Weekend DIY: An easy no-sew bed canopy

A fashion designer shares her chic and simple bed canopy tutorial.

DIY bed canopy with fabric
(Image credit: Veronica Sheaffer, Owen Holmes)

When fashion designer and Project Runway star Veronica Sheaffer moved into her Chicago apartment, she wanted to add a touch of her signature feminine romance to the decor. The first step? A DIY bed canopy that would lighten the mood in her dark bedroom.

"The bedroom is small with very little natural light, and a soffit overhead closes the space even more," Sheaffer explains, adding that the walls were painted a very deep navy. "I thought a canopy would take advantage of the shape, visually lengthen the wall a bit, and make it feel more luxurious."

The result was just that, but the designer says you don't need a coved ceiling to achieve the sophisticated aesthetic. "I’ve used this same technique on standard walls in the past, with an even grander effect," she notes. 

For this space, Sheaffer opted for draperies with a heavy weight to create an upscale look, finishing with a tortoise shell hung on top to keep the mood lighthearted. The best part is, swapping up the look is a light lift. "This fabric is soft and subtle, but I dream of someday covering all the walls and canopy in a blue and white pattern," she offers. "The walls would be a big undertaking, but the canopy would be as simple as swapping out the curtains on the rods."

Want to create a romantic oasis of your own? Sheaffer walks us through the easy, no-sew DIY.

DIY bed canopy: materials

Bed Canopy

Veronica Sheaffer's DIY bed canopy seen in her feminine Chicago apartment

(Image credit: Veronica Sheaffer)
  • Drapery panels with hidden tabs or rings for easy pleating. Sheaffer used four panels for a full-size bed, each measuring 57" wide, purchased from Ikea. Be sure your panels are the full length of your wall, floor-to-ceiling.
  • 2 x drapery rods or pipe, measuring at least 7" wider than your mattress. Sheaffer used a 3/4" copper pipe (found in the plumbing section) for the exposed rod; the other is strictly utilitarian and won’t be shown.
  • 2 x drapery rods or pipe, measuring 2' wide.
  • 5 x tube/pipe strap
  • 2 x café curtain brackets
  • Screws 
  • Anchors, if needed
  • Drill

DIY bed canopy: installing the rear panel

Bed Canopy

Your canopy will need both an exposed and a hidden curtain rod. Illustration by Owen Holmes of Owen Holmes Decor

(Image credit: Owen Holmes)

Find the center point in the ceiling above your bed, two feet from the wall. Your first tube strap will attach here. Screw the strap into the ceiling and run the first rod/pipe through. Slide the drapery panels that will hang behind your bed on either side of the strap. If you have an odd number of panels, or if you’re creating an especially wide canopy, you might have to adjust the strap spacing to better accommodate your design. Secure the rod by screwing a strap into the ceiling at each end, outside of the drapes. 

Next, screw a café curtain bracket onto the wall two feet from the ceiling on either side of the bed, leaving space between for the drapery panels. Holding the exposed pipe in front of the hanging drapes, push the pipe towards the wall and install on the brackets, bringing the drapes against the wall. The center panels will be considerably shorter now, but that will be hidden by the bed and the side panels.

DIY bed canopy: Hanging the side panels

Bed Canopy

(Image credit: Owen Holmes)

On the ceiling, on either side of the hanging drapes, install the shorter rods with the remaining straps. Hang one strap first, then slide in the rod with the drapery panel already hanging, and then screw in the other strap.

Finesse the pleating of the drapes, concealing the ends of the rods and the straps. 

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Ann Loynd Burton

After serving as an editor for luxury publications for nearly a decade, Ann Loynd Burton struck out on her own as a freelance writer covering design and lifestyle. Along with her work highlighting decor trends for Real Homes, Loynd Burton has covered interiors for such publications as Apartment TherapyAspireCottages & Gardens, and Galerie