How to Arrange Pillows on a Bed
Our stylists get this question a lot! Too big, too cluttered or something else not quite right? As a larger piece of furniture, your bed is your bedroom’s focal point. How you arrange your pillows can make or break the look you are trying to achieve. The team at KAS share how to style a bed setting with European pillows and decorative cushions that owns its place as the centre of attention.
For those after some fast visual inspiration, we have pulled together some pictures of pillows on beds straight from our stylists (you’re welcome).
Need more intel? From selecting the right number of pillows, arranging pillows on beds of different sizes to working with prints, colours and textures, the rest of the article covers how to style your own look in depth.
We have styled a total of six pillows on each of these queen size beds; two European pillows, two standard pillows and two decorative cushions.
You have plenty of room to experiment with pillow combinations on a queen or king bed so don’t be afraid to integrate any beautiful pillows you’ve found and fallen in love with on your travels into your look. On a child’s bed there is less room to manoeuvre but still plenty of room for creativity; a larger plush toy for example can serve as a decorative cushion (and something for your little one to snuggle).
In place of a decorative pillow, we have styled a large plush toy on beds from our kids range. We’ve kept each plush toy in theme with the quilt cover set to create a fun experience for the kids.
Styling comfortable European pillows is an under-appreciated art form
How to arrange pillows on a bed for comfort you ask? The answer is the humble European pillow. Great for lounging in bed with Netflix or a great book, European pillows are very, well, European in the sense that they encapsulate both style and function in equal measure. They are just the right size to prop us up while we are drinking our morning coffee, but look incredibly stylish when arranged to perfection.
It’s common to style European cushions against the headboard, behind your standard pillows, but this is not a hard rule. This approach works magically on taller headboards, or when you are arranging your pillows directly against a bare wall.
For a more relaxed look, place your standard pillows against the headboard, followed by your European pillows, fronted by either a smaller European pillow or a decorative square cushion.
We have broken these rules when styling the Ballina quilt cover set by bringing one of the standard pillows to the front of the arrangement to create unexpected asymmetry, doesn’t it look cosy?
The science of decorative pillows
Wondering how to arrange accent pillows on a bed? All about the aesthetics, decorative pillows are the ultimate bedroom luxury. Smaller than a standard pillow, their function is purely to make our beds look better. There is a science to why we love the look of them. Studies show that we are drawn to asymmetry. We find it more visually interesting to gaze at cushion arrangements on a bed in odd numbers because it disrupts our expectations – and decorative pillows are the easiest way to effortlessly disrupt an even number of pillows. Interior designers, florists, stylists and artists are all known to adhere to this law of asymmetry.
Whether you opt for smaller lumbar pillows or use the more common square pillow as your accent piece (or even a combination of both), the decorative pillow belongs front and centre – and there are a few great ways to style them.
How to arrange decorative cushions on a bed
1. Place a single decorative pillow front and centre of your arrangement, in between your two standard pillows.
2. Place two decorative pillows front and centre of your arrangement, in between your two standard pillows. One decorative pillow should sit slightly in front of the other.
3. Keeping to the centre, place one decorative pillow between your row of European and standard pillows, and the other at the front of your arrangement.
4. Place a decorative pillow squarely in the middle of each standard pillow.
Not all decorative pillows need to be styled in the front row. Create visually pleasing asymmetry by mixing up the hierarchy.
Decorative pillows also represent creative freedom; feel free to invest in the boldest, most intricate, textured pillowcases you can find. It’s your opportunity to use fabrics and textures that dressed on a standard pillow, would be too uncomfortable to sleep on, or would command that little bit too much attention on a large European pillowcase.
Mixing textures, colour and prints
Selecting pillows for your bed is not something that should be done with military precision. Rules are made to be bent and above all else, your home should be a reflection of your personal style.
Here are some quick tips:
You should try to incorporate at least two different textures into your pillow arrangement. If you love Scandinavian-style neutrals or crisp hotel-white sheets, adding texture to your arrangement can really make or break your look! Embroidered florals are a classic way to connect the indoors with the natural world while adding an element of sophistication. Linen is a popular fabric and can create a coastal feel. For a bolder but homely look, incorporate velvet, quilted and knitted fabrics.
As a general rule, you should assess the colours already present in your bedroom and make an active decision about whether your pillow arrangement and quilt cover set will complement or contrast them. Working within a few shades of the same colour is a great way to create a cohesive look.
Consider how attention-grabbing you would like your bed setting to be. A large-scale print will always command more attention than a print with a smaller, more concentrated pattern. You can draw on different textures and colours to tone down – or tone up – your look.
Ready to style your own pillow arrangement?
Browse our bedding collection for more inspiration!
Fun fact: Decorative pillows are a centuries old tradition A beautifully styled bed has long been considered elegant, sophisticated and homely. But did you know pillows were once considered a status symbol? The earliest records we have of pillows were those that belonged to wealthy Ancient Iranian households around 7000 BC.
While ancient Europe branched into softer pillows, ancient Egypt used materials like marble and ivory and ancient China made use of extravagant materials including jade, porcelain and bronze. Fortunately today, a beautiful bedroom arrangement is both affordable and easy to achieve and much more comfortable than sleeping on marble.