Iron bed doesn't have to be a hard fit Design: Popular for centuries, it is both sturdy and elegant, but you will need some other visual heft in the room to offset its airy look.

November 03, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

I still reminisce about a white iron bed I had as a young girl. It has come to mind again, now that we're refurnishing the bedroom of our college-bound son. Do you think an iron bed would be appropriate for this relatively small space, which we plan to use as a guest room, or would that type of bed be too flimsy-looking?

Iron beds have been popular for centuries. Far from flimsy, they're sturdier than many of the wooden beds manufactured today.

The accompanying photo shows a hand-forged iron, Provence-style bed. Because it's not as ornate as some iron beds, a piece of this sort might be more appropriate for your own circumstances.

Charles P. Rogers of New York, the nation's oldest maker of metal beds (since 1855), built this one along classical lines. The elegantly curved headboard and footboard, along with the precise detailing, make it a genuine work of art.

One bit of practical advice: Make sure before buying any bed that it's able to accommodate today's standard-size mattress and box spring. Many beds manufactured abroad aren't proportioned to American fittings.

Please also keep in mind that no bed, by itself, is going to result in a well-designed room.

The floor, for instance, will require your attention.

I suggest it be given some visual heft to offset the airy quality of the iron bed.

A checkerboard pattern, either painted or installed as carpeting, would act as an effective foil.

As the photo suggests, it might be a good idea to put a shelf above the bed, extending the entire length of the wall.

That surface could then be used for displaying decorative items, such as small pictures, family photos and some sort of collection.

A personal touch is essential in a guest room in order to prevent it from feeling like a generic, anonymous space.

To soften the room further, you could cover the windows with floor-length, pull-back curtains hung from black iron rings attached to an iron rod.

Plenty of pillows, along with a duvet covered in a small print, will make your guests feel even more welcome and pampered.

But don't go too far with the flouncy features; you'll surely want your son to feel comfortable in his old room during his visits

home from college.

Pub Date: 11/03/96

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