Everything You Need to Know on Layering Pillows on a King Bed

Pillow arrangements for the bedroom are one of the most sought-after services from interior designers. It isn’t hard to see why — the bedroom comes close to being a sacred space in any home. Its design becomes an indispensable companion of a homeowner’s nightly rest. As the bed is the natural focal point of a bedroom, layering your pillows becomes a key step in putting together the style of your entire bedroom. We will review everything you must consider when layering pillows on your king bed.

Pillow Size Basics

You can’t dive into the details of pillow layering without having a basic grasp of the standard pillow sizes. So, let’s get that out of the way first.

When it comes to sleeping pillows, the three most common sizes in increasing order are standard pillows (20” × 26”), queen pillows (20” × 30”), and king pillows (20” × 36”). Then comes the square decorative pillows. In increasing size order, they are the boudoir pillow (12” × 16”), the deco pillow (16” × 16” to 20” × 20”), and the euro pillow (24” × 24”).

Interior designers also love to use the cylindrical neckroll pillow or the extra-long rectangular pillows known as body pillows to break up the pattern.   

You will find that the large euro pillows can be quite useful as the base pillows when layering a euro bed. In addition, you will want to explore shams with different stylings and patterns to allow your decorative pillows to stand out. We will give you plenty of layering templates to experiment with below, which use all these different pillow types.  

How to Layer a King-Size Bed with Pillows

Before you begin looking at patterns for layering pillows on a king bed, you want to consider a few points. Using the step-by-step process outlined below, you can quickly hone in on a pillow layering design that works perfectly for your space and stylistic needs.

Consider your Headboard

The visual interaction of your headboard and your pillow layers is the biggest factor you need to consider. It is also a good idea to start with this, as the size and design of your headboard will limit and inform the kind of layering patterns you can go with.

A taller headboard is always a good sign if you’re passionate about having attractive pillow layering for your bedroom. It gives you drastically more options than if you were to have a shorter headboard. You can stack complex layers using a maximalist approach with vibrant colors arranged vibrantly.

If your headboard has more of a regal, formal look, symmetrical pillow layering can complement your bed. You are more likely to get away with eclectic choices of headboard features with a more modern design language.   

Choose an Overall Style

The next thing you want to do is choose an overall style for your pillow set. This step needn’t be too complex. You can jumpstart your creative thinking process by taking inspiration from the rest of your home décor.

Is your home styled in a chic manner? Does it have more of a regal, luxurious feel? Or you may have managed to build a home that combines elements of the farmhouse aesthetic with something more modern.

Your pillow set can complement the décor of the rest of your home. Conversely, it can also be worth considering if you want your bedroom — and consequently your pillow sets — to break from that pattern.

A relaxed, vibrant pillow layering done with many pillows arranged in a tasteful, opulent manner can be a nice way to help you wind down in the evening. You may also want the no-nonsense simplicity of a realistic yet eye-pleasing look. Or you can add a splash of personality by going with a patterned look, held down by cool, natural fibers and rustic color patterns.  

Decide a Color Scheme

Your choice of colors will tie your pillow arrangement perfectly to the rest of your bedroom décor. Choose a color that already exists in your bedroom design and work out a palette from there. It will ensure that your pillow color choices assume a cohesive look when they finally come together in your bedroom.

Explore Texture, Pattern, and Accent Options

Choosing accent pieces is arguably the most fun part of layering pillows for your king bed. Countless options exist, from pattern combinations to textured highlight pieces that sit asymmetrically in the middle row. If that’s not quite your style, then you can never go wrong with a bright, solid-colored deco pillow or body pillow to complete the look.

Exploring all these options before building your layering pattern is a good idea. You can integrate those options into your designs and build patterns around a highlight piece.  

Choose a Layering Pattern

Once you’ve done your research and a bit of creative soul-searching, this is where you get it done. Making your choices on style, patterns, and other factors makes it much easier to hone in on the right layering pattern.

Some Basic Pillow Layering Patterns for a King Bed

Given the luxurious size of king-size beds, their pillow arrangements focus almost exclusively on propped layers rather than horizontal stacks. These make infinitely more sense for the massive space afforded by a king-size bed, as they create a greater sense of volume and play. Horizontal stacks look lifeless when repeated over the entire breadth of a king bed.  

Despite this, the options for a king bed are virtually limitless when looking at layering patterns. We have divided the pillow layering patterns into sections based on style and aesthetics.

The Conventional Look

You can’t go wrong with a conventional option that does the job while looking eye-pleasing. These two styles can turn quite diverse with careful color matching and some patterned pieces.

For the first arrangement, prop up three European shams against the headboard. Then, place a pair of king-size sleeping pillows in front of them. You can finish the look with three small boudoirs as the frontmost layer.

This basic look can create various energies by swapping out just one or two elements. By removing one of the three boudoirs, you break out of the formal look and create something instantly more relaxed. Or you can give it a cozy look by replacing the boudoirs with a body pillow in a standout color.  

The Modern Look

Starting your layers with filling euro pillows is a sure way to add a sense of weight and regality to your bedroom. However, you can instantly create a more modern vibe using king pillows for the bottom layer. Here are two options that feel more modern and relaxed using this approach.

Start with two king pillows propped against the headboard for a luxurious look. Place three euro pillows in front of them, two deco pillows next, and finish with a single accent piece. The asymmetrical width of the layers gives it a much more relaxed look. You can also play around with some luxurious materials for your pillows to give them that perfect touch.   

The other option has a chic, simplistic look and employs a horizontal stack. You must start with four king pillows, double-stacked into two layers, for this look. Next, put two standard pillows in decorative shams. At the front, place two accent pillows, preferably boudoirs in highlight colors.

The Eclectic Look

You will love these eclectic pillow set designs if your decor preference is for rustic designs and natural materials. For these arrangements to truly come alive, it is crucial to introduce a variety of textures, patterns, and natural materials.

Start with two king pillows, just as with the modern layering pattern. Three euro pillows will use the second layer in boldly patterned shams. Use multiple deco pillows of different colors and textures in the frontmost layer. Don’t place them symmetrically; you can arrange them in tasteful imperfections for the best effect.

For the second arrangement, start with three European pillows, place two king pillows for the second layer, two standard pillows of contrasting color for the third, and finish with a single accent piece. You can even choose a bolster instead of a standard boudoir pillow to finish this look. Alternatively, you can go for it and place a body pillow off-center.  

How many pillows should be on a king bed?

The number of pillows you need for your king bed depends on the style and look you want for your pillow arrangement. You can assemble a cohesive pillow set for a king bed with as few as six pillows. After that, it is really up to your imagination how many pillows you want and can bring together into a pattern that makes sense.

Can you use queen pillows on a king bed?

The only restriction on pillow use is your imagination. Just as queen beds refer to a particular bed size, queen pillows similarly refer to the second-largest sleeping pillow commonly used. You can easily use queen pillows on your king bed if your imagination allows.

You should also recognize that queen pillows are designed to match the width of a queen bed. So, you want to avoid starting with queen pillows as the centerpiece if you use a queen bed. You’re much better off using king pillows or euro pillows as the layer to develop the look of your pillow set. 

These are everything you need to start layering pillows on a king bed. Begin with the right mindset, and you will know what arrangement you can choose. You can start with one of the patterns we have laid out above and customize it to meet your needs.

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