trend dark blue upholstery, it also provides a modern – and surprising – take on the classic sleigh style.

You might also like our pick of the best footstools and ottomans

Antoinette Sleigh Bed

Size: Double, king, super king
Height: 117cm
Material: Solid lightly weathered oak and upholstered in a variety of fabrics, shown here in linen
Price: from £1,395

If you're craving a pop of colour in your bedroom – while not forgoing style – this could be the answer. We love the sunny hue of the upholstery shown in this updated sleigh but there are many different colour and fabric options to choose from – including dreamy velvets and super-soft brushed cottons. The bed comes flatpacked but will be assembled by the delivery crew, who will also take away the packaging for you.

Knightsbridge Double Sleigh Bed

Size: Double, king, super king
Height: 128cm
Material: English oak or mahogany legs with upholstery in a number of textiles and colours
Price: from £1,215

The deep tufting on this take on the sleigh bed is inspired by the Chesterfield sofa. It's luxurious yet sophisticated and, if chosen upholstered in brown leather, will add a gentleman's library vibe to the bedroom. We think it would sit well with intriguing collections, shelves of vintage books and industrial lighting. As with's sofas, the beds are also available in many different colours and textiles, making them easy to customise.

Winchcombe Oiled Oak Sleigh Bed

Best Sleigh Beds

Size: King
Height: 107cm
Material: Oak
Price: £1,250

This traditional king size sleigh bed is part of The Cotswold Company's Winchcombe collection, which includes a charming selection of matching bedroom furniture, ideal for creating a cohesive, relaxing feel. We love its simple elegance that will add a subtle feminine touch to any bedroom.

Laura Ashley Broughton Bed Frame

Best sleigh beds

Size: Double, king, super king
Height: 110cm
Material: Oak
Price: from £1,195

The sleigh bed gets a Georgian update with this solid birch king-size design – ideal for traditional-style period homes. To stick with the Georgian feel, just add delicate floral wallpaper (extra points for chinoiserie) and chintzy ceramics of the same era. For those who like a cohesive look, the Broughton range also includes a bedside table, chests of drawers and a wardrobe.

French Sleigh Bed

Size: Single, double, king
Height: 105cm
Material: Mango wood
Natural or painted
Price: from £939

The joy of Scumble Goosie (what a name!) is that you can either buy their furniture unpainted, pictured here in gorgeous raw mango wood, or opt for it to be painted – choosing from a variety of nine tasteful shades, or, for an extra fee, you can specify your own. To ensure that this hefty king-size bed can make it up the stairs, it comes in four separate pieces – and with a spanner.

Feather & Black Hambledon Bed

Size: Double, king, super king
Height: 121cm
Material: Plush velvet
Price: from £999

For a luxurious vibe, you can't beat plush velvet upholstery. The tasteful silvery-grey hue of this Hambledon bed means it's both glamorous and tasteful and details such as the piped edges and tapered wooden feet add to the smart feel.

You might also like the best velvet sofas for 2023

Barker and Stonehouse New Frontier Bed

Size: Double
Height: 12ocm
Material: Mango wood
Price: £1,269

As well as packing a punch in the style stakes, this sleigh bed also has eco credentials. It's part of Barker and Stonehouse's Trees4Trees collection – where each piece is crafted by hand from sustainably sourced timber. In this instance, the timber in question is mango wood – giving the bed a rustic, rich feel.

M&S Cleo Bed

Size: King, super king
Height: 12ocm
Material: Unspecified wood and upholstery – shown here in a woven linen-effect textile
Price: from £749

There's a sleek, modern feel to this M&S king-size design. Its grey finish and unfussy design would make it well-suited to a city home, or would equally add a glorious, and unexpected, contrast to a country interior. M&S offers a 10-year guarantee, home assembly by their team and removal of the packaging.


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