10 tips to decorate above the bed - easy ways to create a unique focal point

Make the most of the expanse of space above your bed with expert advice

Grey bedroom with decorative plates above bed
(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

If you intend to decorate above the bed, it's worth taking your time to consider what will suit the room best, rather than being tempted to just fill the space. 

As it's the largest piece of furniture in a bedroom, the best spot for a focal point in your bedroom ideas is often above the bed and this will contribute to the overall feel of the room. Bedroom wall art ideas are the obvious choice and work well, but there are various other options that you may not have considered. 

10 tips to decorate above the bed

'From a striking mirror to a wall hanging, shelves to a gallery wall, decorating above the bed is an opportunity to be creative and bold,' says Ann Marie Cousins, founder, AMC Design. 'Just remember that it will sit above your head so think practically and ensure that whatever you decide on doesn’t protrude from the wall too much.'

Here are a few of our top tips for making a splash on an empty wall above a bed.

1. Trail leafy garlands to bring the outside in

trailing plants above bed

(Image credit: Future / Nick Smith)

An easy, effective and inexpensive way to add a charming indoor-outdoor feel to your room is to hang a few rows of artificial vine leaves or ivy above your bed.  

This fake foliage can be easily hung from tiny hooks or pinned to the wall or ceiling for a cascade of verdant colour and a calming effect.

Green garlands like this can be bought online for under a tenner and take minutes to hang for a quick and cheap transformation.  

2. Hang an eye-catching mirror

mirror above bed in a blue bedroom

(Image credit: Future / Adam Carter)

A mirror in a decorative frame can finish a bedroom beautifully and is a great alternative to hanging artwork over the bed. 

'The mirror can be a feature of the room, and if your bed is opposite a window, for example, the reflection of the outside through the window becomes a feature as well,' says Abbie Ireland, director, Patrick Ireland Frames

'The size of the mirror is important and should be relative to the size of the bed. Ideally, keep within two-thirds of the width of the bed to make sure the proportions work.'

3. Map your dream destinations

map above bed

(Image credit: Future)

In a kid's bedroom a map is a great way to decorate above the bed. As well as adding a splash of colour to a wall, a world map can fire up their imaginations. Prompting them to ask questions about other countries, cultures and dream destinations. 

Choose one with a matt finish, rather than a shiny or glossy surface that will reflect light as it will look better and be easier to read. For a more grown-up twist on this wanderlust, idea considers searching for an antique world map or one with connections to your home.

4. Have fun with neon lights

neon lights above bed

(Image credit: Future / Katie Lee)

If you've recently fulfilled your favourite bedroom wallpaper ideas, it can be a little trickier to decorate above the bed with artwork or print. So why not install a neon light or sign instead? 

Pick out a colour that you've already used in the room so that it sits well together with your wallpaper and a phrase that speaks to you, as you'll read it every day.

'The ultimate statement piece, neon wall signs act as both artwork and a subtle light feature in the bedroom,' says Lucy St George, Co-founder of Rockett St George. 'There is something effortlessly cool and rock ‘n’ roll about a neon light over the bed, especially when paired with wallpaper.

'With cost-effective LED neon widely available, you can be really playful with the design or even create your own neon sign with words that are meaningful to you. Either way, neon is a failsafe way to bring an instant injection of personality to the bedroom.'

5. Opt for a vibrant wall mural

Purple floral wall mural

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

A huge eye-catching wall mural is an impactful bedroom accent wall idea alternative to hanging a piece of art above the bed. Before you decide on the print, make sure it's something that you love and can live with, as you'll see it when you get up and before you go to bed at night.

'Wallpaper murals are a great way to give your room a new lease of life and transform a space,' says Chelsea Clark at I Love Wallpaper. 'A piece of art above the bed can add to the overall style of a room, whereas a wall mural can add warmth, depth and bring together the overall room design.'

6. Create a hanging cushion headboard

Black and white floral hanging cushion headboard

(Image credit: Future)

Another way to decorate above the bed is to make a feature of your headboard ideas. A design like this hanging cushion headboard is cost-effective and easy to achieve. 

'A patterned headboard is such a beautiful statement, that I wouldn’t recommend pairing it with anything else on the wall,' says Ann Marie at AMC Design. 'If it's on the larger size, the headboard is usually a feature in itself so I’d advise not to crowd it and let it do the talking on its own.'

'We should avoid using artwork in the bedroom and look towards using intricate headboards as a way of introducing personality to a space,' recommends Martin Waller, founder of global design brand Andrew Martin. 

7. Suspend a pair of pendant lamps

pendants over bed in a purple bedroom

(Image credit: Future / Dominic Blackmore)

Here, instead of hanging artwork above the bed, a pair of simple coloured glass pendants make an attractive alternative. This can also be a practical solution if there is too little space for mounted bedroom lighting ideas.

'Utilising pendants over to your bed is a bold style statement that offers a new element to your bedroom décor while saving you from the clunky lamps that take up valuable space on the bedside table,' says Marketa Rypacek, managing director, Industville Ltd.

Ensure the lamps are on a different circuit if you intend to have a central ceiling light as well, so that they can be switched on and off independently for reading or softening the mood. 

8. Choose an abstract artwork

abstract art above bed with green wall panelling

(Image credit: Project: Interior Fox / Photography: Veronica Rodriguez)

Hanging artwork above the bed will make an impact in your bedroom. However, you may want to select a piece that's soothing to your senses or even a selection of pieces for a bedroom picture wall idea.

'Your bedroom is your sanctuary so it’s important to be surrounded by things you love, that make you feel calm,' says Abbie Ireland at Patrick Ireland Frames. 'Artwork is completely subjective, so choose what makes you feel good.'

'Choosing a paint colour for the room and incorporating a statement piece of art to frame the bed works well,' says Jen Choate, co-founder, Interior Fox.

'Creating harmony within a decorative scheme is key. We like art to be displayed in odd numbers, one, three and five. One large piece of art above the bed, or three small ones is a good formula.'

8. Fill the wall with a hanging pendant

fish decoration above bed

(Image credit: Future)

Can't decide on a piece of art? Or just prefer something a little more simple or restful above your bed? Choose a hanging decoration in pale neutral tones instead. 

A hanging decoration or wall hanging will help add texture to the space. Go for a theme that ties in with your room scheme, such as a coastal vibe, if that's what you've gone for elsewhere in the room. Echoing a motif that you've used elsewhere will give your bedroom a final flourish and pull the look together.

9. Paint an accent shade above the picture rail

paint above picture rail

(Image credit: Future)

If you have opted for a bold patterned headboard, rather than detracting from it with an artwork or anything else hung on the wall, you could complement it with a striking paint idea instead.

Pick out an accent shade, such as this sunny yellow, and use this to colour block along and above a picture rail, or from around 30-40 cm from the ceiling. If you're feeling brave you could paint the entire ceiling in the same colour as well. 

10. Make a statement with small decorations

Grey bedroom with decorative plates above bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you only have a small sliver of the wall above your bed or are working with an awkward shape it can still be transformed into something beautiful. Play around with small decorative pieces to allow flexibility when decorating the space. 

Take small plates, woven baskets or micro pictures and layer them together to create a multi-media gallery wall that you can tailor to fit the space. If you have opted for a paired back bedroom colour scheme in the rest of the room, this is a great way to introduce a splash of colours or different shades. 

How should I decorate the wall above my bed?

There are a number of options from artworks, prints and photography to wall hangings, mirrors, murals or lighting. What suits will depend on the rest of your decor and whether your wall is plain or patterned, colourful or neutral; as well as the style, shape and colour of your headboard.

'If it's not art, we like to keep it simple, such as a patterned or textured wallpaper complimented with statement wall lights,' says Jen Choate, at Interior Fox. 

'If your wallpaper is busy, add a minimalist mirror on top with a clean silhouette so as not to distract too much from the pattern beneath,' says Ann Marie at AMC Design. 

'Alternatively, add a piece of art that includes tones and colours from the wallpaper so it ties in with the scheme. Another great way is to add a block colour headboard in a contrasting colour to really make a statement.'

What do you put above the bed?

Most people favour art or a print, however, panels of fabric, wall hangings, mirrors, pendants and 3D decorative objects or ornaments are popular too. Again, this depends whether your walls are plain or patterned. 

Just ensure that whatever you hang is securely fixed to the wall, as you don't want it falling off in the middle of the night. 

'Consider a picture ledge If you regularly like to interchange your art,' says Jen Choate at Interior Fox. 'You can also add smaller decorative objects or books for added interest.'


Jacky Parker is a freelance interiors & lifestyle journalist, specialising in modern interiors, design and eco living. She has written for Future’s interior magazines and websites including Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home for over fifteen years, both as a freelance contributor and inhouse, with stints as Acting Digital Editor, Livingetc and Acting Style Content Editor, Country Homes & Interiors. Her work also features in national and international publications including Sunday Times Style, Telegraph Stella, The Guardian, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and more. With years of experience in the industry Jacky is privy to the insider view and the go-to places for interior inspiration and design-savvy décor.