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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  • I’d just buy the yellow one and paint it something other colour. Use a spray paint gun or have a pro do it.

  • why not paint the ikea bed to your liking? i believe they painted it white for a feature in the domino issue before last, and it looked pretty cute.

  • i’ve actually got the Ikea Hemnes poster bed in a dark wood color which was discontinued a year or two ago. might be worth it to watch craigslist to see if that version ever goes up for sale. otherwise, i agree with Donna – it should be relatively easy to paint it.

  • I was going to say paint it as well – if you love the look of the $1400 black canopy bed, buy the $300 IKEA one instead and paint away! And, if/when you get bored again (no judgment here, I’m the same way!), you could always paint it again, or get a different one without the price-tag guilt.

  • I’ve heard the Hemnes bed isn’t very sturdy–so I think I’d purchase the Stafford bed! I’ve found it’s usually better to spend a little more on your furniture so that it lasts longer!

  • gotta get on board with everyone else and say “paint it, girl”. also, i have the hemnes dresser in my boys’ room and i am really happy with the quality. $300 is a great deal.

  • paint the Ikea bed white and call it a day. your bedroom is beautiful.

    and speaking of…when do we get to see the kitchen and living room???

  • Regarding the headboard styles, I came across this great, new one that is unlike any other kind I’ve seen. It’s this line called BackDrop Upholstered Headboards, which are inexpensive and they inflate! It comes with the pump and the upholstered cover (there are many styles/colors to choose from). This is really the most affordable options for headboards I have seen yet. I just bought one online and can’t wait to get it!

  • Grace, did you ever post photos of your updated, repop-ed living room and kitchen? I couldn’t find it in the archives.

  • i love that my first (and apparently many others) suggestion is to paint the hemmes bed.
    the hemmes bed has such great lines (and price tag) it’s more than worth it.

  • The iron bed is great. When bed shopping, a friend recommended buying a metal bed, as they tend to blend with most decor and won’t compete with the other wood pieces in the room.

  • as a fellow brooklynite, I know how hard it is to “just paint it”! how many times have I found myself painting something in my apartment’s halls wishing I had a yard and a paint sprayer.

    if you’re going to go to that trouble, I’d buy something more durable off craigslist. and are you sold on a canopy? you need a big bright room for that. how about a pencil?

    like this (from dallas)


  • thanks for the tips guys- i may just end up painting the bed. which i guess i should do before i put it together? that’s going to be a task- i just hope i can get the texture to be smooth- that’s always ac’s complaint about my painted ikea pieces.

    the updated peek into our home will come in a few weeks- we’re waiting to find a few key pieces to finish things off :)


  • IKEA used to carry a plain gray metal canopy bed very similar to the Hemnes.

    but darn if they don’t sell it anymore!

    gray is a GREAT neutral in the bedroom and it happens to look spectacular with orange and yellow.


  • If you get the hemnes bed, I would suggest seeing it in person first. I thought I wanted to stafford bed from crate & barrel until I saw it and found out it was too wobbly. You might think about the Portica or Architecture beds from room and board. I have the portica and love it – also very sturdy.

  • I guess the sturdiness of the bed only matters if you plan to put it through the ringer. I, for one, would be worried about it, ha ha. But anyway. Speaking of beds, I have a full size antique spindle bed that I THINK is mahogany. Any takers?

  • I’ve been searching for an affordable alternative to the Hemnes (because of the yellowness) and not been able to find any that compare. I’m hoping that because of the popularity of this style the unfinished furniture stores and distributors will start making a similar bed. Meanwhile, my husband tried to get the bed for my birthday this past August and it was unavailable (the queen) in any stores on the east coast except GA! I live in rural upstate NY so talk about disappointed!

  • I bought the dark wood Hemnes bed at IKEA in the As-Is Dept for $80 last month in Chicago (Schaumburg) – check your IKEA.

    Since the dark one is discontinued you may find it there.

    I love it – it is actually a lot sturdier than I thought it’d be.

  • IKEA sells that bed in a variety of colors (or at least they used to). Black, white, blue, and even red? One thing to note is that the bed is more “stained” then painted. You can still see the wood grain through the color.

  • If you are near a Crate and Barrel outlet that sells “scratch and dent” furniture (final sale), they often get a variety of beds in at reduced prices. Sometimes they even have “bed sales” where all the beds are an ultra low price just to move them off the floor (we bought ours for $99, reg. $1200). At that price, painting or tweaking the style doesn’t hurt as much.

  • i actually LOVE the york headboard and since it’s upholstered, it’ll be soo comfy. (i have the monika from room and board and love it http://www.roomandboard.com/rnb/collection.do?method=get&id=91868111&cat=45). plus, i think it’ll fit your space really well and work with what you already have – it’s so glam too!

    p.s. your bedroom is SO pretty and such a good size, especially for new york…even so, i’d be a little worried that the scale of a canopy would be too much for the room. i see them in huge light-flooded rooms in non-city settings for some reason…

  • I have the Ikea bed, and I LOVE it. I was scared of the yellow-ness, too, but when you see it in person, it’s clear that it’s a very thin, almost “white-wash” finish of yellow – you can see the wood grain beneath the color, so it’s more of a pale stain, really.

    Also, I put it together myself and it’s totally sturdy. Absolutely no complaints. I am thrilled with it even after several months. If you go that direction, I’d also suggest ordering the slats and forgoing a boxspring unless you want to be 9′ off the ground.

  • There are some decent beds at jcp.com, JC Penney’s. My husband and I bought our dining set from there and it was the closest thing to what we really wanted for a great price!

  • They look lovely but do make sure it’s sturdy – I stayed in a canopy bed in a guesthouse a while back and every time you turned over in bed the top parts wobbled alarmingly. Getting *ahem* fruity would risk components showering down around your ears…

  • I’m revamping by bedroom, too… I’ve narrowed it down to the Hemmes painted white, or another bed from Ikea that looks very similar to the Portia that you posted, but it is only $180 or so for the queen. It is black metal with a curved headboard and footboard and straight posts that span the curves vertically — and it’s sturdy. My husband hates IKEA and he kicked this bed’s tires and had to agree that it looked good. I can’t find it online (it was still online maybe 2 weeks ago, and is still in the stores). It is NOT the Noresund and it is NOT the Tingvoll. Try going to IKEA to check it out. Good luck.

  • The black bed at IKEA that you might like is the Lillesand — check out page 8-9 and page 176 of the 2009 online IKEA catalog…

  • Hi Grace!

    Maybe others are not, but the one Hemnes bed i have seen is very rickety and not the best quality (I have a dresser in my daughters room and its great). Have you considered getting an old four poster and painting it? Down here in VA they are always on craiglist and some of the turned posts are beautiful and wold look great painted!

  • How fun! I really enjoyed all of the pretty beds you picked out!

    I recently created “canopy” bed in my bedroom by simply hanging curtain rods, and then placing several yards of vintage white linen to create a cascading impact, as well as the “columns” for the canopy bed :) The effect is romantic, and it was a very easy and affordable “re-model” of my bedroom.

    I liked the Ikea bed, but the only problem is that I think it only fits Queen sizes (this may have changed since the bed first came out).

    I can’t wait to see what you choose for your bedroom!

  • 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 found my dream bed in an issue of Martha Stewart. Luckily, my mom is a seamstress, but unluckily I have a vaulted ceiling so I may not be able to do this…bummer.

  • We have the IKEA bed, and we really like it. They should have it in different colors. Ours is stained rich dark brown (we bought it in Toronto).

  • 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!

  • omg: cAN i SAY ONE WORD
    sand, prime and paint it any color you like then put it together!

  • 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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