Canopy beds and canopy bed linens are not just for little girls anymore. With the sleek, ultra modern lines of the new canopy beds on the showroom floors, intrigued buyers, both men and women, like these stylish additions to the bedroom. Canopy bed linens have made a comeback too, and range from the traditional to the super-chic.
Canopy Bed Linens - A Historical Overview
Canopy beds and consequently their associated bed linens were a practical accompaniment to the well turned out bedroom from the Middle Ages forward. From drafty castles to straw thatched roofs of the middle class, hanging bed linens were necessary to survive brutal winters and wet, chilly springs. Made of heavy velvets and even sailing canvas, the curtains and the tops were meant to augment the less than ideal heating conditions, as well as conserve any generated body heat.
With the design of homes with fireplaces in every room, canopy beds became a symbol of pure decoration. Canopy bed linens became more ornate and decorative, and shorter, resulting in embroidered and lace decorated short tops.
A Hint of Romance
A traditional canopy bed has its top from four feet to more from the top of the bed. Many modern beds have longer than traditional head and foot posts with sleeker designs and painted woods. The aim is to create an airy and light effect, rather than a traditional boxed in look.
Canopy bed linens come in the following materials:
- Matching sets including made to order canopy tops in a variety of materials including lace, eyelet, chintz, and 50/50 poly-cotton blends.
- The use of standard bed linens juxtaposed against canopy sheers that merely drape or hang from the top of the bedposts, and may have or not have a matching sheer full canopy top.
- Stand-alone, canopy top designs, generally having a 12" drop of material either ruffled or plain, which may or may not be matched with a traditional bed skirt and traditional bed sheets, comforters, or duvets as the owner chooses.
It is important to note here that while most canopy beds come in standard twin, full, queen, king, California queen and king sizes as far sheets, pillowcases, and comforters go, it is a good idea always to measure the mattress. You may find you need to bump your size of bed linens up (i.e. from twin to full) to accommodate a couple of extra inches.
Canopy Bed Tops
If you are in the market for a more traditional look, Heirloom Canopies.com makes beautiful canopy beds, frames, and tops. Located in North Carolina, they also offer some beautiful lace tops that are incomparable. If you really like the look of the Colonial Period, Anti-bellum South, or even early 19th century, then this site is a must visit.
The canopy bed tops are part of your bed linens. They come in arched or dome styles, as well as flat tops, and generally are attached to bedposts with finials. Heirloom Canopies.com carries what is called fishnet style or pierced lace style tops. Their Double Diamond domed canopy top looks breathtaking against a traditional quilt, and sets of the color of the wood of the bed. They also carry a matching coverlet, which is stunning. All their canopy top styles look fabulous to show off quilts, duvets, and crisp linen sheets.
If funds are tight and you are not sure of whether a canopy top is right for you, experiment with making your own to see if you like the look.
- A cornice board can be fastened to the wall at the head of the bed. Many layers of fabric can be draped or stapled to it. The fabric can then be swagged to drape over the head of the bed and the fabric can gracefully puddle on the floor.
- Do virtually the same thing by installing a shelf to the ceiling above the bed, except tie the fabric to your bedposts with embroidered bed ties and corded rope. This creates both a modern look with an old-fashioned twist. You can match this look with summer linen or percale sheets and bedding, and change it in the winter with heavier velvet and micro-suede comforters and duvets.
- Install curtain rods on the ceiling to go around your bed. Use café style curtain hooks and again, the fabric of your choice to match your current bed linens.
- Install simple hooks, or better yet, if you are matching your bed linens with sheer drapes, simply fold and staple them to the ceiling at the four corners of the bed. This minimalist look goes well with plain silk, satin, or cotton sheets and a modern four-poster bed.
When choosing canopy bed linens remember to keep in mind the style of the top (if you chose one), or the style of the room if you intend to make a look that only suggests a canopy top. Measure your bed and/or bed top if you have one. Above all, remember, you do not have to play it safe when choosing your bed linens, canopy or not. Try different fabric weights and combinations that suit you.