What is a Bed? History, Types, Size, Bed Making

  • Post last modified:16 April 2023
  • Reading time:11 mins read
  • Post category:Hotel Management

What is a Bed?

A bed is a piece of furniture or location primarily used to rest, relax, nap, or sleep. To make beds more comfortable, the top layer is frequently a mattress.

Originally these were bags of straw for most people and filled with fluffy, feathers of birds for the wealthy. Eventually, new filling materials such as cotton, silk cotton, and artificial fillers became common. Modern mattresses use springs, solid foam, latex, water, or air.

As time passes on more and more people are looking for a better medium to sleep, since people spend a large percentage of time in life in bed. It has become a more recent realization for many, to attribute health deterioration to what they lay on. Water-resilient fibers (natural and synthetic), latex, synthetic foams, and a combination of a huge range of different spring technologies are used to manufacture beds.

For greater head support, most people use a pillow, placed at the top of a mattress. Also used is some form of covering blanket to provide warmth to the sleeper, often bed sheets, a quilt, or a duvet.

Also, some people prefer to dispense with the box spring and bed frame and replace it with a platform bed style. This is more common in Europe.

History of Bed

Early beds were little more than piles of straw laid on the ground or some other natural materials. An important change was raising the beds off the ground, to avoid drafts, dirt, and harboring of pests, and pest attacks.

The bed of Odysseus, a charpoy woven of rope, plays a role in the Odyssey of Homer. A replica can be seen at the Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagans, Cardiff. Ancient Romans had various kinds of beds for repose. These included:

  • lectus cubicularis, or chamber bed, for regular sleeping;

  • lectus discubitorius, or table bed, on which they ate – for they ate while lying on their left side – there being usually three people to one bed, where the middle place accounted for the most honorable position;

  • lectus lucubratorius, for studying;

  • and a lectus funebris, or emortualis, on which the dead were carried to the pyre.

Types of Bed

  • An adjustable bed is a bed that can be adjusted to several different positions.

  • An air bed uses an air-inflated mattress, sometimes connected to an electric air pump and having firmness controls.

  • A box bed is a bed having the form of a large box with a wooden roof, sides, and ends, opening in front with two sliding panels or shutters; often used in cottages in Scotland: sometimes also applied to a bed arranged so as to fold up into a box.

  • A daybed is a couch used as a seat by day and as a bed by night.

  • A futon is a traditional style of Japanese bed that is also available in a larger Western style.

  • A Murphy bed or wall bed is a bed that can hinge into a wall or cabinet to save space.

  • A pallet is a thin, lightweight mattress.

  • A platform bed is a mattress resting on a solid, flat raised surface, either free-standing or part of the room’s structure.

  • A roll-away bed (or cot) is a bed whose frame folds in half and rolls in order to be more easily stored and moved.

  • A sofabed is a bed that is stored inside a sofa.

  • A vibrating bed is typically a coin-operated novelty found in a vintage motel. For a fee, the mattress vibrates for a duration of time. This is supposed to counter body aches and relax.

  • A waterbed is a bed/mattress combination where the mattress is filled with water.

Bed Sizes

Beds come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. Most countries have a standard set of four sizes of mattresses. While the Double size appears to be standard among English-speaking countries, based on the imperial measurement of 4 ft. 6 in. by 6 ft. 3 in., the sizes for other bed types tend to vary. The European sizes differ, and their measurements are based on the metric system.

Standard Sizes of Bed

Modern manufacturing conventions have resulted in a limited number of standard sizes of commercial bedding for mattresses and box springs. They vary with the country of origin.

Twin Extra Long38 × 80 in (0.99 × 2.03 m) this size is fairly popular in college dormitories.
Three Quarter48 × 75 in (1.22 × 1.90 m) often (47-48) X 72 in. This size is considered obsolete by the major manufacturers.
Super Single48 × 84 in (1.22 × 2.13 m)
Olympic Queen66 × 80 in (1.68 × 2.03 m) a novelty size by Simmons.
California Queen60 × 84 in (1.52 × 2.13 m)
Eastern King76 x 80 in (1.93 x 2.03 m) An alternate name for a U.S. King.
California King72 × 84 in (1.83 × 2.13 m) A common size on the West Coast of the United States. Also called a Western King, West Coast King, or WC King.
Long King72 x 104 in (1.83 m × 2.64m)
U.S. Sizes
Small Single30 × 75 in (0.76 × 1.91 m)
Super Single42 × 75 in (1.07 × 1.91 m)
Small Double48 × 75 in (1.22 × 1.91 m) also called three quarter
Normal Double54 x 75 in (1.37 x 1.91 m)
U.K. Sizes
Normal Size80 cm bed or 80 x 200 cm bed.
Extra Small Single(30 × 79 in) 0.75 × 2 m
Small Single(31 × 79 in) 0.8 × 2 m
Large Single(39 × 79 in) 1 × 2 m
European Sizes

Bed Making

Bed making is the technique of preparing different types of bed to make a guest comfortable or his/her position suitable for a particular condition.

Learning the proper procedure for making a bed helps to ensure the guest’s comfort and sense of well-being. The bed is an important part of the guest’s hotel environment.

Procedure for Making a Bed

1. Remove soiled sheets and pillow cases and shake out individually. Check linens for dentures, hearing aids, jewelry, glasses, face tissues, or anything else belonging to the guest before stripping the bed.6. Open out the blanket and place it evenly on the top sheet using the crease as described earlier for even distribution. Ensure that the blanket labels are at the foot. Pull the blanket 4 inches from the headboard.
2. Turn the mattress side-to-side on succeeding days followed by end-to-end turning. Smooth out the mattress to air it out.7. Fold the top sheet, at the head of the bed over the blanket and fold the sheet and blanket once again.
3. Shake out the mattress protector and relay it on the mattress. Change the protector that is soiled or smelling.8. The blanket and the top sheet are together tucked uniformly on both sides while the comers at the foot of the bed are neatly mitered.
4. Open out the fresh lower sheet evenly and puck it securely at the head, foot and the sides.9. Cover pillows with fresh pillow slips. Fluff the pillow and even out pillow slips to look neat and tidy. Since pillow slips are larger than the pillow the excess slip should be neatly folded downwards. The side of the pillow which has the fold should be away from guest view. .
5. Open out fresh top sheet and distribute it evenly over the lower bed sheet. Ensure that the laundry creases are in the same line as the inner sheet for even distribution. The sheet hem should be evenly pulled up to the headboard. Tuck this sheet at the foot.10. Cover completed bed with the bed spread / bed cover ensuring that it is right side up and is falling evenly all around the bed. Keep extra bed spread toward the headboard to crease in between the pillows so as to make the bed look appealing. The bed spread corners should be aesthetically done.

Put spare blankets in the upper most shelf of the wardrobe in case required by the guest. Blankets are folded in such a manner that the hotel logo appears on the top.

Article Reference
  • Andrews Sudhir (1985), Hotel Housekeeping Training Manual, Tata Mc Graw-Hill Publishing Co. Ltd.

  • Joan C. & Lennox, Margaret Branson (1969), Hotel Housekeeping Principles and Practice, Edward Arnold, London.

  • Rosemary Hurst (1971), Housekeeping Management for Hotels and Residential Establishments, William Heinemann.

  • W. Winter, Doris Hatfield, H. Hatfield (1989), The Professional Housekeeping, Hyperion Books.

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