Antique Crib Daybed

Marian ParsonsAntiques, Favorite Finds84 Comments

Years ago, I spotted an antique crib used as a daybed in a magazine, I think Country Living or Country Home, and I was immediately in love.  I hunted for one and finally came across an antique metal hospital crib for $50 at the Old Lucketts Fair (not to be confused with the Lucketts Spring Market).

Here’s some retro Miss Mustard Seed…

Antique Crib Daybed

Just for fun, here is what that window looks like today…


Oh, how things change, right?

Anyway, that crib was one of my favorite I-will-never-ever-sell-it pieces.  We even used it as our “sofa” when we lived in Jeff’s parents basement as he worked on his undergrad degree.  Jeff loathed the thing, mainly because it made an entirely impractical and ridiculous sofa, but space was limited and it’s what could be wedged between his desk and the wall!

When we moved into our townhouse, I used it in the guest room and then when we moved to our current home, I used it in the family room for a while (shown in the picture above.)

Well, once the boys came along, I became a little nervous about the lead paint and the fact that the back rail had a tendency to fall without much warning.  It seemed a shame to banish it to the basement and I was learning to let go of things…even things that I love.

So, I sold it.

And I have kept an eye open for another one ever since.

I have spotted plenty of cribs, but none of them have ever been enticing enough to actually buy.  Until I spotted this sweet maple Jenny Lind spool bed on craigslist.  I would tell you the price, but I’m planning on reselling it…  I will say, I got it for an amazing price.  Just think of a ridiculously low price and then cut that in half and you’re probably in the right neighborhood.


The seller said they thought it was over 100 years old, but based on the wheels and hardware, I don’t think it’s quite that old.  It does have some nice age to it, though, and it’s still in amazing condition with all of the parts.

A very cool thing is that I bought the antique ticking pillows a couple of weeks ago and they fit it perfectly!  I plan to recover them and tie them to the spools to hold them in place.


Of course, I’ll make a cover for the mattress and probably a skirt, too.

The question is, though, should I paint it?


You know I’m all for painting things, but…

#1 – The wood on this piece is in good shape and has a pretty patina

#2 – Spindles are a royal pain in the rear to paint and I just don’t know if I want to do it!

Two pretty compelling reasons to just let it be.



Antique Crib Daybed

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84 Comments on “Antique Crib Daybed”

  1. Don’t paint it (as long as it looks as good in person as it does in the photos)! And yes spindles are so annoying to paint!

  2. Noooooo. Please don’t paint this beauty. The wood has such depth and color variation. I can’t wait to see it gussied up with fabrics!

  3. I believe you have answered your own question…the look of the wood is nice and why make more work for yourself? Thanks for sharing your old decorating style.

  4. Well, it is pretty, but I would love to see it painted. 🙂 I am sure it will be beautiful either way though.

  5. No paint! I think the wood looks rich and beautiful against the white walls. And when it’s dressed up in the right fabric it will really shine.

  6. Oh Marian, I really love what you do with paint, but this crib would be so happy with some hemp oil treatment , and a bunch of pillows !

    1. One more thing…the blog update is lovely, however, I’m gonna miss your blogroll. I used to use it as my jumping off point for my daily blog hop. 🙁 Oh well, I’ll have to remember.

      1. It’s still there! It’s just at the bottom footer. It’s just on the home page now, but it will be on every page. We are still working out some of the kinks!

  7. Looove this. What a score! Another strong “no” vote on painting this one. When you finish the textile part that wood is going to be a showstopper. It’s fantastic.
    But you’re still planning on selling it – even though you’ve been looking for it for so long?

  8. This one is too pretty as is to paint. I can’t wait to see how amazing it looks when you have it all pulled together.

  9. I would try doing all of the fabric parts that you’re planning on doing first, set it up and see how you like it. If you’re planning on covering the mattress and making a skirt, plus the cushions, that can drastically affect how things will look, and depending on what fabric you choose, those could be the focal point. The wood is really beautiful as is and I think if you do lighter fabrics like you usually do then it’ll highlight the wood and they’ll compliment each other. I think you also end up with a lot of painted furniture in your booth, and it might make this piece stand out more if it’s not painted, and as others have said, it gives options down the road for whoever buys it.

  10. Just be sure the metal support bars can handle adult weight… I know (from experience) that modern jenny lind cribs do not!

  11. Nooooooo is my vote as well! If the wood is as beautiful in real life as the pictures, it is a wonderful “color” already! And can you imagine the work of having to strip paint from it down the road? Ugh.

  12. Can you actually sit on these? do you have to reinforce the bottom for weight? Or are they just for show? Love the wood patina!

    1. Yes, you can actually sit on them, but it does depend on the strength of the springs. I need to get this one fully screwed together and then test it out. If it droops too far, then I’ll add a piece of plywood to give it stability.

  13. NO – don’t paint it – those scallops and spindles are perfect as is. I just finished painting a coffee table that had turned legs and a rope-molding trim, and it was such a hassle. If someone else decides they want to paint it, let them, but imagine the pain of having to strip that thing if they didn’t like the paint! I love the wood!

  14. The new layout is nice, but it’s taking much longer to load for me. Are others having this problem? Yesterday, I gave up several times and assumed the site was having technical issues. Not meant as criticism…just wanted to give you user feedback. BTW, my vote is not to paint over the lovely wood on that crib!

  15. I LOVE painted furniture. I’m not a fan of stained wood — at all. But that bed is just beautiful as is and I love it. I’m in the don’t paint it camp. It has a beautiful color and will be even more spectacular with some beautiful linens.

  16. I will join the consensus – no paint – it’s beautiful as is! Thanks for the great blog – I love reading it!!!

  17. Love it just as is… especially those sweet scalloped sides!! I know it will look amazing once you add the fabric.

  18. I say paint the crib. Not a fan of the natural wood. My question, even with the added plywood to the seat, will those small wheels hold an adult weight?

  19. Oh PLEEEESE do not paint this! Years from now, it will still be a treasure with it s beautiful patina…only grows richer in time. It will remain fresh with updated fabrics …but please do not paint !!!

  20. This piece should be left as it is, wood and all its beauty! I question whether this crib or any such crib would support adults and furthermore, would hate to be a crash dummy to find out!

  21. Oh I love it! I too love most things painted, but have to agree with others that this piece is gorgeous as it is!! I know you will cover the mattress and pillow with something that will make it perfect without any paint!!

  22. I wouldn’t paint it. It is just beautiful as it is. Can’t wait to see you work some magic on it with fabrics. It’s really a great find!

  23. Its in really good shape, the colour is pleasant not a horrible red or dark and to be honest with you painting all those spindles…oh my word…don’t do it Marian…think about the spindles…I have 8 twisted spindles to paint myself and I am dreading it!

  24. What a lovely crib! Whatever you do with it, I’m sure it will be outstanding!
    I think, though, that in a roomful of white, this crib/daybed will be a “standout” leaving it the way it is…it will be the grand performer!
    Good luck!

  25. Well, I love cribs painted…they just are softer to me. However, as many have said….the patina on it as stands out. I agree to dress it and then decide.

    BTW: I have an old crib like your first one. Having been wanting to sell it but my attempts have not produced a sale. If anyone expresses an interest to you, I would love to entertain an offer to sell it to them. I also use mine as a settee in an extra room I use as my craft room/office. I love it but it is time to let it go.

  26. I think unpainted for this one. The wood is lovely as is. My kids’ had a Jenny Lind very similar to this one. It came from my half sister, c. 1970 and was painted pale yellow. Perfect for a gender neutral nursery. Somehow my kids lived through sleeping in a crib with a side that slid up and down. Much better for my back too!

  27. Hi! I recently finished my 1960’s maple twin bed, with all those spindles, in Farmhouse White. Although I sanded well, it had more “chippiness ” than I thought would happen. I sealed it with Hemp oil and not one more piece of paint has flaked off. It turned out beautifully! If you’d like a photo or two, would love to send.

  28. Oh wow, love it! I just finished a two seater rocking chair that had spindles and you aren’t just a kidding on the pain it is to paint them. I would paint it but after doing this chair and the headache it was to paint the spindles, I would say leave it alone, lol. Have a great day!

  29. This piece is STUNNING! Hmmmmm I not sure you should paint it either even though the first vision I had of it was in farmhouse white! You will do what’s best . . . You always do, and I can’t wait to see!

  30. I have my moms crib that she used as s baby ( she’s 84 ) and it’s also a Jenny Lind. I love the look of the wood. So I say ” don’t paint it ” The crib I have had huge wheels about 5″ round, they are so cool. Yours is beautiful!

  31. I`m all for painting too, usually, but it is beautiful as is. With the mattress covered and a full, flowy skirt…..Gorgeous.

  32. I actually did one of the crib to daybeds and it is one of my favorite repurpose projects ever! I too struggled with to paint or not to paint, it was lovely wood also. The thing is I always saw it painted, and that’s what I go by now when I find myself in that quandary, what picture in my mind did I see and that’s what I go with, and that’s what I recommend you do with your crib. I painted mine in your lovely grain sack and it was sold so fast I only got to enjoy the pics and memories?

  33. Hmmmm, Didn’t you have a couple of unpainted pieces not sell at your last show at Lucketts? I think you should paint it for the best chance for selling. After all…….Its what you do!!

  34. The crib is beautiful. Except for the “pain”, I would say paint OR leave alone, either one would look good. However, if you paint and don’t like it, it will be murder to strip off the paint.
    I concur that the new format takes longer to load on my computer…Thanks for still having the ability to comment via email, so many are going to other methods. I don’t “do” Twitter, Instagram, FB, etc., just email.

  35. Hi from Scotland UK. This is lovely. The wood is gorgeous as it is, I think it will be the fabric choices for the mattress and cushions that will sell it. I’m sure you will choose something that works perfectly.

  36. Part of being a good furniture painter is knowing when not to paint.
    Like when there are a ton of spindles. ?

  37. I am a big fan of painting anything and everything , but this piece is gorgeous as is! Love the patina.

  38. I am all for painting pieces, and love what you paint, but for once I say don’t paint! It’s perfect as it is! And, I loved seeing the old photo with the plaid curtains. I never would have guessed they would be in your house. So interesting to see how your style has evolved!

  39. Paint, paint, paint. Even though it’s in good shape, there’s such a different when it’s painted. I wouldn’t hesitate a second.

  40. I loved this post! I am a big fan of old iron cribs and have seen some beauties with prices higher than I’m willing to pay. I would love to turn one into a daybed/bench. Your hospital crib was quite a find. I adore the chippy goodness of it and can understand why you miss it! I do love the current look you have going under the window. The bench is super cute!
    Great job finding that jenny lind crib for a steal. I’m going to keep dreaming I will find the perfect crib for the right price!

  41. Just my personal opinion, but I think you will ruin the character of this piece of you paint it– it will just look like every other crib/daybed out here

  42. I have this same crib, was my daughters and it is currently in our barn, thanks for the great idea and I think I will not paint it.

  43. Love the scalloped detail. I had a similar crib/highchair for my kids in the 80’s, though not this old. The style was called Jenny Lind. I would opt not to paint, as I am too lazy, and one can do so much with fabric.

  44. I love the wood, but I think with some white paint it would take away the crib look.
    A beautiful find! And someone’s treasure!

  45. Don’t paint! It’s so beautiful. I see the value in painting wood that’s ugly or too damaged to refinish but this is too pretty to cover up. You can put your signature on it with fabric and styling without painting. ?

  46. This is a tough one! It is really beautiful as is, the wood has such a pretty tone. Then again, it would be beautiful painted… but spindles are the devil! Maybe dry brushed or whitewashed to make the process easier and preserve some of the wood color? I always admire yo for asking for to-paint or not-to-paint opinions! I’ll never understand the harsh judgement people have for those who paint furniture – especially when literally everything you create is beautiful.

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