When I was a little girl (who am I kidding, even as a teenager and adult!) my dream was to have a canopy bed to sleep in. Princesses always slept under a canopy, and the rich and famous were never found without one. The only way to truly sleep peacefully was under the shade of their canopy beds.
Well, I grew up and outlived that fantasy (though I don't think I'd say no if my husband ever offered to redecorate!) but was still rather remorseful when I found out how easy they were to make! Obviously, if your bed has a canopy frame, it will make this project easier. Though slightly more complicated without the frame, you can still create fantastic canopy beds with much less effort than you would think. (For those of you whose no-nonsense voice is screaming at you right about now for even considering such frivolity, good news. On a totally practical level, canopies will keep out unwanted flying pests during those hot summer nights.)
The tricky part is, of course, how to keep the curtains suspended from the ceiling in an elegant fashion (i.e. a staple gun is out of the question!) There are a few methods for this task. For a simple but sophisticated look, hang four rings (metal or wood are nice choices) from the ceiling above each corner of your bed. Slide a long piece of material through each ring, and allow it to fall gracefully to the floor.
That's a nice style, but it doesn't produce the effect that many of you are looking for from your canopy beds. Another option is to install curtain rods to the ceiling. Three curtain rods or tracks around your bed act as a wonderful frame for your canopy material. This produces the most regal and, if I do say so myself, dreamlike reality.
One other option that you can certainly use for a child's bed is the ring design. Using transparent wire (extra strong fishing wire or the like), hang a large ring (you can use those plastic hula hoops that you find in toy stores), roughly the size of the bed's width and half its length, above the center of the bed. You can then drape two pieces of material over the ring so that the material falls on either side of the ring and over the sides of the bed. You can also sew the canopy curtain directly onto the hoop before hanging it to the ceiling. This will ensure that the curtain stays in its place, even if you or your child is an 'active sleeper'. If you choose this method, remember to add a few more inches to your total for the extra bit that will be folded over and sewn down to hold the curtain onto the ring.
As far as making the curtain for the canopy bed, very little sewing is actually required. Before you go to the store, measure from floor to ceiling, and add several inches (I'd say 10-12") for seam allowance. Also, if you would like to use the puddle effect on your curtains (this is when you have a few inches of the material laying in a puddle on the floor-it gives a really stylish look to an already amazing bedroom), add three or four more inches for this, as well. Of course, don't forget to multiply the amount of material for each curtain you are making.
Consideration should be given to what sort of pattern and material you would like your canopy to be created from. If you have a bed set with a very intricate design you can either buy that same material, or you can pull out an individual color from the elaborate pattern for a more simple elegance. Bear in mind that both sides of the canopy material will be visible. As such, you may want to choose a material that has a festive pattern or tapestry for the inside, and a nice neutral color for the outside. Velvet is plush and regal. Tulle` is a great choice that will certainly produce a Jasmin-esque quality to the entire room. Tulle' is a lighter fabric that will allow more air to flow and creates less of an enclosure. For people who don't like to feel contained, this is certainly a better option than a heavier more protective material.
Whether you are pampering yourself, or giving this gift to your own little princess, a canopy is the ultimate in elegant beauty for the bedroom. Since the materials necessary are so inexpensive, the only swooning you'll be doing is over the finished look and feel of this unbelievable addition. Once your canopy is in place, you'll wonder how you ever had a decent night sleep without it!