Here’s how to style a bed like a pro

Make your bed opulent and inviting.

Do you look at a beautifully styled bed on Pinterest or Instagram and wonder how it’s done? It seems so simple, but making a bed is almost an art – especially if you want it to look straight from the pages of a magazine.

Enter Jordan Prainito, managing director of soft furnishing company Canningvale and Phoebe Bell, owner and director of Sage x Clare as they take us step by step, pillow by pillow, through styling a luxurious bed you’ll never want to stop looking at.

Bedroom with textured walls and upholstered grey bedhead.
(Credit: Photographer: Armelle Habib | Styling: Julia Green)

1. The foundation: sheets

“Starting with good quality sheets, I like to choose linen in a colour that works with the rest of the look,” says Phoebe. “It doesn’t need to look deliberately matched, but sheets in a neutral or a soft colour often work well and will give your bed a great foundation without being the main player.”

Jordan agrees and says, when styling a bed, it’s important to ensure the top sheet is actually facing the right way up. “If you use a flat sheet a little higher up the bed and the wrong side up (that is, with the brand tag facing the mattress) you’ll have plenty of room at the top to fold it over the quilt cover,” he explains.

(Photography: Sue Stubbs | Styling: Samantha Torisi)

2. Add height with softness

Even if you have a bedhead, it’s always a good idea to add height with pillows as these will frame the rest of your styling. Opt for two European square pillows. with a featured pattern or texture cover that matches your quilt cover. Stylist’s tip? Use the “hand chop” to create an indent in the top for added style. “I think it’s a bit of fun,” says Jordan.

3. Style your bed with plush pillows

For a classic ‘luxury hotel’ look, Jordan recommends placing standard pillows in front of European cushions and selecting pillowcases with a five-centimetre sham (a fabric border) on them. “I think it gives a little more of a styled, opulent look rather than just plain pillowcases,” he says.

For a consistent look, he suggests matching the standard pillowcases with the flat and fitted sheets. If you have a queen or king-sized bed you can also add another set of standard pillows for even more luxury. For these, Jordan recommends using pillowcases that are the same pattern or colour as the quilt.

A coastal bedroom with vaulted ceilings and a bed with orange linen.
(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Studio Haus Co)

4. Playful pattern and colour

More of a clashing colours and patterns type of person? Try Phoebe’s advice instead. “Gone are the days when bedlinen must be in a set.- we now have lots more freedom around mixing and matching, which is also a really easy and affordable way to mix up the look of your bedroom,” she says.

“At Sage x Clare, we tend to choose four individual pillowcases with a common thread across the colour palette. If you have patterned pillows, make sure you have them in a variety of print scales – this is the secret to pattern-on-pattern looking curated rather than a mish-mash.

The main bedroom with scalloped pillows and a vintage red and orange bed quilt.
(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

“Depending on your style, you may like to choose a plain or patterned quilt cover that ties in with one or two of your pillowcases. Again, your colour palette is really important here as it will bring the look together.”

5. Blanket bliss

‘Beds always look more finished with either a blanket or bedcover draped across the end,” says Phoebe. “This will break up the expanse of bed and keep it feeling layered. When considering a blanket or bedcover, keep the t exture at the forefront of your mind.”

Want a chunkier look? “Fold your quilt cover in thirds at the foot of the bed,” says Jordan. “Then, in between the top of the bed and where the quilt cover is placed, you can introduce a new texture or colour, such as a throw. It’s a really nice way to get that three complementary layers that make a bed look stunning and opulent.”

Elle Lovelock home renovation bedroom
(Credit: Photography: Alana Landsberry / Styling: Corina Koch)

6. Comfy cushions

Cushions are surprisingly contentious – you either love them or hate them. “We always get asked how many cushions are too many!” says Phoebe. “There’s no right or wrong answer here but we do love a cushion or four. Two large Euro size cushions in block colours to place behind your standard pillows and a couple of smaller textural cushions at the front will certainly complete the look.”

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