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The Right Way To Make Your Bed – Our 5 Best Formulas

Today, folks, you will learn the RIGHT way to make your bed. At this point in my styling career, I can say that I am a bed-making (styling) expert, just like my parents dreamt for me as a child. I did it, mom and dad!! But like anything, when you’ve done something for years and when you’ve made HUNDREDS of beds, you forget that it’s not that simple for everyone. There are a million ways to make a bed, but not all of them look good, so we have some formulas that are fool-proof, GUARANTEED to work and give you that inviting bed of your dreams. Plus there are likely a few mistakes and misconceptions that you should know to avoid.

First, the most challenging element of the bed – THE PILLOWS.

Formula #1: 4 Sleeping Pillows + 1 Extra Long Lumbar =

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 7
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house reveal: our calm scandinavian master bedroom

This is a formula that WORKS and is actually so simple and minimal, while making the bed look pulled together. Four back pillows and one long lumbar and you can be DONE.

Yes. I believe in 4 “sleeping” pillows (as shown through all of these examples). Sure you only put your head on one while you sleep, but you need both for the “sitting up” portion of the evening (reading or watching TV…ooooohhhhh). Consider each layer a “set” and yes, the sets can be different (but keep both pillows within the set or pair the same). You might want a more firm pillow behind your squishier “sleeping” pillow for the leaning. Plus four pillows simply look way more inviting and balance the length and width of the bed better.

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 20
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house upstairs guest bunk bedroom reveal

Ironically the softer the pillow the harder it is to style for photos so I have an inventory of “prop” pillows that are fluffier and firmer. But I like a squishy (yet not flat) pillow. Sara has a memory foam pillow and I almost fired her upon announcement. Monstrous.

VERY IMPORTANT: If you have a king bed, you HAVE to have king pillows. A standard size will look just way too small.

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 11
photo by melissa oholendt | from: the curbly bedroom makeover

Like I said, your two sets of pillows can be different – we like to have two different colors or patterns. Sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes higher contrast (to pull in say, the throw blanket at the end).

HOT TIP: You don’t need euro shams. They are the square pillows that often went in front of your sleeping pillows in lieu of two more sleeping pillows. We still use them now and again, but you don’t NEED them and they can make a bed look fussier, more “decorated”. I wouldn’t say they are “out” but just not as in as they used to be.

Styled The Book Emily Henderson Design Shannafest Designbyemilyhenderson 5892 V1
photo by david tsay | from: a simple eclectic guest bedroom

Also before we leave this formula here are six of our favorites:

1. Happy Wave Block Print Oversized Lumbar Pillow Cover | 2. Lumbar Faux Leather Channel Stitch Decorative Throw Pillow | 3. Alisha Lumbar Pillow | 4. Striped Double Weave Lumbar Throw Pillow | 5. Oversized Oblong Woven Stripe Decorative Throw Pillow | 6. Alcove Pillow

FORMULA #2: 4 Sleeping Pillows + 1 Lumbar + 1 Decorative Pillow =

Emily Henderson Modern English Cottage Tudor Master Bedroom Reveal9 Cropped
photo by tessa neustadt | from: our master bedroom reveal + get the look

We are building from minimal to more decorative now. I realize that this doesn’t seem THAT different, but sometimes you want to style it to have one more color, pattern, or layer. If that’s what you are into, keep that lumbar and add a square, circle or smaller rectangle pillow (I actually have TWO long lumbars on the mountain master bed now that I haven’t shot, but I love it – I have a larger linen one with the smaller leather one in front of it).

Emily Henderson Moto Brady Bedroom Parachute Edited 2
photo by tessa neustadt | from: brady’s bedroom makeover with parachute + shop the look

GOOD HACK: Brady’s bedroom (above) has a large king sham playing the role of the “lumbar” which totally works, then he put an additional rectangular lumbar in front  (I don’t think I can ever say lumbar again, it’s such a terrible word).

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photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: refreshing your bedroom with target

As you can see the double lumbar is still in action (although the one in front is obviously just a rectangular pillow).

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 14
photo by tessa neustadt | from: the griffith park master bedroom reveal + get the look

For those of you who love geometry, you can indeed mix a round/circle pillow with a narrow lumbar like we did in that bedroom.

FORMULA #3: 4 Sleeping Pillows + 2 (or 3) Different Shapes/Sized Accent Pillows

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 3
photo by tessa neustadt | from: styling to sell: the (new) master bedroom

If you like yourself a throw pillow (or maybe you have these already around and don’t want to buy a lumbar) then this formula is for you. We love using 2 or 3 different sized (and shaped) pillows in front of your base four. It’s important to have one that is around 24″ to really ground the mini collection – especially on a king (a queen/full could handle 20″).

A good formula we use is one large, one medium and one small. Hand me the Pulitzer prize NOW. Also yes, they can all be different colors, patterns, and textures. Certainly, pull in the colors of the headboard and your blankets/throws at the end. You don’t want a really saturated or strong color as a quilt and then nothing to balance it out at the top of the bed. Again, pull from those colors. We wrote a whole post about mixing pillows HERE and rounded up many combos that we love.

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 16
photo by tessa neustadt | from: scott’s bedroom makeover with leesa + get the look

You can definitely just do two like we did up here (please check out that blanket styling action – boyfriend (aka Scott) LOVES some blankets).

Emily Henderson Full Design Little Girls Room Pink Gray Playful Pics 4
photo by tessa neustadt | from: little girl’s playful bedroom reveal + get the look

HOT TIP: We love a round pillow. It really breaks up all the squares and rectangles that are innate in a bed. Also looking back at that bed (above), it could have used a quilt at the end and it does defy the formulas below you are about to see, but it’s ok and we didn’t get arrested for our lack of layering. But if we could go back in time I’d add a quilt or blanket to break up the line of the bed frame and give it more of an inviting and relaxed look. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Anchal Crescent Pillow | 2. Embroidered Floral Round Throw Pillow | 3. Round Lush Velvet Pillow | 4. Creste Ivory Pillbox Throw Pillow | 5. Velvet + Wool Circle Pillow | 6. Velvet Disc Pillow

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 18
photo by tessa neustadt | from: styling to sell – the (new) master bedroom

I gasped when I saw that above photo thinking that the first throw pillow was too small, but then I realized it was a lumbar – THANK GOD.

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 19
photo by tessa neustadt | from: styling to sell – the (new) master bedroom

See? Proof. PHEW.

Here is a handy graphic to help you remember our pillow formulas:

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed Deco Pillows

Now on to your bedding – the quilts, throws, and comforter portion of the bed that can be equally paralyzing to style.

The Bedding Formulas:

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 5
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house reveal: our soft yet secretly sultry downstairs guest bed + bath

HOT TIP: You don’t need a flat sheet if you have a washable duvet cover. It’s only required if you have a less washable comforter or quilt.

FORMULA #4: 1 “Fluffy Component” + 1 “Flat Component” =

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 6
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: makeover takeover: julie’s huge (and diy packed) bedroom upgrade

I know there are more ways to style the bedding but we like the simplicity of choosing one that is more “fluffy” for lack of more scientific term – either a duvet with an insert or a comforter (typically less washable, but just as fluffy). You can also definitely have two “fluffy” components or two “flat components”, but we like at least two “blanket components” in total. I hope you are taking notes… there will be a test.

Pink Velvet Quilt Target
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: a romantic glam bedroom makeover with opalhouse by target

HOT TIP: When styling a bed to look the most inviting, it’s crucial to fold the comforter/duvet (and potential flat sheet) back far enough that it clears the 4 back pillows. This adds depth and texture, plus if your fitted sheet is a pattern or color then it pops out more which is more fun. It’s like the cuff of a sleeve underneath your sweater – it’s just a little pop of something else that makes it look interesting.

You want your bed to say, “come on in” and folding it back a bit does that. It does NOT have to clear your decorative/accent pillows, in fact, it is better if it’s layered on top, thus bridging those two surfaces.

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design and photo by emily cosnotti of the sweet beast | from: house tour: original woodwork, moody walls & a gasp-worthy wallpaper

EXCEPTION: Emily of the Sweet Beast only used TWO back pillows and laid them flat to show off her low but beautiful headboard. This is absolutely acceptable – the bed looks slightly less full but seeing the pretty spindles of the bed adds additional texture and style (plus it lets more natural light through).

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed Bedding Rules 1

If you want to go one step further, like the graphic above here you go …

1 “Fluffy Component” + 1 “Flat Component” + 1 Extra Throw =

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 9
photo by tessa neustadt | from: sara’s bedroom reveal

If you are a true layering addict, then this is for you – add an ADDITIONAL blanket mostly to add more color/style/pattern/texture and sculptural shape. We like to have the bottom layer be more structured, typical fold, then the top one to have more of an organic shape.

PET PEEVE: Please, guys, BOTH blankets should be long enough to at least fall over both sides of the bed – not to the floor, but to look properly scaled to the bed, they shouldn’t just sit on top (although we’ve done it when we’ve had to and no one got arrested or fired).

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 1
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: reveal: how we brightened up a room (and some deserving lives) with velux skylights

The blankets should be different in order to add contrast in color or texture. Like above, the bottom blanket is more structured and folded conservatively, while the top one has more movement and fringe. If we had just used the navy blue blanket it would have been too strong of a color moment to balance out the top of the bed. It would have overwhelmed the bed, visually, so the white breaks it up and calms it down a bit.

Here are some great “large enough” bed blanket options:

1. Winter + Summer Cotton Coverlet | 2. Dreamy Gauze Cotton Blanket | 3. Gemma Coverlet | 4. Chunky Knit Bed Blanket | 5. Eyelash Belgium Linen | 6. Candlewick Blanket

But if you have a throw blanket from your living room and are desperate – this is acceptable…

Emily Henderson How To Make A Bed 20
photo by tessa neustadt | from: how we styled elliot’s bedroom to sell + get the look

You may throw a blanket casually to create a sculptural shape and add interest. It’s a little “stylist-y” and ideally, it would be bigger. But it’s better than folding it straight and having it look way too small, like a mistake. This just looks kinda pretty and effortless.

I had no idea how much I had to say about making a bed, and frankly, I could say more. There are no actual rules and we’ve gone outside these formulas many many times, but I also think having a couple guaranteed ways to help guide the styling is so helpful, even to US. Looking back through my years of styling I can see that my favorite beds fell into those formulas and the ones where I went outside just weren’t as successful.

In case you want to pin this, or maybe you respond to graphics – we pulled together our formulas in one place.

Now please, please go and make your bed and tag us on social so we can see and reshare. Use #showemyourstyled and show us those beds.

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: The Griffith Park Master Bedroom Reveal + Get The Look


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115 thoughts on “The Right Way To Make Your Bed – Our 5 Best Formulas

  1. As a European, I’ve always find the tradition to add so many pillows very strange. Where do they go if you’re going to sleep?
    But it does look cosy.

    1. Options abound besides just tossing them on the floor: into a large floor basket, storage trunk, or underbed drawer, or onto an accent chair or foot-of-the-bed bench.

    2. So many pillows, so much work … I also prefer the european style with one pillow + one duvet per sleeper.

      1. This could make a great pinterest inspired post – how styling in European design differs from US design. It would be fun to compare and contrast, have some lovely side by sides.

        Oh man, then you could have a series where “ambassadors” native to a design community, but working in the US, help write posts about design in Japan, or Scandinavia, or Russia, or Mexico.

    3. I am from the US but I just don’t understand all the extra pillows. Aside from being totally impractical I just think it looks cluttered and not serene and comfortable, which is how I want my bedroom to feel. I think it’s a minority opinion though!

    4. I personally like two pillows per person, plus one decorative pillow (rectangular) for looks. So 2 pillows are in normal cases, the other 2 are in slightly more structured pillowcases for looks. At night, I put the extra ones on the bed header or on the bench. All pillows are useful when I read, or when I was pregnant and later nursing a baby. I even used the decorative one under my elbow when I was nursing a baby, sitting in my bed, which was my preferred place. I was born in Europe as well, I don’t like having too many pillows just for decoration, but I do like a cozy look fluffy pillows give.

    5. I agree that having TOO MANY pillows on a bed gets a bit overwhelming — and time-consuming to make up EVERY day! That’s why I’m glad to see the “long lumbar” trend becoming popular, because you don’t need a ton pillows to make a statement, and you don’t have to pile up a huge stack of pillows somewhere in your bedroom before you crawl into bed! I discovered them a while back at boutique hotels and think they look super chic and unfussy.

      I’m a designer myself and found it hard to find classic/sophisticated ones in retail stores, so I actually just started my own company and am creating Long Lumbar pillow covers in high-quality fabrics and styles that most would have to hire an interior designer or seamstress to make! Check out the ones I’ve created so far in my online shop at or see my Instagram @mr.quinsby for more!

  2. Good lord, I am violating the rules. First I don’t have a comforter or a duvet. I have a beautiful quilt. I don’t like comforters — they all look lumpy and uneven on a bed and I like my bed to look crisp, balanced, and flat. Duvets are just plain annoying and never look evenly filled by the comforter. They are always hanging off awkwardly at one edge. I will not be budging on this. No comforters or duvets for me!

    I also have 9 freaking pillows on my bed. It actually looks pretty nice but mostly it’s a bunch of blue and green pillows that I bought and didn’t know where else to put. Kind of a pain to make the bed. I’m definitely thinking about getting rid 5 of them and just going with a lumbar pillow. I like that look a lot.

    So I’m only a partial rule breaker. 😉 Thanks for this post. Really helpful actually.

  3. Do the same rules apply for two twin duvets on a queen? Very controversial, but also standard in many parts of Europe. (Writing from Denmark here :)) I can never go back to a single duvet for partnered sleeping!

    Also I never use flat sheets with this arrangement.

    1. I wonder as well how to make a bed with two twin duvets. My husband is Dutch and insisted we sleep this way and I’ll never go back. I make the bed by laying a king duvet (with nothing inside) overtop of our twin duvets to make it feel like one blanket on top, then do the pillow tricks like you guys mention. It works but isn’t perfect.

      1. What is this two twin duvets that you mention?!? Is this a trick Americans are missing out on, as we fight our partners (and dogs who *may* sleep with us *hypothetically*) for the covers?!? Do tell!

    2. We have this set up as well, and it’s hard to make it aesthetically pleasing! I’m toying with getting a king quilt/coverlet to put over the top, like Morgan mentioned below. But I’m afraid it might just make it look lumpy?

      1. You can find a thin king sized chenille spread, if that is accessible where you live. Otherwise a thin quilt will work. You meet the duvets together in the middle then smooth them out and cover with another spread. It will keep you warmer in the colder months as well.

    3. Literally just replaced my Queen duvet with two twin duvets and I am a total convert – my husband and I sleep so much better!

    4. Finding twin duvets on a bed annoys me just as much as asking for a double bed at the hotel and getting two twin beds stacked together. Why? Please enlighten me… how do you cuddle in the middle of the night if there’s a separation in between the two of you? I’ve tried it and failed. No matter how, one of us will get our back uncovered and find ourselves with cold, because the middle of the bed is exactly where the covers separate themselves. I think this only encourages the physical separation of the couple, because it makes it harder for the couple to get together.
      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of newlywed still enchanted. I have a 10 years marriage. We are two different persons, with different habits (he is always hot and I am always cold), that learned to live together. We don’t cuddle all night (that’s just in the movies!), some nights we don’t cuddle at all… But we like to get close to each other whenever we feel like.
      I get that some people have a hard time sleeping together (let me just add that I find that this is many times related to having slept alone on a double bed as a child) and are just better sleeping apart. I get that some people just would rather sleep alone… That’s just not for me!
      What I learned is that having a big enough duvet (for both of us to move around and tuck as we please) is the best trick.

    5. We switched to twin duvets (no flat sheet) on a queen bed four years ago. Never ever going back. We sleep so well and still have plenty of opportunity to cuddle. We have a platform bed and make up the bed by folding the duvets in half lengthwise. Four sleeping pillows, long lumbar in front, done! It looks clean and minimal.

  4. I can’t live without my Euro pillows. I need them for reading in bed! Could we get some tips on styling with them? A problem I have is that I like my Euro pillows to be really full, but then they are bursting out of their shams. Do you have suggestions for shams that actually fit well-filled Euro pillows?

    1. I’m a fan of my euro pillows also and have found it difficult to locate shams that I like. With my headboard it just the most comfortable option for sitting up in bed — and I’ve tried many, including kind sized pillows. I have 28” down euro pillows which are SO comfy. Anyway, my euro shams are from restoration hardware. They have the most options of any place I’ve found. IMO the key to making them look modern is getting a sham without a flange.

      1. I’m also a fan of the Euro pillow as I don’t have a headboard and the euros function as a kind of quasi headboard at the back and then all the other pillows go in front.
        Loved this round up, thanks. I find making my bed in the morning, with all 8 pillows and cushions LOL, a really great/mindful way to start the day. If all else fails, at least my bed looks good!

    2. I’m in the Euro pillow boat for reading & comfort too. I’d love ideas for them because they are functional but look a little like i forgot something when I make the bed.

      1. Try the ikea 26″ square cushion covers for a full plump look, they have a few nice budget friendly options and are mostly zippered so the large 28 inch insert won’t burst out of the cover. I’ve also found 26 inch square velvet cushion covers on ebay. The RH ones are definitely dreamy… just more than I’m willing to spend on cushion covers, at the price point of two you could probably buy a sewing machine and the linen to make the covers yourself. I’m originally from Germany and I have instantly been converted to the one large duvet when I moved in with my american husband. I also find it more cuddle inducing (lol) to sleep this way as opposed to seperate covers. Whenever we go to visit my mother in Germany I find myself sleeping well in her guest bedroom but without as much connecting with my husband due to the twin duvets. I guess it really depends on the person and people’s love language. We all have different needs and preferences and that’s ok!

  5. Ever since having a summer job as a housekeeper at a resort years ago, I MUST have a perfectly made bed at all times 🙂 I do prefer having a top sheet though, even with a washable duvet cover. These beds are all beautiful.
    One question about the quilt or large throw folded at the foot of the bed: do you sleep with it folded in half covering the lower half of the bed, or do you pull it up at night and re-fold it in the morning?

    1. We keep a quilt folded at the bottom of our bed and here’s what you do: every night, and I mean every freaking night have your husband kick it off, complain that there’s an extra blanket at the foot of the bed that serves no purpose, then have your dog then bunch it up into a ‘nest’ of sort for a solid 5 minutes then throughout the night go back and forth on whether not it (and the dog) are making your feet and lower legs too hot and eventually kick it to the floor only to beautifully drape it back on the bed in the morning and smile, because it really does make the bed look perfect.

      1. Our black lab insists on sleeping at the foot of the bed on my side and my husband is always hot. I love the look of white bedding, but can’t do that with a dog. My husband hates duvets, and I can’t ever seem to get them to lay right, so we only have a gray quilt on our bed with the matching shams and our sleeping pillows. And I put a dog blanket that is not cute at all at the foot of the bed where she lays. *facepalm*

    2. My teenage summer job as a hotel housekeeper left me with a few great bed-making tips!
      Fold the sheet over the quilt of duvet twice so that you don’t see and edges. It also makes everything look fluffier.
      When you fold your top sheet after washing, fold it in half lengthwise first so that when you put it on the bed, you can place the crease right in the middle and not have to go back and forth around the bed making sure it’s even.

    1. Yes! Yes…Please recommend a few good duvet inserts! Everyone one I have bought (over 6 different duvet inserts) bunch, shrink after washing, or make the duvet is SO PUFFY it looks odd. Thanks. Great info!

      1. Down shouldn’t bunch! Honestly, the sizes are a bit odd, but i’ve LOVED my IKEA down duvet inserts. They’re super fluffy and cozy.

    2. I bought a comforter a couple of weeks ago, and it is magic. Seriously. It not only looks so much better than my lumpy, ill-fitting old comforter, my husband and I have been sleeping like babies since we got it. I use a sleep-tracking app, and I went from 65 to 70 percent sleep quality to 95 percent sleep quality. The other night I reached 100 percent!

      This is the one I bought:

  6. This reminds me of Along Came Polly where Ben Stiller spends twenty minutes a night putting away his mountain of decorative pillows. I make my bed daily so it looks crisp and I like to sleep with lots of soft pillows but I’d never “style” the bed just for looks. I have a duvet and four pillows, plus a blanket folded over the foot of the bed. That’s plenty.

    Obviously the styled bed works for staging/Instagram but I’m not sure how applicable this is for real life.

  7. The word “lumber” appears in place of “lumbar” several times in the post. I was picturing wooden logs placed neatly in front of beautiful bed pillows as I read. You really need a better editor or proofreader. I find the errors distract me from otherwise engaging and interesting content.

    1. These are the kind of comments that get labeled as haters. We are not haters – some of us would just like to see same attention paid to detail of editorial content as is focused on throw pillow position and sizes.
      Spelling and grammatical errors are equally as noteworthy as are incorrect throw pillows arrangements.

  8. I’m an easy, low-maintenance type a gal so I personally prefer the 4 sleeping pillows + 1 oversized lumbar. That way we only need to toss the lumbar on the bench at the end of the bed.

  9. Extra long lumbar pillows seem like a trend that has taken hold in the last couple years. I love the look, but I have so many decorative pillows that I choose to just change out covers. I love the look of the long lumbar, so I may end up making a lumbar cover and stuffing it with multiple of the smaller inserts. Also, I’ve been using tempurpedic pillows, and they don’t make king size. It drives me crazy to have a California King bed with standard pillows. I remedy this with a couple king pillows in shams, and greet the standard sleeping pillows as accents. As for blankets, I started sleeping with a weighted blanket about a year ago. It’s a pretty crocheted one, so I do fold it at the end of the bed, but it doesn’t follow the rule of extending the width of the bed. I used to use a quilt or coverlet like that, but haven’t with my new sleeping arrangements. I’ve found that I’m embracing comfort over style, and ending up somewhere in between.

  10. I love pillows on the bed but not all of the work to remove & replace every day. I bought a large body pillow and made a cover for it. Now in the morning I just stand up our sleeping pillows and put the body pillow in front of them. Many people think it looks like 3 euro shams because of the way I seamed the fabric. I love how it looks and it so easy. One and done I say!

  11. Love this post! I have a question about tucking in your comforter / quilt at the end of the bed. I noticed that most of the photos have it untucked, I find if we do that at home the blankets slide too much during the night. Any tips there?

  12. I am so paralyzed by bed styling haha – okay I’m one of those heathens with a sculpted memory foam pillow that I sleep on. How do I hide that during the styling?
    My bedding is all white, but my sheets get dingy from heavy winter moisturizer, so I definitely don’t want them folded back and showing.
    How do we feel about bed skirts these days? My (metal, hidden, hideous) bedframe is on risers so I can store more under the bed. Is a long bed skirt the best way camouflage it all?

  13. You make it look so effortless.

    My husband absolutely hates extra pillows and king pillows, and on top of that, he has a memory foam pillow! ;-P

    That’s my excuse for not having a more stylish bed every day. But I can dream, when I read your blog.

    (There’s a great scene about extra pillows in the movie Mixed Nuts, between Rob Reiner and Steve Martin.)

  14. Appreciate the time it took to put this together, and I enjoyed seeing the graphics on how to put together a visually appealing bed. I guess this breaks all of “the rules”, but as I only use my bed for sleeping (I watch tv and read somewhere else) I don’t need or want all of the extra pillows. Yes, it looks comfy and cozy for a photo or for guests, but for my everyday bed I want something that will take the least amount of time to make up in the morning. Also, I am a fan of the traditional bedspread that pulls up to cover the pillows (I like the idea of keeping dust off of my pillow). Would love to see more practical, minimalistic examples for those like me!

  15. Clearly, I am not crazy in LOVING this post! My bed is the saddest place to look at but the happiest place to sleep. I feel like you’re helping me re-brand my bed to the world and it is grateful, ha!

    On another note, I’d love a post about how to style out the rest of a bedroom that is THIS prescriptive. Hello, design scaredy cat who loves instructions. From the photos, it looks like matching lamps, matching nightstands, add a bench and voila? What if you have weird windows though? And what about other furniture in the room? And how to hide ugly but necessary for sleeping things, like giant humidifiers?

  16. I’d a lot rather use a flat top sheet than wrestle with a duvet cover. Also, so many pillows are a pain to deal with — my husband has MUCH to say about the issue of finding a place to put all those pillows when he’s sleepy and just wants to GO TO BED. Sidenote: We both agree that the main issue with staying at a BnB is having to find a place for all the fussy decor pillows every night.

  17. Re: your pet peeves (“Please, guys, BOTH blankets should be long enough to at least fall over both sides of the bed – not to the floor, but to look properly scaled to the bed, they shouldn’t just sit on top”): what are you supposed to do about king beds?!? King sized bedding only covers part of each side of the bed and it drives me bonkers. (Meaning you always see part of the sheet covered mattress underneath.) I’ve googled it and everyone is like “put a king sized blanket on a queen, etc” but there is nothing on king beds because I’ve not found oversized king bedding. I notice Emily of The Sweet Beast has this problem–I have the same king bed as her. Any suggestions?

    1. I second this question! I’ve seen some behind-the-scene bloggers or magazine editors show they pull the duvet over to one side in photos. Is there a real life solution to covering the mattress on both sides of a king?

      1. A king coverlet is wider, because it is meant to act more like a traditional bedspread. Also, turning the quilt 90 degrees might make it fit across the bed. After reading this post, I just tried this with a throw I have my bed, and it totally worked. I’m not convinced it looks better than the other way, but I’m going try it out for awhile.

    2. YES! I actually clicked over to this post because I was hoping there was some secret insight into how/where to find king size bedding that actually covers each side of the bed. It drives me bonkers!!

      Love all of the pillow ideas though, and the gorgeous bedroom inspiration photos!

  18. LOVED THIS!! But I do have a question. For those of us who use quilts and don’t ever use comforters or duvets, my bed lacks that fluffy element. So how can I achieve that balance?

    1. I think layered quilts can look equally good. You’ll notice in the photos that many of the comforters/duvets aren’t particularly fluffy. In one photo, the pink quilt on top is definitely fluffier.

  19. Any tips for a queen bed with a relatively tall headboard? It looks weird to me without tall shams but it also makes the pillows stick out a lot which looks weird as the door to the room is immediately to the side of the bed.

  20. Any recommendations for the “fluffy component” that aren’t white but are neutral? I’m in the market for a new king size duvet. My rug is blue and burnt orange as the primary colors, and the walls will most likely end up a light gray. I know white won’t stand up to my family (plus I already have the lumbar pillow component covered with a white one), but I can’t figure out what to do for a duvet. Just thought I’d put this out here to see if y’all had anything that came to mind.

    1. I have multiple duvets (because I like changing my bedding look every week). I have a linen duvet in a greyish color. You could go solid color that plays off what you have.

  21. Love this content, ironically I was thinking…It would be great if EHD did a bedding round up. Like combos of everything you described above in all price points. THANK YOU EHD

    1. i’m on the opposite end of the spectrum on this. A post like this makes me respect this blog less. Someone put together lots of words and multiple graphics on where to “properly” place pillows and at no point did anyone on the team say “Hm, I wonder if this is starting to become frivolous and unnecessary?”
      I love distracting myself with beautiful things as much as anyone, but this is ridiculous.

  22. Great to see all these beautifully styled beds in one post! God bless whoever started the long lumbar trend. If it ever goes out of style, I’ll continue to carry the torch on it for everyone until it comes around again. It’s relaxed, unfussy, and just easy. I’ll never go back!

    I have a question – I have a California king bed and a king sized duvet and duvet cover. The size on both is labeled “king/cal king” so I guess they’re supposed to do double duty. However, the duvet cover is a lot wider than my duvet. It’s from Parachute so maybe it’s supposed to be that way for that lived in look or maybe it’s just because it needs to accommodate the wider regular king sized bed? In any case, the seemingly extra material that hangs over the sides of the duvet drives my husband and I crazy. One of us always ends up with an armful of linen duvet cover and no fluffy duvet. (The corners of the duvet are tied inside so that’s not the problem. It’s just way too much material!) I see pics in this post with duvets that look like they have a more fitted cover. How do I get that? What am I doing wrong here?!

    1. I’ve just dealt with this myself over the last month, shopping all over for a duvet that fits my Pottery Barn cover properly. I’ve found that duvet inserts simply vary a lot in dimension, regardless of what size they’re called. And it’s incredibly unhelpful! haha. I’m not sure there’s an easy fix for your situation besides buying a larger duvet insert if you can find one. I’ve read that the insert should be a few inches larger than the cover, so that it fills it up easily.

  23. I keep my sleeping pillows in the closet on a wire shelf during the day. This way they can air out and not be collecting dust all day… let’s you sleep on whatever you like the feel of and then style your bed with whatever you like the look of.

  24. I have a king sized bed and hate king sized pillows. I use 3 standard sleeping pillows tucked behind 3 standard pillows in shams that match my quilt used as coverlet. Under the coverlet, I have an ikea I down insert and a flat sheet. I have 3 square pillows as accents and recently added a rectangular one.

  25. I also have king bed questions…. there seem to be no lumbar pillows that are long enough. What about…. 2 lumbar pillows? Anyone have suggestions?

    Also, yes, I got so into a second EHD post, I can’t go back to ONE!!!!!

    1. Hey Courtney, I own homies, which is featured in this post and I actually sell 14×50 inch lumbars on my site which are great for king beds. You can go to and filted by 14×50 pillows, or check out our instagram @homiesdecor

      Hope you can find something!

  26. If you have a print to your quilt , can you have a duvet that has a tone and tone pattern too? For example, if you have a white duvet with a white strip or or the duvet has square quilting, can that be paired with a print quilt and a plain and patterned toss pillows?

  27. I have a comment about comments! I think the comments to your posts are so interesting, often hilarious, and a reality check! In my case, when I get up in the morning I pull an old quilt over all of my beautiful pillows and bedding and make my bed into a giant dog bed for my chocolate lab to sleep on all day! So much for “styling”!

  28. Thank you for breaking this down! I’ve always struggled with pillow styling and recently spent 2 hours in a shop trying to pick out throw pillows for a guest room! So wish I would have read this first!!

  29. I have so many thoughts and feelings about this! First of all, I have to have 2 pillows per person for reading or watching tv propped up in bed. One is for sleeping and has to be the perfect thickness. Second, I am now of the opinion that no pillows should be polyester. I realize this is an elitist view but I stand by it. As for blankets, I always thought it had to be sheet-blanket-comforter, and they must be aligned/even, but now am rethinking the idea of no flat sheet and maybe separate twin size comforters a la Scandinavians. Ps. Am neutral on throw pillows. I think.

  30. I loved this and am going to get up and make my bed right now.
    I discovered that a twin-sized quilt is the perfect size to use as a throw at the end of a king-sized bed. Just fold once or twice lengthwise.

  31. You guys are the best, thanks so much for including a Homies pillow in the lumbar list! Made my day 🙂 Rule #1 is my favorite of course! – Kiley (Owner of Homies)

  32. Per Kara’s comment about finding quilts and duvet covers wide enough for king beds. For those of us with queens, the king duvet isn’t a good solution either! It’s either too long on the sides, or if we rotate it, it hangs way over the end! And what size duvet should we use? Can’t believe that bedding manufacturers don’t realize that mattresses are so deep now! The worst are those sized for Full/Queen that are only 86” wide

  33. This is what women spend their time thinking and worrying about? There’s a big world out there – who give a damn what the bed looks like?!!

    1. Sheri, not a nice remark. You are right that there are (more) important things out in the world. But yes, we are many who think that the bedroom should look nice and it takes only a minute to create that every morning.

    2. It’s a design blog. I’m not quite sure what you were expecting to find here — detailed discussions on foreign policy or government affairs?? Also, one can spend time “worrying” about the “big world out there,” and also still care about creating a beautiful, restful bedroom. The two are in no way mutually exclusive.

  34. This so helpful. I feel like I fall short in this department. We have a rental too and I want those beds to look particularly inviting. I saved your formulas and am going to apply them! Thanks a ton!!!

  35. I use “only” the 4 sleeping pillows + 2 decorative pillows, ’cause Siel is right: where on earth to put all those decorative pillows when going to bed?

  36. Thanks so much for spelling it out – and I am PUMPED about the graphic!

    How could I be an Emily follower for a decade (and even recently buy some throw pillows from West Elm for my bed) but struggle to arrange it to look good on the bed? I’m not observant enough, that’s why! Thanks for the post!

  37. Thank you for this post! We recently moved from Burbank, CA to an island in Florida and lots of our friends and family are coming down to visit. I had a guest last week and I went crazy looking at pictures of beds all over the internet trying to figure out what I was going to do in the guest room. I’m pinning this post so that I’m ready for the next one!

  38. I have a king sized duvet but the best purchase I ever made was a duel tog duvet – one side (mine) is a much higher tog than the other (my husbands). Therefore I am lovely and cosy and he is cooler. Its saved loads of arguments about whether a throw or the heating needs to be on or off. Also, dogs! How can a dog triple in size when lying on a bed!?!

  39. I do love these practical posts–it’s what drew me to the blog! We all appreciate that you not only share beautiful rooms, but are willing to break down HOW to get the look for those of us that can’t do it by instinct. Merci! Plus, your narrative tone is hilarious. Love it!

  40. This is a great post, but all except the 4 pillows + lumbar and one blanket really bother my minimalist mind. How can we look at function over form and truly live without throwing multiple pillows in the floor. For me, it’s four pillows and the blanket + duvet.

  41. My husband HATES extra pillows, so I don’t get to have any! But my guest room has your formula- 4 sleeping pillows and an extra long lumbar! Or bolster, I call it. It’s round. What movie was it- LA Story? Where Rob Reiner went off on chicks and all the pillows?

  42. Since we’re talking about how to make up beds…I love my flat sheet but hate the feeling of it tucked in at the end of the bed – feels way too restrictive. I need to buy a bed that has a solid footboard so I can just let it hang and it will still look neat. Anyone have any tips?

    1. I cannot stand a tucked in at the btm flat sheet! Our duvet covers it so you can’t tell. Maybe pull your flat sheet up further so it doesn’t show and fold excess over at the top?

  43. I love the look of a linen bedspread that covers & tucks under the pillows & then spreads out over the end of the bed. So happy to see it in more & more interior design photos.

  44. I was first so surprised to see a post like this with 107 comments. I figured that it must have a controversy. Then I realized it was written by Emily, which is also strange for her to write a post like this now. As I was scrolling comments, which is the main reason I come to the blog now (y’all are the best and so entertaining!), I realized this is a recycled post with almost all comments being from two years ago. What an interesting look at the changes to this blog over a few years!

  45. My husband and I visited Paris last year and the bedroom apartment we rented had 2 twin comforters on a King sized bed. We thought that was an excellent way to keep our covers from being pulled back and forth. That’s what we do now. We use 2 white light feather filled twin comforters; we add a thin chenille king spread to pull over them and follow the pillow recommendations in this article. Much easier for us!

  46. Hello! thanks for this interesting post! I have one simple (euh… stupid?) question. how do you get your pillows to stay that fluffy? Mine are always good when I buy them than they become flat. I’ve tried putting them in the dryer but it doesn’t help…

    1. They use big overstuffed pillows for styling purposes, I think Emily mentions that somewhere in the post. But you can also get feather down pillow inserts and key is to fluff them back up every morning when making your bed. that will usually keep them fluffy forever in my experience. The cheaper down alternative filled pillow inserts will deflate over time, no matter where you buy them.

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