The bed is the absolute hero of any bedroom design scheme, with the styling of bed linen, pillows, throws and cushions helping to create a cosy atmosphere, and ultimately, take your bedscape from boring to beautiful.
Whether you prefer the relaxed and undone look (without it looking as though you've just not bothered to make it), or the chic and sophisticated boutique hotel aesthetic, there are a few styling tricks worth knowing.
To help you dress your bed like a professional, interior designers and bedding experts share some really useful styling hacks that will give your bed that Instagrammable, 'straight from a magazine' look.
You do get what you pay for when it comes to bedding, so go for the best bed linen you can afford. The same applies for good quality filled inner bedding. 'Not only is it important for your bed to look good, but the quality of the bedding is also crucial to having a good night's sleep and impacts your mood for the rest of the day,' Lucy Ackroyd, head of design at Christy, tells us.
To get that crisp, clean, hotel bed look, you should invest in pure cotton high thread count bedding – the benefits are tenfold.
'Firstly, 100 per cent cotton products are naturally breathable so they help to regulate your temperature and moisture levels, stopping the clammy feeling you can experience with synthetic fibres,' Lucy explains. 'Secondly, high thread count fabrics are smoother against the skin, so as well as being much more comfortable, you are less likely to feel tangled up or trapped by rougher fabrics that cling, especially to nightwear.'
Alternatively, linen is a great choice for summer and winter, so it will see you through every season. 'A naturally dense fabric that won't weigh you down or make you too hot, linen still feels luxurious and comforting – a win-win!' says Rhiannon Johns, interior designer and head of brand at Piglet in Bed.
Linen is breathable and absorbent, helping to regulate your body temperature while you sleep, and not to mention it's super soft too. It also really complements modern organic styling, which is an updated take on the Scandi trend.
'Think natural materials, muted pastels and pared-back styling (as seen at Maison & Objet). This trend will give your bed a more "undone" finish – and the beauty of using linen is that it doesn’t need to be crisp and ironed,' says interior designer Marie Charnley who styles show homes on behalf of Arighi Bianchi.
If you're a fan of prints or you'd rather switch up looks on a regular basis, then it makes sense to invest in a reversible duvet cover. It not only provides two design options but adds a pretty additional feature to a bed when the top of the duvet cover is turned down.
But it's not all about bold patterns and colour blocking shapes. If you're hoping to achieve a luxury hotel aesthetic with a white on white look, you can still benefit from a reversible duvet cover – simply keep it pared-back, sticking to stripes or polka dots with a plain neutral on the reverse.
'On a double bed, go for two pillows on each side, and make sure to fluff them up before sitting them on top of the duvet, with the open side facing the outer edge of the bed,' advises Lucy. 'If you want to upgrade your pillows even further, invest in a couple of pillow shams to match your bedding. Place the pillow shams on top of your usual pillows to hide them behind a more elegantly coordinated facade for a five-star hotel look.'
A common question asked with regards to styling a bed is whether pillows should be above the duvet or tucked underneath.
'When we style for photoshoots and in our customers' homes, we recommend one pillow beneath the duvet, and one on top. The top pillow provides the finished look and feel, leaving the lower pillow ready for sleeping on when the duvet is pulled back,' explains Georgia Metcalfe, founder of French Bedroom.
And remember to coordinate the pillows with the duvet. Nic Shacklock at Online-Bedrooms.co.uk elaborates: 'The bottom two pillows should match your fitted bottom sheet in material and colour to achieve a super cohesive bed spread. The top pillows should match your duvet.'
Georgia recommends two pillows for double and king beds, and two super king pillows (50x90cm) for super king size beds. For Emperor beds, three standard size (50x75cm) pillows are recommended.
Introduce colour and texture to your bedroom with a bedspread, or two. Georgia tells us how:
'Bedspreads look great when paired together; one plain, one patterned. Pick a key colour from your patterned bedspread, bedroom curtains, artwork or wall coverings. Use this colour in the lower bedspread, either covering your whole bed or just the lower half. Then lay the patterned bedspread on top, half width, so it creates a slim panel of pattern on top of the plain. This will create a considered and coordinated aesthetic, straight from an interior designer's playbook!'
Throws are an excellent styling device, but ensure it's not too neatly folded along the bottom of the bed. Throws should look more informal, casually draped over the corner.
'When it comes to adding throws and blankets onto the bed, it’s all about creating soft, textural layering. Loosely draped across the bottom third of the mattress is where I find strikes a balance between structured styling and laid-back décor,' says Shelley Cochrane, retail merchandiser at Furniture Village. 'I love to opt for crepe materials as they bring a beautifully soft, yet tactile element.'
Similar to a bedspread, don't stick to just one colour, combining two throws in a mixture of colours and textures can work wonderfully.
Layering cushions is essential for a super stylish, well-presented bed, and they're great for eliminating gaps between pillows. But how many, exactly?
'Go for somewhere between three and six cushions depending on the width of the bed and preference,' reveals Lucy, who says you should always group them together by size, with the largest at the back and smallest at the front.
A good starting point is to choose a colour, motif, or style from your bedroom design and recreate this in the cushion design.
'Think softly curved cushions with pom-pom detailing for ethereal-inspired bedrooms, Mongolian sheepskin cushions for rustic, cottagecore spaces, and slightly rough-hewn cushions for the more desert-inspired dwellings,' suggests Shelley.
Tip: If you like to refresh your bedroom look seasonally and you're limited on storage space, a cost-effective option is to invest in cushion covers – try H&M and IKEA for a great range of designs and colourways.
James Rotheram, visual merchandiser at M&S Home, reveals the exact number of scatter cushions needed to avoid your bed looking overly busy and a little overwhelming.
• Single bed: One large cushion and one bolster cushion
How to arrange: 'I recommend using a large upright cushion sitting against the flat base pillows and then adding another smaller cushion on top,' says James.
• Double bed: Two large cushions, two small bolster cushions and one small square cushion
How to arrange: 'On a standard double bed, as well as your pillows, aim for two large cushions and layer up with two smaller rectangular cushions,' suggests James. 'You can then marry the sides of the bed up with a small square cushion at the front of the arrangement.'
• King-size bed: Three large cushions, two square sham cushions, two large rectangle cushions and one bolster cushion
How to arrange: 'For a king-size bed, add a third large cushion at the rear and use two square sham cushions in second place, which sit behind larger rectangular cushions and complete the look with a textured bolster cushion in the centre,' says James.
Texture and layering is key for successful bed styling, even with an all-white scheme. But where colour is absent, amped-up texture and tactility steps in, comforting our senses though touch. The aim should be to achieve 'casual elegance' – layer up bedding and accessories for an effortless look that doesn't try too hard. If you’re after a more relaxed look, linen is a great option as it doesn't need to be ironed. You could pair soft linen or cotton pillowcases against a seersucker duvet for a natural feel to your bedscape. Or take it up a notch by adding other contrasting accents such as a waffle throw or textured scatter cushions.
Dressing your bed is all about attention to detail, like a button, exposed zip, piped edge or metallic foiling for that extra layer of sophistication. And what lies beneath is important too. For the more meticulous among us, a flat sheet with old school hospital corners is a nice detail (especially in a guest room at Christmas time).
Prepare your bed for that cosy, 'can’t wait to dive in' feeling by simply fluffing up pillows and duvets to even out the filling and return their plump.
'Turning down the bed might sound tedious, but really, all you have to do is fluff your pillows and fold down your duvet so your bed is ready to jump into,' says Jessica Hanley, founder of luxury comfort brand Piglet in Bed. 'This will help get your mind ready for sleep, especially if you make it a regular part of your routine. Making sure your room is tidy and keeping your sheets fresh can also help considerably.'
Invest in a sleep spray to help you enjoy a peaceful slumber. 'Spritz liberally around the room and onto your bed linen before you jump in – linen sprays are also a great way to freshen up your sheets on days they haven't been washed,' adds Jessica.
Style your nearby bedside table with some cuttings of your favourite flowers in a beautiful vases. 'Be sure to match your flower or branch cuttings to your chosen bedscape colour palette. However, if you’ve opted for a more neutral base, then your cutting will be the perfect subtle pop of colour,' says Rhiannon.
Hosting guests? To add the ultimate finishing touch to your bedscape, invest in a durable bed tray for your guests and laden it with some tasty treats.