How to Arrange Pillows on a Bed, According to Pros

Tips for styling pillows on a bed

Design by Refine Studios / Photo by Portrait Novella

You know a good pillow arrangement on a bed when you see it. It looks put together yet still lounge-ready, and the throw pillows appear soft but structured. While it may seem effortless in theory, your first attempt at arranging pillows on a bed can be a tad humbling. If you're drowning in a sea of seemingly un-fluffable pillows, there are some easy solutions to your woes. 

We asked two interior designers to weigh in on golden rules for artfully arranging pillows on a bed. On mornings when making your bed is in the cards, these tips will help you start your day with a win. 

Meet the Expert

  • Charity Scott is owner and interior designer at Refine Studios, based in southwestern Missouri.
  • Jamie Stauffer is the owner and designer at Stauffer Design Co., based in Springfield, MO.

Select a Quality Foundation of Pillows 

Selecting the right kinds of throw pillows is half the battle when it comes to a picture-perfect pillow arrangement. For starters, Jamie Stauffer, owner and designer at Stauffer Design Co., suggests ordering a size up in your pillow inserts to create a fuller look. So, a 20-inch pillow cover would pair best with a 22-inch insert. 

Also, fill type does have an impact on the look. "A feather pillow is always going look more expensive," Stauffer says.

However, she notes that it doesn't mean you have to stray from affordable and comfy materials like polyester fiber fill. Once a polyester fiber fill pillow starts to have a lumpy or flat appearance, you can add additional fill from an old pillow, using your hands to break up the clusters. 

gray throw pillows on bed

Refine Studios

Charity Scott, owner and ​​interior designer at Refine Studios, suggests selecting throw pillows with a variety of fabric weights and textures. She also notes that your throw pillows are a safe place to go bold.

"When it comes to bedding, I recommend going neutral on whatever you're spending a larger amount on, like your duvet or quilt," she says. "If you want to bring in some color, do it in the accents, like in your throw pillows. These are items that you can easily switch out later on for a lot less money."

Practice the Toss-and-Chop Fluffing Method

Even if you size up on your inserts and go with a feather fill, your pillows will still need re-fluffing from time to time. To give them back their volume, Stauffer simply tosses and chops them. "I say the magic sauce is in the toss," she says. "Pick up your pillows, hold them up over your head, and throw them down. Do this on all four sides of the pillow and that is going to fluff it back up." 

Next, she finishes the process by placing the pillow on the bed and karate-chopping it in the middle. 

Sleeping pillows behind euro pillows

Stauffer Design Co.

Hide Your Sleeping Pillows

Sleeping pillows by themselves are utilitarian in nature. They can fall flat and lack structure no matter how well you fluff them. However, Stauffer has a go-to trick to save yourself from frustration. "I suggest hiding your bed pillows behind the euro pillows so they become sort of nonexistent," Stauffer says. "But If you want your bed pillows to show, it's not a big deal to switch them around."

If you sleep with body pillows, Scott  like Scott, she has a hack she uses on our own bed for hiding those. "I lay our body pillows across the bed about a third of the way down," she says. "Then, I fold the duvet cover back over the body pillows."

This has dual purpose–It not only hides the body pillows, but it gives your duvet a fuller look. Scott sometimes places sleeping pillows behind two sham pillows and euro pillows, and she lays them flat rather than propping them against the headboard.

Six throw pillows on bed

Stauffer Design Co.

Arrange Pillows in an Inverted Triangle Shape 

The best shape for a fluffy pillow arrangement is an inverted triangle, with the tips of the triangle pointed toward the end of the bed and the bedside tables. 

When deciding what order to place your pillows in, Stauffer recommends putting your largest pillows, which are typically your euro pillows, against the headboard. Think of these pillows as the base of a triangle. Next, she adds either two throw pillows or one lumbar pillow. "That's keeping it nice and simple," she says. 

white pillows pink bed

Refine Studios

Consider Your Lifestyle When Selecting the Amount of Throw Pillows

Scott encourages her clients to take a minimalist approach in the number of throw pillows on their beds, especially if they aren't in the habit of making it every day. She recommends starting out with just two decorative pillows.

"If you're someone that likes a lot of throw pillows, that's totally fine, and it's not that I'm against it," she says. "I just think your bedding needs to work well for your personality."