How to style a bed – 8 ways to make a bed like one of the world's best hotels

Learn how to style a bed like a hotel, from crisp, white sheets to the perfect bedside table for your night-time sanctuary

How to style a bed - A hotel style bed
(Image credit: Bethan Gray)

Knowing how to style a bed is a true art form, and the world's best hotels certainly know a thing or two about how to make a bed the right way. But there is no reason for us not to replicate hotel standards in our own bedrooms, considering the proportion of time we spend in them. 

A bedroom should be a comfortable and sumptuous space and nurturing environment that provides us with the highest quality rest. 'A warm and inviting oasis that connects with our contemporary lifestyle, the bed is the centerpiece of the bedroom, it is crucial that the bed evoke a serene and restful mood,' says Giorgio Ivessa, senior associate at New York-based interior design studio, Champalimaud Design. 

Getting it right and styling the bed like a hotel is about all aspects of the bed and everything needs to be considered. From the bedding and the linen we sleep in, through to the color palette of the space, right the way through to the bed itself. Here are our eight handy bedroom ideas for how to style a bed. 

Oonagh Turner
Oonagh Turner

Oonagh is a homes writer and editor. For this story, she spoke to her contacts in the design world to find out a bit more about what exactly we should be putting in our guest bedrooms, how to decorate them, and what not to do.

These are our top tips for hotel-quality beds and how to get a good night's sleep.

1. Choose a statement headboards

A blue headboard designed to look like a wave

(Image credit: Tara Craig)

Use a statement headboard as a piece of art to deviate attention to the bed in the center of the room. Kit Kemp, esteemed designer of the Firmdale hotel franchise, is renowned for her statement headboard ideas that can add real interest and a focal point to the space, but be careful of striking the balance between interesting and overwhelming. ‘In some ways, if it fills the wall, it can feel slightly ostentatious,’ says Jo Littlefair of London-based luxury interior design and hospitality design studio, Goddard Littlefair. ‘Better to consider the proportions of the room you are working with and the bed itself and ensure the fabric or the upholstery detail can carry the narrative of the design’. 

For interior designer, Tara Craig, a headboard is about the choice of textiles and should have a distinctive shape. ‘We like to combine a traditional shape with a more contemporary fabric to create a bedroom for modern-day living. Our Kyma headboard by Ensemblier with Pandora Taylor is named after the Greek word for ‘Wave’. I think the fluid shape creates both a statement and a calming ambiance. A feature headboard that is well-made is not just luxurious but has longevity and can be recovered in your favorite fabric.'

2. Select crisp, white bedding

Crisp white bedding on a bed

(Image credit: One Hundred Shoreditch)

Go the extra mile on your quest for the ultimate hotel feel in the bedroom with perfectly crisp bedsheets. Sheets that are bright white and void of creases make the bedspread look irresistible and really emphasize the comfort of the bed. 

Jeffrey Wilkes, from Kuala Lumpur-based hospitality design firm, DESIGNWILKES has worked on luxury hotels across Asia. For him, this is the ultimate in luxury bedroom hotel standard. “Always keep the sheets white and crisp, make sure the duvet is plumped and the sheets are ironed and white. Taking the extra time to do this when making your bed will make you feel like you are in a hotel all the time.’

In this scheme from London hotel, One Hundred Shoreditch, the white sheets are ironed and pillows perfectly plumped, evoking that sense of a relaxed and luxurious space.

3. Add glimmers of gold

Gold accessories give the bed that extra luxuriousness

(Image credit: Bethan Gray)

For an added element of luxury and a glam bedorom idea that will replicate the look and feel of your favorite hotel, consider how the color gold can work on the bed and on your bedside table in the form of lamps or aesthetically pleasing bowls for jewelry. Gold has the power to be both luxurious, yet really bring a cozy feel to the space. 

In this Bethan Gray-designed room, the designer has incorporated gold in the bedroom collection through detailed metal patterning of brass, copper or nickel on chests, cabinets and headboards. ‘These gold accents bring that touch of glamour and opulence into the bedroom to create n elegant space. While gold is a more pronounced and stand-out color, I think the beauty of it is that it also harmonizes and enhances other colors in a space - my gold accents look particularly gorgeous against the blue ombre of my Nizwa cabinets and headboards,’ she says. 


4. Consider pillow size and shape

Pillow shams and frills on a bed

(Image credit: SARAHK)

Up your pillow game by adding a range of styles and sizes to the bed to make the space look like an opulent and comfortable place to lay your head. Consider pillows with pillow sham for that extra touch of indulgence, and look at a range of squares, lumbars and bolsters to keep the bed interesting. 

When considering pillow size, Keren Richter of design firm, White Arrow advises being mindful of the size and shape of your bed. ‘Depending on the bed’s size, style, and the aesthetic of the room, it’s crucial to style your bed based on its size. For US-King size beds we’ll mix in larger-scale bed pillows and smaller accent pillows and a mix of quilts or coverlets in conjunction with a duvet or comforter. For twin beds, we’ll use smaller boudoir pillows and quilts.’  

Frills can be a pretty bedroom idea that adds that extra something special, as depicted in this bed scheme by SARAHKK. 'Pillow shams and frills are not needed, but to have them is adding an extra special touch, that little extra luxury, an extra frivolity that elevates a bedroom from somewhere to sleep, into somewhere a bit more special,' says Sarah Kostoris of SARAHK.

5. Think about your throw

A throw placed on the end of a bed

(Image credit: Emily Followill. Design: Atelier Davis)

Marrying comfort and style, an elegant throw at the end of your bed can really bring that snug hotel feel. ‘It keeps the bed linens clean too if you’re sitting on the bed or packing,’ adds Jessica Davis of the design house, Atelier Davis. In this example, Davis added this casual throw as a tasteful, neutral bedroom idea to really bring the scheme together.  When picking your throw, think carefully about the textures and materials to use. ‘Textures like linen, cotton, wool and cashmere create an instant feeling of luxury and wellbeing, feeding into our senses,’ says Peter Tindall from Cornish Bed Company

6. Maximize your bedside table

A bed with mirroring bedside tables

(Image credit: Champalimaud Design. 77 Peak Road)

Consider the bedside table and how it is dressed when styling your bed. ‘A bedside table of the correct proportion and storage ability is essential,’ says Jo Littlefair. ‘Proportionally, the bedside table width should complement the bed itself and be as wide as possible.

'There should be one open shelf at the top of the piece with drawers at the base, meaning that books and reading glasses can be kept neatly in one place leaving the top free.’ Another bedside essential is lighting. Table lamps can provide a warm and ambient light for the start or close of the day. Although be sure not to drown the space with an oversize lamp and keep the light low so as not to be too bright.

Giorgio Ivessa of Champalimaud Design would also advise matching bedside tables for double beds as a bedroom idea for couples. ‘Mirroring nightstands build to a calming symmetry beside the bed, giving you the space to set your belongings aside and return to yourself.'

7. Think about the bed itself

A bed with brass railing

(Image credit: The Cornish Bed Company)

The actual bed and frame itself are crucially important. For extra luxurious flair, four-poster beds are a real statement buy that will add grandeur to your bedroom. ‘If you are not quite ready to make the investment yet, look for a bed in a bronze or a brass finish for a subtle touch of glamor,’ says Tindall.

8. Layer your fabrics

A bed with multiple textures and fabrics

(Image credit: Thomas Richter. Design: White Arrow)

Bedding and bed linen is another important step to elevating your bed. Good quality, fresh linen is critical to creating an inviting bed scheme. Choose from soft bed linens and crisp cottons for a cocooning feel that never looks out of style, both light and breathable.

When it comes to the feel of the textures, Richter of White Arrow is a fan of layering. ‘We like to layer in colors, textures, and patterns in a complementary or contrasting use and we’ll mix in brands or vendors and vintage items for a more collected look. If bedding is linen, we’ll add a cotton quilt at the foot of the bed. In some instances, we’ll layer tone-on-tone bedding and play with color and texture. 

'In other bedrooms, we’ll layer patterning - florals and solids with stripes in a mixture of sizes and scales. Overall, we like to have a mix in sheets, quilts, duvets, covers, or coverlets that tie in with the paint color ideas, drapery, rugs, and the various room’s colors, materials, and pattern story.’  

What color schemes work for a hotel-like bedroom?

When it comes to colors, keep it simple but choose colors that feel personal to you. Earthy tones and soft neutrals will be more soothing and will create a calming oasis, perfect for hotel-quality that will help you sleep better, but will also look more classic and elegant than shades that are too bright and bold. Peter Tindall suggests choosing a starting color and building up the rest of your design scheme using similar shades. ‘This is a great way to add depth without any color-clashing,’ he adds. 

'We have used color in bedrooms to great effect and the right selection of a dusky tone can sometimes work brilliantly at producing a night-time cocoon,’ says Littlefair. 

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.