Four-poster beds aren’t just for fairy-tales. In recent times, this grand style of bedroom furniture has been creatively adapted in many ways: from clean rectangular styles that frame your bed and make it a focus, to light and whimsical pieces which add a touch of luxury.
In medieval times, four-poster beds – also known as canopy beds – were practical to maintain warmth and privacy. From the 16th century onwards, they became increasingly ornate, with intricate wood carvings designed to display wealth and status. Today, they are still pricey, with most in the £1-2000 range. These statement beds are also suited to larger spaces, ideally with high ceilings.
Most beds in this style accommodate a top frame to drape fabric from if you wish – but modern styles look best without for visual impact. Some styles of four-poster bed don’t have the top frame, but instead feature four tall and exaggerated bedposts.
1. Maisons Du Monde Goa Bed: £429.90, Maisons Du Monde
Another good value four-poster from French retailer Maisons du Monde. The Goa bed is made of solid acacia wood from India and finished with a dark stain. The detailing is subtle with touches that nod to the exotic while still giving you the freedom to customise with various bedding styles. There is a matching range of furniture available.
2. Neptune Wardley Four Poster Double Bed: From £1,520, Neptune
Neptune says it took a while to get the painted-wood Wardley bed just right, and it’s easy to see why. The bed has a good balance, with a slim frame and a sense of presence that doesn’t overwhelm a room. Softening the overall silhouette are tapered legs and a fabric-covered headboard that comes in a choice of three colours. Sheer bed curtains cost an additional £295.
3. Heal’s Pinner Bed: From £849, Heal’s
The proportions of the Pinner bed are based on designs in Heal’s archives which go back to 1810. With turned legs and tall head posts, this piece is made for customers who want to marry tradition with modern styling. It’s also a fun piece for those who want a grown-up take on the style. The Pinner bed is made from aged limed oak and is finished in cool white or a striking and fresh blue.
4. Maisons Du Monde Syracuse Bed: £249.90, Maisons Du Monde
Proving that four-poster beds don’t need to cost the earth is the enchanting Syracuse bed from Maisons du Monde. Its traditional looks – a metal frame with ivory white finish – are undeniably romantic, but bring a lighter touch to a type of bed that can otherwise consume small spaces. Self-assembly is required, and box springs (not included) are recommended for extra comfort.
5. Mogg Casetta In Canada Four Poster Bed: £2,420, Go Modern
Designer Nathan Yong’s bed for Italian brand Mogg is a pared-down version of the four-poster, with an unusual pitched canopy. It is made in solid ash and lacquered in white, leaving the texture of the wood still visible. The price reflects its designer status, but if you’re splashing out beware of the non-standard size. At 170cm x 200cm, it’s smaller than a UK super king and requires a bespoke mattress.
6. Anthropologie City Perch Bed: £1,700, Anthropologie
A row of cast-iron perching birds really bring the slim lines of Anthropologie’s whimsical bed to life. The bed itself is made of carbon-steel with a painted finish and wooden slats for support. The structure is deliberately pared back to give the impression that these birds could fly off and leave their wiry perch at any moment. The bed comes in king size only.
7. Driade Edward IV Double Canopy Bed: £1,321, Harrogate Interiors
Antonia Astori, co-founder of Italian brand Driade, was clearly captured by English history with the design of this four-poster double bed, naming it after the 15th-century monarch. The structure mixes a wooden base and slim cylindrical posts with elegant satin stainless steel. There is also an additional woven headboard and white linen curtain set.
8. Heal’s Abacus Four Poster Bed: £1,299, Heal’s
The Abacus is another clever and modern take on the traditional metal bedstead. The solid metal frame is finished in a smooth powder coating that gives it a contemporary feel. Gold tops to the four posters, and the “abacus beads” along the headboard are a quirky touch. The bed includes a sprung slatted base for comfort and comes in two sizes: king and super king.
9. Orchid Furniture Black Lacquer Four Poster Bed: £2,795, Orchid Furniture
Orchid’s decadent king size bed is inspired by the orient, but has a modern rather than antique feel. Made from solid Chinese elm, the sturdy bed frame has fretwork to the head and footboards and is treated in traditional glossy black lacquer. To keep the lustre of the finish, use a silicone-based cleaning spray and a soft duster.
10. Crate & Barrel Keane Queen Canopy Bed: £1,590, Crate & Barrel
Made in Indonesia from beautiful dark mahogany, the Keane bed has a solid and sturdy feel. It has a modern style that avoids being bulky with posts that taper neatly up to the canopy. The basic rectangular head and base boards let the finish of the wood speak for itself. A king size is also available, but remember US sizes differ slightly to the UK.
The Verdict: Four-poster beds
Best value for money is the Goa bed by Maisons du Monde. It’s made from solid wood, giving it the robustness you’d hope for in a four-poster, without being bulky. It’s also minimal enough to adapt to different interior styles. The Pinner bed from Heal’s is also solid but has a bit more character; it does a great job of turning the historic style on its head.
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