The four-poster bed revival (and the best beds to create that indulgent atmosphere)

The four-poster is being reinvented for the 21st century, says Amelia Thorpe.

The four-poster might be burdened by its associations with slapstick period dramas (Carry On Henry, Blackadder et al), but it’s being reinvented to create a look that’s more relevant to the 21st century than the 16th. In their medieval incarnation, the curtains around four-posters were intended to act as insulation, but even with the advent of central heating, they’re prized for their cosseting qualities.

‘In a large bedroom with a high ceiling, a four-poster bed with silk drapes creates a “room within a room”, offering a sense of cocooning comfort,’ says the interior designer Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors (020–8995 6684;, who designed this scheme for a Grade I-listed country house in Buckinghamshire. The secret, she believes, is to modernise the look by choosing plain fabrics: ‘Here, the ivory-silk outer curtains suggest contemporary simplicity and the dark-grey inner ones enhance the enveloping effect.’

However, the drama isn’t just about scale—for those who love the look and feel of luxurious fabrics, four-posters are an invitation to indulge themselves. ‘Elaborate drapes were the highpoint of the whole ensemble,’ says Peter Russell of Stuart Interiors (01935 826659;, the specialist in period furniture, doors, staircases and panelling. ‘Sometimes, they could cost 10 times more than the bed itself.’

Like anything swathed in fabric, a four-poster will also absorb external sound, creating a hushed atmosphere that’s ideal for any bedroom sanctuary.

four poster bedKeraton carved bed, from £1,995 for a king-size

Lombok (; 020–7736 5171)

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