How to Drape Canopy Beds – Step by Step with Pictures
The basic structure of canopy beds is just like regular beds except that they have a cubical frame made of bedposts where you add canopy bed drapes. The frame can be covered by a fabric but it can also be left open depending on the design of the canopy bed frame. Draping canopy beds makes the bed feel cozier, more aesthetically pleasing, and sometimes also protect against mosquitoes...
To drape canopy beds, follow these steps:
- Measure the distance between canopy bedposts so you can install rods for the drapes
- Install rods to connect the canopy bed posts
- Select the fabric for your drapes (also called ‘canopy bed panels’)
- Take measurements for the drape length and width so you can determine patterns for folds
- Hang drapes using top ties, ribbons, hollow seams, or other built-in openings within the panels
Please note, if your canopy bed already has detachable rods, you do not need to do the first two steps. If you’d like to see the different types of canopy beds or see a comprehensive guide to canopy beds, their pros/cons, and common Q&A, take a look at the links.
Step 1: Measure the distance between canopy bed posts so you can install rods for the drapes
The first thing you will need to do is to measure the distance between the bed posts so that you can install rods between them. You’ll need to:
- Decide how high you want the rods to be so you can hang the drapes.
- Mark each bedpost at that height
- Then measure the distance between each mark so that you can hang the drapes at the same height on all bed posts
Step 2: Install rods to connect the canopy bed posts
Having measured the distance between bed posts, you need to get sturdy and smooth rods of the right sizes and install them with precision. Make sure that the rods are screwed in properly and they are not loose. You can also purchase a simple canopy bed frame (posts) like the ones in the link for ~$50.
Step 3: Select the fabric for your drapes (also called ‘canopy bed panels’)
There are a variety of fabrics that you can choose from to make your panels such as cotton or polyester. Choose a neutral color and material that works well with almost all kinds of interior styles such as cotton in white or off-white. If you live in an area where it tends to get dusty, you might want to use some darker colors.
If you are hanging the drapes solely for decorative purposes and not for privacy, using a see-through fabric is also a great option. See-through drapes give a dream-like look to the bed. Take a look at our canopy bed scarf guide for more ideas too.
Step 4: Take measurements for the drape length and width so you can determine patterns for folds
After deciding the fabric material, you need to take measurements for the drapes. To determine the length of the drapes, measure the length of the bed posts from the top of the rod to the floor. You might consider using shorter panel lengths if you’d like a unique style but full-length drapes are the most common.
Determine the width of the canopy bed panels by measuring the length of the rod on which they are going to hang. Add at least 3 feet to the width of the drapes if you’d like to introduce some folds. For more folds, add more to the width of the panel.
This set of measurements should be sufficient for you to purchase some canopy bed panels or to get customized ones. This kit includes everything you need. If customizing, make sure your seamstress knows to include some method to hang the panels on the bed posts such as using top ties.
Step 5: Hang drapes using top ties, ribbons, hollow seams, or other built-in openings within the panels
The last step is to get ready-made drapes that match your dimensions or get them custom-made according to the measurements you have taken. Once you have the drapes, all you need to do is to slide them into the rods and screw the rods securely in their place (assuming your drapes have built-in openings for the rods and they utilize hollow seams). You may also need to use hooks, ribbons, or top ties to attach your drapes to the canopy bed frame posts.
Hanging canopy bed drapes without rods by using hooks and wire (or rope)
If you do not want to go through the trouble of installing rods between your bed posts, you can install hooks into your bed posts and then use wire or rope as a stand-in for rods. As before, the steps for this procedure are:
- Mark each canopy bed post so you know where to install hooks
- Drill the bed posts and install eye hooks
- Determine the size of the canopy bed drape panels
- Install rope or wire between the hooks
- Hang the canopy bed drapes on the wire / rope
Choosing the right eye hook
- Make sure that the eye hooks you use can accommodate the thickness of the wire or rope that you plan to hang
- Use strong metal hooks, not plastic. The eye hooks will have to endure quite a bit of strain.
- Ensure that the hooks are drilled deep into the bed posts so they are secure. Loose eye hooks might cause the drapes and wire or rope to fall.
Choosing the right wire or rope for draping the canopy bed
- For heavy weight drape fabric, thicker rope or wire is required.
- If you want your wire to look invisible, choose the color of the wire to match your drapes
- Choose a length of wire that exceeds the distance between bed posts so that you can knot it with itself. You can always cut the wire or rope to size if you get something that’s too long!
- Make sure to install the wire so that it is taut. It will droop over time due to the weight of the fabric causing the wire to expand. Beta wires are more resilient than plastic wires.
This youtube video can help you, if you’d like to make a DIY canopy bed on a small budget.
- How to convert any bed into a canopy bed
- 10 canopy bed accessories and why you need them
- How to hang sheers on a canopy bed
- Can you use a canopy bed on the floor?