12 above the bed decor ideas that will fill that negative space instantly

Love a decorative feel? Above the bed decor can be the most perfect finishing touch for your bedroom. Get it right with these top tips

gray and coral bedroom with coral headboard, gray side table and bedding, gold starburst mirror, gray rug, blind
(Image credit: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

Above the bed decor ideas can solve that tricky problem of how to deal with that space between the top of your headboard and the ceiling. Depending on how high they are, this could be a deep space. 

When it comes to bedroom ideas, decorating over the bed can make or break a bedroom scheme. And if it’s the master bedroom you’re tackling then getting the proportions right will be key. 

‘The height of the headboard and the ceiling play a large part in deciding what to place in the space between the headboard and the ceiling. Scale is very important as you don’t want the piece to be too large making the bed look small or selecting artwork that is too small as that tends to look cheap,’ says Mark Lavender, principal designer of M. Lavender Interiors.

It’s also a place to create a focal point and add a decorative element to your bedroom scheme. All you need is a spot of inspiration and some clever over the bed decor ideas.

1. Opt for double use 

gray and white bedroom with rattan shelf above the bed, neutral textured bedding, wooden floor, rug

(Image credit: Colette Interiors/@raquellangworthy.photo)

We're all for double usage here, and this rattan bookshelf ticks all the boxes as Trish Lynn, founder and principal designer at Colette Interiors explains:

'It adds dimension and texture to this over-bed area, plus it's a welcome place to set books and décor.'

For a design scheme to work, it needs key elements like color and texture, and a shelf made from rattan will certainly offer both. Don't overload it with clutter, keep it simple with a couple of books, a scented candle, and a small trailing plant. 

For a similar look check out H&M Home's rattan wall shelf.

2. Create your own sun

gray and coral bedroom with coral headboard, gray side table and bedding, gold starburst mirror, gray rug, blind

(Image credit: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

Add glamour with this starburst wall decor that will add some sunshine to your space. Wayfair's gold sunburst wall decor is a good match and reminiscent of Art Deco era which was all about gold elements with lustrous finishes. You can hang three in a row for extra impact or simply place one in the middle of the space. 

The gold finish works really well with coral tones and the amber glass lamp base ties in the color perfectly.

3. Make your wall decor into a storage space

bedroom with beige textured walls, box shelving above bed, gray and orange bedding

(Image credit: Ikea)

When space is tight and there's no room for a shelving unit, make the most of your above bed space and add a decorative aspect as well as a place to store your favorite pieces. 

This is where bedroom shelf ideas come in. IKEA's Eket boxes are ideal for this, you can hand them in different combinations, paint them to suit your scheme and use the top of them as a shelf as well as the interior – what's not to like? 

4. Add wall lights to the mix 

white bedroom with gray and black elements, artwork, green bed pillows, black wall lights, gray bed, black bedside tables

(Image credit: Interior Fox/Veronica Rodriguez)

'The bed is the focal point of any bedroom, and the area above is the perfect spot for artwork and wall lights. For maximum impact, opt for larger pieces of art over the bed, this elevates the room and brings the entire scheme together.'

'If you’re stuck for what color or design to opt for, take this opportunity to pull in an accent color. Whether that’s black used in the furniture or a color from the soft furnishings, sticking to this rule will make the room flow and feel cohesive. 

Wall lights make a great alternative to table lamps as they free up the space while creating symmetry and balance. Swingarm wall lights are both decorative and functional, the extendable fixture works for directing light while you’re reading or can be swiveled to the side for a soft ambient glow,' say Jen and Mar, co-founders of Interior Fox

5. Consider personal pieces 

pastel bedroom with patterned blanket, rattan bed, wall decor, wardrobes

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

'There's nothing more perfect than hanging above the bed wall decor pieces that resonate with you. They could be from a special family trip, an heirloom or simply a paint palette like this one shown here.'

Choose something that means the most to you – a passed-down tapestry that you could have framed is another great example. 

6. Hang linear artwork in pairs

neutral bedroom with wooden bedside, textured white and oatmeal bedding and rug, basket, white table lamp, artwork

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop)

The artwork in this bedroom designed by Lindye Galloway really stands out. The black frames draw your eye to that magic spot between the headboard and picture rail. The design has a linear quality which is reflected in the foliage stems sitting in the vases. 

Keep the colors simple so as not to distract – this look is about balance and earthy natural elements working together.

7. Get creative with shallow rattan bowls

purple and white bedroom, ticking stripe headboard, rattan discs on wall

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

This is a great above the bed decor idea, if fact it's almost two if you consider the eggplant, gray and white paint design as well! These large rattan bowls really create impact visually, if you want to copy this idea then opt for even numbers – a stylist tip – and vary the sizes. 

Amazon have rattan woven basket wall decor which would work in a bedroom, living room or dining room. Make sure what you choose will work with your color scheme, if you're on a budget then source round rattan or seagrass placemats, they will do the job nicely too.

8. Hang your favorite flags

white bedroom with black bed, flags on wall, mirror on wall, black side lamp, leather side table

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop)

The beauty of choosing above the bed decor is that it's totally personal and can reflect what you love the most. It could be a collection of favorite flags – they create an interesting shape when placed in pairs and certainly aid to fill negative white space. 

You can tie them in visually by pulling through the colors into the rest of the scheme, here the black of the flags becomes an accent with the headboard, table lamp and mirror.

9. Wood carvings add texture

cream bedroom with brown bed, mahogany side tables, plant, artwork, blinds, cream bedding

(Image credit: M. Lavender Interiors/Cynthia Lynn)

In this room the space between the headboard and ceiling is very narrow due to the downlights – which of course have their use, and a very good one at that – so this means you need to consider the shape of what you choose carefully and this wood carving is perfect. 

'We like to use something sculptural – like a wood carving that brings some texture and dimensionality to your space,' says Mark Lavender, principal designer of M. Lavender Interiors.

10. The classic mirror 

bedroom with blue wave wallpaper, blue stripe blanket, large mirror, side table, chairs, view to patio

(Image credit: Maestri Studio/Par Bengtsson)

One of the most obvious ways to fill that space is to hang a mirror, yet it's not always something we consider, especially if we've chosen a beautiful wallpaper on that wall. 

There are several bonuses to using a mirror idea, it can make a room feel larger and it will bounce light around in darker spaces. Choosing the right shape is key, here, this circular design really hits the mark as the wallpaper design is has a curvy feel which is mimicked in the mirror. A square or rectangular mirror would look too angular to the eye. 

Don't forget to hang your mirror correctly, even the most tricky and heavy! For a similar style see Anthropologie's Rowan mirror

11. Invest in an elegant canopy 

blush bedroom with green and white canopy, floral quilt and pillows, cream bedsides, patterned rug

(Image credit: Mary Patton Design/Molly Culver)

There's something very 'Downton Abbey' about a canopy above the bed isn't there, and it brings a wonderful elegance to a bedroom. If you love DIY it's possible to make a no-sew canopy or ask a seamstress to make one in your favorite fabrics to match your scheme. They are the ultimate in above-the-bed decor ideas and add depth and decoration when crafted using a darker fabric inside. 

Follow the color scheme through into the window drapes and pick out key tones for the decorative accessories, which in this case are the pretty floral quilt and matching bed pillows. 

12. Place your bed in front of the window

neutral bedroom with ensuite, rattan bed, cream and pale blue accessories, patterned rug, drapes at window, ceiling fan

(Image credit: Mel Bean Interiors/Laurey Glenn)

For the ultimate in above the bed decor ideas position your bed in front of the window, sounds like a simple solution – and it really is. Naturally, it depends on the size, shape, and position of the window, but it's a great interior design trick that can work wonders. 

In an ideal situation, the width of the bed will match the width of the drapes, but as long it's symmetrical to the window it will work visually. In a neutral bedroom scheme let the bed be the focal point and the window secondary, as the result is a really calming scheme that's swathed in natural light. 

What should I put on my wall above my bed?

Janelle Burns, lead interior designer at Maestri Studio says:

'We tend to like mirrors and decor over the bed. Artwork isn't my first choice because it presents viewing challenges when over a bed in that it's a really inconvenient location to comfortably view art.'

How should I decorate the wall behind the bed?

'Wallpaper is a great way to create an accent wall behind the bed, and adding wall sconces can give it a special sophisticated look,' says Lindye Galloway, founder and CCO of Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop.

Burns adds:

'If you have a large wall and aren't sure what to do with it- select a taller headboard. This little trick allows you to take up wall space and remove the need to put something on the wall over the bed. If you have a lower headboard, some of our most favorite decor to use is a product called Wall Play... it's a product that comes in a variety of 3D shapes that you scatter on the wall – it's a really cool and graphic statement that is perfect for over a bed.'

'We tend to go a couple of ways,' says Mark Lavender, principal designer of M. Lavender Interiors. 'Sometimes we install a nice patterned wallpaper on the wall behind the bed allowing the pattern to act as the artwork. Other times, we go with paintings, reliefs or carvings to go above the bed.  If we are going with multiple pieces above the bed, we recommend using a single size piece if you are installing multiple pieces.'

What kind of artwork should I choose?

'If we place artwork over a bed, it's typically something graphic and easy to fully appreciate from afar,' says Janelle. 

'Something too detailed or just really interesting and nuanced can lose effectiveness when placed over a bed- since, to properly view the piece, you would have to be on the bed itself. We evaluate the artwork and its suitability for viewing from the middle of the room.'

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.