Most people would agree that at least some pillows on your bed are necessary. Besides the one or two pillows that you sleep on, how many throw pillows are just right and how many are too much? Through years of bedroom design projects, we’ve collected a bit of insight. Here’s where most people agree on pillows for the master bedroom or the guest room. Don’t drift off to dreamland just yet…
Everyone needs a sleeping pillow. A bed looks nice when you have shams to cover the sleeping pillows. Sleeping pillows get creased and mussed at night, so putting a sham in front of them makes for a prettier bed. The shams can be placed on a bench or somewhere off the bed or can even be placed behind the sleeping pillows.
Just a throw pillow in front of the shams is a designer touch. They can match or contrast with the patterns and colors already on the bed. This can be a very luxurious pillow or a lively but economical pillow from a discount home store. Just be sure the color and pattern relate to the bedroom or perhaps continue an accent color or theme. You can add a few more pillows in front of the shams, if desired. If you love a super luxurious bed, please read on!
Different Pillow Types Thanks to our friends at Matouk Bed Linens, we’re sharing this numbered bed illustration that covers various bed sheets and pillows. This tells you everything you need to know about what to put on a bed. Matouk also offers bed pillow arrangement tips based on your bed size. Nice.
- euro sham
- standard sham
- standard case
- boudoir sham
- neckroll sham
- flat sheet
- duvet cover
- fitted sheet
- bed skirt
In addition to the de rigueur, standard sham (#2 above) and the standard case (#3 above), you can add as many or as few additional pillows as you like.
At the PHD studio, we usually agree on most design ideas; however, Danna favors Euro shams (the large shams that sit up against the headboard, #1 in the above illustration), while Pamela does not. One thing about Euros though is that they are nice to sit up against, if you don’t have a comfortable headboard (or maybe you don’t have a headboard at all!)
Accent pillows typically come in their own fabric, providing lots of options to re-introduce the room’s accent colors. A variety of pillow heights adds visual appeal. We remind clients to think about their own sleep patterns and preferences when it comes to accent pillows though. For instance, some sleepers really love the neckroll pillow (#5 in the illustration), which can also be used to prop up your knees, if you have back issues. Just be cautious of pillow adornments such as beads and braided trims that can be uncomfortable when sleeping.
Men’s Preferences versus Women’s on Bed Pillows We’ve repeatedly heard that most men don’t like a lot of pillows on the bed in large part because they don’t like the fuss. Still, throw pillows offer a fairly inexpensive way to update a room seasonally or just to add more visual interest. To accommodate our clients, we suggest placing a settee, ottoman or chairs at the foot of the bed or adding a large basket in the corner, both of which can easily hold accent pillows each evening. Everyone wins. This also simplifies the morning, when it’s time to re-make the bed.
Easy-to-Make Beds “Nearly three-quarters (74%) of bed makers feel accomplished at the end of the day, versus just half of non-makers,1” according to Best Mattress Brand’s survey of 1,000 people. Despite research like this, some people struggle to get the bed made daily. From an aesthetics standpoint, a room typically looks more polished when the bed is made. For easy-to-make beds, allow ample space on both sides of the bed, so you can comfortably tuck sheets in and prop up pillows. (Bunk beds and those with sides against walls are more challenging to make due to cramped spacing.)
Pamela remembers her mother, Judith Previte, insisting that Pamela and her brothers make their beds every morning when they were growing up.
“We moved all over the country and lived in some pretty cool places like Honolulu, Boston and Denver. We always had nice bedrooms, decorated in fun themes that we got to choose,” Pamela said. “When we got a new house, we often got to redecorate our rooms, including new bed linens. We got to skip one day a week when the housekeeper changed the sheets but otherwise, we weren’t allowed to do much of anything until our beds were made and our rooms were neat and tidy! We loved our bedrooms, so we didn’t complain too much about the rules.”
Simplify bed making with properly sized sheets. There’s little more frustrating than trying to squeeze a traditional sheet over a pillow-top mattress cover. Start with a quality, fitted sheet atop your mattress, followed by a flat sheet and then a duvet or comforter. Add some sizzle with accent pillows and the bed is made in a matter of minutes. In our research, we also found Architectural Digest offered a few tips on bed linens and pillow types to make your bed and do it with style.
In all, one thing to remember on pillow choice is that various sizes, colors and fabric patterns add visual interest to the room overall. Experts agree that one pillow really is sufficient. Of course, these experts are advising on pillow count that leads to solid sleep, not a room that looks divine. So, when it’s time for your good night’s sleep, remove the extra pillows and head to bed. Just remember to make your bed each morning and put those pretty pillows back in place!
- Picard, Caroline. “Here’s All the Proof I Need That Bed-Makers Are Better at Everything.” Good Housekeeping, April 8, 2019.
- Sims, Amanda. “6 Ways to Make a Bed That Are Way Easier Than They Look.” Architectural Digest, January 12, 2018.
- “How Many Pillows Should You Sleep With? One, Two or?” SleepAdvisor.org, June 13, 2019.