All You Need To Know About The History & Purchasing Of Canopy Beds!

Henderson Transitional Solid Mahogany Wood Platform Canopy Bed

Last Updated on June 9, 2023 by SierraLivingConcepts

Do you know what has always been a symbol of luxury in a bedroom? The bed! And do you know what kind of bed has been symbolizing true luxury through the ages? The canopy bed!

So what exactly is a canopy bed? A canopy bed is basically a type of bed that consists of four rising posts from each corner of the bed. These posts extend to around 5 or more feet above the mattress and are connected by a running ‘band’ that keeps them stable.

Hampshire 7 Piece Bedroom Set

Throughout the centuries, the bed has not only been symbolic of social status, but it has also been an ornamental addition to a bedroom. While we may have evolved out of the former phase to a point, the bed still makes one of the most important features of a bedroom. A canopy bed has always been synonymous with luxury ever since the middle ages, and today, we’re going to take you on a journey of how that came to be! Read on to find out all about the history and how you can choose the right canopy bed for your bedroom:

1. A Brief History

Have you ever wondered how, when, and why the canopy bed actually came into being? Well, it’s not that hard to trace. Canopy beds first emerged during the middle ages, around the 13th century – marking the medieval era – in Europe, and have been seeing constant evolution since. While the poor folk made do with straw pellets, the nobility had their own domestic situation to deal with.

You see, the earliest castles in Europe had different traditions. The lord and his family usually slept in the great hall surrounded by servants, so in order to maintain some semblance of privacy, the concept of canopy beds was conceived. While initially the master’s bed was closed off with a ‘wall’ of curtains falling from the ceiling, the evolution of the canopy bed ensured that a frame was added to support the canopy from which the curtains were later hung to warrant more privacy.

While the initial design was purely pragmatic, the design of these beds really caught on. The idea was then implemented in the townhomes of other prosperous townsfolk and gradually became a globalized phenomenon. Since then, canopy beds have seen constant evolution in design to the simple, contemporary versions that we know and love today!

2. Evolution of the canopy bed

Even today, the canopy bed is hailed for its unfettered style and grace, but what exactly has this transformation been like? Let’s take a brief visual tour of how the design of the canopy bed has adapted through each time period:

  • As we’ve already seen, the major design consideration for beds was privacy in medieval times, so there was a heavy emphasis on curtains and valances. Since the origin of these beds is an ode to the high nobility, these draperies were made of lush, exotic fabrics like silk.
  • As the design caught on with the rich and wealthy, the canopy bed then became the icon of the ‘status symbol.’ The beds then increased in size, weight, and ornamentation. There were intricate carvings on the headboards, ornate woodwork to emphasize the social hierarchy, and rich fabrics to complete the overall look.
  • By the time the Rococo period came by, though, the canopy bed adapted to the delicate sensibilities of the time. The designs became much less flamboyant and a little bit more reserved. These lighter and narrower designs were later constructed of iron, instead of the original walnut and oak wood.
  • Now with the changing times, the frou-frou accouterments kept decreasing, right until when we hit the modern era. This time period is known for its extreme simplicity and radical minimalism. You can imagine how the canopy bed was stripped of all its filigrees and brocades until only the frame was left.
  • However, the latter half of the 20th century was all about experimentation, so once again there was a lot of experimentation with styles. We had barrel-arched canopies, in-built fall ceiling canopies, and even carriage-style frames! Canopy beds were especially all the rage during the 90s which carried through the next century.
  • And finally, it’s time to look at the modern contemporary canopy bed. This is the style that’s most beloved today. Modern canopy beds usually consist of a simple framework with four posts and a mattress platform. The presence of a headboard and footboard depends completely upon whether you want them incorporated into the design or not!

3. Set your room according to the canopy bed!

Setting up your bedroom to accommodate the canopy bed can be a challenging task, and we’re here to make this transition easier for you! Below, we’ve compiled a list of pointers within the context of our Larvik 4 Piece Bedroom Set, which will help you get a hang of how you can set up your own bedroom ambiance:

Larvik 4 Piece Bedroom Set

Since our Larvik 4 Piece Bedroom Set is a contemporary-rustic design, we’ll have to take the style into consideration. Here’s what you need to do to make the bed look stunning:

  • You must complement the unique grain of the wood. To make it stand out, use neutral colors in the backdrop. White, grey, beige, and tan would be the best choice.
  • You’ll have to make sure that the space above the canopy doesn’t look too empty, so hanging a three-set gallery wall or even a single artwork between the headboard and canopy is a good idea. If you want to emulate simplicity, then bypass the artwork and go for a pair of LED box lights above the headboard.
  • You must also create a visual barrier between the floor and the lower half of the bed to highlight the design of your furniture. So it’ll be great if you can spread out a nice, neutral-colored, and minimally designed area rug half-under and half-out of the bed.
  • You’ll also want to highlight the canopy, which is why going for a simple white false ceiling is a good idea.
  • As for the curtains, if you want to go for a modernist effect then don’t hang any. But if you really want to, then flimsy organza curtains that are breezy and opaque will be the best choice.

4. Points to remember while ordering the canopy bed!

The canopy bed is different from other typical beds, and there are special points that need to be considered while ordering one. The following points should be considered before you make this choice:

  • Size of your room: The size of your room matters a lot when buying the canopy bed. You’ll need around a minimum of 2’ of space on each side of the bed for easy bed-making. You must also consider the height of the canopy with reference to the tallest person using it.
  • Scale and proportion: You must also consider the scale and proportions of the room when compared to the design of the canopy bed. The elaborate canopies don’t look good in small rooms, so if your bedroom is relatively small, make sure to go for a minimalist canopy bed.
  • Fabric for your canopy: The last thing that you must consider while choosing your canopy bed is the type of fabric. There’s a lot you can choose from, but at the end of the day, it depends on where you live. We recommend not going for heavy drapes if you live in a tropical climate. Mosquito nets are a good option for such areas.

So this is the story that conveys the history, styling, and what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to a canopy bed! Overall, they’re the perfect personification of style and luxury, so you should definitely go for one!


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