What determines whether you should decorate above the bed? There are a few simple guidelines that can help you decide.

I am in the process of redecorating my guest room. Even though I’m not done, I know that one of the finishing touches will be decorating above the twin beds. Yet in my primary bedroom, I’ve always left the space above my bed empty.

So what determines whether you should decorate above the bed?

First, let me say that I don’t personally believe there are any “rules” in decorating.  I like to think of them more as guidelines, and even then, they are open to interpretation, personal preference and artistic license.  After all, that’s what makes each of us different and keeps life so interesting! 

But when I look at my bedrooms and make a determination as to whether I should have something over the bed, there are a few guidelines that I follow for my style of decorating.

The Focal Point of a Bedroom

Keep in mind that in a bedroom, the bed itself is almost always the focal point of the room, meaning that upon walking in, our eyes are drawn to the bed first.  From there, our eyes are then usually drawn upward to the wall before they scan around the rest of the room. 

As such, if the space on the wall above the bed is empty when it shouldn’t be, the space can feel “off.”  Likewise, if it’s filled when it shouldn’t be, it can feel too crowded. 

So here are my thoughts to help decide whether to decorate the space.

Looking for ideas as to what you should actually put above your bed? I’ve rounded up almost 30 Beautiful Ideas for Decorating Above the Bed

When You Should Decorate Above the Bed

Here are some situations in which it’s best to decorate above the bed.

1. When the headboard is low or the ceiling is tall

In both situations, there is ample wall space that can sometimes, look empty if there is nothing on the wall above the bed.  Hanging something over the bed can help keep your eye moving around the room.

TIDBITS & TWNE - Upholstered headboard with butterflies
{Image via Kara Mann Design}

2. When the bed is framed by windows and you don’t want the windows to detract from the bed

Sometimes, in order to keep the bed as the focal point, it’s necessary to create height uniformity with the surroundings.  This is especially true when the combination of windows, bed and ceiling create a “frame” around the wall space above the bed.

Sources clockwise top left: 1. Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper 2. Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper 3. Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper 4. Pinterest

3. When your goal is to create a focal point above the bed and not just on the bed itself

One caveat in this situation…Be sure that what you hang above the bed doesn’t compete with what you might be using on the wall behind the nightstands.

TIDBITS & TWINE - Focal point above bed
{Image via Courtney Giles}
TIDBITS & TWINE - Gallery wall above bed
{Image via Pinterest}

When You Should NOT Decorate Above the Bed

It’s not always essential to decorate above the bed and in fact, sometimes it’s better to leave the space empty!

1. When the bed takes center stage

Sometimes, you want the bed frame itself to be the focal point without any other distractions.

TIDBITS & TWINE - Black four poster bed
{Image via Traditional Home}
TIDBITS & TWINE - Black carved headboard
{via Pinterest}

2. When the headboard is tall and the ceiling low

This is the situation in my master bedroom and while I’d love to put something over the bed, anything I put there will just look like it’s squished into the space.  If there’s not enough room, best to leave the space blank.

TIDBITS & TWINE - Tall headboard
{via Decor Pad}

3. When your nightstand decor is enough

Sometimes, the decor on your nightstands is enough to balance out the bed and anything you hang on the wall would just compete with your other decor.  If that’s the case, leave the space blank!

TIDBITS & TWINE - Blue and orange nightstand
{via Pinterest}
TIDBITS & TWINE - Striped headboard
{via Hello Metro}

4. When you can’t secure something to the wall properly

Okay, this one might seem a little silly, but I live in earthquake country so being able to secure something to the wall properly is extremely important and always a consideration for me, especially when it’s above the bed!  If you decide to decorate above your bed, always make sure that you anchor items to the wall securely; otherwise, leave it empty!  Better to have an empty spot on the wall than risk it falling on your head.

Whether you hang something above your bed will also depend on the other walls in your space.  If they are empty, consider adding something over the bed.  If all of your walls are filled, maybe leave the space above your bed empty to create some negative space.  Again these are just guidelines and you should use your best judgement and artistic eye when deciding how you want to accessorize your space.

So now I’m curious, if you’ve decorated above your bed, how have you decorated it?  Art?  Mirrors?  Plates?  Let me know!

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  1. I have always wondered what to do with the space above my bed, and this blog post gave me some great insights! The tips on when and how to decorate above the bed are so practical and helpful. I love the idea of using artwork, mirrors, or even a gallery wall to add visual interest and make a statement in the bedroom. The examples and inspiration photos provided really illustrate how the right decor above the bed can enhance the overall aesthetic of the room.

  2. Brigitte Singh says:

    Hi Kim, thanks for sharing the above tips with us. I have found them useful. I hope people will find them useful too.

  3. Lisa Clare says:

    Very cool. I wonder if you might be able to advise me on how to decorate around my tall headboard? If it’s not too much of an imposition, perhaps I could send a pic?

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