Bed head

Master the mind-set for two tricky beds—canopy and low-slung—with help from designers Will Wick and Justina Blakeney. By Joanna Linberg

Conquer the Canopy

Bay Area–designer Will Wick ( really loves canopy beds. “If I can fit one in the room, I’ll do it,” he says. “They’re so cozy.” His only complaint is that many four-posters feel squat. So when he designed this room for a San Francisco show house, he partnered with a metalworker to create a custom bed that soars. “People are afraid to get a bed close to the ceiling because they think it will feel cramped,” he says. “But I thought, Let’s take that chance.” Wick draped the taller-than-usual 8½-foot posts with wispy linen voile and kept the rest of the room spare to let the bed speak for itself.

  • 1. Choose fabric you can see through

    Anything more substantial than a sheer canopy could make the bed look heavy. Wick’s three favorite gauzy fabrics are linen and cotton voiles (1), and mosquito netting (available at fabric stores).

  • 2. Be picky about art

    A four-poster creates a frame at the head of the bed that begs to be filled. Hang artwork, Wick says, but choose a piece that’s visually light (2); otherwise it can negate the airiness of the bed. JM84 Sin horizonte Ca0198 by Jacinto Merino, $400;

  • 3. Go higher than you think will work

    When reps for Restoration Hardware toured Wick’s room, they were blown away by the custom bed and asked him to design a version for them. The result (3) stays true to his over-the-top post height. 19th Century French Iron Four-Poster Bed, $1,895 for queen;

  • Pull duvet corners to the side

    Even canopy-lover Wick admits that making the bed is a pain. He tends to pull the corners of coverlets or duvets to the side, leaving a clean front (as in the bed pictured here). The coverlet he used at left was thin enough to drape neatly around the posts.

  • 4. Hang a light inside the canopy

    In addition to a light on a nightstand, Wick likes to hang a pendant (4) over the foot of the bed. The resulting glow is extra romantic. Moroccan Hanging Lamps, from $198;

  • Embrace simplicity

    “Less is more,” was Wick’s motto for this room, and he points to the billowy white window draperies (such as the ones pictured here) as an example. They don’t compete with the canopy—and keeping things simple is a no-fail way to nail the look at home.

The Lowdown on Low Down

When it comes to beds, Justina Blakeney ( has had her highs and lows—and she prefers low. “My husband and I had a high-up bed for so long and I hated it,” says Blakeney, a stylist, blogger, and textile designer. “Since we moved the bed to the floor, I’ve slept 10 times better.” She can’t pinpoint why except that being close to the ground makes her feel, well, more grounded. The bed’s placement also makes it easier for Blakeney’s young daughter to hop into bed with her and her husband. The strange configuration of her bedroom—several doors, just one window—first gave her the idea to ditch her bed frame and box spring. “A headboard would have blocked all the natural light,” she says. “Now, the window is our headboard.”

  • The taller the mattress, the better

    For maximum comfort—and to feel less like a college student—choose a substantial mattress and add a soft mattress protector. Blakeney’s measures about 16 inches high.

  • 1. Pile on the pillows

    Blakeney believes in the power of (a lot of) good pillows (1) to make a low bed feel intentional and special. Better to have too many, she says, than to skimp and wind up with a forlorn look. The Fable Collection, Justina Blakeney for Loloi Rugs, P0412 Marine/Gold and P0413 Camel/Sunset, $219 each;

  • 2. Install sconces

    Finding a short nightstand/table lamp combo that projects light in the right spot isn’t worth the hassle. Instead, hang wall sconces (2) at the exact height you need, Blakeney says. Shaded wall sconce, $95;

  • 3. Use stools as nightstands

    Standard nightstands are too high to be reached from a low bed, so Blakeney repurposed a trio of African carved-wood stools, left. Handcarved Monkey Pod Three-Leg Stool (3), $169;

  • 4. add a cozy rug

    It’s nice to have something soft underfoot when you step out of bed, Blakeney says. A rug (4) brings the textile party from the bed to the rest of the room. The Folklore Collection, Justina Blakeney for Loloi Rugs, FW-03 Ivory/Prism, from $569;

  • Choose bedding long enough to drape

    No matter how cute your sheets are, if they’re showing at the foot of your bed, the whole thing will seem unpolished. Invest in a coverlet, quilt, or duvet long enough to kiss the floor and hide your sheets.