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Versatile elegance: four reasons we love four-poster beds

Versatile elegance: four reasons we love four-poster beds

This month at NiX, we introduced Folly, our debut bed design. If you’re familiar with Nicola Harding & Co’s design projects, it may come as no surprise that Folly is a  four-poster bed based on a design used in one of our studio’s recent hotel projects. Over the years, we’ve always gravitated towards using them in both residential and hospitality projects, mainly because of their surprising versatility – they work in large and small rooms and in both contemporary and traditional settings. However, finding a  well-priced, high-quality and thoughtfully designed option, was not always easy for our studio. For this reason, when it came to creating our first bed design, it was always going to be a four-poster – a beautifully useful design that our customers could dress up or down. 

The Folly meets all of our exacting criteria. Made in Portugal with solid wood posts, its turned, tapered finials and peaked headboard are inspired by Chippendale and Georgian-era furniture. Its elegant bronze rails lend it a light and airy feel and provide the option for it to be dressed up with tied or ringed drapery – our by-the-metre fabrics are perfect for this.

"Four-poster beds create a sense of fusion and a sense of drama,” explains our founder, Nix. “They transform what might otherwise be an underwhelming space into something incredibly special.” 

Timeless appeal

 There is something about four-poster beds that appeals to our primaeval need for warmth and protection. Many people say that they sleep more soundly and deeply in the cosy and enclosed space that a four-poster bed provides. As well as keeping out draughts, the drapery can help to block out daylight, contributing to a more conducive sleep environment.

The four-poster concept can actually be traced back to ancient civilisations. In ancient Egypt, for example, beds were often surrounded by curtains to protect against insects and to provide privacy. It was only during the medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe, when four-poster beds became more elaborate, that they became a symbol of wealth and status. Often made of wood and featuring intricate carvings and decorations, the more elaborate the bed, the higher the social standing of the owner. 

In the 17th and 18th centuries, draperies, fringes, and other decorative elements were often added while in the 19th century, more streamlined designs made of iron and brass became popular.


The beauty of our Folly four-poster bed is that it can be dressed up or down. "It's the perfect choice for a guest bedroom or a children's bedroom,” says Nix of the newly launched Folly, which comes in plum or black colourways and King or Super King sizes. “You can dress it up to be grownup, playful or romantic depending on who you're catering to.”

“For instance, in a children's bedroom, you can create the ultimate princess fantasy with girly, dreamy drapes, while in a spare bedroom, you could have something more refined, using as much or as little pattern as you want. Likewise, add as much or as little fabric as you like depending on the mood you want to create – just a single hanging behind the headboard gives pared-back elegance while drapes on all sides provide more drama. Use something really gauzy to create a light and airy feel, or use contrasting fabrics inside and out for a richer scheme." 

For a playful look, combine curtains made from our Checkmate cotton with Ticking stripe bedlinen and Regatta cotton cushions. Or for a calming ambience, combine our Italian linens and velvets in tonal shades. 

They make small spaces special

It is a common assumption that four-poster beds are only for larger bedrooms but Nix disagrees. “Actually, slightly counterintuitively, they work brilliantly in small rooms,” she says. “I nearly always end up liking the smallest bedrooms best. I feel held and safe in a small space. Using a four poster works remarkably well in a tiny room, it makes something out of not much.”

Ensure that you make the most of the available space by opting for a streamlined design like our Folly. A bed with thinner posts and a less elaborate canopy can create a sense of openness. In addition, avoid overwhelming the space with other unnecessary furniture and accessories – a bedroom should be a sanctuary free from clutter; a place where you can drift off to sleep without any unnecessary distractions. Position the bed against a wall to maximize floor space and create a more open feel. This can also make it easier to access the bed from different sides.

They create a focal point in large bedrooms

In larger bedrooms, a four-poster bed serves a dual purpose. Not only does it provide a room-within-a-room in the form of a cosy and intimate sleeping chamber but it also helps to carve up the space. Placing the bed strategically can define sleeping and lounging areas creating a more organised layout. The tall posts and drapes provide a focal point while contributing to a sense of balance and symmetry. 

To conjure a sense of cosiness in a large room, pay particular attention to lighting. Ensure that the bed placement allows for the use of a reading light – either a wall lamp, such as our Bright Spark wall sconce, or a bedside lamp, such as our Focused collection of articulated lamps or the glazed Ditsy table lamp

Folly is just the first in a whole collection of beds and headboards we have coming your way in 2024, including another four-poster of course. We hope you love our bed collection as much as we do and have fun dreaming up ways to incorporate these beautifully useful designs into your home.

Nicola Harding & Co

About Nicola Harding & Co.

Nicola Harding & Co is a London-based interior design studio that creates places, not spaces. Rich in atmosphere, our interiors are refined and reassuringly familiar, reflecting and serving the people that use them.

About Nicola Harding & Co