How To Style A Bed – Your Ultimate Bedroom Terminology Guide

how to style a bed au bed terminology creature comforts creative blog

One room in our lives needs more attention, doesn’t it? Have you given it a lack lustre theme? Have you only bought what you thought you needed?

Is it the last room you think of and when you do, it’s too late because you are too tired to care? It’s your bedroom! Seriously. Understated.

You may be wondering, “What is a valance? How do I make my bed look like those on the reality shows? How many pillows do I need to do that?” And so on…you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s go through this together.

Headboard or bedhead

Bedhead sounds really funny to me as an Australian so I prefer headboard. “Bedhead” was a description of a messy hair-do in the 90’s and originally, I think it came from Britain, and somehow became slang for a headboard. I am always a headboard person but now and then you’ll see bed’s dressed straight up onto wall. That’s not me. I don’t wants my pillows getting wrecked nor my plaster, that’s why the headboard was created. Standard dimensions, in millimeters, are:

Single: 960w x 1000 – 1035h

King Single: 1100w x 1000-1035h

Double : 1450w x 1200-1350h

Queen: 1600w x 1200-1450h

King: 1900w x 1200-1450h

Some attach to the bed suite itself, some attach to the wall, but I find as long as it has a couple of legs or is upholstered to the floor, when it is wedged between the mattress and a wall, it ain’t going nowhere!

Tips: The taller the headboard, the more luxurious the setting. Widths will change slightly between timber and upholstered versions.


European Pillows/ Euro Shams

European pillows are normally 65cm x 65cm and sit up against the headboard. They become the background to the rest of your pillows and sit higher than the ones in front, creating depth and luxury. You can purchase plain and simple European pillowcases for around $10 at Spotlight or $5 on sale upwards to $50-60+ for the more luxurious prints and patterns or even quilted (cotton or polyester filled).


In front of the Euro Pillows sit your real pillows. These are the ones you rest your head on and go “sleepy-time” so you want these to suit you and your family well, even if that means different types. Personally, I go a feather and down pillow with a protective cotton quilted pillow cover. It is highly comfortable, contours and supports well and is very durable. I wouldn’t even bother with a standard polyester because they just don’t last. You can also get wool, cotton filled and memory foam which are also great options if you don’t agree with the plight of the duckies. Feel free to test out the pillows in-store to see which one feels better – you won’t look like a dork, just a professional shopper.

The standard size is 48cm x 73cm

Queen : 53 x 78cm

King : 50 x 90cm


Bed cushions are a personal choice. They can really help create that luxurious feeling using only 1- 2 but I have seen 3-4 on reality TV shows that work well. You will find they will be a standard 45 x 45cm but you can get slightly smaller ones at 40 x 40cm or less which are great for children’s beds. There is also the rectangular cushion at 30 x 50cm which can sit in the middle front of your pillows or doubled up directly in front of your pillows.


You have a fitted sheet (or bottom sheet) with an elasticated border; and a flat sheet (or top sheet) that protects your duvet or blankets. These days, due to mattress pillow toppers which can add 10cm to the height of your mattress, you need to hunt around for extra deep sheets (commonly referred to as a higher wall of 40cm or 50cm). You will find that after fitting a pillow topper, your old sheets will ride up and won’t fit anymore, so best to think of that when you buy a topper. New topper = deep wall sheets.

Tip: Do not ever buy a 100%  polyester or acrylic sheet set! The fabric doesn’t breathe, it will make you sweaty and they will feel cold and slippery.

Popular belief dictates, “The higher the thread count, the better”, and “The more thread, the more cash it will cost”. However, manufacturers and fabric designers are calling this out saying that a 1000 threat count fabric with a poor quality cotton, will feel like a 250 thread count after the first wash. Rumour has it, that it’s really hard to count those fibers and there is no standard for it so some may be creatively adding up their numbers.  For instance, most linens have a 300 thread count but you know they are the most luxurious. So, while these guys fight it out, always hand test the quality of the sheet no matter the count.

The Old Way To Buy Sheets:

250 Thread Count = Standard

500 Thread Count = Best

1000 Thread Count = Luxury


The New Way To Look For Quality Sheets: Look for these keywords

Linen: The most durable, soft wrinkly effect,  warm/cool, softer with each wash

Egyptian Cotton: The best, easy to iron, very soft, warm

Sateen : Soft, lustrous, silky soft feel, cooler, relaxed weave ( can pucker or be saggy)

Pima Cotton: tight weave, soft feel

Percale: Tight weave, crisp to iron, soft,

Bamboo: very soft

Top Tip: You can buy quality 1000 TC Egyptian Cotton sheet sets on Ebay for $60 a set. 



 how to style a bed blanket

If you live in an area that has a very cold winter, you will probably end up placing a blanket between the top sheet and your duvet or doona as opposed to throwing it over the top. Of course, temperate area citizens or those who sleep cold then wake up sweating will want the blanket on top so it can be thrown on floor at midnight. Look for keywords like cellular and thermal as well as cotton or wool which are natural, breathable fibers and not acrylic; which is synthetic and doesn’t breathe (makes you overheat, sweaty). For using a blanket with a bed, be careful to not buy a “throw” (throw rug or throw blanket) which are normally 120 x 150-170cm and used for decoration or snuggling. The sizes for bed blankets are:

single/double : 190 x 220cm and larger

queen king : 230x 250cm and larger


 how to style a bed duvet

Lovingly called the ‘doona cover or quilt cover’ in Australia, the duvet cover encases the fluffy, thick, filled quilt we all adore. For quilts, a cotton/polyester machine washable is the minimum you want to have. There are also wool and wool blend alongside feather and down. The more “down” (soft little feathers) the higher the quality and price. For Doona covers, the same rules apply as to sheets above, the higher the thread count, the better. The flat sheet protects your doona from being soiled and reduces the time between washes. How do you wash a quilt? Look for a commercial size washing machine at your local pay-per-use laundry-mat. It will be a 13kg washine machine and will probably stipulate use for doonas with a cost around $10 with drying at $1 per 16 minutes (The Laundry King Ballarat North has this). Or you can drop it off to a dry cleaner, $39.95 at Cressbell’s Ballarat.

Sizes are:

Single: 140 x 210cm

Double: 180 x 210cm

Queen : 210 x 210cm

King: 210 x 245cm



how to style a bed quilt

A coverlet, quilt or comforter is normally a quilted or filled bedspread and resigned for the top layer of the bedding. They can be used on top of a duvet for cold nights or simply used as a cover to hide an ugly or non-matching duvet cover. They are also great for use in summer with a flat sheet on those hot nights. Most are are either polyester or cotton filled and you want to lean towards the cotton. They can be traditionally styled with floral patterns and scalloped borders or have a very contemporary, plain or geometric design.

Sizes are:

Single: 160 x 250cm

Double: 230 x 250cm

Queen :230 x 250cm

King: 270 x 280cm



how to style a bed, bedspread

A bedspread is a heavy or light blanket and generally not filled like a quilt. Bedspreads are widely used as the top layer bedding to cover over a top sheet and blanket during warmer months or as an extra layer in winter. Bedspreads come in the same sizes as coverlets, quilts and comforters. You can use any large blanket as a bedspread.

Tip: A coverlet/quilt/comforter or bedspread can be the perfect solution to dressing up a plain coloured duvet. 



how to style a bed valance

A valance is the wrap that covers the base of your bed suite (on a mattress and base) or hides the underneath of a framed bed. I used to have frilly and scalloped ones as a child and was scarred off by them but I now understand them to be nicely necessary. Contemporary designs have box pleats, are stretch wrapped in a micro-suede or are quilted.



how to style a bed throw

This is the last piece on the bed. Now, if you only use a duvet, you may find that having a throw rug at the end just gives it a bit of oomph and texture. Plus, you can use the throw (which should just cover the bed) as an extra layer on top on cold nights. Bear in mind that throws are often small and you are more likely to use it, curled up with a book somewhere or watching TV, so think of it as having a secondary use.


If you liked this guide, bookmark it, share it! Or if you want to subscribe so you don’t miss another great post like this, click the subscribe link on the right.



Leave a Reply