Place Pillows Like an Expert Hotel Housekeeper

Have you ever booked a stay at a nice hotel and been amazed by how perfectly arranged and inviting the pillows look on the bed? Many hotels seem to have mastered the art of bed making, with crisp white linens and plump pillows beckoning you to dive in for a good night’s sleep or relax in luxury.

Luckily, with some insider tips, you can easily recreate that luxurious hotel bed look in your own home. Read on to learn the professional secrets of how to arrange pillows like an expert hotel housekeeper.

Choose the Right Foundation

A perfectly made bed starts with a sturdy foundation of sleeping pillows to provide comfort and support. Most hotel housekeepers recommend using four standard pillows in one of two ways:

  • Stack two pillows on top of each other against the headboard for extra height and cushioning.
  • Or, simply lay two pillows flat on either side against the headboard for a more streamlined look.

The key is to choose good quality, comfortable pillows that will support your head and neck properly for sleeping. Down or memory foam pillows make excellent choices for your foundation layer.

Consider Your Headboard Height

The height of your headboard is also an important factor. If you have a shorter headboard, hotels often add an extra decorative pillow or two behind the sleeping pillows. This fills out empty space visually, adds color and texture, and prevents the pillows from falling behind the headboard when sleeping.

Follow the “Rule of Three” for Decorative Pillows

Once your sleeping pillows are in place, it’s time to add the decorative layer to finish the bed. Hotel housekeepers usually follow the standard “rule of three” when arranging throw pillows.

This means placing three decorative pillows in front of your sleeping pillows, resting against the headboard. Using three pillows (an odd number) creates a symmetrical, visually pleasing look. The professional standard is:

  • Two matching square throw pillows in a standard 22″ x 22″ size
  • One rectangular pillow in a different pattern or color that is smaller in size (usually around 16″ x 12″)

Having two pillows that mirror each other with a third unique pillow in between strikes the ideal balance and harmony.

how to put pillows on a bed

Vary Pillow Shapes and Sizes

Feel free to play around with different shapes and sizes, as long as you stick to the odd number rule. For example, you could use two larger square euro shams with a round bolster pillow in the center. Or a big rectangular floor pillow with two smaller accent pillows in complementary patterns and textures.

The options are endless, so don’t be afraid to get creative and layer different pillow shapes together for added dimension!

Mix and Match Textures

When selecting your three throw pillows, also consider mixing textures for visual interest. Pair a smooth velvet or satin pillow with a fluffier down-filled one, or contrast a fuzzy faux fur sham with some sleek linen or leather accents.

Varying textures adds depth and dimension, taking your pillow arrangement from ho-hum to hotel chic.

Tailor Arrangements to Bed Size

While the “rule of three” remains constant, the specific pillows used may vary slightly depending on your bed size:

  • King beds: Use three large, square euro shams along with a lumbar support pillow in the front center.
  • Full/Queen: Go for standard-sized throw pillows around 22″ square.
  • Twin: Use two accent pillows instead of three.

The goal is to make sure you have enough pillows to fill out the bed without overwhelming a small space or looking sparse on a larger one.

Add Pops of Color

While a neutral color scheme is always classic, don’t overlook the power of a bright, bold accent pillow! Many professional housekeepers will add in one colorful printed or patterned pillow to liven up an otherwise neutral bed.

This bright pop paired with more muted solids really makes the entire arrangement pop. Go for your favorite vibrant hue or an energetic print like florals or geometrics.

Create a Cohesive Look

No matter what type or how many throw pillows you use, it’s key that they coordinate in order to look pulled-together and professional.

Hotel housekeepers recommend sticking with pillows that fit within the same color family for a cohesive palette. If patterns are involved, choose ones that complement each other rather than clash.

Consider Your Room’s Style

Your room’s existing decor and style should also influence your pillow arrangement. For a minimalist contemporary space, choosing two to three solid pillows in sleek textures would work best. Or if you have a big comfy farmhouse style bed, an organic mix of printed and textured shams would fit right in.

Let your personal style shine through in your pillow edit so it doesn’t feel overly formal or matchey-matchy.

Don’t Overdo It

As tempting as it may be to pile on the pillows, hotel housekeepers warn against going overboard. Too many throw pillows can make a bed feel cluttered and overly fussed-over.

Aim for a relaxed, luxurious vibe by keeping your overall pillow count around three to five. This creates a pulled-together yet still inviting look.

Pay Attention to Overall Balance

Make sure to step back periodically and examine the bed from a distance. Do the pillows look evenly spaced and the right size or does one side appear heavier?

Don’t be afraid to adjust and rearrange pillows until you find an arrangement with visual symmetry and balance. You want the pillows to enhance the bed, not overwhelm it.

Use Decorative Bedskirts and Valances

An often overlooked finishing touch by amateur home decorators is the bedskirt or valance. Hotel housekeepers love using these ruffled or pleated fabric skirts to add ornamentation to the lower portion of the bed.

This helps frame and complement your beautiful pillow arrangement. Choose a color that matches your bedding for a pulled-together designer look.

With these insider hotel housekeeping tips, you can easily take your bed from drab to fab. Follow the “rule of three”, pay attention to textures and colors, and find that perfect balanced arrangement.

In no time, your bedroom will feel just as welcoming and luxurious as a pristine hotel suite. Just don’t be surprised if your guests ask where you got your “designer” bedding!

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