How to Buy a Used Canopy for Your Bed

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How to Buy a Used Canopy for Your Bed

Adding a canopy to a bed is a lovely way to bring visual interest and a cosy atmosphere to any bedroom. For children, a canopy bed is a fun place to play and also feels safe at night. Many children imagine their canopy beds to be a ship, a fortress, an island, or simply think of them as a private hiding place. For adults, a canopy bed mixes well with traditional furniture, provides an extra measure of privacy, and adds a luxurious touch to the decor.

Setting up a canopy can be costly in some cases, particularly where the entire bed frame must be constructed in such a way to support a canopy. For this reason, shoppers may be interested in looking at used canopies. Many of these are of the type that can be suspended from the ceiling with simple hardware, rather than something that must be incorporated into the actual furniture. Buyers of used canopies should be familiar with all of these types of canopies. Buyers should also know their bed size and be aware of the different materials, colours, and patterns available in canopies.

History of Bed Canopies

While the canopy bed today is primarily decorative, canopies developed as a utilitarian feature. King Edward I, otherwise known as Longshanks, was famous for the portable canopy bed that was custom-made to accommodate his unusual height. Canopies were not only for royalty, however; even peasants and primitive people created simple ceilings over their sleeping areas by draping animal skins or sheets of cloth over poles or posts. Canopies offered:

  • A covering to repel precipitation, dirt, and animal droppings that seeped through crude roofing
  • Warmth
  • Privacy when many people often slept in the same room
  • Protection from mosquitoes and other pests

In fact, the word "canopy" derives originally from the Greek word for mosquito, "kōnōps." Today, the canopy is technically different from mosquito netting, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, and these bedding accessories are often sold together in stores or online.

Types of Canopies

Modern canopies come in a few different styles. Each type of canopy gives a different look and feel to the bedroom. A canopy can look quite formal and regal, or it can appear casual and almost tent-like. The four types of canopies described below are the most popular ones.

Four-Poster Canopy

The traditional canopy that comes to mind when most people think of a canopy is the four-poster style. This requires a special piece of furniture known as a canopy bed. Four tall posters, one at each corner, support horizontal rungs at the top to create a frame for the canopy. The canopy may be absolutely flat or contoured.

Chinese Canopy

There are two basic styles of Asian canopy beds. The first is similar to the Western four-poster style. The other is the six-poster bed. With two additional posts, the bed frame almost resembles a small room with a doorway. This is a quite elegant-looking canopy bed. These often feature ornately carved wall panels, so the curtains are hung inside this woodwork to show off the beautiful detail. There are many antique examples of these beds, but they are typically only found in current use in the most upscale homes due to their expense and mass.

Circle Canopy

A circle canopy is a very simple type of canopy that can adjust to work with different bed sizes. A circular frame is suspended from the ceiling, and then tulle netting hangs down from this hoop to surround the bed. Instead of curtains that hang straight down, this canopy flares out from the ceiling like a tent. The netting, which extends down to the floor, is held out by the perimeter of the mattress or bed frame.

Curtain Canopy

The curtain canopy is, like the circle canopy, suspended from the ceiling as opposed to supported on bed posters. One, two, or even three rods are suspended from the ceiling, and a length of fabric is run across them and then drapes down on either side of the bed. One rod creates a tent-like canopy, whereas two to three rods creates a flatter ceiling and straight-hanging curtains. The canopy may be set up so that the fabric goes from one side to the other, or out from the headboard and down over the footboard.

Once a buyer has an idea of which type of canopy he or she prefers, the next step is to know what size is required for a specific bed.

Princess Canopy

The princess canopy is not necessarily a specific style, but usually refers simply to a canopy for a little girl’s room. Such a canopy is most likely frilly and girly, in shades of pink or lavender.

Bed and Canopy Sizes

The most important step in selecting a canopy for a bed is getting the right size. The canopy should match the bed and mattress size. The following chart lists the most common bed sizes and gives the dimensions for each.

Mattress Dimensions

Mattress Size

75 by 190 cm

Small single

90 by 190 cm


120 by 190 cm

Small double

135 by 190 cm


150 by 200 cm


180 by 200 cm

Super king

As mentioned, some types of canopies, such as circle canopies, are less dependent on an exact fit. Still, it is a good idea to have this information on hand when shopping, just to be on the safe side.

Canopy Materials, Colours and Patterns

While a modern canopy should have the ability to be functional, the primary concern for most buyers is the aesthetic appeal. They want their canopy bed to blend well with the rest of the décor already in place and enhance the overall look of the bedroom. This is primarily done by selecting the fabric, colour, and pattern.

Canopy Materials

The ideal canopy material for children is sheer. Adults may like a sheer fabric but may also want additional or optional opaque curtains for total privacy. A lace canopy is ideal for a girl’s room or a sophisticated adult bedroom. Most mosquito netting is made of polyester or nylon.

Canopy Colours and Patterns

The choice of colour and pattern is mostly unrelated to functionality but is important in pleasing the occupants of the bedroom. Colours range from soft pastels, especially pinks for little girls, to bright hues. White gives the traditional netting look, but other neutral tones such as ivories and beiges also give a light, airy feel. When it comes to patterns on canopies, most are seen on canopies for children. These may include hearts and floral prints.

Where to Find Used Canopies

Used canopies may be found in one of the following ways:

  • Consignment shops
  • Second-hand shops
  • Car boot and garage sales
  • Flea markets
  • Classified adverts

Online auction sites often have the widest selection of used items available in any one place.

How to Buy a Used Canopy on eBay

eBay is the perfect source for used bed canopies. To find them, first visit the homepage; you can then proceed in one of two ways. One method is to navigate through the categories listings until you come to the categories for bedding and canopies. You can then specify used items only by clicking that filter on the page. The second method is to do a keyword search from any page for "used canopy," after which you will need to narrow down the results to just bedding. Some sellers may offer free postage and packaging, so you can click on this filter to check and see if this option is available.


Canopy beds have been around for over a thousand years, arising both in Medieval Europe and Imperial China, although it is feasible that the idea of constructing a makeshift ceiling over sleeping quarters was conceived long before that. Canopies are often thought of as a mark of royalty and luxury, but the truth is that simple canopies were also made by lower classes out of necessity. In the West today, canopies are usually not necessary, but they create a distinctive look in the bedroom.

Types of canopies range from those requiring special bedroom furniture, such as four-poster and Chinese canopies, to very simple arrangements suspended from the ceiling, as in the case of circle and curtain canopies. Some canopies must be chosen by size, so be sure to know the size of the mattress or bed, or take measurements if the standard size is unknown. One of the most common canopy materials is synthetic mosquito netting, but chiffon and other sheer fabrics may be used as well. As with any bedding, the colours and patterns vary. By asking questions of the seller about the condition of a used canopy, any buyer can pay less for the canopy look and be quite pleased with the results.

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