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The master bedroom of our new house has a 9-foot ceiling and a 13-by-15-foot floor space. We'd like to buy a four-poster bed in a contemporary style. But will it fit comfortably in a room with these dimensions? If so, can you offer some guidance as to what a bed of this kind should look like?

The four-poster with a canopy and bed hangings is experiencing a big revival, with contemporary styles now even more popular than the traditional model. The treatment for a bed of this sort is much more important than for a simple box-spring mattress and headboard combination because a four-poster does dominate any room in which it's placed.

This kind of bed can easily be accommodated in a room with the dimensions you list. The big issue is where exactly to place the bed and its accompanying night tables, knowing that a canopied bed is usually situated across from the entrance wall.

The beautiful ebony bed shown here presents a contemporary interpretation of a Shaker-style four-poster. This photo comes from Decorating Ideas That Work, a Taunton Press book written by Heather Paper.

With or without side curtains, four-posters have a purely aesthetic appeal in today's home; they no longer serve to protect sleepers from low-flying birds, dusty winds and cold drafts.

The custom-made canopy for this piece is complemented by fabrics trimmed with a contrasting binding.

I recently moved to a loft. It's a two-level space, with the kitchen below and the living area and bedroom above it. My plan is to use bookshelves to separate the living room from the bedroom. I also want to conceal the kitchen from view. Can you suggest a solution?

The shelving you plan to install is part of a design common in lofts. Shelves can be used to conceal the kitchen as well as to separate the living room from the bedroom. Cookbooks can be displayed on the kitchen shelves, as can dinnerware.

Another kind of partition can be easily fabricated in a drapery workroom. Flat panels of decorative fabric hung floor to ceiling - and not gathered like drapery - will function like sliding doors when installed on a track that allows them to be pulled to one side. Panel Track is the name of the hardware used in opening and closing the fabric panels.

Rita St. Clair is a Baltimore-based interior designer. Readers with general interior design questions can e-mail her at rsca@ritastclair.com.

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