Make an Irresistibly Comfortable Bed

Today I want to share my personal tips for making an irresistibly comfortable bed, along with a cheat sheet detailing all the specifics you need to have (head down to the bottom of this post if you’d like to see it now).  It’s one of the questions I often get from clients during General Consultations… “How do I make the bed look more comfortable?”  Or “How can I make the bed look more inviting [or complete or finished or plush]?

How to make an irresistably comfortable bed

First, I want you to keep in mind:  the beds we see in catalogs and magazines have been styled, fluffed, steamed, layered and attended to far more than is practical for real, every day homes. Those uber comfy looking beds have more layers and pillows than most people want to deal with on a daily basis, so I’m going to break down a few ideas to give you a bed that’s gorgeous, but not too difficult to maintain or manage.

[These images are from our guest room.  For a look at the en suite bathroom, check out this older post.]

How to make an irresistably comfortable bed

The Three Ps of an Irresistibly Comfortable Bed

When building your magnificent bedding, I want you to remember the three Ps:  Pillows, Proportion, and Plump.


There are a few different types of pillows you’ll need.

Sleeping Pillows:

These are purely for function.  Choose flat and hard, or soft and plush, memory foam, or whatever your noggin yearns for as you’re drifting off to sleep.


These are more decorative, but can also come in handy if you want to relax on the bed reading or watching TV.  Typically shams are distinguishable by a trim or flange around the edges and a closure on the back (rather than on the edge).  Shams should be larger than your sleeping pillows, partly to hide them, and partly to vary the proportion a bit.  There are three sizes of shams:  Standard, King, and Euro.


The last type of pillow to consider is Decorative. I don’t like to go overboard with this category.  Typically one or two is all that is needed.  You may be tempted by the lovely beaded or embellished pillows you see on the shelf, but I encourage you to always keep function in mind and stick with soft, natural fiber pillows, even when choosing the decorative ones.

How to make an irresistably comfortable bed


There are a few different proportions to consider.  First, think about dividing the bed into thirds, lengthwise.

bedding thirds Cate Holcombe Interiors

The top third of the bed should be filled with the pillows, and the bottom third should have some sort of blanket folded or draped.

bedding layers Cate Holcombe Interiors

I also like for the height of the pillows to balance the size of the bed nicely.  Play around with different heights.  Do taller Euro shams balance the height of the headboard?  Or, can you use them to add extra height to a bed with a shorter headboard like I’ve done here?  Maybe you want to keep the height low and modern, so you opt for regular or king shams.

The size of the bed will help determine how many and what size pillows to use.  I’ve compiled the measurements of bed sizes, along with the sizes of pillows, and I specify which pillows and how many to use on a handy dandy Cheat Sheet at the bottom of this post.

how to make an irresistably comfortable bed Cate Holcombe Interiors


The level of “plump” you’re able to employ will be largely based on how full your pillows are.  If you’re working with limp, lifeless pillows, it may be time to replace them.  Your sleeping pillows can be as flat and hard as you’d like, but the Shams and Decorative pillows need a bit of umph.  The insert needs to bulge, and completely fill the cover.  This may require that you purchase inserts that are a bit larger than the cover.  Keep this in mind as you’re shopping.

One key way to add plump is to fold the duvet in half or thirds at the bottom of the bed.  This immediately doubles (or triples) the height and fullness.  I’m going for a casual, asymmetrical drape with this duvet, but you can certainly fold it more neatly.


Here are a few more things to note:

There is a simple detail that is often overlooked regarding bedding.  If your bed does not have a bed skirt, your box spring may be visible.  Covering it with a coordinating flat sheet or upholstering it with fabric can really help things look pulled together and finished.  I purchased some denim fabric and cut it into strips about 6″ wider than the height of the box spring.  Then I attached it to the sides.  This particular box spring had a wood frame on the bottom side, so I used a staple gun there.  The frame around the top must be plastic (staples didn’t work), so I just used a hot glue gun to adhere the fabric along the top.  All you see is a nice, clean navy blue box spring peaking out.

how to make an irresistably comfortable bed Cate Holcombe Interiors


There is one thing in our guest room that gets the most attention.  Can you guess what it is?  It’s the least pretty thing in the room…the alarm clock.  Having outlets for charging so visible and accessible is so handy.  Function wins over form in this case!

Get the Look

1.  Rustoleum Gloss Sunrise Red Oil Paint

2.  I made our gingham shams, but these from Serena and Lily are almost the same.

3. Oxford Stripe Duvet

4.  Ikea bedframe

5.  I made the lumbar as well.  Fabric: Duralee Langdon, Azure

6.  Tassels

7.  I love a good crisp white sheet set, and these have lasted us 10 years!

8.  We’ve had this coverlet for that long, as well.  Ours is slightly different, but not available any more. 

9.  We love the “cool” duvets at Ikea.  They are fluffy, but don’t get super warm. 


Free Cheat Sheet for an Irresistibly Comfortable Bed

bedding cheat sheet image Cate Holcombe Interiors

As I’ve mentioned, I have compiled measurements and recommendations into this handy-dandy two page PDF.  I’ve also added some must-haves for an inviting,  comfortable bed and Guest Room.  Don’t leave your guests in a tight spot…having to ask or scrounge for things that should be readily available!

Simply enter your name and email below to receive the PDF.

Do you have any tips up your sleeve for a comfortable bed?  I would LOVE to hear!  Leave a comment below.

[To learn how to mix bedding like a pro, check out this post.  I also share 8 gorgeous bedding combos!]

how to make an irresistibly comfortable bed pin Cate Holcombe

February 23, 2018



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