DIY Canopy Bed

If I took one of those “your design aesthetic in x number of words” tests, I can pretty much guarantee that “soft,” “romantic” or “Princessy” would never show up on there. And yet, somehow I ended up with a distinctly soft, romantic queen-sized DIY canopy bed fit for a princess in my bedroom. Go figure.

DIY canopy bed
Bedtime, Your Highness.

I have a decently sized bedroom and my first you’re-all-grown-up, queen-sized bed sort of dominates the room. Ninety-nine percent of the time I’m in the bedroom, I’m in that bed – reading, on my laptop, sleeping, wrestling the Dash-pup. A few months ago, I decided I wanted to makeover the bed somehow, make it less IKEA- and college-chic and give it a little something else. I thought about a reclaimed wood headboard (which would have been tough considering my existing IKEA Rykene headboard), upholstering it a la Manhattan Nest’s Fjellse, painting it or maybe just spending a ludicrous amount of money on some kind of organic cotton bedding (I still want to do this eventually. Very much.).

Instead, I made it into a faux canopy bed! This was partly a result of some curtain-shuffling – I made a new curtain for the big front window in the living room, so I had an extra quad of white semi-sheer curtains, which I moved into the bedroom and used on the small window there, leaving me with some extra white sheers and nowhere to put them. At first I considered just hanging one curtain rod behind the headboard and draping the sheers there…but then I got carried away.

DIY canopy bed
The black lines are the rods, the sheer gray squares where all the curtains are…and then that V-thingy is where the lights are strung. Crystal, right?

This was a while ago, way before this blog was ever more than a sparking synapse, so I don’t have any process photos. It’s pretty easy, though, and to demonstrate, I whipped up this super-technical, extremely professional, blindingly clear diagram:

1. Raise the rods.

You’ll need four curtain rods. The long rods (heh) just barely worked for the long side of my queen bed (I think they’re 84″?), so if you have a king-sized bed, you’ll need to use two short rods on each long side.

I used the brackets that came with the rod sets. The semi-circular opening is meant for the rods to rest in there, but since they’d be hanging from the ceiling, I bent the bracket so that the opening was tighter around the rod – with the smaller opening, the rods “clipped in.”

DIY canopy bed
I could have probably painted the rods white or something…but then again my ceiling isn’t exactly white anymore either…ugh.

I attached the one that aligns with the headboard first. This one was easiest, because I could use the wall to gauge if the rod was straight. I just screwed the little brackets straight into the ceiling.


Side note from the 500 Square Health and Safety Department:

I have a popcorn ceiling, which I know I’m not supposed to drill into. I did it anyway, and made sure to wear a dust mask and catch the dust in a little cup so it didn’t drift all over my bed and bedroom. I understand health concerns, but people can get paralyzed by things like that. I’m sure this will be fine. It’s not like I was trying to scrape the popcorn stuff off. On a positive note, you can’t even see any holes left behind because of the popcorn texture, so when I move and take all these rods down, no one will ever know they were there.

Then I used a long string (some random yarn) tied around the headboard rod, and stretched that to the foot of the bed, tying a knot where I wanted the next bracket to be. I used the string to mark off where the brackets should be, ensuring that the footboard rod would be parallel with the headboard rod.

I used the string again to make sure the side rods would be straight – tying it from end of the headboard rod to the footboard rod.

2. Sheer princess-ness.

I had some random white sheers leftover from my bedroom window and from my old apartment, where I covered an 8-foot window with them. I used these on the headboard side, alternating the two different types of sheers for some nice texture. I had an odd number, so I saved one of them (more on that later).

DIY canopy bed
Two different curtain textures, and also how I attached the lights.

For the footboard sheers, I wanted some that I could knot up to keep them out of the way of a running dog and me stumbling around in the dark. The Lill curtains from IKEA are super cheap and look great when they’re bunched up enough (up close they look like mesh, but don’t be fooled…the overall effect works). I used one on each corner of the footboard rods, for a total of four.

3. Lights!

I wanted to do something to the ceiling too, since this ugly popcorn stuff just stares me in the face every day. I considered hanging paper cranes (put a bird on it!), but had that one extra curtain (see above) and didn’t want to have just one random curtain bundled in my closet. So I strung some LED lights (just one string right now…I could probably add more for more of an effect) along the curtains by the headboard and then across the ceiling. LEDs are safer since they aren’t as hot and can touch the fabric. I also never leave them on when I’m not actually in the bed, and even then for only a short time at night.

DIY canopy bed
Pretty, pretty lights.

Then I pinned the extra curtain across the ceiling, covering the ugly texture and also over the string lights, muting them for a softer effect. I totally dig it, if I do say so myself.

DIY canopy bed
The bed at night.

I know the DIY canopy bed isn’t the only change I made, but seriously, look at this bedroom before and after. The “Before” says “Hey, dude, just rolled out of bed after a crazy night and my crap is all over the place. Want to go get a breakfast sandwich before we go back to sleep?” The “After” is more like, “Why, yes, I have located my laundry hamper and my bed looks glorious enough to want to go back to bed right now, but I have things to do and places to be, because I? I am a responsible adult.”

diy canopy bed
I swear it’s the same room – you can see the little radiator in the corner! No tricks!

(Whether or not that’s true… The current state of the bedroom sort of says “I am a aesthetically-savvy adult who has somehow lost the laundry hamper again…”)

And just to take it a little further – here’s a before-Before and After. Amazing what some furniture and paint will do, hm? And, ugh, look at that carpet. So glad it’s mostly covered up.

diy canopy bed

Round up

Time: Half an hour. Seriously. Most of that with a crick in the neck, doing things on the ceiling.


  • Curtain rods (4) – 2 already owned, 2 for $15 at Target.
  • Curtain sheers – 5 already owned, 2 pairs of IKEA Lill sheers for $10.
  • Screws – already owned.
  • LED Christmas lights – already owned.
Total: $25. Not too shabby for a total bed makeover that drove the total bedroom makeover. 
DIY canopy bed
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13 Responses to DIY Canopy Bed

  1. Debbie says:

    I know this is an older post,but I just found it via Pinterest. Love this bed makeover — your writing style makes me a little less nervous about my decorating plans. :)

    • Claire says:

      Thank you so much, Debbie – your comment made my day! Never be afraid to try…but fair warning – once you start it can be very hard to stop… :)

  2. Jadis says:

    I’m wanting to do something pretty much exactly like this in my apartment this fall, but I haven’t really been able to find any inexpensive rods. I guess I’ll try Target!

    • Claire says:

      They are relatively cheap at Target, especially if you just get the lower-end Target brand ones – you don’t need anything super sturdy to support sheets. Good luck!

  3. Alex says:

    “Put a bird on it”!! Hahaha This was funny AND instructional, thanks!

  4. S says:

    Hi, I’ve been inspecting the pictures to try and find out how the lights were attached and I can’t seem to figure it out. Does anyone know?

    • Claire says:

      Hi S,

      The lights are attached to the actual curtain rods with those curtain clips, the kind that have a ring to go around the rod and then an alligator clip on the end, usually to hold curtains up. I just clipped the wires of the lights where I needed to.

      Hope that answers your question! Thanks for stopping by!

      -Claire :)

  5. Jessie says:

    You said for a king sized bed, two smaller curtain rods. Exactly what size would that be? :)

    • Claire says:

      Hi Jessie – I think the smaller size is about 48″. There’s a “long” and a “short” version at Target where I got them, but two “shorts” on the side of a King definitely makes more sense since you don’t want the rods to get too weak in the middle from being over-extended. Hope that helps!

      • Jessie says:

        It does! Thank you! I’ve always loved canopy beds. My husband also has issues staying asleep when light is in the room. I have thermal curtains over normal curtains, but like creeps in still. I thought of using additional thermal curtains for the canopy, at which case it’s probably a better idea to do the two shorts.

  6. Jennifer Anderson says:

    This DIY is awesome. Great tip! I went ahead and purchased an inexpensive one from Galley Direct – the pink hanging canopy. To make it a little nicer, I had a local seamstress put on some gems and it turned out great. I love the lights!

  7. Pingback: Gorgeous DIY Canopy Beds - MotivaNova - MotivaNova

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