What is a Sleigh Bed Headboard?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

A sleigh bed headboard is the upper backboard or backrest made for the type of beds that resemble the shape of sleighs or sleds. Sleigh bed headboards are available in wood or metal. They're always slightly curved like a sleigh, as are the foot boards. Together, the sleigh bed headboard and foot board create the distinctive sled shape, as both are slightly rounded in design. Some sleigh beds have only a headboard, without any type of foot board.

Sleigh bed headboards in solid wood such as dark cherry are popular and elegant looking, while metal openwork versions tend to have a more artistic, romantic appeal. Light cherry sleigh style headboards tend to look much less formal than their darker wood counterparts. Unlike poster headboards that feature tall spindles on either side of a main cut-out wood piece, a sleigh bed headboard is often clean-lined and very simple in its shape. The subtle curve helps give this type of headboard some style and interest, although some models may feature carving details or molding trim.

Arched sleigh headboards typically have both molding and carved wood embellishments that are extremely elaborate in their design. The center of this type of sleigh bed headboard isn't flat but rather arched, or raised, in the center with softer, cut-out corners on each side. Some arched sleigh bed headboards feature a wood frame with cloth or leather inserts. These inserts may be a single panel or several panels. They may be tufted or have other upholstery details such as ruffling or pleating.

Most classic, curved sleigh headboards have a rounded section at the sides of the top edge. In some cases, the whole top edge may have a cylindrical, rolled look to it. This rolled edge might not be featured on the coordinating foot board. On sleigh beds with intricately carved wood or curved metal scrolls on the headboard, there may be no foot board at all.

A metal sleigh bed headboard can be made up of openwork, curved scrolls or it might feature only straight, evenly spaced spindles. Some metal sleigh headboards have straight spindles on the lower section and curved arches on the upper part. Metal motifs of leaves or other designs may decorate the headboard. If a bed headboard doesn't have any kind of curve to it, it's not likely to be a sleigh type. Some sleigh bed headboards have a curve so pronounced, they're S-shaped in appearance, while others feature only a slight sway at the bottom or top.

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