When I was a child, abourt 7-8 years old we lived in a small farmhouse in the countryside, about a hundred yards away from my grandparents who lived also in a small farmhouse. In our house my father had installed a shower, bedrooms etc instead of the traditional closet-bed (bedstede, bedstee), but my grandparents' house still had the zinc tub filled with water from the well and the traditional bedstedes (closet-beds in the wall, behind closed doors). In their living room they had two such closet-beds.
In the Netherlands the closet-bed, or bedstede, were common into the 19th century, especially in farmhouses in the countryside. Closet-beds were closed off with a door or a curtain.
One of the advantages of the closet-bed was that it could be built into the living room and closed off during the day, making a separate bedroom unnecessary. The other main advantage was that, during the winter, the small area of the closet-bed would be warmed by body heat. As a result, the stove did not need to be stoked overnight. The door would not be shut completely, but left open a crack.
During the 16th and 17th century, closet-beds were much smaller. Lying down was associated with death, and therefore sleeping was done in a half-upright position. These closet-beds slept two people, and beneath them were often doors for children.
During school holidays I stayed sometimes at my grandparents and would sleep overnight in this "bedstede" which was an adventure! The beds were ca. 1.85 long.
Sadly the only photo I have of these closet-beds at my grandparents is the one below. My grandparents were having a party at the time and an extra table had been placed in the house, but in the upper right corner you can see the doors of one of the two closet-beds. That's my dad playing the guitar. My father and grandparents passed away between 1977-1988.
In these closet-beds my grandmother used farmers bedlinnens in blues, reds or purple.
I have fond memories of these bedlinnens. Last year while walking the market during a vacation in the Netherlands, I saw a fabric very common to these farmers bedlinnens, named Roosje van Staphorst (little rose of Staphorst) and I bought some to take home.
Yesterday I sew two pillow covers from the fabric. I love them on our bed! They go well with the Ikea covers. The red-black embroidered pillow covers are an antique pair of Amish pillow covers.