Adding Interest to Layered Neutral Bedding

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Tips and tricks for adding interest to layered neutral bedding. Includes suggestions for pillow placement and exactly how to place the layers.

layered neutral bedding upholstered bed

One of the things I like most about a neutral color palette is the feeling of calm that it lends to a room. Neutrals let the eye rest, instead of darting all over the place going from color to color.

neutral bedding on upholstered bed

I know some people consider neutrals boring, but with just a little bit of tweaking, they can be stunningly beautiful and cozy. There are several different shades of colors that are considered neutral, but today I’m focusing on off-whites, creams, ivories, and beiges. I’m going to show you how to layer a bed with neutral colors, and I promise it’s not the least bit boring!

neutral pillows on bed

How Do You Layer Neutral Bedding?

There are no rules when it comes to layering a bed. Comfort and ease of use are two of the most important things to consider, but how you actually make a bed is totally up to you. For example, I don’t use a duvet cover, but if you love them, by all means put one on your bed! Take the guidelines provided here, insert your own personal style, and the end result will be a beautiful, neutral bed personally designed by you.

What Are The Different Layers of Bedding Called?

  1. Mattress pad or cover
  2. Bedskirt (sometimes called a dust ruffle)
  3. Bottom or fitted sheet
  4. Top or flat sheet
  5. Blanket/Quilt
  6. Duvet with cover
  7. Bed pillows
  8. Throw pillows

From The Bottom Up

layered neutral bedding on king bed

Vary the neutral shades

In order for your neutral bed to not look like a boring sea of beige, use a mixture of white, ivory, beige, taupe, and tan. By choosing different tones, you easily add contrast and appeal. Pair white with khaki, or ivory with dark beige. Another idea for varying tones is to use a subtle, neutral pattern. A tone-on-tone stripe or plaid really makes the solid neutrals pop. 

neutral pillows stacked on bed

Add texture + pattern

It’s a good rule of thumb with a bed layering monochromatic color scheme to add two different patterns, and as much texture as possible. I used this sheet set, and placed the top sheet upside down, so more of the pattern would be exposed. The pattern on the bed pillows added a bit more interest.

Note: I love these sheets. They wash up beautifully and there are literally no wrinkles. The fitted sheet covers our mattress like a glove. I have spent a ton of money on sheets, trying to find the perfect set. I hate wrinkles, so wrinkle-free is always my top requirement. These sheets come in several different colors/patterns, and are an amazing price.

All the pillows are full of texture, and more pattern is added with the subtle plaid comforter placed at the foot of the bed. Another thing I love about the comforter is that it adds a farmhouse vibe. Here are texture-rich fabrics and embellishments to add a designer look to your layering:

  • velvet
  • nubby linen
  • faux fur
  • tweed
  • corduroy
  • burlap
  • chenille
  • tassels
  • cording
  • ball fringe
  • regular fringe
stack of neutral pillows

Mix up the pillow sizes

There are no rules when it comes to pillow placement on a bed. In fact, I hope you all embrace your own signature style! I do have one tip that really make a difference: use several different sizes and shapes of pillows. Try regular shams that are oblong and/or euro shams that are square. Use a set of throw pillows in one size (20 inches is perfect) layered with another smaller set. Lumbar pillows, in any size, are great for the front of your pillow stack.

Layered Neutral Bedding Bonus Tips

  • Wash and dry everything: sheets, pillowcases, quilt, shams, and if you can, the end-of-the-bed comforter. (No need to wash the throw pillows.) All your bedding will look fluffier, and all the wrinkles will be released.
  • To add another “layer,” fold down the top sheet and quilt from the head of the bed. This shows off your sheets, and also provides interest. Use one big flat fold, or add some dimension by folding the sheet & quilt over twice, using smaller folds.
  • More style and interest can be added by using a bed skirt and/or decorative shams,
layered neutral bedding

Shop + Source

*Affiliate links included. See my disclosure statement. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you aren’t sure, and just want to try layering a neutral bed, I encourage you to start with a pattern-free, white or ivory quilt. This will simplify your entire bed and give you an idea of how you want to proceed. Have fun!

layered neutral bedding upholstered bed


I’ve been there. I know how you feel.
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    Ann, I am a neutral gal, too! Your bedroom is just beautiful! I love all your bed linen choices — so pretty. I am going to place an order for two of the pillows you have on your bed! I just have to have them! Thanks for another great post. You are always so helpful and I know that we all benefit from your posts!

  2. Mary Lou Cross says:

    Ann, please tell me your paint color on your walls.

    Thank you,
    Mary Lou Cross

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Mary Lou! The paint color is Snowbound by Sherwin Williams.

  3. Robynn Peterson says:

    I have a Housekeeping aid. She said one day while changing my bed linens, “I have never seen a bed that had so many steps to make up a bed!” Added to what you have I have a wedge pillow, a feather bed in a cover, and knee pillows. It’s a lot!! I have so many aches and pains that I add a pillow under the area that is hurting!! I love getting old!!

  4. Susan McKim says:

    I am sad that Walmart doesn’t make Cal King sheets . I would love these! They are getting harder to find except for Amazon. If you come across great ones on Amazon, pass the info along!

  5. Marjory Woodburn says:

    Good morning Ann! Just want to let you know that this combination grabbed my heart the first time I saw you present it. I copied it exactly (something I rarely do) and have never been sorry! I live in a retirement community and though our cottage is smaller than our previous home, this grouping works so well in a small but adequate bedroom! Thank you so much for the visuals you add, the links you provide and the wonderful ideas you put into words!
    PS….one of my pillows is minus a tassel now but oh did my Morkie puppy have a great romp around the cottage shaking it and rolling when it tripped her!

  6. Hey, thanks for sharing and I would have never thought the bedding is from Walmart, thanks for the detailed items. By the way, who is the bed from? I like the low headboard.

  7. Thank you for sharing your beautiful bedroom looks. You always do such a great job styling your rooms. I’ve been looking for that type of bed in a neutral color. Would you be willing to share a link to it?
    Thanks so much!

  8. Karen Glaser says:

    Love this look and several items are on the way. I too am curious about the headboard shown- do you have a source? I like the smooth look vs. the tufted look.

    Excited to see all your projects in the New Year!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Karen…I sent you some information about the bed!

  9. Love everything about a neutral room. Looking forward to applying your instructions when my guest room is done.

  10. April Driggers says:

    I have always admired this but have never been able to pull it off. This is a really practical approach. So thank you!

  11. So pretty. I’m interested in your bed frame. I didn’t find a link to one like yours, with the little wings on the headboard. You don’t use a box spring? That’s the part that throws me off with using coverlets, how to cover the box spring without using a dust ruffle.

    1. I had to actually buy a mattress and a bed like this to get you don’t need a box spring. My daughter coached me through it. I bought a 12 inch memory foam mattress from Costco and a bed like this, basically, but no headboard, no upholstery. I’ll get a headboard I like later. It was very easy to assemble and when it’s all done the bed is normal height from the floor, 28-29inches. I put a king sized comforter on a queen size bed, the queen sized comforter was too skimpy looking. It’s solid as a rock, no jiggling, no squeaking. I did see a wrap around dust ruffle at Walmart but so far I haven’t gotten one.
      I am really arguing with myself with colorful vs peaceful for this new bedroom. I think neutrals might win.

    2. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Joy…I sent you an email with some information!

  12. Loving your new bedroom with all the neutrals.I have been eyeing the Better Homes and Garden trellis pillow for a long time, think I may order a pair.The addition of the ship lap wall looks fabulous.Can’t wait to see more of your new home.