bedroom makeover: canopy help?

by Grace Bonney

ok, so here’s the deal: our bedroom needs a little bit of a freshen-up. when we first posted our bedroom in our sneak peek last october i was loving our bed, the new linens and the new lights i installed on the side of our bed. but now, well, i’m bored (i’m sure ac is cringing as he sees that- it always means lots of mess and new paint swatches). we got a lot of help re-doing our kitchen and living room from carl & russell at repop, but now the rest of the house feels unfinished. so what’s a girl to do? well, get a new bed for starters. we’ve been wanting to upgrade to a slightly larger bed and a new frame (we love the malm but want something new) and i’ve been thinking of a canopy frame. i’m not sure about putting actual fabric/curtains on it for the moment but i found that ac actually likes the canopy idea, too so i think i should run with it while we actually agree on a design decision. like everyone else in the martha-loving world i’ve been swooning over the hemnes canopy bed since i saw it in martha stewart living last year and again in shauna and stephen’s sneak peek. the only thing is, i’m not sure about the yellow color. i found a few options above and below but they’re all super pricey. so, i thought i’d ask- does anyone know of good, affordable canopy bed options? something simple and modern (no curly ironwork for ac) that might be a nice step up from the malm? i feel like if i go with the yellow bed (only $300, argh!) i might need to change the rest of the room to work with yellow. i know that’s crazy but that’s how my mind works. thoughts….? (*if you’re looking for more beds we have a roundup right here)

[images above: farmhouse canopy bed $1449+]

[image above: ikea hemnes bed $300]

[image above: york headboard $899+, not a canopy but i love it]

[image above: portia iron bed $699+. ditto.]

[image above: stafford bed $1399]

[image above: everett headboard $599+]

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  • yellow yellow yellow!

    Just *see* how it looks before you paint it! I think maybe it will magically work juts how it is! Good luck! Lucy x

  • I feel like I’m the spoiler here, but I personally wouldn’t go with the canopy bed at all. It’s a fad, and as a fad, it’ll be over with next year. I think it adds another level of confusing lines to what could be a tranquil, peaceful space. Why do people insist upon filling every single inch of a house? Go back and look at all those pictures: imagine the serenity and simplicity of the room without the extra fussiness. I say, take a deep breath and wait a year! (Same thing I say to my hubby when he wants to upgrade our computer!)

  • If you have the cash I say make an investment in a good sturdy bed or I would just wait…

    I love ikea, but some of their furniture seems a little bit rickety :(

    How about putting some sort of track on the ceiling around the bed and hanging curtains or gauze from that?

  • I hate the ikea one. in person it looks and feels cheap. like it could break any second. i was really dissapointed when i got to the store to look at it. beds are worth investing in. and that one is not.

  • I agree with mari anne. I think canopy beds are really trendy right now but they’ll look outdated pretty quickly. I guess if it’s only $300 it makes more sense to use it for two or three years, then get something else, but I wouldn’t spend a lot on an item I might tire of quickly.

    I also think you need a really big space (preferably with high ceilings) to be pull it off, otherwise it kind of eats up the whole room.

  • Yeah, you know the more I think about it, the others are right. This is a fad. It is like the MALM bed- good for awhile, but then you will want something new. I have been searching for a headboard that will appeal to me long term, and I haven’t seen anything yet (except for some custom made options I have seen in magazines that are multi-thousands in dollars. If anyone can find an affordable classic bed that will never go out of style I will give them my first born. And don’t say upholstered- I like the idea but it’ll be coated in dog hair in no time at my house.

  • of course i have to fall in love with the farmhouse canopy bed – the most expensive one you’ve listed!!! i have such wretchedly expensive taste…

    i have also been thinking about the hemnes bed as i will be moving soon.

    i can hardly wait to see what you decide on!

  • our ikea bed would be so easy to paint… a nice crisp white would be killer! also… the bed could be altered – it’s such a simple structure you could leave off the top bars or even cut the posts shorter. for 300… its a good buy while you are searching for the perfect, long term frame!

  • p.s.
    if you are really, really concerned about your paint strokes showing:

    you could add latex paint conditioner that will help it lay flat or use oil based paint (although messy, stinky and takes a long time).

    when we paint furniture we:
    1. lightly sand the entire piece
    2. clean with a damp cloth
    3. use flat or egg shell latex paint
    4. use a brush inside the corners first and then a mini foam roller
    * several thin coats is ALWAYS better than one thick one.
    5. sand in-between coats
    6. use a wax to finnish and protect the latex paint.

    good luck!

  • one more tip:
    the ikea bed, as all their “assembly required” pieces are only as sturdy as your assembly is sound. never, ever rely on those allen or hex wrenches they include. use real tools and wait to tighten all fasteners until the piece is assembled – then tighten them all at the same time. this will keep your angles proper and level!

  • Painting: USE a roller as much as possible, a good whiz roller and they come in all sizes. You can spray on primer or paint also. BUT once you get on primer and a base coat you will not see the paint lines from a GOOD brush

  • West Elm used to make a metal version that’s almost IDENTICAL to the Architect bed from Room & Board, but more affordable and easier to ship (not to mention transport to a new home). I own it and LOVE it!!!! You might be able to find that – and it’s really worth seeking out.

    One word of caution about any of these 4-poster/canopy beds: They look amazing when you hang curtains from the bars along the top, but those bars can be wide enough that curtain loops don’t work.

    My previous bed with red curtains.

    The same bed with white (ish) curtains in my apartment two-homes-ago.

    If you plan on using curtains, make sure they’ll fit using those bars as a curtain rod. For my new West Elm bed, I had to find someone to make loops so my new curtains would fit. It looks great, but oh my god was it time consuming to make.

    All of that being said – blah blah blah – you should definitely get a 4-poster/canopy bed! It makes for such a bold piece of decor. I really love mine.


  • Canopy beds are definitely not a fad, but a staple of interior design. Every era has their version of them. They go in and out of fashon, but still– a staple., not a fad.

    I love the PB teen one myself. I would paint it black or stone grey and use raw linen on it.

  • i’m all about the architecture from room & board…
    but for your room, i’ll echo everyone else with the painted ikea…i also think the york upholstered would look great there, if you’re unsure of the canopy. and urban has some inexpensive ones too, which i haven’t seen in person. good luck!!

  • I’ve always dreamt of sleeping surrounded by flowing fabrics, and I actually was trying to create my own version. Thanks for all the great ideas! @Diane, your dream bed is exactly what I needed to see!

  • Another for painting the Hemnes. Would be easy to do before you assemble it. I would do a shade of white, pale gray or gray-blue.

    I’ve had my eye on it since its debut at Ikea, it will definitely be my next bed. Didn’t know it was ever featured in Martha.

  • Paint It! Take a look at this new paint on the market Furniture, Cabinet and Trim paint. I painted a set of mix and match chairs and I love the paint and the finished product. I was researching best options to paint the chairs that I found and came across this website.

  • YOU ARE JOKING. They discontinued the Ikea bed here in Switzerland! I just assumed it had been discontinued everywhere! I even went to the store to BUY it, and they said “no. sorry, this bed is no more” and I was like ????? wtf, it debuted in the catalog a year ago! I was so ready to do a yellow and grey color scheme featuring this bed! I was just about to let my heart sink and buy a MALM…

    Anyone have a cheap shipping link they can hook me up with!? :-)

  • haha, just found it across the border in France. Thanks so much for this post Grace! Now I can go get the bed! You saved me from the MALM…. :-)

  • I am new here hello.. and I may not be popular. I am an avid DIYer and also a spendthrift altho it drives my hubby crazy as every time one project gets done, another room looks bad and I MUST repaint another room..its an addiction. HOWEVER to the point, over the years I have learned to economize. I have done the drapery thing for YEARS in our bedroom and the canopy bed would be so easy to make if you had access to a skill saw and lumber. I don’t know if you or your spouse or sig other is into that or not, but it might be loads cheaper to build. Attach it basically over your bedframe. Its painted wood its not stained so the grade of the wood would have to be paint grade but it would not have to be mahogony. I have pics of my old canopy bed that I did that was quite dramatic with string valances and drapes ..cost.. around eighty dollars for a KING bed. I am doing something much simpler now with beige suede will post my pics if that appropriate when done.

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