Updated at: 30-07-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Tips for arranging pillows on any bed, from the Family Handyman. There’s some flash, some meat, and the inevitable filler.

For obvious reasons (their size and their primary role in the room), beds tend to be the showpiece of bedrooms. Putting them together can feel like a game of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” with pillows that are either too plain or too ornate.

We teamed up with Michelle Harrison-McAllister of Michelle Harrison Design to compile these styles and pointers into a comprehensive guide to designing using throw pillows.

Pillow Types, Defined

To help you get started, we’ve included some common pillow categories and terminology below.

12 Ways to Arrange Pillows on a Bed | Overstock.com

Standard: The most common shape for pillows, they are the long rectangles that can also be found in Queen and King sizes. An alternative is to use a sham, a more elaborate pillowcase with an opening on the reverse side and often some sort of ornamentation or pattern. You shouldn’t sleep on a sham.

To decorate a bed, a Euro pillow can be placed either behind or in front of the pillow you sleep on. These are available in a wide range of styles, colors, and patterns, and may be dressed up or down with any standard European pillowcase.

This lumbar pillow is available in a range of sizes and is ideal for providing support to the lower back. Typically, this is the lone cushion that is put in front of the others. These are rarely covered with a sham and can be ornamental. The term “kidney pillow” can be used to refer to a small lumbar support pillow.

A bolster is an elongated, cylindrical pillow or cushion with a diameter of 7 to 10 inches that is used mostly for decorative purposes. A wide range of lengths is possible.

Accents can also be made using novelty pillows of various sizes and forms, upholstered in a wide range of materials.

Consider Your Headboard

Are you able to answer the first question with a yes or no? If you answered no, then you may want to explore a horizontal stack of pillows, as seen in modern hotel rooms. A headboard can also be made by stacking regular or sleeping pillows against a wall, followed by decorative pillows, and finally, larger floor cushions.

In the event that you do have a headboard, remember to fill it with pillows so that they reach from edge to edge horizontally, but never fill the headboard more than two-thirds of the way up the vertical height.

Pillow Arrangements for King Beds

Having a large area to patrol is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The good news is that, depending on your taste, you can choose between extremes of extreme minimalism and extreme excess.


It is recommended to first place two regular pillows vertically against the headboard or wall, and then two king sham pillows on top. To complete the look, place a euro pillow over each sham and a large round pillow in the center of the back of the sofa.


As at a hotel, spread out four regular pillows, two in each stack. Decide on three colorful euro cushions to display vertically against the norms. The final, front-and-center flourish is a lumbar support pillow.

The three Euros are there because it’s aesthetically pleasing to have odd numbers, and they’re connected by a lumbar pillow that runs from the middle of the left Euro to the middle of the right Euro.

Think of using a velvet in a jewel tone for the euro pillows, and then adding some texture to the front pillow with embroidery, fringe, or something else.

Pillow Arrangements for Queen Beds

Queens are the happy medium, with enough room but not too much to be overwhelming. Headboards give you the freedom to go wild or to channel your inner Calvin Klein with a minimal design.

How to Arrange Decorative Toss Pillows on Bed


Place the standards behind the two queen shams, then place the long lumbar cushion between the shams. Even though it’s a bit of an investment, a lumbar cushion is a wonderful way to add flair to your bedroom without making any major changes. Feel free to experiment with different colors, patterns, and materials for your lumbar support pillow.


Stack two large euro pillows against a headboard. Pile one smaller euro pillow across the joint. Place one smaller lumbar pillow in front of that and two normal pillows in front of that. This opens up a lot of options for combining different materials and styles, without going overboard or requiring you to ditch all your pillows every time you want to hit the hay. Fashion and function!

Pillow Arrangements for Twin Beds

Since space is at a premium, compromise is the order of the day.


Placed unevenly in front of two normal pillows were two smaller euro pillows (about 18 inches in diameter). Let the euro pillows be the gateway to bolder color and pattern choices than you might be comfortable doing on a larger scale. This is a great solution for a cozy bedroom.


Twin bed should be pushed up against the wall. Build a pillow fort or a squishy cushioned spot to read or daydream in near the wall’s edge. The most basic necessity is one or two standard pillows, which will serve as both a point of anchorage and support when you lay back. Next, stack three tiny euro pillows in front of the standards. They are followed by a fourth, lumbar pillow.

A favored plush toy is always placed in the lead. This is a methodical approach to decorating with vivid hues and busy patterns, ideal for a child’s bedroom or other play area.

Pillow Arrangements for Daybeds

Convertible beds are great for dorms, dorm rooms, offices, and guest bedrooms. Whether you place your pillows at the head, like a “normal” bed, or across the back, like a sofa, will determine your preferred style.


The flexibility and comfort offered by a collection of cushions in a pleasing arrangement can be put to use while you read or work on your laptop. Since they serve a dual purpose as both adornment and a place to rest, they should be made of a material that is comfortable for cuddling but sturdy enough to hold its shape.

Place a base of larger euro pillows at the foot of the bed. Throw two ordinary pillows in front of it. Place two additional standard-sized cushions in front of them. Select a lumbar cushion and place it in front of the four-pillow stack.


This pile of pillows can function as a comfortable sofa for relaxing, reading, or working.

One bolster cushion should be placed along each short end in a longitudinal position, with the rounded end facing outward to serve as an armrest. Arrange three large euro pillows across the back, then add a fuzzy or shag sham for a different texture. Line up two smaller euro pillows in the middle in front of the larger ones. Put one or two smaller lumbar pillows in front of it at an angle. When designing a soothing space, it’s important to incorporate a wide range of color, pattern, and texture options.

More Pillow Arrangement Help

The following are some suggestions for maintaining a pleasant and orderly environment, courtesy of Harrison-McAllister.

Quick Pickup Trick

Making a bed in the morning when there are a lot of pillows scattered on the floor can be a difficult task. Put them away in matching sets in the same place each night so that you can quickly put them back on the bed in the morning.

How to Arrange Pillows On a Bed, According to Designers | Havenly Blog | Havenly Interior Design Blog

Let Kids Choose

Pillows are a fun and low-stakes method to let youngsters have a say in how their bedroom looks. According to Harrison-McAllister, “let them choose an accent pillow in a bright color or print they enjoy.” Inquiring minds want to know! They could be encouraged to tidy up after themselves in the morning.

Consider Daybed Use

Make sure there’s a place to hide pillows if you plan on using your day bed as a nightstand. Guests won’t appreciate having to rearrange their pillows every morning to recreate a pillowscape they likely won’t remember if you go for a complex design on the daybed.


Pillow placement isn’t a walk in the park, but we’ve simplified the process for you today.

The question, “How to lay pillows on a bed?” should now be easier to answer. This can serve as a starting point for you.