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What is a Four Poster Bed?

J. Beam
J. Beam

A four poster bed is a style of bed that has four posts, one in each corner, that are generally capped at the top. This type of bed was once designed to support a tester, from which curtains would hang and enclose the bed, protecting inhabitants from draft and insects. Though the original design was made with specific uses in mind, the modern four poster is simply a nostalgic piece of furniture that lends a very traditional look to a room.

Even though remnants of its original use exist in modern canopy beds, the most popular four poster bed is simply a bed with four ornamental posts, each capped with a decorative topper. The ball and post is very common, and it is considered to be traditional style furniture. Canopy beds, which typically have rails that connect the posts along the sides and fabric above the bed and/or hanging from rails, are also technically four poster beds. This style can be considered either romantic or juvenile.

A four poster bed.
A four poster bed.

From traditional to colonial, many varying styles of four poster beds can be found. Generally, the bed has a headboard and footboard, though the footboard is not an inclusive element. The bed can be bought in any size from twin to king, though twin and full are the most commonly purchased sizes.

Although protection from draft and insects is no longer necessary, many people prefer the decorative elements of a four poster bed, especially in a traditional or early American style room. They can be feminine or masculine in design, making them ideal for any child’s bedroom as well. The traditional design element works very well with a quilt and shams for dressing the bed. Although traditional style beds are common, modern styles are available with slim, sleek posts to accommodate more modern decor.

Canopy beds are classified as four poster beds.
Canopy beds are classified as four poster beds.

Shoppers can find four poster beds in both wood and metal construction. Canopy beds are an option and frequently popular among young girls. Considering that the canopy can be discarded later, leaving only the posts, many people find this style to be particularly pleasing. People who are considering purchasing this type of bed should shop different retailers and compare designs and prices.

There is such a variety of styles to choose from, shoppers can usually easily find one that fits the scale and the design of any room. People can also consider a vintage bed if they are skilled at furniture restoration. In fact, some of the earliest designs are the most attractive, though they may be hard to come by. Whatever a design style an individual prefers, there is likely a four poster bed to fit it.

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    • A four poster bed.
      A four poster bed.
    • Canopy beds are classified as four poster beds.
      By: Lisa Turay
      Canopy beds are classified as four poster beds.