How to create a four poster bed with material

The stately homes of Britain all feature a State Bedroom and its star attraction is the four poster bed of state. While your canopy bed may not be quite as royal, you can easily create the illusion of a grand four poster bed with little more than fabric and simple hardware.

Visualise your final product. Get someone to hold up a sheet or tablecloth to help with this. Place the bed exactly where you want it; once the canopy effect is created you will not be able to move your bed without removing your "posts" or canopy, and patching the ceiling. Do you want your posts to go from floor to ceiling or to stop at the bottom of the box spring? Do you want two posts or four posts? Does the sheet fabric seem too wimpy or too stiff? Do you want to see the hook?

Select and buy the fabric of your choice. Netting or gauze lends itself to a tropical or casual decorating scheme; brocades and velvets are more formal. A stiff fabric like denim may be slightly harder to work with but will give a more substantial effect. The quantity of fabric you purchase depends on your final design and ceiling height. Assuming you want a full length post, measure the height from floor to ceiling, add additional length for any extra decorative fold-over and an extra 2.5 cm (1 inch) for hemming both ends (read your iron-on hem instructions for guidance). If you don't want a fold-over, gather the end of the fabric in your hands and pull it out inch by inch until you can create a pleasing rosette effect. Once you've made those decisions, multiply the length by four.

Select a hook to complement your scheme and fabric. It can be as simple as a small eye hook you'll barely see or a large, utility hook that will provide contemporary, industrial flair.

Position and install the hooks a few inches above and outside the four bed corners so the fabric can hang freely beside the bed corners. Use a stud finder on a smooth ceiling to locate joists. On a popcorn ceiling, carefully hammer a finish nail to determine if a joist is located above the bed corner. Use anchors appropriate for your ceiling type if there is no joist above the bed corner.

Cut your material into four equal lengths.

Follow your iron-on hem tape instructions to finish the four ends. Netting only needs a careful straight cut.

At the fold-over or rosette point, attach the fabric to the hook with either a cable tie or bendable wire. If the wire or tie shows too much, use a decorative piece of trim to cover it.

An alternative method involves curtain rods and ready-made extra long curtains. Instead of attaching the rods to the wall, attach them to the ceiling. Short rods attached only above the corners will give a post effect. Rods the length and width of the bed will allow you to close the curtains for a private, romantic effect.


If you really don't want the trim over the wire or cable tie to standout, create a fabric trim piece using the hem tape. Don't forget to add about 10 cm (4 inches) to your fabric purchase.


Whenever you hang something from the ceiling, you are working against gravity and heavy fabric can weigh a lot. Small children find it hard to resist hiding and playing in the fabric. Screw the hooks or rods into a stud, if possible, to prevent a disaster. Consider adding solid wood bracing between the joists above the bedroom if you have access to the attic above. If you can't secure the four hooks into firm wood but still want a faux four poster bed, put trim board on the ceiling, fasten it to the joists and then attach hooks to the trim board.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric or curtains
  • 4 ceiling hooks with anchors or
  • 4 curtain rods with fastener and anchors
  • Bendable wires or cable ties
  • Trim or cording
  • Scissors
  • Iron-on hem tape
  • Iron
  • Stud finder or finish nail
  • Measuring tape
  • Sheet or tablecloth
  • Step stool or ladder
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About the Author

Gwen Chance is an active freelancer writing for more than 20 years. Her work experience includes behind-the-scenes local television, local government, home inspecting, nonprofits and event planning. She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications.