The box bed, sometimes known by its French name of lit clos, is a bed built into a piece of furniture. It looks curious to us today and it’s somewhat of a novelty to climb into bed and shut the doors behind you, but 600 years ago this kind of bed was very popular, and it is making a comeback today.
“Very Conveniently Designed”
As its name implies, the box bed is a bed which is completely contained within a wooden box. There were a lot of variations in design – some had curtains for privacy, while others were completely closed off with sliding wooden doors. They could be built in a number of ways to utilize the space available – some were freestanding and could be moved, but others were built into recesses of a room.
‘A Mother Delousing her Child’s Hair, known as ‘A Mother’s Duty’’ (1658-1660) by Pieter de Hooch. (Public Domain) This image shows a box bed with curtains built into a recess of the room.