How to Arrange Bed Pillows: Accent Pillow Guide

Last Updated On February 21st, 2024
How to Arrange Bed Pillows: Accent Pillow Guide

Arranging sleeping pillows on your bed can seem like a minor detail, but it can make a big difference in your bedroom’s overall look and feel. Not only can the right sleeping pillows or other decorative arrangements add a touch of elegance and style to your bedding, but they can also provide support and comfort while you sleep.

Whether you’re a fan of a minimalist look or arrange pillows for a more layered and textured look, there are many ways to arrange pillows on your bed to suit your style and preferences. Here are five methods and an additional 17 tips on arranging pillows on your bed like a pro.

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Bed Decoration Basics

When arranging pillows on your bed it is easy to do it right. Generally, though, there are a few simple ideas for creating an elegant pillow design.

Before you start stacking pillows, you should remember some things. One thing to keep in mind is your headboard  placement and color. Another thing you should plan is the color scheme for your bedding and throw pillows. Lastly, consider the overall look and the style you want to achieve for your bedroom.

Here are five excellent ways to arrange pillows on a bed.

The European Style Look

This is a classic and elegant way to arrange pillows on a bed. It is suitable for any mattress size with accompanying pillows, whether for twin or king bed pillow arrangements.

  1. Start by arranging pillows with two standard head pillows at the back, one on each side of the bed.
  2. Next, place a king or body pillow in the center, parallel to the headboard.
  3. Finally, place two more standard pillows in front of the king pillows for a king bed pillow arrangement, one on each side.

This method of arranging pillows provides both form and function. It creates a symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing look while also providing lumbar support when using mattresses for sitting up in bed and reading. You can also use a long lumbar pillow if you often need one in place of king pillows.

The Layered Look

This method used to arrange pillows is perfect for pillow arrangements on larger queen and king beds and is a great way to add texture and depth to a room.

  1. Start by placing a king pillow or body pillow at the back of the bed, parallel to the headboard.
  2. Next, place two standard pillows in front of the king pillow or body pillow, one on each side.
  3. Finally, add a few decorative pillows of different sizes, colors, and textures in front of the standard pillows.

This pillow arrangement also provides you with both form and function, as it creates a visually interesting look while also providing support for sitting up in bed and reading.

The Minimalist Sleeping Pillows Look

This simple pillow arrangement is perfect for smaller twin and full beds and those who prefer a cleaner and more streamlined look without an accent pillow or other complex throw pillow arrangement.

  1. Start by placing two standard sleeping pillows at the back of the bed, one on each side.
  2. Next, add a small decorative pillow in front of the standard pillows.
  3. Finally, a small bolster pillow can be added for added comfort.

This pillow arrangement provides both form and function, as it creates a simple and clean look while also, like the others, still providing support for sitting up in bed.

The Bolsters Look

This style is perfect for those who want to add just a bit of luxuriousness to their bedroom.

  1. Start by placing two standard pillows at the back of the bed, one on each side.
  2. Next, place a king or body pillow in the center, parallel to the headboard.
  3. Finally, place two bolster pillows in front of the standard pillows, one on each side.

This style of pillow arrangement gives your bedroom a luxurious and elegant look.

The Mix-and-Match Look

This method is for those who want to include a flair of unique personality to their bed.

  1. Start by placing two standard pillows at the back of the bed, one on each side.
  2. Next, mix and match different sizes and styles of pillows, such as square, round, and rectangular pillows, in front of the standard pillows. You can also use regular king-size pillows or queen-size pillows on your bed if they fit better.

This style of pillow arrangement provides simplicity and a casual feel, as it creates a unique and personalized look.

The Cozy Couch Look

If you want to transform your bed into a couch seating area during the day, creative pillow arrangements can achieve this stylish and functional look.

  1. Use large square or Euro pillows as backrests. Place them against the headboard to create a sofa-like structure. Ensure they match or complement the color scheme of your bedding.
  2. Add depth and comfort by layering standard sleeping pillows in front of the backrest pillows. Consider using pillow shams or cases that coordinate with your overall bedroom design.
  3. Incorporate bolster pillows on the sides for additional support as makeshift armrests and a polished appearance. Introduce decorative throw pillows of various sizes, shapes, and textures in front of the sleeping pillows. This not only adds a touch of style but also makes the bed look more like a sofa.

Complete the look by draping a cozy throw or blanket over the backrest pillows or fold it neatly at the foot of the bed. This not only adds warmth but also contributes to the overall couch aesthetic.

You can do this with traditional beds, platform beds, daybeds, and even bunk beds. Just set up backrest pillows on the back railing after making the top bunk, then arrange accent and bolster pillows accordingly.

Decorative Pillows and Accent Pillows: How to Add Variety

While the above methods create a specific look for your bed pillows, you do not need to stick to one particular system. There are plenty of basics to remember to help you make your bedroom décor specific to you, and switching up their layout can be a key part of a bedroom makeover.

Start with the basics: Place two pillows at the head of the bed for sleeping, or just one if you have a smaller twin or twin XL mattress. These should be standard size pillows, and they should be placed against the headboard.

Add a decorative pillow: A decorative pillow can add a pop of color or texture to your bedding. Place it in front of the two sleeping pillows for an added touch of style.

Layer your pillows: Layering can add depth and interest to your bedding. Place a smaller pillow in front of a larger pillow for a layered look.

Mix and match pillow sizes: Varying the sizes of your pillows can create an exciting and dynamic look. Use a mix of standard and king-size pillows for a more dramatic effect.

Use pillows of different shapes: Different-shaped pillows can add visual interest to your bedding. Use square, rectangle, and round pillows for a unique look.

Use patterned pillows: Patterned pillows can add a touch of personality and interest to your bedding—mix and match patterns with different colorful bed shams for a fun and playful look.

Use contrasting colors: Using contrasting colors in your bedroom can create a bold and dramatic look. Use a dark pillow against a light bedspread, or vice versa.

Use complementary colors: Using colors that complement each other can create a cohesive and harmonious look. Use colors next to each other on the color wheel for a cohesive look.

Use neutral colors: Using neutral colors can create a classic and timeless look. Use white, beige, gray, and black for a simple and elegant look.

Use monochromatic colors: A monochromatic color scheme can create a cohesive and harmonious look. Use shades of the same color for a cohesive look.

Use texture: Adding texture can add depth and interest to your bedding. Use velvet, silk, or fur for a luxurious look.

Use embroidery: Adding embroidery can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your bedding. Use embroidered pillows for a touch of luxury.

Use fringe: Adding fringe can add a bohemian style to your bedding. Use fringed pillows for a boho look.

Use tassels: Adding tassels can add a touch of whimsy and playfulness to your bedding. Use tasseled pillows for a fun and playful look.

Use ruffles: Ruffles can add a touch of romance and femininity to your bedding. Use ruffled pillows for a romantic look.

Use pom-poms: Pom-poms can add a touch of fun and playfulness to your bedding. Use pom-pom pillows for a playful look.

Use beading: Beading can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your bedding. Use beaded pillows for a touch of luxury.

Practical Pillow Arrangements

It’s not uncommon for sleepers to use their pillows for medical reasons, elevating parts of the body to alleviate discomfort. For example, using a wedge pillow can help with snoring and acid reflux. Some sleepers use multiple such pillows to enhance comfort and support while you sleep or rest.

Place the wedge pillow on your bed with the higher end under your upper body. Then, position pillows around it as follows:

Behind Your Head: Place a standard pillow or two behind your head and neck to provide extra support and prevent your head from slipping down the wedge.

Under Your Arms: Put a pillow under each arm to relieve pressure on your shoulders and promote better alignment of your upper body.

Under Your Knees: Slide a pillow under your knees to help keep your lower back in a comfortable and neutral position, especially if you’re using the wedge to alleviate back pain or improve circulation.

Between Your Legs: If you’re lying on your side, tuck a pillow between your knees to maintain proper spinal alignment and reduce strain on your hips and lower back.

Lumbar Support: If needed, place a small pillow or cushion in the small of your back for additional lumbar support.

Behind Your Lower Back: For added comfort, you can place a pillow behind your lower back if you’re sleeping sitting up on the wedge or with an adjustable bed.

Remember that the arrangement of pillows will depend on your personal comfort preferences and the reason you’re using the wedge pillow. The goal is to create a comfortable and supportive environment that promotes proper posture and reduces any discomfort or pressure points.

How to Keep Pillows from Slipping off the Bed

Accent pillows can add style and comfort to your bedroom, but it can be frustrating when they constantly slip off the bed. Here are some tips to help keep your pillows in place and maintain a well-arranged bed:

Choose the Right Size: Opt for accent pillows that are proportionate to the size of your bed. Oversized or bulky pillows may be more prone to falling off.

Use Pillow Shams: Pillow shams are decorative covers that encase the pillow. They not only protect the pillow but also provide an extra layer of friction, helping to keep the pillow in place.

Consider Bolster Pillows: Bolster pillows, with their cylindrical shape, are less likely to fall off the bed. They can be placed against the headboard or arranged strategically among other pillows.

Position Pillows Thoughtfully: Place the larger pillows at the back, against the headboard, and arrange smaller accent pillows in front. This layering can help create a visually appealing arrangement while preventing pillows from slipping off.

Use Non-Slip Mats: Non-slip mats or rug grippers placed under the pillows can provide friction between the pillows and the mattress, helping to keep them from sliding around.

Invest in Pillow Ties or Straps: These handy accessories can be attached to the corners of your pillows and secured to the bed frame. They’re discreet and effective in preventing pillows from falling off.

Choose a Taller Headboard: If you install a headboard that is taller, it provides a barrier that can prevent pillows from easily falling off the back of the bed.

Regularly Adjust Pillows: Take a moment to fluff and adjust your pillows each morning. This simple routine can help maintain the desired arrangement.

Pillow Arrangement Styles: Experiment with different pillow arrangement styles, such as the “stacked” look, where pillows are vertically aligned against the headboard, or the “angled” arrangement, where pillows are placed diagonally on the bed.

Other Tips to Keep in Mind

Remember, when arranging pillows on your bed, the only thing that matters is what works for you. Despite all of the ideas you can get from others, you will want your pillows to be arranged in a comfortable and pleasing manner. For some, taking only a few steps to make the bed is more important than a luxurious look. Meanwhile, others enjoy starting their day by dressing up their bed.

Don’t forget ways that other decorative elements can work with your pillows, too:

  • A comforter or duvet can drape over the sides of the mattress and give the bed a finished look. You dress these up with different colorful duvet covers, so you don’t need to buy multiple comforters or duvets for various looks.
  • A bed skirt can hide under bed storage and keep dust bunnies from piling up on the floor.
  • A hanging DIY bed canopy can give the frame a classic and fanciful look.

More Guides for Bedroom Setup

Arranging your pillows in a way you enjoy is a rather small part of setting up your bedroom for better sleep. Here are more guides with different points to focus on:


How do you stack pillows for sleeping?

Ideally, you shouldn’t stack pillows for sleep. If you need multiple pillows for head and neck support, it’s time to replace your pillows with one thick pillow.

However, you can stack your pillows for a nice look in the daytime. Place two regular pillows on the bed facedown for the arrangement (as if you would sleep on them). Next, place the next two regular pillows on top of them. Put your biggest accent cushion up against them after that. Lastly, lean a smaller accent cushion against a bigger one at an angle or off-center.

Is it better to have a higher or lower pillow?

You’re better off purchasing a low-loft pillow if you frequently sleep on your back or stomach. This prevents your neck from bending at an unnatural angle. However, you’ll need a medium or even high-loft pillow if you mostly sleep on your side.

How many pillows should be on the bed?

Two standard pillows, two standard or Euro shams, plus one to two decorative pillows are preferred for a full-size bed to be ‘properly’ decorated. Two queen pillows, two queen shams, two to three accent pillows, or one bolster pillow can all fit comfortably on queen beds, even queen beds in small bedrooms.

However, ultimately, the choice is whatever you find most pleasing. The answer of “how many pillows is too many” can vary depending on preferences and medical needs.

Should your pillow be under your shoulders?

No, your shoulders should not be on your pillow. To ensure your spine is appropriately elongated, your head and neck should be comfortably propped up on the cushion. Your shoulders should lie comfortably on the bed’s surface, exactly like the back sleep position.

Why do people put pillows in between their legs?

A firm pillow placed between the knees helps prevent the upper leg from dragging the spine out of position, which can lessen pressure on the hips. It keeps your knees stacked on top of one another, which will maintain the alignment of your hip and pelvis.

This is how side sleepers use a pillow between the knees. Back sleepers may instead use a wedge pillow to raise their knees, minimizing pressure on the lower back.


A bed frame is one of the most essential pieces of furniture you will ever own. It is where you sleep, rest, and relax. It is the place where you dream, reflect and rejuvenate. It is the place that you can escape to when you are stressed out or need to recharge.

The bed is also a place where you can create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. This is why suitable pillows are so important, along with havnging one of the best mattresses. Your bed is where you spend a lot of time and should be as comfortable as possible. Having a pillow arrangement that suits you is essential to your comfort and happiness.

You can even swap up your pillows as you please or spritz some pillow spray for sleep onto them, enjoying a bouquet of calming scents as you lounge about and prepare to fall asleep.

About the author

Eric Ridenour is a health and wellness writer with a strong focus on sleep and nutrition. With a background in health science and psychology, Eric has a deep understanding of the connection between sleep and overall well-being. His expertise has been sought by various businesses and individuals, and his work has been featured in reputable publications such as Thrive Global, Drug Report, and Authority Magazine. Eric's commitment to promoting better sleep and comprehensive wellness is evident in his writing and consultations. He is a published author working on his second book.

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