Half testers are often used to make a bedroom more elegant and the bed more important in the room – as beds used to be.

A full tester covers the whole bed area, generally within four posts, or at least four curtains – one at each corner. A half tester is the over-bed canopy held by two posts at the top of the bed and extending down to about one third of the size of the bed, just beyond the pillows. Its first function was to keep the head warm and draught free, now it is a luxury and usually serves decorative purposes.

* The frame is always the width of the bed and fixed against the wall. The sides and front can be slightly shaped but always in such a way that curtains can still hang at either side. The frame can be carved, painted, kept very simple or made as ornate as a full four-poster might be. The underneath is finished with flat textile or sunray pleating similar to a four-poster.

* There are usually two fabrics-one for the inside and one for the outside of the hangings. The inner fabric for the curtains, ceiling and inside of any pelmet should be soft in feel and colour, as this is the fabric you’ll be sleeping within. The outer fabric of the side curtains can be heavier, more dramatic, colourful or dense – it belongs to the bed and to the room, it isn’t seen from within the bed. Any pelmet should usually match the outer side curtains.

* The inner fabric that becomes the inside of the bed- hanging behind the bed and lining the curtains at either side – can be one single piece or three separate pieces, but more usually the back curtain is finished – lined and / or interlined in it’s own right and the side curtains are made independently, so lined with the inner fabric.

* There are many designs and shapes for pelmets and detailed trimmings, historical reference will confirm; the one you choose just has to work with your own house style and can be as minimal or as decorated as you fancy.

* A very simple version can be made by fitting a simple fabric-covered board, or a carved section directly onto ot at least close to the ceiling –i.e. not involving any posts.

* Half testers differ from coronas in that they are the width of the bed, whereas a corona sits within or above the bed, or against its back wall with the curtains draping away and down from it.


see: four poster bed

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