Canopy Beds To Make You Feel Like Royalty

4th September 2023

Impressive in appearance and grand in scale, canopy beds are a wonderful way to make the most of your bedroom's vertical space and establish a focal point in the room. Both practical and decorative, the canopy and curtains keep the inner bed warm, whilst the often ornate carved bed posts and luxury fabrics add decor and pattern to the room.

Today's canopy beds generally fit into one of two categories: traditional or contemporary; and within this division we see a variety of different styles to suit both personal taste and budget. From intricately carved four-poster beds, to magical fairytale children’s drapes, we’ve put together some of the best canopy bed designs to inspire your interior design….

Canopy Master Bedroom Ideas Canopy Master Bedroom Ideas

Image credit Morris Bed Hangings, Kelmscott Manor, Oxfordshire

The History

Arising from a need for warmth and privacy, canopy beds feature fabric curtains that can be drawn to also screen its occupants from light and sight. An effective way to create private bedrooms within a communal sleeping area, they weren’t initially reserved for the rich and wealthy as simple canopy-style beds were commonly found in the most modest of homes.

Fast forward to the 19th century and canopy beds had become the most important piece of household furniture. A signifier of status and wealth, frames were often intricately decorated and allowed extra space from which to display rich fabrics such as ornate hangings or opulent curtain fabrics such as silk. 

Showcasing exquisite tapestries by May Morris, this wonderful bed to the left was that of her fathers, William Morris. Renting this Elizabethan house in the countryside as a creative retreat back in 1871, his admiration for this elaborate four-poster moved him to write poetry about it. His daughter, then a very talented designer and seamstress, embroidered his words into the pelmet and canopy which can still be viewed today at Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire.

Present Day Canopy Designs...

Traditional Four-Poster Beds

Traditional four-poster beds are typically made from carved wood or metal, complete with ornate bedposts and decorative finials. Curtains hanging either side of the head of the bed are held in place by matching tiebacks and can be drawn around the frame to enclose the bed. A wonderful opportunity to showcase a timeless design that would look spectacular when hung on such a grand piece of furniture, we would suggest choosing a damask, toile de Jouy, breathtaking embroidery or traditional floral fabric.

If however, your room is already brimming with pattern, a plain fabric like Amoret would make a beautiful canopy and curtains. Its irresistible silky sheen still feels opulent enough to warrant such a central role, and it can be adorned with complementary fringing to add a bit of movement and texture to the bed dressings.

Depending on the style of framework, your four-poster bed may have a curtain track or pole to fix your curtains to. Concealed by a pelmet hung around the top of the bed, these pleated fabrics serve both a practical and decorative function. Typically made in matching fabric to the curtains that hang within, their grandeur can be elevated by the addition of decorative fringing or beaded fringe, often seen in country houses and stately homes across the UK.

King Canopy Bed Ideas King Canopy Bed Ideas
Decorating Canopy Bed Ideas Decorating Canopy Bed Ideas

Image credit Carskiey House on Scotland’s west coast, Fermoie

Four Poster Bed Curtain Ideas Four Poster Bed Curtain Ideas

Modern Four-Poster Beds

More contemporary in style but no less impressive, these modern canopies recreate the structure of a four-poster but without the traditional framework. Featuring full length curtains that hang at each corner of the bed, enclosed by a sleeker pelmet that surrounds the canopy ceiling, these modern designs feel lighter and more airy than their traditional counterparts.

Showcasing bolder colours, large-scale florals and a varied mix of pattern and plains, these beautiful examples of modern canopy beds show how this style can suit both sleek contemporary interiors as well as dynamic eclectic homes.

Styles of Canopy

Bed canopies can be custom-made in a variety of styles to suit the character and period of home, and a key feature that affects its overall look is the tented ceiling. With options ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other, we showcase three of the most popular styles:

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Featuring plain fabric with clean lines and crisp borders, this minimalist canopy ceiling suits a more contemporary style of bed. Modern and smart, it happily sits in the background, allowing the curtains to take centre stage.

Enclosed Bed Enclosed Bed


In contrast, this canopy ceiling is softer and more decorative in style. A delightful option adds embellishment yet remains humble, suiting a charming cottage interior or a period property with a vintage feel.

Canopy for Bed Ideas Canopy for Bed Ideas


Finally, this magnificent sunburst canopy emanates a sense of luxury and grandeur. Standing proudly in this impressive country house, this was taken during the assembly of one of our recent interior design projects.

Half Tester Beds

Derived from the Latin word 'testa' meaning head, this style of canopy differs from the traditional four-poster as only half, or less, of the bed is covered by the canopy. A response to the development of more intimate and easier-to-warm bedrooms, canopy beds saw a shift in focus, from practical to stylish. Remaining an indicator of one’s wealth and status, designs retained the grandeur of the four-poster, but became lighter and more decorative in style.

A less imposing canopy with a more manageable scale for modest rooms, half tester bed canopies can also be designed and styled to suit many types of homes. From modern country prints to ultra modern stripes, these examples show how they take on the characteristics of their fabrics.

Romantic Canopy Bed Designs Romantic Canopy Bed Designs

Bed Coronas

Also called Lit à Couronne, a bed corona is traditionally made from metal or wood and recalls the shape of a crown. Again, suspended at the head of the bed, like a crown on a head, it is fixed to a single curtain that extends down to the sides of the bed. Technically another style of half tester as the curtain only covers part of the bed, more modern versions are seeing a rise in popularity. Created by upholstering a wooden board to form the semi-oval shape, the modern corona is then concealed by a decorative pelmet or hidden by the style of curtain heading. Again, a space saving option for rooms that can not accomodate a full four-poster bed, they are especially convenient for bedrooms with sloped ceilings or less lofty proportions.

Alternative Twin Canopies

This modest twin bedroom design is transformed by this rather theatrical alternative bed canopy. Featuring two discrete rods that are fixed to the ceiling, from which panels of fabric are gracefully hung to create a sail-like drape above each bed. The patterned fabric continues to cascade down the wall and behind the headboards to create a striking contrast against the red upholstery and painted panelling. Simple in assembly yet transformative in its result, this is a great example of how clever design can alter the dimensions and elevation of a room.

Children's Canopy Beds

Children’s rooms should be fun and explorative, and what better way to add some excitement than by hanging a canopy above their bed. Creating a space that feels cosy and comfortable, this den-like drapery is a wonderful excuse to get playful in your interior design. Consider mixing patterns, featuring bold primary colours and adding joyful trimmings and complementary home accessories to really personalise the bed to your child.

When choosing a fabric, the best place to start is with their favourite colour or motif. Children’s designs, colourful stripes and small scale fabrics are all great options as they feel youthful and fun. Alternatively if you have a little princess looking for a fairytale bedroom, a tented canopy made with a pretty sheer will instantly cast an air of magic across the room.

Adding Trimmings

Adding movement, texture, decoration and colour, building trimmings into your scheme will elevate your bed canopy to a level of grandeur that it deserves. With a huge variety of styles as subtle or as extravagant as the room demands, our expert team can advise you in choosing the perfect complementary trimming for your bedroom design...

Pink Bed Canopy Pink Bed Canopy

Image credit: @thelondoncurtaingirls featuring Raine Linen by Cinny  featured on Samuel & Sons

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References: The Pre-Raphaelites by