Thursday, May 19, 2022

Decorating With Romantic and Elegant Four Poster Canopy Beds


I love the fact that the four poster canopy bed is one of the fastest growing trends as residents today are making the sharp turn to a more elegant and traditional style of décor. Sales of four-poster beds have rocketed since last year!!

The four poster canopy bed is said to have originated in Europe, Austria to be precise, during the 15th century although reportedly they have been in China since as early as the 4th century. Called the "bed of kings", documentation shows that in 1485 Richard III brought one to Leicester and Louis XIV is said to have had 413 canopy beds.

I have always had a canopy bed so for me they never completely went out of fashion. I admire a well dressed bed and it seems like so do a great number of you. Now that the four poster canopy is back, look for it to remain on trend for a good number of years. If you are considering a bedroom make-over, I hope I can convince you (via these beautiful images) to seriously consider investing in a romantic and elegant four poster beauty.....with all the trimmings!

Historically the four-poster canopy bed, sometimes referred to as the great standing bed, was frequently the most expensive piece of the household and regarded as an essential possession for any aristocratic family.

Eastnor Castle, via Pinterest

Although we now consider the romantic four poster canopy bed purely decorative, it's original design was functional.

Before central heating castles were cold and drafty. Canopy beds with curtains that could completely enclose the bed and create a barrier against the cold were essential so noblemen and ladies could sleep warm.

These four poster canopy beds dressed in heavy curtains were also needed for privacy. Medieval families slept in the great halls of their castles, and usually their attendants slept in the same area.

The idea of a four poster canopy bed was to create a cozy room within a room. The design was a sign of wealth as only the most well-off had them. This bedroom is in Castle Howard.

Sudley Castle via House and Gardens Magazine

During the summer and in warm climates, the canopy bed was draped with some type of light, airy fabric, netting, or gauze to keep mosquitoes away.

Château de Fléville (@chateaudefleville) on Instagram

In the early 17th century the French took the canopy bed up a notch with the creation of the “Chambre” which became a bedroom/sitting room in chateaux and noble houses. This suite of rooms became a formal reception space and high-ranking individuals often received visitors while in bed. The four poster bed was the most important part of the room, and was often an elaborate canopy style called Lit à la Polonaise, which is one of the most romantic of canopy beds.

To see more about the French Lit à la Polonaise click here

Barry Dixon, designer

The four poster canopy bed is now just a decorative accent. Rather than using heavy brocades or rich velvets, today's canopy beds use many new fabrics that are lighter and airier.

Still, there are owners who find the heavy curtains a comforting addition.

You don't need to live in a castle to sleep like royalty. You can transform the look of your bedroom with the purchase of a four poster canopy bed. It will most important piece of furniture in your bedroom as well.

A four-poster bed can be placed against a wall or set as a free-standing centerpiece in the middle of the room. This would have helped assure a breeze from open windows on all sides in days gone by.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

Today modern heating renders the curtains useless so present-day owners often choose to leave the posters at the foot of the canopy bed bare of curtains and only decorate the head posters. That is what I have chosen to do with my own four poster bed. I have light fabric curtains at the head which is a bit hard to see in this photo. The look is simpler yet still stylish and formal.

While not as elaborate and over the top as some four poster bed dressings, this style still maintains an impressive appearance and size as can be seen here in Wardington House.

The half curtained designed canopy bed suits any setting.

As usual a four-poster canopy bed becomes the focal point of any bedroom suite.

Beautiful mural clad rooms can offer the perfect backdrop and make bedrooms with four poster canopy beds absolutely stunning. Here a trellised wallpaper is featured in a bedroom at Ballyfin, a 5 star luxury country house hotel in Ireland

Don't forget the Chinoiserie style bedroom. Try covering the walls in an Asian inspired paper to set off your four poster bed.

There as so many styles to choose from when considering a canopy bed. Some may choose a four poster with an elaborate decorative wooden cornice to hang their fabric canopy from.

This highly decorative style four poster canopy bed cornice is indicative of the Georgian period.

Designer Diane Burn Photography by Durston Saylor

Others prefer a more simple and elegant cornice for their canopy bed.

Add interest by creating a focal point on the wall or curtain behind your four poster bed. Try displaying an antique mirror, art, or an antique cartel clock.

Interior-design firm McMillen, Inc., enlists the artisans at DeAngelis to resurrect an 18th-century-style canopy bed.

Also there is something to be said for painted four poster canopy beds. A four poster bed painted in old world style with swags and florals will immediately give a room a historic atmosphere.

Or they can be painted in one color like this ivory example. My advice is if you choose to paint, make sure you create beautiful, interesting canopies and dressings.

If you want your four poster canopy bed to look especially feminine, add a curved canopy.

Penny Morrison

Interior designers love designing with a four-poster bed because they are so fashionable and are a welcome addition to any style of décor. You can be creative when working around a four poster bed, even adding some extra lighting behind the scenes.

Designer, Furlow Gatewood

Depending on the carvings, type of wood or other material, the four-poster bed can fit beautifully into a feminine or masculine bedroom.

If you want an instant Old World bedroom, take advantage of the framed space behind the bed to showcase an antique tapestry.

You can also opt for smaller carved rope style posts for your bed if you want a simpler look in your Old World bedroom.

Just add in all the classic European influences through your bed dressings, walls, and accessories and you are good to go!

Michael S. Smith, designer

The soft aged glow of an antique brass four poster canopy bed brings a romantic and elegant old fashioned coziness to this bedroom.

With wallpaper making a huge comeback it is easy to create a sumptuous yet charming background which is perfect for a delightful traditional four poster canopy bed.

Boho chic décor is still very much in fashion and four poster beds dressed in this eclectic, interesting, and unconventional style demand attention.

Photos by Brian Vanden Brink

Eventually canopies didn’t need to serve an actual purpose so they were made with lighter dressings. That’s where the sheer curtains, lace accents, and light linens came in as well as the fishnet canopies like the one in this image. This style is very popular with the colonial and primitive style interiors.

via Pinterest

Modern vintage interior design is all about mixing and matching both old and new elements. If your interior is decorated in vintage style, meaning at least 50 years old, the four poster canopy bed is the perfect accessory when dressed in sheer curtains, lace canopies, and beautiful old linens.

Or maybe your favorite style is farmhouse simplicity with it's rustic charm and categorized by its coziness and warmth. It is relaxed, comfortable and begging for the four poster canopy bed!

Maybe even a set of twins like these via

Traditionally made from wood, four poster canopy beds are also now made from other materials such as stainless steel and wrought-iron.

Designer Gary McBournie via

Even though they are modest in design, these canopy beds can be beautifully dressed with drapes to achieve the aesthetic you prefer.

William R. Eubanks. Photo by Kim Sargent Photography

Whether your four poster bed style is elaborate and "royal".......

or just simply stunning, a four poster canopy will be the star of the show.

Michael S. Smith Inc.

The classic four poster bed was designed to bring splendor to the bedroom. And in today's modern home they will still supply refinement, style, and sophistication.

Click below to see the previous blog post.

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I will be glad to correct it.


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