The concept of Luxury bed linen has been around for centuries, but it hasn’t always had the same meaning. The bedding of 1,000 years ago typically consisted of straw and animal hides and it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that mattresses filled with wool, hair, or feathers became popular. Just sleeping up off the ground was, at one point in humanity’s past, considered the height of luxury.
Folding beds with wooden bed frames became popular in the 12th century. These beds doubled as couches during the day and were covered in leather or silk. At night, they were covered in the fine linen of the day, an animal hide with white silk as a cover.
What we now consider normal beds didn’t become popular until the 14th century. During this time period, feather beds were all the rage and upper-class homeowners adorned them with hangings made of silk, velvet, or even gold cloth. By the 15th century, most homeowners who wanted to add a touch of luxury to their home were installing large beds and cheaper alternatives like straw and pea shucks began to appear in mattresses.
In the 17th century, royals and the extremely wealthy were sleeping on what were known as “Magnificent Beds.” They were huge and often featured rich embroidery. Some even featured embroideries laced with gold, silver, and pearls on luxury linens like velvet.
The Convergence of Practicality and Luxury
Luxury and practicality converged in the 18th century, as iron beds became popular as a means of mitigating insects and decorative feather pillows became accessible to a wider range of people. Today’s luxury linens were still unheard of during this period.
It wasn’t until around 150 years ago that what modern consumers consider luxury bedding came onto the scene. Luxury comforters, duvet covers, and rich fabrics were introduced in Northern Italy, and these goods quickly became associated with the upper classes.
Thankfully, modern technology has finally made luxury linens affordable enough that most consumers can afford to indulge in better sleep. Hotels, bed and breakfasts, and a much wider range of residential homes now feature comfortable, highly specialized beds and beautiful, luxury linens.