Why Do Some Old Homes Have a Bed in the Ceiling?


Have you ever walked into an old home and found yourself scratching your head, wondering why there’s a bed hanging from the ceiling? It’s certainly an unusual sight, but fear not! Those gravity-defying beds actually have a fascinating history and serve a practical purpose. So, let’s delve into the world of old homes and discover the secrets behind these ceiling beds.

First things first, these hanging beds are often referred to as “Sorlien beds”. The Sorlien, a competitor of the Murphy bed, received a patent in 1913. The idea was to maximize space in small apartments and homes, and the ceiling seemed like an untapped resource. The Sorlien ceiling bed, unlike the Murphy bed, is stored in the ceiling instead of a closet or wall, saving floor space when not in use.

So why would anyone want to put a bed on the ceiling? Well, in crowded cities where space was limited, people had to get creative with their living arrangements. Sorlien beds offered a clever solution by utilizing the vertical space. Instead of taking up valuable floor space during the day, the bed could be raised to the ceiling, creating a more spacious living environment.

source: Root Simple

Imagine having a small studio apartment in a bustling city. During the day, you need room to work, entertain guests, or simply move around without constantly bumping into furniture. By having a bed in the ceiling, you could effortlessly transform your living room into a functional space without sacrificing comfort. Once it’s time to hit the hay, you simply lower the bed from the ceiling, and voila! A cozy sleeping area materializes before your very eyes.

But how exactly does this magical contraption work? Well, the Sorlien bed system typically consisted of a sturdy metal frame attached to the ceiling. This frame would support the weight of the bed, ensuring it remained securely in place. Using a combination of pulleys, cables, and counterweights, the bed could be easily raised and lowered without much effort.

One might wonder about the safety and stability of these beds. After all, no one wants to be startled awake by the sudden collapse of their bedroom ceiling! Fortunately, Sorlien beds were designed with safety in mind. They underwent rigorous testing to ensure their durability and stability. The materials used were sturdy enough to support the weight of an adult without any issues.

source: Root Simple

In addition to their practicality, ceiling beds also had a touch of novelty and whimsy. Imagine the excitement of showing off your innovative sleeping arrangement to friends and family. It undoubtedly sparked many conversations and left visitors in awe.

While Sorlien beds were particularly popular during the early to mid-20th century, their usage declined over time. As living spaces became more modernized and spacious, the need for space-saving solutions like ceiling beds diminished. However, you can still stumble upon these relics of the past in older homes, preserved as a testament to the ingenuity of their creators.

So, the next time you come across a home with a bed suspended from the ceiling, take a moment to appreciate the history and practicality behind it. Those hanging beds were more than just quirky design choices; they were ingenious solutions to a space-related problem. And who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see a resurgence of ceiling beds as people seek innovative ways to optimize their living spaces.

Have you ever seen them somewhere? Perhaps you even own them!