A canopy bed is a four-poster bed with a canopy of fabric overhead. Alternately, the canopy can be hung from the ceiling.
Historically in Europe canopy beds have been a status symbol and were made using the most expensive fabrics available-silk, damasks and brocades with gold and silver threads. They were very elaborate with heavy curtains completely enclosing the bed to keep the warmth in.
With the advent of modern heating, the canopy became more decorative and less functional, sometimes supported by just two posts at the head of the bed and extending only a few feet. In warmer climates a canopy might be made of mosquito netting.
Canopy beds come in all sizes, from twin to king, and usually have a pretty valance that can be trimmed with fringe. The underside of the canopy and the inside of the curtains are generally lined in different fabric. The underside can be shirred, or gathered, to a center sunburst or it can be pulled taut. If the bed has curtains, tie-backs on the posts allow them to be pulled aside. A shirred or pleated curtain can hang down from the canopy behind the headboard.
A canopy bed is formal and feminine, whether in a little girl’s room or a master bedroom. While not a necessity, when budget permits, a canopy bed can be a great addition to a bedroom.