Antique Bed Mattress

If you have an antique bed, and I’m not talking about something grandma bought at Sears, but an old bed that was built back when hand craftsmanship reigned supreme, there is a chance that it may need a customized mattress size.

Long ago there was a size called Three Quarter Bed (3/4 mattress). It was wider than a twin, but not quite as wide as a full. I did not run into this often. But if someone mentioned antique or anything else along those lines, just to be safe, I would ask them to confirm the size.

A normal full size mattress will be 53″ wide by 75″ long. You will find some variance from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it will be quite close to those measurements. The 3/4 mattress size will be 48″ wide by 72-75″ long. There may be a lot of play in the measurements for three quarter bed mattress.

The three quarter mattress is considered obsolete. No major manufacturer makes these and most mattress retailers will not be able to even order one for you. There are a handful of small custom manufacturers out there, but the quality can vary greatly.

Ask a lot of questions before committing the dollars. There is usually no return and no refund on a custom mattress. They may not be able to give you exact measurements you want, so make sure you get as close as you can. They are working under some constraints based on coil style, count or available coil units that may limit what they can produce. You want a set that comes as close to your bed measurements as possible without going over. For instance, if the exact measurement between the inside of the side rails is 50″, you probably don’t want to exceed 49.25″ and less than 47″ might be undesirable since that would leave 3″ of space between side rail and box. It does need to be properly supported as well and if the side rail is part of that support, the box needs to at least partially rest on it. If the slats or legs are the primary support, whether the box touches the side rail or not is irrelevant. But for aesthetics, you may want the gaps to be as narrow as possible.

If you think you may have a three quarter bed, here are a couple of ways to check.

1. If you are using a traditional Hollywood metal frame to connect a headboard and footboard, it is most likely a full size, or possibly a queen if it is close to 60″ wide.

2. If the bed is truly an antique bed with wood side rails, measure from the inside of the side rail (where the box and mattress would sit) to the other side (width). If it is less than 52″ wide, you have a three quarter bed. If the length is less than 75″ you probably have a three quarter bed. The width will be the most important measurement. If it is all the way down to 40″ width, than you have twin size bed. 

If you do in fact have a three quarter bed, don’t waste gas driving around. Call a few stores and ask them if they can order or make a three quarter bed mattress and box. This will save you a lot of time and frustration.

One final thought, if the bed has multiple slats (more than 5) and the support is adequate, you may not need a box. Use your best judgment on whether the support is sufficient for supporting a mattress without a box. Also consider the aesthetics. Without a box, the mattress may not be thick enough to balance the look of the bed and mattress together.

Happy Mattress Shopping!!

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1 comment

  1. Annette L says:

    Thank you SO much for this article! A couple of years back a good friend gave me an antique bed she received from her mother ~ who in turn received it from a lady she used to clean for ~ who in turn received it from her grandmother. I recently got it out of storage to have repaired and re-stained, and learned that it’s measurements will not allow me to purchase a modern mattress for it. I began googleing for custom made mattresses, ran across the term “3/4 bed,” and finally found my way to your article! I’ve never heard of a 3/4″ bed, but have learned to my delight & according to the measurements you’vve provided that I have a 3/4″ French antique bed! Thank you again for taking the time to supply this information! I’ve read it twice & treasure the knowledge I’ve obtained from it!

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