This minimalist pillow trend is the 'low-key, but stylish' idea of the moment – now I'm convinced that every bed needs one

Sleek, minimalist and oh so stylish, we ask the designers about this trending way to dress a bed (and scour the web for the best buys)

A striped bed spread with bolster cushion
(Image credit: Helene Blanche)

If you're anything like me, you've been making your bed on autopilot every day with the same smattering of square pillows you've had for years. But switching it up can help shake up your bedroom design, upgrade the space and give a new, fresh feel to your bed spread. 

Sometimes, less is more. While a mix of shapes, colors and textures can add interest, I love the simplicity of this bolster cushion look that requires just one, long bolster cushion at the head of the bed. When it comes to how to style a bed, it turns the lengthy task of perfectly placing those pillows into something that requires minimal effort, and can bring a minimalist feel to the bedroom. 

Going for the bolster pillow look also works beautifully in place of a headboard. Just like how we're seeing sofas with moveable back cushions, the bolster pillow provides great support like a low profile headboard - and can be taken off and used for leaning in other spots around the home.

We've spoken to the designers and we're convinced it's the latest bed styling trend you need to try - here's how, and where to buy the right bolster for you.

What kind of bedrooms does this bed styling trend suit?

A bolster cushion in green velvet

(Image credit: House of Grey)

So first up, is the bolster pillow look right for you? Whether you're trying to bring a sense of calm or usher in the minimalist bedroom look, or you just want to try something different, the bolster pillow style has its merits, explains globally celebrated Australian furniture designer and collector, Rachel Donath.

'I’ve always loved a bolster-shaped pillow as I think it brings interest but also maintains a very sleek, minimalistic aesthetic which is quite soothing in a bedroom setting,' says Rachel. 

'When I design pieces, I’m always thinking about the intended use of the piece and the mood I hope to inspire and the long bolster pillow was intentionally included in this design to create a calm, clean vibe, conducive to a good nights sleep.'

For Danish textile designer, Helene Blanche, using the bolster look was about minimalism, but also a feeling of sumptuousness and luxury. 'I wished to create a bedroom with a nostalgic vintage feel as well as to express an atmosphere of modern luxury with a minimalistic take. The long bolster expresses a friendly personal and low-key atmosphere  yet stylish and elegant as it is customized to fit the entire width of the bed.'

How to style a bolster cushion on a bed

A bed with a headboard and bolster cushion

(Image credit: Rachel Donath)

When looking for the perfect color and fabric for your bolster cushion, look to the colors and textures in your bedroom - and of course the coloring of your main bed sheets. Pick something that complements the color but try to keep the look relaxed. 

'As a textile designer, my eyes are naturally drawn to colors, forms and their combination,' says Helene. 'Choose fabrics, patterns and materials in good quality and select a color palette that is well thought and in harmony to the room.'

'In this bedroom (above), we have paired the bedhead and bolster cushion with a beautiful French bedspread in navy blue,' says Rachel. 'I love a simple palette for linen, whites, neutrals or blues for a bedroom setting. 

'I think the bolster bedhead combination suits a bedroom that favors a clean uncluttered space and would sit beautifully amongst other very special furniture and lighting pieces like sculptural side tables, vintage sconces, a beautiful and unique bedroom chair like our Safari chair. 

Try the bolster look in lieu of a headboard

A striped bed spread with bolster cushion

(Image credit: Helene Blanche)

Another aspect that I love about this look is that it works so perfectly in place of a headboard. We are seeing headboards evolve into more low profile looks instead of tall arch-shaped upholstered pieces, favoring a look that is relaxed and informal, inviting us to lean. 

'The bolster is very functional due to the extra long width, making it stable and neatly in place,' says Helene. 'It is soft and comfortable and especially wonderful for a siesta or to function as a reading cushion.'

Of course, you can also use the bolster alongside the headboard, creating a relationship between the two, like Rachel Donath's style. 'Both the headboard and bolster are very shapely, and I think the contrasting shapes work beautifully together, especially when there is a commonality, in this case, the slimline aesthetic of both headboard and bolster, accentuated with the French navy piped edge,' says Rachel.

3 of the best bolster cushions to buy now

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.