Q: I would love to have a canopy bed, but all there is to work with is a queen-size Hollywood bed -- no head, no foot. I keep seeing canopies that hang on the wall, without a frame overhead. Can you tell me how this is done?
A: In a word: easily -- thanks to the great variety of curtain hardware out there today. It works as well on curtains for beds as for windows. For example, you can hang a canopy completely around your bed, using a rod mounted on the ceiling. You can mount rods across the wall to frame your bed's head with panels of decorative fabric.
Or you can use a half-bowed rod to create a coronet. Such a canopy consists of two drapery panels made to match the window draperies, except that they are lined in a compatible fabric.
Hung on ordinary hooks, the panels are draped gracefully over decorative hold-backs mounted on the wall just at chair-rail height. Matching bed linens complete the "coronation," so now a once commonplace boudoir puts on royal airs.
You could also create the same effect with a plywood frame mounted on the ceiling, but ready-made rods are a ready-made solution. Take a sketch or photo of your idea to your local window-treatment specialists. They know what's available and where to get the support you need for such canopy fantasies.
Q: I have a question about something I read somewhere but can't confirm now -- that people in the l8th century used to push all their furniture against the walls before they went to bed every night? Is that true, and if so, why?
A: It is sort of true, at least in l8th-century America, say the experts at the Winterthur Museum near Wilmington, Del. Winterthur is home to one of the greatest collections of art, architecture, antiques, artifacts and facts from early America, assembled there by noted antiquarian Henry Francis du Pont.
Winterthur's scholars confirm that furniture would never be left front and center in an early American room overnight. The reason makes perfect sense: In those pre-electricity times, one could easily cream oneself, or worse, stumbling around by candlelight in a roomful of hazardous furniture.
When our forebears squared things up with the walls by night, they were just safeguarding their shins.