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The question

Canopy beds – ever a good idea for anyone besides Barbie?

The answer

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Barbie did have that cool pink bed with the fabric top, didn't she? And it has seen her through (and ageless Ken?) more than 50 years. This alone speaks volumes for the canopy bed, a true icon. In the 1970s, David Hicks designed tight, tailored bed tops with matching fabric on the walls; these are being echoed today.

In sunnier climates, the canopy has been interpreted in billowing white fabric that doubles as mosquito netting. Surprisingly versatile, a canopy bed can play the scale game in many fashions, softening and humanizing a large room or serving as the unambiguous showpiece in a tight one. It is how you attack the design – hopefully the days of fringe on top are gone – that determines success: Reinterpreted in today's materiality but referencing its history, a canopy can provide that sense of timeless elegance we strive for nowadays. Barbie, it seems, knew a good thing when she saw it.

Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace's new e-book, Dee Dee's Rules , is available on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design problem? E-mail

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