How to Get the Aesthetic Messy Bed Look

Hear us out: Unmade beds can be photogenic, too.

Photo: @potterybarn/Instagram

Learning how to make your bed—and make the bed comfortable for you—is a rite of passage. And common wisdom says that neglecting to make your bed can leave the bedroom looking scattered and messy. But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, there's a way to make your messy bed look great 24/7, even if it's unmade.

The aesthetically messy bed doesn't need the most comfortable bed sheets or accouterments from the hottest bedding websites, though those will certainly make the bed more comfortable. Here's how to make the bed with little effort and a lot of impact.


Not everyone will love the messy bed aesthetic. It does have a certain relaxed, boho vibe that may not fit into everyone's preferred style—anyone attached to a crisp fold and carefully arranged pillows will likely want to stick to their traditional bed-making ways. But anyone who struggles to remember to make the bed in the morning might appreciate a styled bed that can be left as-is and still looks fantastic.

What You Need:

  • Bed frame
  • Decorative sheets
  • Fluffy pillows and duvet
  • Extra blankets

How to Make a Messy Bed

Step 1: Purchase a Sturdy Headboard

All the other ingredients need something to lean against. A headboard provides the support a carefully unmade bed needs—even a wall will work if the bed is pushed against one. Prop pillows against it to keep the bed from looking flat, and prop yourself up on those pillows to read, watch TV, or scroll through your phone comfortably. (Don't worry about rumpling the sheets—they'll look better that way.)

Step 2: Add Some Lift With Bed Risers

Making a mattress on the floor look good is tricky, no matter how much you pile on top of it. Ideally, a well-made messy bed will have at least a few inches between the mattress and the floor, whether that's a pallet, a simple platform, or a full bed frame with an attached headboard. This bit of height also gives blankets, throws, and more room to drape, a very important part of making a messy bed look good. If you can't swing a whole new bed frame, add some bed risers for a more lifted look.

Step 3: Use a Fluffy Duvet

Truly unkempt beds look flat; good-looking, purposely unmade beds have a little fluff that helps the messiness look more intentional. Add a super fluffy duvet or comforter, or pile on the full pillows to give your bed the rumpled look that still seems put-together.

Step 4: Include an Odd Number of Pillows

Pillows work with a duvet or comforter to add volume to the bed, helping it look larger and more energetic. An odd-numbered assortment of varied sizes adds to the eclectic feel of the unmade bed. The pillows can be knocked on the floor at night and then tossed back on the bed in the morning—the scattered look only increases its beautifully messy appeal.

Step 5: Pile on Extra Layers

The careful rumple of a truly photo-worthy unmade bed comes from layers of bedding. A top sheet crumpled at the end of the bed looks sad and abandoned; a throw blanket on top of a duvet on top of a top sheet looks layered intentionally, no matter how untucked they all are.

Step 6: Incorporate Multiple Colors

A monochromatic messy bed is possible, but it can take a lot of layers and texture. Mixing up the colors a little is an easy way to add that contrast without piling on tons of blankets and pillows. They don't have to be the same family color: A green throw on top of cream bedding can look springy. Look for patterns or colors that are soothing or comforting, and don't be afraid to venture beyond the classic white bedding.

Step 7: Carefully Drape a Throw Blanket

The final touch for an unmade bed is a blanket carefully strewn on top of all the other ingredients. The logic is a little murky, but a throw blanket draped across the foot of a bed somehow ties the whole thing together. And draping doesn't need to be difficult—you may be surprised at how easy it is to toss a blanket on the bed and be done with it.

So there's your excuse for not making your bed. With this guide, the unmade bed is basically art. Next on your to-do list? Learn how to fold a fitted sheet.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles