Origins of Canopy Beds

Four-poster beds began as a way to prevent dead wasps and droppings from falling into the bed. Those who suffered most from such nuisances were the poor peasants, whose roofs were not well made. In fact, they had to sleep on floors or straw pallets just to avoid such pests.

Meanwhile, wealthy people, such as noble lords, ladies and knights, did not need canopies and tents in their bed. However, having a four-poster bed was a different thing in medieval England and Europe.

In an ancient European castle, the lord and his family would have slept together with their servants in a large room. The gentleman and his family had their own sleeping area and were separated only by a curtain. Over time, castle builders had built castles with a separate room for the nobles. The lords, ladies and knights had their own beds. Servants sleep in a room for safety and convenience. The gentleman’s bed had curtains to make it warm and comfortable while the servants slept on simple floor pallets, benches, and trundle beds.

The bed for the lady and the knight was quite large and had a wooden frame. It came with sheets, quilts, pillows and fur blankets. It could easily be taken apart and moved to another castle. The curtains, which originally hung from the ceiling, were eventually used as a canopy, supported by a cornice.

Since town houses were not as warm as castle rooms, the use of canopy beds also spread among poor peasants. Since then, different styles have been created to make canopy beds more elegant and royal.

However, over time, making a nice bed became more and more expensive for the peasants, so only the nobles and wealthy citizens could afford to have them made. For this reason, four-poster beds have become a status symbol for the wealthy. Thus it was that four poster beds gained wide popularity among the upper classes and became a standard of elegance and style in the bedrooms.

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