The single bed has long been the exception, if only to share the warmth of the body. A bed, before the 20th century, is a bedchamber with headboards, headboards, bottom and tops or not. It has a multi-layered inner filling with a straw mattress (made of straw or cornstraw), wool mattress, blanket or duvet and then a sheet, quilted quilt and pillow bolster. If it has columns, the bed can also have an external upholstery with the back and ceiling of the sky stretched with fabric. The canopy can support the bed bumper and support the rods on which the curtains that close the bed slide. Additional slopes or half curtains can be added to the curtains for better insulation. Before the heating was improved, the beds were closed as much as possible or recessed into an alcove to maintain warmth and privacy.

Boat beds with uprights of the same height were the most common in the 19th century.