How to Make the Bed: Style your Beds Like a Pro

decorative cushions arranged on a bed

Saddo that I am, I spent many hours prior to staging our first house to sell looking at pictures of show homes and doing virtual show home tours to try and pick up some tips and tricks. One of the things I was particularly interested in, was how to make the beds and style them so that they always look great. I had literally no idea how to make them look good myself – so here are the ideas I picked up:

Making The Bed: The Basics

Whatever kind of bed you are styling (except for a baby’s cot) you need good pillows and good bedding. So no flat-as-pancake pillows here! For double / king beds you need at least 4 pillows, for a single bed you need 1 or 2, depending on the look you are going for. In terms of bedding, you need bedding that is clean and importantly, ironed. It also shouldn’t look like it has been washed 5000 times and is a bit faded. Depending on what the bottom of your bed looks like, you might want a valance sheet too, preferably not a frilly one!

Making King / Double Beds

You want your beds, especially the grown-up ones to look as comfortable and inviting as possible. Whilst there are any number of different ways to make the bed, this is the bed styling idea that I went with as it makes the bed look super-smart and inviting, without being totally over the top for a real house that people actually live in.

Step 1

First, put on your bottom fitted / valance sheet. Next, put on the duvet. Make sure the duvet drapes over the bed evenly all round, leaving space at the top of the bed for the pillows.

Step 2

Next add your pillows. Personally, I prefer to stand the pillows up slightly at an angle of about 45 degrees against the headboard or wall. If you have oxford pillowcases, these should be on the 2 pillows at the back, against the headboard. If you prefer you can lie the pillows flat on the bed, with the oxford pillow cases (if you have them) on the bottom.

Now for your decorative cushions. Depending on what kind of cushions you have, depends how you arrange them here. The simplest arrangment is just to have 1 accent cushion placed in front of the pillows. I tend to go with 2 larger square cushions and then 2 slightly smaller ones. Arrange the larger cushions against the pillows, at the same 45 degree angle one on each side of the bed, and then place the smaller cushion in front. Plump until happy with the arrangement.

Bed styling ideas- different cushion arrangements.

You could also go with 2 square cushions and then a rectangular / other shape feature cushion. In which case place the 2 square cushions as before and then place the feature cushion in the middle.

Step 3

If you have a throw or runner, place this on the bed either across the middle or the end of the bed. As I have a bed with a high foot end, I usually fold the throw in half and have it tucked into the end of the bed and then pulled about half way up the bed. If you have a low foot end however, you can drape it right across the end of the bed.

Style your beds like a pro: double bed styled with several cushions and a soft throw.


Now obviously this is personal preference and whatever you think looks good. In terms of colour coordination, I tend to go with having the sheet, duvet cover and pillow slips all the same colour, then the accent cushions and throw in coordinating colours. However if you want to layer it up more, then I would suggest the bottom sheet and pillows nearest to the headboard in the accent colour, front pillows and duvet a neutral colour, then accent cushions and throw again in the accent colour. Does that make sense?!

How To Make Single Beds

If the single bed has low sides, then the advice is broadly the same as above. For a child’s bed, if you don’t have any cushions then pull the duvet over the top of the pillows. If the bed however is a cabin bed, or other bed with slightly raised sides, then I would pull the duvet up over the pillow and tuck it in tightly around all sides of the bed to keep it looking super-neat.

Bed styling ideas - single bed styled to look super-neat.


When a baby is using a cot, there should be minimal items in it – apart from the baby! See the SIDS guidelines here for information.

But when they aren’t in it, a few simple bed styling ideas won’t do any harm. An attractive fitted sheet is a great start for adding a simple bit of colour. You could pop a teddy into one corner of the cot. A cute baby blanket could be draped over the side to add a bit of softness and texture. A cot mobile if you have one always looks gorgeous too!

Baby's cot styled with a cute blanket.

I hope you have found these bed styling ideas useful -if you are looking for other top tips for how to make your house look good in photographs – especially when selling your home, please see my post here.

Happy styling!