Learn How to Arrange Pillows on a Bed with 5 Layout Ideas

Pillows on a Bed
The pillows on a bed are more than something to rest your head on; they are a key part of your bedroom decor. Accent pillows can transform any room and work incredibly well to complement the standard pillows you sleep on.

The Best Pillow Arrangements: 5 Fantastic Ways To Arrange Your Pillows

Pillows can transform your room and the look of your bed — you don't just want to have your standard pillows welcoming you at night — accent pillows, square pillows, and throw pillows can add a ton of character and persoanlity to your bed. But you don't just want to throw any old pillow combinations together.

Here is some of our best tips on how to arrange pillows on your bed.

The Layered Look

The Layered Look

You can get the layered look by placing two of your standard pillows upright against your head board, then place two king pillows and two medium or queen size pillows and finish it off with a small pillow centered in the very front. These simple combinations look great and the layers will make any bed — king size, queen or twin — look beautiful.

This look gives your bed a comfortable and very interesting appearance. You can also experiment with different colors, patterns, and sizes. Avoid making all pillows one color; this will look very bland. Instead, add in some solid colors with a couple of patterned pillows. Where possible, try to match the colors and patterns to your existing bedroom decor.

You can also get creative with the types of pillows you feature in your pillow arrangements, adding throw pillows and accent pillows to complement your standard sleeping pillows. Get those creative juices flowing and add your unique touch to your room. But don't go too wild with pattern and color, as it may start to look over the top and messy.

The Practical Look

The Practical Look pillow arrangement

The practical look is very common and simple pillow arrangement; it looks beautiful and is very practical for sleeping on. Sometimes less is more! You can get this look by arranging two stacks of pillows against your headboard.

And then add a trio of some stunning decorative pillows and accent pillows in front of that. This look lets you get creative with textures, patterns, and even sizes. Due to its simplicity, you may want to consider some fabulous bed frames to finish the whole look off, or even pillow-top mattresses for a luxury finish.

The Relaxed Look

The Relaxed Look

Pillow arrangements are important for the look and feel of your bed. You can create a very relaxed look by arranging two stacks of bed pillows and then layering that with two queen-sized pillows or perhaps placing three shams in front of your other pillows.

This pillow arrangement is easy to design, looks simple, and is practical. It also looks consistent. Again, you can play with some patterns and colors - use your pillows to express yourself!

You also want to ensure that your blankets and duvets match your pillows. You don't want to create a visual overload.

The Minimalist Look

The Minimalist Look

Everything in your bedroom should match, from decor to pillows and furniture. If you are going for a more minimalist look, then opt for a more minimal pillow arrangement to match the flow of your bedroom.

You can get this look by placing two-bed pillows upright, then add a couple of similar standard pillows or an accent pillow or two. This look is fantastic; it works with all headboards and looks amazing no matter the bed frame!

The bed frames and headboards are just as crucial as the pillows, and they must work together.

The Patterned Look

The Patterned Look

The patterned look is stunning! It is visually impressive and shows a lot of creativity. Start by arranging your sleeping pillows against your headboard to get this look. They should be lying vertically.

Then you can layer two king-sized shams or two queen-sized shams - whichever you prefer. And use them to cover the width of your bed. It would help if you then layered kind or queen-sized shams in a gorgeous contrasting pattern. This is the perfect look for you to try experimenting to see which colors and/or patterns look best with the style of your room.

And finish the look off with 2-3 square accent pillows in a different texture and hue to your other pillows. Somewhere in the mix you also need to include your standard pillows too — they're always the most important.

The Pillow Rules: Revealed

With so many different types of pillows and ways of arranging them, it is easy to make some visual errors. Knowing and understanding the pillow rules is the best way to avoid making mistakes and actually get your desired look.

Choose a Color Story

Choosing the right color story for your pillow arrangement is essential. Always follow the rule of three and draw colors from other sources in your room. The colors all need to match and come from a similar color palette.

Choose colors that make you feel good and inspire you. You could choose to mix orange, deep red, and deep green. Or go for pink, dark blue, and deep red. Choose throw pillows that work well together and add tons of character to the room.

You want the look to be cohesive, so make sure that the colors match a rug, the curtains, and your duvet cover.

Consider Patterns

You can also have some fun with patterns when designing a pillow arrangement. It is crucial that your patterns match your color story, and the patterns can be different, but they should still match and work with one another.

Start with a lead pattern; this is your biggest pattern and should contain the three colors you have chosen. Then you have your secondary patterns; these may contain only two of the colors. Always start with a lead pattern and move from there.

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Some pattern ideas you could use for your pillow arrangement could be a bright floral pillow mixed with a geometric pillow and a solid colored pillow.

Consider Pattern Size

The size of the pattern is also important; if the pattern is too small, it may not make a difference and look like anything. And if the pattern is too big, it may be too overwhelming and look messy.

You could also arrange pillows with different pattern sizes, choose one accent pillow with large dots on it, and have another with smaller shapes or lines. Choose a dominant pattern, this should be your lead pattern, and it should be the biggest.

Then incorporate your medium print; your last pattern should be quite subtle. Consider a solid-colored pillow in a different texture for your last pattern.

Consider Texture

Texture is another great way to enhance your pillow layout. You could add in some wool, fluff, fabric, or even some leather. But make sure that the texture matches your color story, your patterns, and the rest of your bedroom.

You could consider mixing an orange wool pillow with a patterned pillow that incorporates deep reds and greens. Choose harder textures with harder colors and softer ones with softer colors.

Final Thoughts

It is important to know how to arrange pillows in the bedroom or the living room (here's our guide to mixing and matching sofa pillows). Pillows are a huge design element and key part of bedroom decor; you need to use them correctly. Coordinated throw pillows will greatly help you get the look you want!

A beautiful pillow arrangement can make all the difference to your room. Make use of the tips and rules we've shared today and you'll be sure to arrange pillows in an appealing, welcoming way.

But also remember that rules are meant to be broken and that you should have fun when arranging pillows in your bedroom. Get creative.


How Many Pillows Should be on a Bed?

Most designers recommend having 6 to 10 pillows on your bed. This depends on your bed size, as a king bed differs greatly from a full or queen bed — and you'll want slightly fewer in any twin bed pillow arrangements. But the general rule is 6-10; this looks comfortable and visually appealing  — and, of course, includes 2-4 of the standard pillows you use to sleep on. Try to mix and match your pillows too — maybe adding a mix of a bolster pillow, accent pillows and throw pillows.

How Do You Stack Pillows on a Double Bed?

Following in the same format used for stacking on a queen bed pillow arrangement, you can arrange pillows in two rows with two pillows in each row. Just make sure that you use pillows of the appropriate sizes and enough standard pillows to get a good night's sleep.

How Do You Style a Pillow on a Single Bed?

The way you arrange pillows on a twin bed and simple bed, needs to be kept pretty simple. You can add about 4-5 pillows to your single bed without it feeling overwhelming. You could place one large pillow, followed by a medium-sized pillow, and then a smaller round or sham pillow. This can create a mini layered look.

Or you could play around and line a large and medium pillow along the headboard, then place a normal pillow and finish it off with a sham pillow.

Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
Ash Read
Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
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