How to Make Your Bed Look Finished Without a Million Pillows

A bed covered in brightly colored throw pillows

Photo: Africa Studio (Shutterstock)

Working from home since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been forced to grapple continuously with the fact that the other members of my household are total slobs. (Not me; I’m a consummate housekeeper.) And as our crowded apartment has increasingly come to match our disordered lives, I’ve clung to one small bit of order I can impose on any day: I make the bed as soon as I’m dressed.

It’s a piece of advice I picked up from former Lifehacker Editor-in-Chief Melissa Kirsch, who swears by it. And while certainly straightening my duvet and smoothing my sheets always makes me feel better, until recently I’d been bothered by noticing my freshly made bed never looked “finished.” Think of walking into a fancy hotel room: What’s on that big king-sized bed? A perfectly tucked blanket, yes—and probably more than half a dozen pillows, too.

Hotels have a reason for doing this: When placed atop or in front of the pillows you actually use for sleeping—usually two per person, even if you only use one for sitting up in bed—throw pillows make your made bed look, well, made. But moving six extra pillows around every time you want to actually use the bed isn’t exactly my thing either.

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How to make your bed with only one throw pillow

That’s why I’m glad my wife stumbled across a useful time- and money-saving tip from interior design blogger Emily Henderson, tucked into a larger post about the “right way” to make your bed: Instead of buying a bunch of small throw pillows to scatter over your mattress, just use one long, decorative throw pillow (or even a covered body pillow), placed horizontally in front of your sleeping pillows.

We grabbed an oversized lumbar pillow from Target for about $30; at 42 inches, it’s long enough to give our king-size bed an intentional look, even when placed in front of our frankly undersized sleeping pillows (it’s a work in progress). With only one decorative pillow to move, making the bed in the morning and climbing into it at night involves less hassle, but I can still feel good every time I pass by the bedroom and catch a glimpse of the bed. It’s a time to celebrate small victories, is what I’m saying.

  

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