Box springs continued to improve in comfort, appearance and functionality over the last 50 years. Unfortunately for retailers, however, whenever a customer heard the term “box spring”, he saw the product as low-end regardless of how finely crafted the box spring was. And so was born the divan bed.

A couple of retailers in the heart of London’s furniture district decided to start calling their box springs “divan beds.” Granted, their box springs were very high end and much more than just an economical bed piece. They were selling elegant beds that were highly functional, customizable and practical. However, at the heart of all their beds was the box spring. One of the retailers came up with the idea when his mother-in-law visited their store and and called one of their beds “simply divine.” And that got him to thinking… divine… divine comfort… divine bed… ahh!… divan bed! And the rest, as they say, is history.

Great story, eh? If only it were that romantic. In actuality, there was no retailer with a famous mother-in-law. Divan beds, though, do have their roots in the traditional box spring. They are similar to the traditional box spring in that they are made of a base with the mattress resting on top of it. That is about as close as they get to the original beds, however.

Today’s divan beds come in a wide assortment of sizes (double divan beds, for example), comfort levels, finishes and storage options. These innovations were driven both by bed manufacturers, but also by linen retailers and mattress manufacturers who greatly benefited from the increase in divan bed sales.

Divan beds are most popular in the UK. In fact, the UK is the only European market where divan beds are sold. You would have to go to America or Australia to find other countries that sell divan beds on a large scale. However, given the fact that so many retailers have an online presence today, you could easily purchase no matter where you live. But the shipping and handling cost might cost you the same amount as the bed. Ouch!