Canopy Beds and Cottonwood Dreams

Canopy Bedroom Resource Pages

Canopy Beds and Cottonwood Dreams

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Canopy Bed, Canopy Bedding Industry Terms, etc.

Canopy Beds and Cottonwood Dreams. Glean from our history and relationship with Cotton and Wood as we share some editorial thoughts and images on our blogging resource pages.

Canopy Bed, Canopy Bedding Industry Terms, Etc.

Canopy Bed and Canopy Bedding industry terms – we are glad to help! Understanding of the terms across different areas of the textile and furnishing industry today can be confusing. These definitions and info, keep in mind, are in relation to how they apply to canopy beds, or canopy bedding.

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A bed canopy normally rests on top of a frame, with a portion of the textile hanging around the sides of the bed.

BED CANOPY / CANOPY TOP / BED CANOPY TOP / CANOPY COVER – A textile covering, fabric, or top that rests on top of a canopy bed and canopy bed frame. A BED CANOPY normally rests on top of a frame, with a portion of the textile hanging around the sides of the bed.

Occasionally, for more rare beds, the canopy may refer to the solid “roof”, or “crown” on some types of beds as the CANOPY.

FOUNDATION – The part of the canopy bed that supports the mattress. Sometimes this is referred to as the box spring, other times the platform, other times it is referring to the actual wooden slats.

CANOPY BED FRAME / BED CANOPY FRAME – A structure on the top of the bed that includes rails that go around the perimeter of a four-poster bed; the rails connect in the corners. The frame is necessary to properly support most styles of textile canopy tops.

The surrounding pieces of a canopy bed frame connect at the corner posts of a four poster bed.

connecting corners of a canopy bed frame

At minimum, a complete canopy bed frame has four rails that surround the perimeter of a four-post bed. A canopy bed frame may be made in a flat style. Or, it may be made in a decorative style, which may be referred to as arch, arched, bow, bowed, curved, camel, arcs, or serpentine.

Additional support pieces (normally two or three) that lie across the width of the bed are included with all arch frames. The width support pieces are also sometimes included with flat canopy frames.

Many simple reproduction style beds, in flat styles, only have the four surrounding pieces of a frame.


Some may ask, can a textile canopy hang properly on these frames which have no middle supports? The answer is, most of the time, yet it depends on the weight of the fabric canopy top, the drop length and the width of the bed.

CANOPY DROP / DROP LENGTH – most textile bed canopies hang, or drop, around the sides of a canopy frame/bed.


Some may ask, how long do most people want a drop length for a textile canopy? The answer is, the norm seems to be fourteen to sixteen inches, but the length may often depend on the bed style. The distance between the mattress top and the canopy frame can vary by styles. For example, antiques, or antique reproductions are set high off the floor. If a box spring and mattress are on these beds, unless the posts are taller than the average, a 14-inch drop might not seem to leave the space desired between the textile edges and the sleeping space. Because of variables like these, we recommend decorators do a quick measure check (prior to ordering a textile canopy) to estimate the ideal drop length.

CANOPY BED FRAME / BED CANOPY FRAME – A structure on the top of the bed that includes rails that go around the perimeter of a four-poster bed; the rails connect in the corners. The frame is necessary to properly support most styles of textile canopy tops.

FOUR-POSTER / 4 POSTER / FOUR POST / 4 POST BED – A bed that has a post in each corner. The four poster bed is not considered a canopy bed unless it also includes a canopy bed frame.

FINIAL or FINIALS- For many canopy beds, the knobs/finials lift off or unscrew from a 4-poster bed’s corner posts. The Finials, when removable, are purposeful for securing a canopy bed frame’s interlocking rails.

Not every four-poster bed, or canopy bed, have the finials. Some canopy bed rails interlock within themselves and have screws, or wooden flat pegs or “buttons” that fit down into each bed post /corner.

If a bed has extra large finials that are not removable, how will a canopy top fit it?

Answer – the problem with the finials, and the size in diameter of them, should be noted. Some canopy makers can adapt the canopy top corners to fit the bed.

FOUR POSTER HEADBOARD/FOOTBOARD – The foot end of a four poster bed. All four posters have both a headboard and a footboard.
Because all four poster beds and canopy beds have a footboard, dust ruffles and bed skirts should have split corners to hang correctly.
As a side note in regard to these dust ruffles, four posters may also have a rail running the length of the bed that may interfere with the aesthetic when trying to use a dust ruffle or bed skirts.

HARDWOOD MADE BEDS – Beds made from the wood from trees that lose their leaves in winter. This includes ash, oak, cherry, maple, poplar and walnut. There are also tropical hardwoods, that include mahogany and teak.
Hardwoods are usually more durable for furniture construction. Detailing of hardwoods can be difficult, however.

RICE BED – A Four Poster Bed with decorative rice sheaves motifs carved on the bedposts. While rope supports held the mattresses of on most other beds of the 18th century, rice beds were some of the first beds which had wooden slats for the mattresses. Also, the mattress frames were more high off the ground. While traditionally the beds did not include a “canopy frame”, a wooden tester was sometimes added. Mahogany was the most common wood used for the beds.

MADE BEDS – Beds made of evergreen trees, such as pine. Furniture made of soft wood may not be as strong, durable, or stable. However, beds made of these may be easier to construct.

KILN DRIED WOOD FOR BEDS – Wood dried in a chamber that is control heated. Kiln dried wood is less likely to warp, because the drying process is more even.

MORTISE AND TENON JOINING METHOD FOR BEDS – Method which joins two pieces of wood. One piece that projects (tenon), fits into the opening of the other (mortise); this joining method is also called tongue and grooved.

A replica, or copy, of an antique four poster or canopy bed

RESTORED CANOPY BED – An older canopy bed that has been through a process to restore it to to its original or like new condition.

SHAKER CANOPY BED – A simple canopy bed type, known for being simplistic in design. The Shaker name of this bed came from the Shaker American religious sect; members of this group are known to have first made the bed types.

CANOPY BED VALANCE – A canopy bed linen that has a drop that is shorter than a full curtain. A valance but does not cover the top, or roof, of a canopy bed. Some also reference a wooden material positioned as a drop the sides of a bed, but that is covered with a fabric.

TESTER BED – Tester and canopy are often used interchangeably, yet, more often than not, the canopy bed frame is referred to as a tester. But, rarely, a tester bed is described as a bed having two posts at the headboard, which support a half canopy.

According to Merriam Webster,, a tester bed is “a four-poster of moderate height with a canopy supported on a frame.”

HEADCLOTH – linen for a four poster bed that is positioned only behind a bed’s headboard.

BED CURTAINS OR CANOPY BED CURTAINS or BED DRAPES – Curtains, or drapes, positioned on a canopy bed’s rail/s. These normally fall to a long length and may be in positioned on the sides only, or the foot only, but most often on both sides and the foot of the bed. Often, these are tied to the posts with “tie backs” in a pretty fashion, especially when the term bed curtains are used.

Dome Canopy Frame – Canopy Bed Frame style that is half round shape. Normally this canopy bed frame style runs about 100 inches in length.

Colonial Canopy – The style that is often attributed to Double Diamond and similarly patterned canopies

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