When I was a kid playing with Barbie dolls, I thought canopy beds were the ultimate in elegance and sophistication. I had one in my Barbie Dream House, a white one draped in pink ruffles -- as sweet and sugary as a gumball. I loved it then, but I'd gag if I had to sleep in that bed today. 


I've outgrown my taste for pink ruffles but not canopy beds. We actually have one, a massive king-size model with spiral-cut bedposts as thick as young tree trunks. We bought it about 15 years ago when we moved into our current home.

Our bedroom has one of those high vaulted ceilings so popular in new homes of its heyday (1990). But the room was so tall and cavernous that I decided to bring in some vertical height -- hence the canopy bed.

Our bed is huge -- almost a room within a room. I like that cloistered feeling -- like a cozy retreat from the cold cruel world, not to mention our cold, cavernous bedroom.


At the time we bought our bed, it was popular to loosely drape canopy bed frames with swaths of filmy fabric. It was supposed to look casual, like the wind happened to blow the fabric there, and there it stayed. That lasted a couple of years, but I soon got tired of those droopy dust-catchers and yanked them off.  


I was curious about the history of canopy beds, so I did a little research. Apparently they once served a practical purpose, adding an additional layer of shelter between the sleeper and his or her leaky thatched roof. Later, European noblemen favored curtained canopies that could be completely closed, so that they could create a cocoon of privacy from their servants, who often slept in the same room.

You don't see a lot of canopy beds these days. They always seem sort of old-fashioned and baroque -- at home in over-the-top traditional bedrooms, but not in a sleek, modern boudoir.


But there are actually of lot of stunningly modern canopy beds still being made, in futuristic shapes and artful  metal, like sculptures.


How do you feel about canopy beds? Have you ever had one? And what did you do with the canopy -- drape it, curtain it or leave it bare?