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I've had a few emails and tweets asking how I created the four-poster bed design in my Toronto home, which was featured in the September 2012 issue of House & Home and on H&H Online TV. I thought it might be helpful if I posted the instructions and tips here.

I took my inspiration for this project from one of my favourite style setters — event planner, designer and shop owner Antony Todd. His New York apartment (above right) ran in the February 2005 issue of Elle Decor, and I still love it from top to bottom (except I'm not a fan of Buddha as an accessory, but I digress). The bed is just lovely and when I saw it I thought — I could totally do that. No matter that I didn't have his soaring ceilings. When we moved into our little bungalow and I was confronted with a bland white box of a bedroom, I knew the moment had come for my faux four-poster. I studied his bed and did endless Google image searches for similar beds. I found all of the drapery hardware I needed for the project at The Home Depot, all made by Levolor.

Here's what I used:

  • 3 telescoping curtain rods that were each 5/8" in diameter (there's no need for finials for this project so if they come with the rods, they can be set aside for another use)
  • 7 ceiling-mount brackets
  • 2 right-angle rod joint pieces (These are used when hanging rods for bay and box windows. They come in different styles but basically allow you to join two rods to create a 90 degree corner.)
  • Clip rings (I can't remember how many I used, but they come in packages and I used at least a couple of packages. Choose rings that are just a touch larger in diameter than your rod for a neat and tailored look.)

To install the faux canopy, I measured the bed (I have a queen size) and then I marked the ceiling with a pencil on the inside edge of where I wanted the corner brackets to be. I placed the brackets a couple of inches outside the mattress measurements. This breathing room allows the fabric to hang straight to the floor, free of the duvet and other bedding, which may extend past the edge of the mattress. I used plastic plugs and the screws that came with the brackets to install them. If you plan to use heavy fabric drapes, you may want to add more brackets and stronger plugs or toggle bolts to secure the brackets to the ceiling. I used one bracket at each corner, one at the centre of each long side and one at the centre above the foot of the bed.

Once the brackets are installed, that's kind of it for the heavy labour. The rest is just dressing. Place the rods into the brackets and extend them, evenly distributing the clip rings onto the rods as you go. Use the corner brackets to join the rods above each corner of the foot of the bed.

I used extra-long linen curtain panels as my bed hangings. I didn't even bother hemming them because I love how they puddle on the floor. In the cooler weather I layer on velvet ready-made drapery panels, adding them around the outside and clipping them with the linen ones so that the linen ones act like a lining for the velvet ones. It creates a wonderful cocooning effect that's very cosy. On bitterly cold nights I even draw the curtains closed.

I recently decided to reconfigure my bed a bit as well. I got rid of the box spring and bedskirt and opted for the lower, lighter and airier combination of slats, frame and headboard. Mine are all in natural jute with nailhead trim from West Elm. Check out the segment Lynda Reeves recently did for a more in-depth explanation of this new look for beds. It's definitely a departure from the sky high ones of recent years. To bump up the comfort factor of my new low bed, I added an incredibly luxurious featherbed from Au Lit Fine Linens. It covers the surface of the mattress just under the fitted sheet and is like sleeping on a cloud.

Find more easy DIY projects in our DIY Ideas blog section.

Photo credits:
1a. House & Home September 2012 issue, photography by Virginia Macdonald
1b. Antony Todd's media section
2-3. The Home Depot
4, 6. Margot Austin
5. West Elm


Margot Austin

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