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Styling Your Bed Is Easy with Our Pillow Formations Chart

Styling Your Bed Is Easy with Our Pillow Formations Chart


Achieving a pulled together bedroom begins with the bed. After all, it’s the focal point of the space. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to add five hundred frill throw pillows to it. Even if you’re a swish-the-duvet-and-be-done-with-it type, with five more seconds spent stacking your sleeping pillows, you can create a clean bedding scheme.

There are many ways to arrange your pillows, some more formal than others. You can stack, prop, mix sizes, add decorative shapes, go symmetrical, or pile with abandon. We’ve created a detailed pillow formation chart for your reference. You can also consult our bedding diagram for descriptions of various pillow types and bed coverings.

For more ideas you can also browse our “Bedroom Sanctuaries” board on Pinterest. You’ll be amazed at just how many pillow combinations one can come up with.

pillow diagram queen

Arranging Pillows On a Queen Size Bed

1. Simply stack your sleeping pillows neatly atop one another for a no-fuss-no-muss presentation. Here, the bottom pillows have standard pillowcases, while the top two are encased in standard shams. (The shams have a flange around the entire perimeter.)

2. If you prefer to dress things up a little, just layer a pair of decorative pillows in front of a sleeping stack. Use a pattern that incorporates a color from your bedding to tie together the look.

3.  Another option is to prop up pillows fitted with standard size shams in front of your sleeping stacks. This is best done with pillows that have some heft, as light and airy feather pillows have a tendency to be floppy, and thus sloppy.

4. Go one step further, and add a single decorative pillow, preferably 20-inches-by-20-inches in size, centered in front of the propped up shams.

5. Let’s move on to another type of layered pillow formation. Prop your sleeping pillows up against the headboard, then layer pillows outfitted in shams in front. Finish with a centered pillow encased in a boudoir sham, which fits a smaller 12-inch-by-16-inch rectangular pillow.

6. Start out identically to the formation above, but finish with a pair of boudoir pillows centered in front of each pillow sham.

7. This pillow formation starts with a pair of plump European squares. Use inserts that are one-inch larger than the European sham to yield a full and rounded pillow. (This is especially good for filling out a bed without headboard, or for styling a bed with a particularly tall, oversize headboard.) Next, add your sleeping pillows. Directly in front, layer standard pillows encased in standard shams. Finally, add a fourth layer of smaller size pillows in boudoir shams. Note that all the rectangular pillows align with each other, just a bit offset from the edge of the European squares, so they peek through.

8. This pillow formation varies from the formation above only in that the fourth and final layer is a centered decorative pillow. Don’t be afraid to go bold with pattern here. Or, for a more subdued style, use a decorative pillow with a tone-on-tone texture.

9. For a more streamlined look, go with a pair of European squares, a pair of standard shams pulled slightly to the outer edges of he bed, and a third layer of boudoir pillows pulled slightly to the center. It’s clean, but with a bit of tension to make things interesting.

10. Finally, do the same as above for the first and second layers, but center a single boudoir pillow on the standard shams. Note, if you use pillows with standard pillowcases on your bed, you’ll have to remove them to pull off this look as well as the one above.

pillow diagram king

Arranging Pillows On a King Size Bed

To reach across the width of a king size bed, you will need to use wither three standard size pillows, or a pair of king size pillows. As for European squares, a king size bed requires three.

1. Start by propping up three European shams in the back, against the wall or headboard. (Again, consider using an insert one-inch larger than the sham to achieve a full, rounded effect.) Add a pair of king size pillows encased in shams, and finish with a trio of smaller pillows fitted with boudoir shams (12-inches-by-16-inches) at the very front.

2. Again, prop three European shams along the back of the bed. Instead of king size pillows, use three queen or standard size pillows with shams for the second layer, then center two boudoir pillows on the gaps. (Note that European squares often coordinate with the duvet in terms of color and pattern.)

3. Begin with the same trio of European shams in the back. Add a pair of king size pillows in king size shams. Finish with 20-inch-by-20-inch decorative pillows centered in front of the two king size shams.

4. Lastly, this is a simple arrangement, but a style with some depth. Once you arrange the foundation of European squares at the back,  prop up three standard size sleeping pillows layered with another three standard size pillows outfitted with shams.