Vintage Find // Cane Bed Frame


We recently picked up a cane bed frame (yes, another antique bed frame 😉 and here’s the best part: it was FREE. Craigslist, I love you!

This was one of those serendipitous finds that I happened to catch within a few hours of listing. All the stars aligned, and the owner left it in her driveway so we could pick it up that afternoon. We ended up with a nice bed frame and it only cost us a couple gallons of diesel and two pints of beer at 7 Seas Brewery (sometimes Garrett needs bribery for these outings ;).

This cane bed frame doesn’t appear to be particularly old but it is in decent shape – all in all a good deal for FREE! We’ll be using it in Daphne’s nursery, so stay tuned for more on that. Like most of these old bed frames, this one will need a little work. We’ll be adding a platform for a foam mattress to sit on. Plus we’re going to paint it…probably. I know, I know painting wood is not my thing either, but this wood has an odd finish on it. Plus Daphne’s room already has a lot of wood and I’d rather paint a bed frame than the original trim. I wish the wood looked something like these beds below, but alas, it does not.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on painting. Would you paint a wood, cane bed frame? Do you think I’m crazy for considering it? If we do paint it, Garrett and I are both leaning towards a soothing sage green but now that I think about it, a neutral cream or gray would be pretty in Daphne’s space too.

Before I wrap up today, I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve learned about cane. Because it turns out that it’s different from rattan. And wicker. So all these years that I’ve been using those words interchangeably I’ve been totally wrong!

What is Cane…and Rattan…and Wicker?

Cane comes from the stalk of a rattan plant, a vine-like relative of the palm. After the rattan is harvested – a process which can be done sustainably without harming the plant – the bark is processed into thin strands, which is woven into cane and used in caned furniture. While cane is specific to rattan bark, wicker is made by weaving any number of natural materials (and now synthetic too), including bamboo, reed, willow, and the interior of a rattan stalk. Wicker is processed by cutting the material into strips, drying them out and then soaking them in water and weaving (source). Rattan is especially popular in warm climates since it won’t warp or crack. Both cane and wicker date back to the BCs and have been used in both baskets and furniture through the ages (source).

Thankfully Daphne’s bed frame is in good shape, and whether we paint it or not, I think it’s going to be stunning in her room!

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  1. That bed is gorgeous. It’s prettier than either of the other two you shared and the wood grain is phenomenal. I can’t believe you would consider painting it! I’m not a wood person and happily painted a lot of the original wood trim in my Victorian home, but, seriously, covering up that wood grain would be a crime! Can’t the finish be sanded off and replaced?!

    • I’m glad you like it Kate! I’m usually the opposite – I’ve probably never painted wood before – but the finish on this piece just feels off. Perhaps you have to see it in person. Even so, I’m having a hard time pulling the trigger on paint, so may end up cleaning up the finish…we’ll see

  2. such a beautiful bed! and I can’t believe you got it for free!! I would probably paint it too. I have a cane headboard that definitely wasn’t antique but the finish was not good. I used ASCP in French Linen. It is the perfect grey!! Really brings out the details on the bed. I can’t wait to see the finished nursery – 😀

    • Thanks Tracie! I’ve gotten alot of suggestions on Instagram to just paint the wood and not the cane, which I may try. It could look really feminine in this nursery, which is a good thing in my book 🙂

  3. What a great find! I probably wouldn’t paint it, BUT I’m a firm believer that your home is yours – and you should do what makes you happy! It’s a really cool piece, and I’m sure whatever you choose to do will look great. Have fun!

  4. Out of curiosity, what is odd about the finish? Is it something that could be stripped and redone more to your liking? If it were me, I think I’d try that before painting; but if paint is the only way forward, I second the suggestion of only painting the wood and not the cane. The bed is just beautiful, and I can’t believe that cane is in such amazing condition (or appears to be from the pictures) – especially on a free craigslist find! I’m always so jealous of the beauties you always seem to find for your homes. I never seem to find things like that in my area, but I also don’t look often because I only live in a tiny apartment for now; no room to go as antique crazy as I could lol.

    Do you know anything more about this type of bed? You mentioned it doesn’t seem that old – how old do you think it might be? I’ve personally not seen many examples of cane furniture this style.

    • Ooh, also curious – do you plan on keeping the caster wheels? I’m picturing a small child getting a great running start to leap into bed and WHOOP sliding the whole thing across the floor haha.

      • Ha! Yes, I’m planning to keep the casters, but they’ll sit on a thick rug that should help keep them from rolling. I’m sure my boys will test it out though… 😉

  5. Caroline says:

    Don’t paint it, please don’t! It is so pretty. It’s hard to tell in photos what you dislike about the finish, but couldn’t you first try some things to improve the finish/make you like it more?

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