Comparing a Sleigh Bed vs. Canopy Bed – A Detailed Guide with Tips and Tricks to Match Room Decor
Choosing a suitable bed for your bedroom might be challenging because of the wide variety of bed frame designs available in the market. There are so many factors to consider such as the color, the material, and the bed frame style. In this article, we compare how a sleigh bed vs. canopy bed will differ and we help you make a choice that suits your style.
The difference between a sleigh bed vs. a canopy bed is that a sleigh bed is shaped like a sleigh, with a high headboard and footboard, while a canopy bed is a four-poster bed that often includes hanging curtains and drapery on or around the bed posts.
What Is A Sleigh Bed?
A sleigh bed is a bed that’s shaped like a sleigh, with a curved headboard and footboard. Sleigh beds were first invented in the 19th century and their design is inspired by the empires of ancient Rome and Greece.
Sleigh beds come in styles ranging from solid wood designs to upholstered versions, so you will have endless options to choose from. Nowadays, sleigh beds are more modernized and are made of materials such as aluminum, iron, steel, and some models are available with less exaggerated curves in comparison to traditional styles. This sleek sleigh bed from Amazon comes in a gorgeous neutral color that will pair well with this textured duvet set and dark green throw. Make sure to also take a look at our sleigh bed height guide to find out more information.
What Is a Canopy Bed?
A canopy bed is similar to a four-poster bed and features posts at each of its four corners, often extending four feet above the mattress. The columns are used to support an overhead fabric cover such as curtains that hang down on the sides.
Besides looking beautiful, canopy beds are also very functional. They are often used to maintain warmth, to keep insects away, or to make the room feel cozy and intimate—ensuring a welcome sense of privacy for its occupants. Read our article on canopy beds to learn more about the difference between a canopy and a four-poster bed.
Comparing a Sleigh Bed vs. Canopy Bed
Both sleigh beds and canopy beds tend to have a delicate, feminine silhouette in spite of their heavy and sturdy structure. They both come in many different styles, so it is easy to find one that suits your room decor.
When comparing a sleigh bed vs. canopy bed, sleigh beds are designed for the purpose of creating an opulent look whereas canopy beds are designed for creating a romantic look. Canopy beds with curtains also provide privacy, warmth, and protection from mosquitoes.
A sleigh bed is characterized by a scrolled or curved foot and headboard. It is often made of wood, but nowadays it can be made from iron, steel, leather, aluminum, and upholstery, depending on your taste and preference. This article from Taylor & Francis Online titled, “The Velvet Touch: Fashion, Furniture, and the Fabric of the Interior”, discusses the interior design fabric trends of the nineteenth century and how the velvety fabrics add to the luxurious and opulent feeling most people desire in their homes.
On the other hand, a canopy bed is characterized by a regal silhouette made of four connected posts extending four feet high or more above the mattress. Canopy beds seemed to initially evoke an image of a traditional, impressive bed. Nowadays, they can vary widely in style and can come in metal, wood, or even with an upholstered headboard or footboard. Canopy beds that have curtains hung from the four posts also provide privacy. Using more opaque curtains provides more privacy than using transparent or thin linen curtains. You aren’t limited to a certain style of fabric for canopy beds, read our article on how to hang sheers on a canopy bed to explore plenty of styling options.
As mentioned previously, a sleigh bed features elegant scrolled foot and headboards. It is a classic design that will make a statement in either a traditional or contemporary design scheme. This wood and metal sleigh bed from Amazon creates a masculine feel in the bedroom, especially if matched with this gorgeous blue diamond quilt set and white plush throw pillow.
The advantage of sleigh beds is that they come in a variety of styles ranging from solid wood designs to upholstered versions with more streamlined appearance, so you’ll find the best match for any style of bedroom. The disadvantages of a sleigh bed include price, weight, and a restrictive design. Because of their complex designs, sleigh beds are more expensive pound-for-pound than traditional platform beds. They are also difficult to move since they tend to be made of heavy wood or metal. In forums, some tall sleepers also discuss how they feel restricted in a sleigh bed because of the footboard.
Nowadays, sleigh beds come in different modernized styles that are quite different from the traditional wooden sleigh bed. One example of a new style of sleigh beds is the upholstered sleigh bed. This model is modern and fits perfectly in contemporary bedrooms. Another modern style of sleigh beds is the storage sleigh bed, which features pull-out drawers to be used for storage. If you are looking for something unique, elegant, and ultra-modern, choose a sleigh bed with a low footboard or a footboard in an upside-down position.
You may also be interested in learning if a sleigh bed needs a box spring. Make sure to take a look at our related article to find out. Also, be sure to check out these 6 simple sleigh bed decorating ideas for more tips and tricks. Did you also know that you can replace the rails on most sleigh beds too? Makes sure to read about how to replace sleigh bed rails if you're interested too.
A canopy bed features four posts at each of its four corners. It is popular because of its flowing fabric falling from the posters, which creates a romantic and luxurious ambiance. If you want to change your current bed into a canopy bed then read our article on how to convert an ordinary bed into a canopy bed.
When comparing a sleigh bed vs. canopy bed, a canopy bed offers several benefits. It immediately adds to a room’s aesthetics, provides warmth and privacy, and offers some protection against mosquitoes because of its design. Additionally, when you choose a canopy bed, you are not limited to a single style of canopy—the ability to change the covering fabric and redecorate the bed frame makes a canopy bed a timeless piece of furniture, which can evolve with your style.
As for the cons, canopy beds are difficult to clean and require more maintenance than your average bed because the drapes might gather dust and cause allergies. This article from Wiley Online Library details an approach to reduce house dust mites in bedrooms, which are a common cause of illnesses like asthma. Canopy beds are also not the best choice if you have pets in the bedroom, as they might destroy the fabric drapery with their claws. Furthermore, canopy beds are difficult to move and cannot fit in low-ceiling rooms because of their size and construction.
Like sleigh beds, canopy beds come in different styles. They can be made entirely of wood, which is heavy and hard to move, or made entirely of metal, which is lighter and has a more contemporary look. There are some models that combine metal with wood and can blend nicely in any design scheme. A new style of canopy bed that is worth mentioning is the half canopy bed, which features only two posts at each corner of the headboard along with a fabric that doesn’t cover the whole bed. This type of canopy bed works best in smaller bedrooms. For more information, read our article on the different types of canopy beds.
When You Should Buy a Sleigh Bed vs. Canopy Bed
If you need a new bed and you are looking for something that will instantly create a statement in your room, look for either a sleigh bed or a canopy bed.
Choose sleigh beds for grand classic-style bedrooms. Sleigh beds can be used in a master or guest bedroom. Choose a canopy bed for lofty spaces with high ceilings and lots of space or for master bedrooms that get a lot of light. The design of a canopy bed with curtains synergizes with brightly colored and well lit bedrooms better than dark bedrooms.
A sleigh bed is a classic design, which fits equally well with both traditional or contemporary styles of rooms. Different sleigh bed styles range from vintage and cottage sleigh beds to French–style sleigh beds and contemporary upholstered sleigh beds, all of which bring a luxurious feel to a room.
A traditional wooden sleigh bed is designed to be timeless and brings serenity and classic styling to any bedroom. An upholstered sleigh bed is a modern twist of the traditional style, which offers the room a feeling of indulgence with its stunning fabric choices and button-tufted headboards.
If a bedroom doesn’t have enough storage space, storage sleigh beds with drawers or spacious ottoman sleigh beds are great options. If you are looking for a more minimalist sleigh bed, choose a sleigh bed with a low foot end, which only features a headboard and a lower foot end. This lavish sleigh bed from Amazon will help you achieve the look of French regency without taking up too much space because it has a lower footboard.
If you don’t want a sleigh bed, you can look into canopy beds, which are stylish and useful. However, they aren’t meant for every lifestyle or room design. They work best in spacious rooms with high ceilings and lots of light. Otherwise, the room will look too crowded.
You can drape layers of stylish fabric to create an instant impression. For someone who wants total privacy, simply drape a fabric from head to foot or cover the four sides of the bed. You can even use thick fabric to block out the light so you can sleep more soundly. Some people choose to wrap fabric around their bed frames for a unique look, and you can simply spread four lengths of light, airy fabric from the center of your bed frame with a single piece of fabric draping over each post. Read our canopy bed scarf style guide for more ideas on how to attractively drape fabric on a canopy bed.
Comparison of Sleigh Beds vs. Canopy Beds
Sleigh beds were inspired by the majestic beds of the ancient empires of Rome and Greece. They were designed to bring an opulent style to the bedroom, and were traditionally made of hardwood. Nowadays, sleigh beds are made of many different materials like upholstered leather or a combination of both iron and wood. The different sleigh bed styles fit well with traditional and contemporary design schemes. Although they look stylish and luxurious, they are difficult to move and quite expensive, given their design and construction.
On the other hand, canopy beds were initially designed in the medieval era in shared bedrooms to provide privacy, when servants used to share the bedroom with their masters. They are made of wood, metal, or a combination of both. Because of their shrouding design, canopy beds bring in coziness and warmth—and like a mosquito net, they provide protection against bugs. Here’s a great black mosquito net that you can hang from your canopy bed.
However, canopy bed drapes require regular washing to eliminate allergens. You need tall ceilings in order for a canopy bed to work in a room. Read our article on canopy bed accessories that will help bring the room together and ways to style them.
Below is a comparison between a sleigh bed vs. a canopy bed:
|Sleigh Bed||Canopy Bed|
|Why was it invented?||A sleigh bed was inspired by the stately beds of the ancient empires of Rome and Greece. It became popular in France first. Then, it came to be popular in the United States.||A canopy bed was invented to ensure privacy especially for shared bedrooms during the medieval era when servants used to share the bedroom with their masters|
|Pros||It has various styles available to choose from, which makes it easier to meet everyone’s taste. It also blends nicely in both traditional and contemporary styles of room. Storage sleigh beds provide extra storage under a mattress or bed frame so they are advantageous in small rooms or apartments.||It offers privacy, warmth, coziness, and protection against mosquitoes. Hang thin linen curtains for a romantic look and thicker curtains for additional privacy.|
|Cons||Traditional sleigh beds are very heavy and difficult to move due to their construction materials and design. They can be quite expensive, and a sleigh bed with a footboard might not be the best option for tall people.||Canopy beds can also be very heavy and difficult to move due to their height and size. Canopy bed drapes need regular cleaning because the drapes might gather dust and cause allergies. Additionally, canopy beds are best in rooms with high ceilings.|
|List of Styles||Different sleigh bed styles include traditional sleigh beds, British colonial sleigh beds, upholstered sleigh beds, storage sleigh beds, wrought iron sleigh beds, and minimalist low foot end sleigh beds.||Canopy bed styles include wooden canopy beds, metal canopy beds, and half canopy beds. You can also decorate the canopy bed with different curtains or lights.|
|What Décor/Room Style It Complements||It fits equally well in either a traditional or contemporary design scheme.||It works best in lofty spaces with a lot of space and high ceilings. A canopy bed can evolve with your interiors over time because you can redecorate the coverings.|
|Price Range||$200-$2000. Ornate sleigh beds made with solid wood tend to be expensive.||$200-$800. Expensive canopy beds made of solid wood aren’t as costly as Sleigh beds.|
|Example Amazon Product||Charlton Home Blundell Sleigh Bed, Queen||Zinus Patricia Canopy Bed, Queen|
You might also be interested to know the differences between a sleigh bed vs panel bed. Make sure to check out our related article to find out.
Are Sleigh Beds Still In Style?
Nowadays, sleigh beds can match contemporary bedroom styles and modern-day decor. They are designed in wooden and upholstered finishes, allowing you to tailor to any room design.
Sleigh beds are still in style. Modern designs with short footboards and storage space can be used to style a bedroom and provide utility. Traditional sleigh bed styles provide a more opulent look and tend to be bought to match rustic bedroom decor.
Newer sleigh bed styles include woven wicker sleigh beds, lattice design sleigh beds, upholstered sleigh beds, wrought iron sleigh beds, minimalistic Nordic sleigh beds, storage sleigh beds, and modern upside-down sleigh beds. We’ve discussed more about different sleigh bed styles in our article.