6 Simple Sleigh Bed Decorating Ideas with Tips and Tricks
A sleigh bed is a heavy bed often made of solid wood. It features a curved or scrolled footboard and headboard, thus resembling a sled or sleigh. Modern sleigh beds are made from a variety of materials including wood, iron, steel and aluminum, and often possess less exaggerated curves. With such a variety of materials, sleigh beds can be placed into any bedroom to provide a distinctive center piece. This article discusses different sleigh bed decoration ideas so you can alter a sleigh bed to match room decor.
To decorate a sleigh bed, integrate fabric detailing, add luxurious bedding that matches room decor, decorate with bohemian quilts and mandala, paint the bed frame to match the bedding or add buttons to a fabric headboard for a tufted look.
Sleigh Bed Decorating Ideas
1. Integrate Fabric Detailing And Upholstery On The Headboard
Sleigh beds tend to be made from wood, but you can add upholstery to make the sleigh bed look more romantic, stylish, and modern. Adding upholstery to the headboard of the bed is simple, inexpensive, and quick. Here’s a video that has more detailed instructions than the general instructions below.
To integrate fabric detailing like upholstery, first remove the headboard from the bedframe with a screwdriver and set it on the floor.
Next, measure the length and width of your headboard so you know how much foam and batting you’ll need.
Trace the outline of the headboard onto the foam to cover all the curves and cut the foam to the size and shape of the headboard. Cut the batting as well and don’t forget to leave a few extra inches to staple it to the back of the headboard.
Now that you have the foam and the batting, lay the foam on top of the headboard and cover it with batting.
Lift the headboard up and pull the batting to the back of the headboard. Staple the top of the batting to the back with a staple gun. And repeat on all the sides of the headboard.
Cover the batting with the desired fabric, and reattach the headboard to the bed frame.
|Materials required||Link to Product on Amazon||Prices|
|Foam||FoamTouch Upholstery Foam||~$40|
|Staple gun||Wetols Staple Gun||~$20|
|Batting||Warm Company Batting||~$20|
|Fabric||Use Cotton Fabric, Leather Upholstery Fabric, or Vinyl Upholstery Fabric||~$15-$55|
Do you think a sleigh bed is too big for your apartment? Make sure to read our related article with 6 tips to use sleigh beds in a small apartment too.
2. Add Luxurious Bedding On Top of the Sleigh Bed
By utilizing specific bedding and placements, you can accent the curved headboard and footboard of a sleigh bed. Decorative rails can also add a pop of style to a sleigh bed.
Avoid dressing the bed with floor-length spreadsheets. Instead use a comforter, quilt, coverlet or duvet cover that hangs no more than 2 inches below the rails on each side. Your goal is to show off the rails of the sleigh bed. For a clean look, tuck the foot and sides of the cover behind the footboard and rails when you make the bed.
Avoid comforters or quilts that have ruffled edges or jumbo welts because they compete with the stylish rails on the bed.
Pillow shams can also be used to dress up a sleigh bed. Avoid using large shams since they can hide the headboard. Instead, choose smaller rectangular pillow shams designed for your mattress size instead. Stack them flat on the mattress at the head of the bed with your bed pillows hidden underneath or lean them against the headboard at a 45-degree angle.
For additional accents, add a row of decorative throw pillows that are square, rectangular or round shaped, in front of your pillow shams.
For a more traditional look near the footboard, place a folded quilt or blanket horizontally, width-wise, across the foot of the bed.
|Materials Required||Products From Amazon||Price|
|Duvet||Bed Sure Duvet||~$25|
|Pillow Shams||Bed Sure Standard Pillow Shams||~$10|
|Decorative Pillows||Uhomy 2-Pack of Decorative Pillows||~$15|
Make sure to also take a look at some of our other sleigh bed comforter ideas for more tips and tricks.
3. Decorate The Sleigh Bed with a Bohemian Design
According to HGTV, Bohemian designs utilize a variety of colors and textures to give a room an eclectic look. You might think this doesn’t mesh well with a traditional sleigh bed, but you’d be surprised! Sleigh beds with curved headboards and footboards complement a bohemian look very well.
Commonly, boho designers like to pair wicker sleigh beds with bohemian elements.
One element involves placing a macrame quilt or a mandala patterned duvet on the mattress and tucking it at the footboard and headboard. Make sure to leave 2 inches hanging on the sides of the bed.
You can also add a woven throw blanket on the sled at the top of the headboard or footboard. If the throw has fringes, that’s even better because it adds some spice!
For the area around the bed, hang a tapestry on the wall above the bed, hanging plants, or a dreamcatcher with warm lights. If you have more space in your bedroom add some plants. Apple and Oak has a great list of bohemian design elements that you can add to a room.
|Materials required||Link to Amazon||Price|
|Woven Throw||DII Modern Zig-Zag Woven Throw||~$20|
|Bohemian Duvet||Wake In Cloud - Bohemian Duvet||~$40|
|Tapestry||Sun and Moon Tapestry||~$10|
|Boho Pillow||Boho Room Decor Pillows||~$20|
|Hanging decorations||Dremisland Macrame Woven Wall Hanging Moon Dream Catcher |
Macrame Wall Hanging Shelf
4. Paint The Sleigh Bed an Unexpected Color
Another sleigh bed decorating idea is to add a splash of color to a sleigh bed. Since sleigh beds can match almost any room style, you can adapt them to your needs. Have a kids room? Paint the sleigh bed with a bright color. You can even add stickers on the bed as additional decorations. Want a traditional look? Upholster your bed with a darker fabric and stain the wood dark.
You can also add different types of finishes after painting your sleigh bed:
- Glossy paint adds a sheen
- Satin paint gives the furniture a muted finish
- Eggshell adds a paler eggshell-like color with a low sheen.
Alkyl oil-based paints work best for everyday wooden beds. These paints harden over time and are resistant to scuff marks.
If you want to paint a sleigh bed, make sure you determine whether you need to sand it down first. In general, you can paint a finished bed frame without having to sand it first.
You can also use chalk paint which minimizes prep steps and is commonly used for DIY furniture painting. Here’s a more indepth video on chalk painting furniture.
In general here are the steps:
1. Clean The Frame
You don’t have to strip off any old paint or varnish anything. Just clean the frame with alcohol before painting.
2. Paint The Frame
With chalk paint you don’t have to worry about the strokes. Just paint freely! You may have to put on more coats than usual, depending on the color of the unpainted wood.
3. Apply Some Wax
The wax will seal the color and stop debris and water getting into the finish. Apply the wax in small sections. Make sure to use a separate brush besides the one you are using for your painting.
|Materials required||Link to Amazon||Price|
|Paint brush||Chip Paint Brushes||~$15|
|Blocking Primer||Multi-Surface Stain||~$80 (for 5 gallons)|
|Main paint (as desired)||Hemway Sky Blue Chalk Based Furniture Paint||~$40|
|Paint roller and cover||Paint Rollers Set||~$15|
|Sealer||Multi Purpose Sealer||~$10|
4. Add a Bed Skirt to the Sleigh Bed
Adding a bed skirt to a sleigh bed is different from any other bed since the rails are decorative and you don't want to hide them.
In order to ensure that the attention is drawn to the rails, choose a tailored or pleated bed skirt instead of a heavily ruffled one.
Install the bed skirt so it hangs behind and beneath the footboard and side rails. If the top of your box spring is hidden by the rails, you can use a bed skirt with split corners and an attached deck that rests on the box spring. If your box spring sits higher than the top of the rails, choose a three-piece bed skirt with one piece each for the footboard and each side of the bed. Attach it to the backside of the footboard and rails with hook-and-loop tape.
If you’re wondering whether your sleigh bed needs a box spring, take a look at our article.
|Materials required||Link to Amazon||Prices|
|Bed skirt||Pleated Bed Skirt||~$15|
|Hook-and-loop tape||Hook and Loop Tape Sticky Back||~$10|
You might also find our sleigh bed height guide interesting too so make sure to check it out!
5. Add Buttons on A Fabric Headboard For a Luxurious Sleigh Bed Decoration
Converting a plain padded headboard into a tufted headboard can be visually stunning.
If you have some extra fabric to match the fabric of the headboard, or if you have some fabric in a complementary color to the headboard, you can easily assemble as many half-ball fabric buttons as you need and put buttons on a fabric headboard to give it a whole new look.
Use the following set of steps as a general guideline. For a more detailed guide, take a look at this article.
- Cover the buttons with the same kind of fabric as the one of the headboard
- Mark the desired locations for each button onto the plywood backing of the headboard.
- Insert a 1/8-inch hole through each location using a drill.
- Attach the buttons using a needle and a thread. Starting at the back of the headboard, pass the threaded needle through to the front fabric. Make sure that the buttons are snug and not drooping. Don’t forget to knot it several times to secure the buttons.
|Materials required||Link to Amazon||Prices|
|Thread and fabric needle||Upholstery Repair Kit||~$10|
How to Make a Sleigh Bed More Modern
Sleigh beds come in a variety of designs and styles. Each design will need its own set of tweaks to make it look ‘more modern’. Below we’ve given you some tips. You can also get some ideas by looking at alternatives like panel beds vs. sleigh beds.
To make a sleigh bed more modern, you should paint it a new color, add wood or stud detailing, or add a bed canopy.
1. Paint It a New Color
As we discussed above, you can easily change the color of a sleigh bed frame by using chalk paint. Use color to match your sleigh bed to your modern bedroom decor.
While white is the most common color in a modern room, you can also use other colors like light blue or pink for a stylish look. Add some simple stylist accessories such as throw cushions on a sofa bed in the room and harmonize the color palette in the bedroom. These boho style cushions look amazing in a room with modern decor.
2. Add Wood or Stud Detailing
An intricate or detailed wooden sleigh bed design is a perfect choice in a modern bedroom with wooden floor.
Adding wood details takes a lot of effort and we wouldn’t recommend doing it at home unless you are an avid DIYer. This article from Fine Wood Working gives you several methods of making a sleigh bed with wood details.
However, consider adding some stud detailing and upholstery on the headboard and footboard for a great modern touch. We’ve detailed how to do this above in our article.
3. Add a Bed Canopy
Canopy beds are still revered for their romantic appeal. You can convert a sleigh bed into a canopy bed by adding a bed canopy. The best part is...it’s also really easy and cheap! We’ve covered what the difference is between sleigh beds vs. canopy beds in our article, in case you’re curious.
Choose canopies that hang from the ceiling without touching the floor. Your goal is to still see the headboard, footboard, rails, and curves.
You can install a grommet in each corner of the canopy fabric, string rope through each hole, and then tie the panel to the ceiling by means of hooks or screws. This idea also works perfectly in bohemian style if you picked up a grand tapestry with a mandala pattern.
Are Sleigh Beds Out of Style?
Sleigh beds are not out of style since there are many different varieties and designs of sleigh beds. Several sleigh bed designs can complement a modern room decor.
Although sleigh beds were originally inspired from classic designs, it doesn’t mean they fit only in classical bedrooms. Also sleigh beds offer a noticeable amount of flexibility so that you can change their appearance with simple ideas like painting or decorating them. We’ve covered a lot of different sleigh bed styles and sleigh bed design ideas in our other articles.
Don’t forget to use the area underneath the bed as a storage area! This sleigh bed on Amazon has plenty of underbed storage space.