Solving the big issues: made bed pillow, up or down?

You guys, I’ve had an epiphany (rae) recently and I thought I best confess it amongst you guys, because I know you’ll get it. I think I’ve been making my bed wrong. I know.


You see, when I make my bed, I have the pillows sitting flat against the mattress. You know, how you sleep on it.

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It’s the way I have always done it, because it makes sense in my head, but could it be (GASP) that it’s wrong? I’ve noticed when I have people stay and they remake the bed that it’s always pillows UP. As in, against the headboard of the bed. It shows them off I guess, perks them up good and proper like, but of course requires moving when it comes to sleeping time.

I have noticed it pretty much everywhere online too. LOOK. ย Scroll through Pinterest? UP. Look in a catalogue for bed linen? UP. Troubling times for me.

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Look at my fresh AS hotel bed last night and further mocked me last night before I fell into and went to sleep. UP!


So I had to do all I know what to do, ask you guys. Am I doing it wrong? All this time? Should my pillows be perky and upright? I’m afraid they aren’t high enough quality to ensure their perkiness though? I have a latex base pillow and then a fluffier top one, but would they slip? WOULD THEY HOLD UP?

So over to you guys?
Have I been doing this wrong ALL this time?
When making beds, pillows UP against the headboard or DOWN on the mattress?
What say you?


  1. Flat on the mattress all the way here!

  2. Donna Saunders says

    Obviously I’ve been doing it wrong as well. I think I further exacerbate the problem by having only four pillows on a Queens sized bed. I like the look of throw cushions and huge European pillows but as the sole bed maker in our partnership I have NO TIME for sorting these extras out each evening and morning.

  3. I always put them standing up. I thought I was doing it wrong when I looked at your pillows!

  4. I’m going to throw a curve ball your way….

    Sometimes I do half up, half down!!!!!

    Sometimes I do euro too!!!!

    I change my ideas frequently, and probably depends on the quilt cover at the time and how much sun is aging too?

  5. Lazy day = flat, thrown on bed
    Cleaning day = standing up . I think standing up looks best but some days i cant be arsed fiddling with all the pillows and cushions.

  6. Standing up for me. Always have done.. Didn’t even realise anyone did it any differently.

  7. I used to stand them up but moved onto stacked a few years ago and I’m never going back! It does depend on the bed and the linen but with your lovely coloured linens I think the flat stacks show them off to their best advantage.

  8. Confession time. I put them up for Instagram on new sheet/bedding days but down when nobody else is looking ?
    We don’t have a functional spare bedroom right now, but I think I’d put them up if we had guests. It’s all about showing it off I guess!

  9. Beth I do one down and one up. The decorative one stands up on top of the one I sleep on.

  10. Up at my place but, like with everything in life, however you like it ?

  11. I do UP! Because you can’t lie a Euro cushion down, ergo they all follow suit and sit upright. I love my Euro cushions.

  12. Up! (Mainly for the same reasons as Kate said) damn those Euro pillows. Always makes me feel like my bed is completely serene and retreat like – or at least until someone small wakes me in the middle of the night to tell me they can’t sleep.

  13. I think it depends on how many pillows, how you use them and what sort of bed head you have…maybe! We have a very colourful fabric bedhead (Schumacher Hot House Flowers) and only one white linen pillow each so I stand them up to break up the bright bedhead fabric. I also have one long kilim cushion that drapes across the width of the bed in similar colours to the bedhead (different pattern) so the white pillows add a break between the colours. I also like to sit up in bed and read before lights out (for the longest of 5 mins!) so pillows up suits me. Having said that..hubby drives me nuts with pillows down, white linen quilt over the top and the kilim cushion pushed right up against the bedhead…SO not right! I think if you have more than one pillow and use lots of colourful patterns, stacked flat is absolutely perfect and lovely. And at the end of the day…who cares? Do what works for you and makes you feel right ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Beth!! Up! I am shocked that I know this and you don’t!


  15. One word…Up

  16. Ah yes, this is something I too have pondered on and I’ve dabbled in both up and down. I think that up looks more formal and it also covers most of your headboard, so if you like formal go for up. But I’m liking the informal boho look atm so I have them down with scatter cushions in front. My headboard is also nice wood so I don’t want it hidden by lots of pillows. So I’m a down girl atm who has clearly given this far too much thought!!! I think you’re doing it right love…as you were! Xxx

  17. Down, down, pillows go down.

  18. Mine are up but I think yours look awesome down and oh so much more practical. I’m going down. be the trail blazer Beth. OWN IT!

  19. lol mine stay wherever they are at 5am when the alarm goes off… up, flat, down where my feet are meant to go, on the floor….

  20. Down always down, but hubster makes the bed, because he is the last one out the lazy bugger, and if I put any rules around how it should be done, then I’ll be doing it myself.

  21. I’ve always put them up and have euro pillows and one decorator pillow as well (same in the guest room too). My husband always whinges about all the pillows, but I must have trained him well as he places them exactly as I do whenever he makes the bed – hehe.

  22. I have always put them UP, but am currently dabbling with the down option. As you said, if they’re not perky enough they don’t stand up properly, and that’s just wrong!

  23. Up at our house:)

  24. Down. I like them down, they just look nicer to me! I have my euro pillows up though, and the cushion (yes, only one, I happily under-cushion!) up also!

  25. Up

  26. Wanna hear something that will really confuse the issue?

    When I get into bed I adjust my pillows so that they are not flat – not totally upright either – but on an angle in between, kind of on the diagonal supported by the head board.

    I started doing it when I was pregnant and had terrible indigestion and have been doing it ever since.

  27. Oh wow I have honestly never thought about this before either!! Up?! Woah…. You’re right, I see it everywhere now!!!!

    Clearly its down for me…

  28. The pillows I have on our bed are Just for show( believe me my hubby complains every time he goes to bed) lol. They are part of the quilt over set etc. they stand up. The pillows I actually sleep on are in the cupboard and I just grab them when going to bed. BUT if I didn’t have a fancy quilt and crap my pillows would be laying down. I think yours looks great and hey do what YOU want, who is to say it is right or wrong. Your bed your pillows, to hell with everyone else, lol

  29. I noticed you put them flat, but I thought you were being arty farty…lol…like how you mis match the linens, but it looks cool.

  30. I’m a sleeping pillows down, decorative pillows and cushions up against sleeping pillows. It’s just easier for Steve he knows to take all the up pillows off the bed and just flips the down pillows over for correct sleeping position ?

  31. The latex one I sleep on plus the extra soft one is laid down flat but the European pillows and any extra decorative ones are upright. For me it is maintaining the integrity of the main sleep pillow. So the same as Rosie:)

  32. I thought I’ve been doing it wrong after looking at yours and liking it. I reckon whatever the weather ?

  33. Oh my… i had no idea this was a thing! I’m like you and just lay them flat. Till the kids come along and throw them on the bloody floor anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

  34. haha I LOVE THIS!
    regular days — down
    feeling fancy — one up, one down.. and wait for it, the euro pillows come out and each one is different.. i.e.-one side of the bed euro is at the back, other side, euro at the front…
    for the life of me I have no idea why I do it like this, possibly saw it in a mag once and now think I am stylist extraordinaire?! hilarious when you stop and write out how you make the bed!

  35. Up against headboard but I have quite a few and of different sizes. Some get chucked aside when sleeping time arrives. I adjust pillows for tv/ipad reading all the time. Rarely flat in my bed.. The pillows that is. But.. When I had bedspread (decades ago) pillows were arranged under & bedspread went over all. doonas changed everything!

  36. Carly valentine says

    Perky here. The back head pillows he’ll hold up decorative pillows. And with them being up you can see them when u look at the bed?

  37. I like seeing your beds with pillows down, on top of the sheet folded over the doona! I always fold the top sheet over the doona to sleep but used to fold it under with pillows up when bed was made. I happily have top sheet showing and pillows down now, following your lead Beth! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Hi Beth, first I have to say I adore your work. I have been addicted to your blog since my friend Carolyn Tate from Champagne Cartel put me onto it. I find myself wanting to pattern clash my bed linen like mad, and lusting after Frankie4 shoes! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I had to jump in here to say I am from Australia, but I’m living in the US for a couple of years. In Australia, I always stood my pillows to attention (UP all the way), but as soon as I got over here, the trend was clearly to go with flat on the bed, like you do. I first saw the idea in the big and beautiful West Elm store over here, and after that I saw it almost everywhere else too. Some US hotels stand up their pillows, but it seems more common to lay them down. These days, I mix it up!

  39. funny beth!
    a bit of tunnel vision then hun?
    whatever floats your boat i say!
    mine are up!
    enjoy the foofing!
    love m:)X

  40. Wendy Pearson says

    As the song goes “The only way is up” but mines never look nice as they arent that foofy and have a tendency to look droopy and lame. So I reckon they would look better down. I think you’ve got it right Beth.

  41. Hi Beth, I have always thought proper bed making was about laying the pillows flat – as that’s how you sleep. It’s how my gran and mum did it and I never questioned there was any other way! I just assumed the UP way was a fake, artsy, staged technique for showcasing beds/linen/pillows in catalogues and magazines, but that no one actually did it in their homes. If you prop up multiple cushions you do have to just move them all when you go to bed at night, and put them all back in the morning – ain’t got time for that!

  42. Your bed making skills are inspiring ?

  43. I lay them flat like you Beth but it’s a nursing thing for me, that’s what we were taught at uni and I do at work. I like the look of up but I’ve just never bothered.

  44. I was always an ‘up’ girl, however since paying out a sh…load of money for my new bed frame/headboard I’m damned if I’m going to hide it… my pillows are now down, europeans are gone and I have simplified my accent cushions to 2.

  45. UP! I have them up and the bed is dressed. It is also good for when you first hop into bed and want to read/look at the ipad/feed a baby, and then I pop them down into the ‘sleeping’ position when I want to sleep.

  46. Donna J. Keith says

    Having worked at many hotels and resorts in my past, I was taught always to stand them up, usually shams on the outside and any colored pillows. It does dress up the bed a lot and invites guests to sit up in bed against the headboard while watching TV.
    I now work with missionaries in hospitality and we do the stand up pillows as well.

    I think it’s a lot like the difference with toilet paper rolling from the top usually in hotel settings, but many others like it coming from underneath. Online reference says the top presentation is the correct method, but . . . I think it’s about personal opinion these days.


  1. […] of them mocked me with their perky pillows though. I get that it’s less hassle and washing (I think?!) for housekeeping with the sheets […]

  2. […] you for your help in solving the issue of the pillow up/down thing. There’s not much more I like discussing than the mindless, menial tasks that make up […]

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