Many interior decorators believe the key to a well-designed bedroom is a well-made bed.

While there are certainly some designer tricks of the trade, some flexibility and creativity can come into play, too. Here are some tips on ways to dress a bed.

Toss pillows

When it comes to creating an appealing bed, toss pillows are an interior-designer staple. And sometimes, less is more. Gone are the days in which a bed had to be loaded with a pile of pillows. Many designers now suggest a simple stacking of sleep pillows against the headboard, while two to four decorative front pillows create a finished and elegant look. This is the perfect opportunity to infuse pattern, color and texture.

A headboard is dressed up with an extended drop bed skirt and oversized duvet. (TNS)
A headboard is dressed up with an extended drop bed skirt and oversized duvet. (TNS)


Headboards often work in a bedroom because of space-saving needs. If you decide to use a headboard, this typically means pairing it with a metal frame. Metal frames can be unsightly, so you will want to make sure it is concealed. The best way to do this is with a proper bed skirt or bed skirt panels. Bed skirts can be box pleated for a modern look, or ruffled for a more traditional appearance. To ensure you cover the frame, the longer the drop, the better. As an alternative, many designers opt to use bed skirt panels, which are four separate panels that are pinned or tacked along each edge of a mattress.

Layering your top of bed

If you are looking for a luxurious plush bed, layering is the key. A popular technique used by designers involves layering a bed in the following order (bottom to top):

  • Mattress
  • Feather bed (if a softer bed is desired)
  • Mattress cover
  • Bottom fitted sheet
  • Top sheet
  • Coverlet or blanket
  • Duvet cover (with duvet insert inside)
  • Throw and toss pillows to add a decorative touch.

Cathy Hobbs: Cathy Hobbs is an Emmy Award-winning television host, an interior designer and a home-staging expert based in New York City.