My friend is redoing her master bedroom and can’t decide what to hang above her bed. I told her there are a medley of options available, from mirrors to artwork to nothing at all. Her dilemma got me thinking … so I came up with ten different ideas for what to hang or display above a bed in a master or guest bedroom.
1. Mirrors, Large and Small. A mirror is a natural choice since large or small, they create an instant focal point above the bed. You can always balance out a large scale piece with smaller artwork off to the side above the nightstands.
2. Black and White Photographs. A series of black and white photographs framed above a bed is always a sophisticated classic – the bigger the better!
3. Artwork. An inspiring work of art is a perfect choice for placing focus above the bed and a great place to look for cues when choosing a color palette for a room.
4. Salvage. A rustic or antique piece of wood or iron provides amazing contrast against the softness of bed linens. Salvaged doors are repurposed as a headboard to give character to Maria’s relaxing bedroom below.
Better Homes & Gardens
5. Canopy or Cornice. Elegant and tailored, a fabric canopy is a sure way to soften the bedroom and give an enclosed and enveloping feel to the bed.
Alexa Hampton via Habitually Chic
6. Trays or Plates. With so many decorative platters, trays, and plates available, both new and vintage, why not use them vertically instead? Create an artistic arrangement for a unique statement.
7. Whimsy. Butterfly sculptures or feather juju hats? Sure! It’s your bedroom, be playful and add a dose of personality with something quirky cool and unexpected.
8. Wallpaper or Stencil. A repeating pattern in wallpaper stands on its own and rarely needs further embellishment, although a mirror on top looks great too! Pair coordinated bedding to complete the look.
9. Curtains. There’s no rule that requires beds be against a wall, in fact some rooms make that impossible. While technically not hung above, but off to the side, curtains are the finishing touch to a bed that sits under a window, just be sure to have light blocking shades behind them for catching extra ZZZs.
Better Homes & Gardens
10. Nothing. Who says something above your bed is a must? Not true, especially with a statement like a four poster or bold upholstered headboard. Art, mirrors, windows, or lamps on each side are often enough. The emptiness above the bed gives the eye a place to rest and adds to the serenity.
What’s hanging above your bed? Something mentioned on the list? Nothing? Still on the hunt? Do tell.
I love these ideas, but being a Southern California native, I thought I should say that those who live in earthquake country should be careful about what kinds of objects they place over their beds (in case there is an earthquake in the middle of the night… you don’t want those things falling on your head while you’re sleeping!). I don’t know if those who live in earthquake country but didn’t grow up there are aware. Thanks :)
Hi Kaitlin, we have that same concern up here in Northern Cali, you’re right – anything glass or heavy should definitely be secured to wall studs or avoided in quake country!
I just bought a set of oars to hang over our bed. But first I have to decide if I’m going to leave them as-is, stain & distress them, or paint them. Decisions, decisions… :)
Oh wow Jen, oars sound like a very cool option!
Great idea. I have vaulted ceilings in my bedroom so the wall behind the bed is tall. I have never been able to figure out what to place over the bed so the space has remained blank.
You read my mind! Just about every day (or several times a day) I wonder what to do with the odd space about my bed. A floral metal tray has been there for a few years but we’re not crazy about it. And it really does not look right with the new bedding. I always have my eye out for the right piece of artwork but it has to be horizontal, as the headboard is high and the ceilings are average.
Looking at all your ideas, I realize that for my space, my favorite look is #10, absolutely NOTHING!
So off I go to take down the tray and hardware…. timing is right since today my husband is removing some shelves and spackling the walls in our master bedroom. Yes, he has turned into Centsational Guy (lost his job a few weeks ago and he’s been non-stop with the home improvement! Even repainted and cleaned our outside light fixtures – thanks for the dual-inspiration Kate!)
I have a large mirror over my bed and I love it!!!
Great ideas, Kate. I’ve been looking for the right piece(s) to go over my sofa. How about 10 ideas for over the sofa next ;)
these are all great ideas! i have nothing above my bed(yet). i’m leaning towards wall paper behind it, but we’ll see….:-)
This is a cool post !
I have nothing above our bed. Now I have so many ideas !
Thank you for a great post !
Nothing at all over this SoCal home’s bed. But these are great options for over the sofa!
great ideas…we currently have a large intricate iron piece over our bed…held securely to the studs as we would be dead if it fell on us – its that heavy!
thanks for this post, its got me thinking it might be time for a change…
Whatever you hang, make sure it is hung securely! I no longer hang objects that have glass, sharp points or are heavy above beds, I love a good nights sleep better than having any worries that something may fall on myself or others in bedrooms I’ve worked on. I came to this realization after hanging a heavy mirror above the bed in my master only to wake up in the middle of the night to take it down. Luckily there are always options that are also safe…can you tell this is a thing with me?!?! :)
We have a ledge shelf above our that enables me to change out objects for different seasons.
I love these ideas!
Thank you, thank you! The wall above our bed has been blank for ages…the whole room needs a new look, quite honestly. It has no look at all. :s Thanks for sharing your tips!
All great ideas Kate. I have a large mirror over our bed, but it’s not “the one”, so I’m always on the hunt for the right mirror. I’ll find it at some point. ;)
Thank you for this post!! I am working on my master bedroom now and am planning a sunburst mirror above. Love the idea of other pieces of art hung over the nightstands. You are always so inspiring to me!
Such great ideas and lovely images for inspiration. I’m working on my guest room now so I’m sure I’ll refer back to these ideas.
To answer your question Kate I’d have to say I have a combination of items from your list: there are curtains directly behind my bed and hanging in front of the curtains is a sunburst mirror. But that’s all done to create an illusion of a solid wall behind my bed, which it is not. I have a wonky off-centered mess-up-the-furniture-plan, window behind our bed. To create the illusion that my windows are logically placed and for symmetry we installed plantation shutters flanking the curtain on both sides. So technically, I guess that’s all behind my bed! We’re really thrilled with the result and how we solved that pesky window problem!
You did a great job with all these ideas! My faves are the black and white bedroom and the turquoise and white room, nice, clean and gorgeous!
We are in NE Ohio, and since the wall behind our headboard gets cold in the winter months, we have a patchwork quilt hanging there. It adds great color and texture, and insulates us from the cold.
I struggle with this as well, thanks for the roundup!
You did a fabulous job with this post — I love all of the ideas! Above our bed are two framed pieces of artwork that we love. But this gives me a lot of great ideas since we are changing it soon! :-)
Love this post! I’m planning on using old shutters as a headboard, so I dont know if I’ll need anything else, but it’s good to know options!
I have my bed in front of my window. I chose against using a headboard or footboard because I wanted the bedding to stand out. I sewed curtains using white seersucker fabric lined with white muslin. It frames my bed nicely.
Those DIY curtains do sound perfect Moriah, so breezy!
I’ve got sculptures over my bed. Some of my friends worry about them crashing down on me during an earthquake, but those suckers are stuck up there good. ; )
I recognise that $400 dollar green cushion in pic number three – must be Karen’s room! (art of doing stuff). Great post, I have nothing above mine yet but the two screws the previous owner used for their head board. *Really* must do something about that!
Yep Sebra, that’s Karen’s place! I love how she incorporated the wood antiques into her space, so cozy, she’s a favorite!
My bedroom wall is stenciled and looks like wallpaper and I have a grouping of antique empty wooden frames painted white over the bed. I love all your examples!
Wow Laurie, that sounds stunning! I love the idea of empty frames layered over a wall stencil, gorgeous!
I’m planning to stencil large banana leaves on one wall with a woven headboard for my bed. I may purchase a round mirror framed with driftwood spikes around it over the stenciling. I’ll see how it looks. I like the empty frame idea.
We’re actually in the process of trying to figure out what to hang above our bed, so this is a great post for me! :) We’re leaning towards a collection of antique mirrors – it’s just a matter of tracking a bunch of them down!
I love these pictures. We have a giant photograph of us on our wedding day. I love how our bathroom mirror is across the room, so while we are in bed, we can see the photo hanging above us in the mirror. I love thinking back to the joy and sparkle in our eyes…in brings me back to that moment every day…it’s my favorite house style decision in our house :)
Hi Kassie! We had our wedding photo above our bed for years with a mirror across too, I loved it!! Now it sits above Matt’s tall dresser, but I agree, a wedding photo is the perfect wall decor in a master bedroom!
We’ve got three photos of us-color-with the word “Love” above that in wrought iron :)
But all of these are fun ideas!
Susan, that sounds personal and perfect – the best kind of display!
love these ideas! Currently I have artwork on my wall, but would love to switch it up with mirrors someday. Thanks KAte!
I had a beautiful nature photograph from my wedding above my bed. When I bought a taller bed frame, I elected to go with “nothing.” It sounds stark, but I actually think I prefer it now: it feels calmer somehow.
I think this stumps so many people. Good ideas and I love the wallpaper! xxx Kristin
Ok…so I have to admit that when I saw the title of your post about things to hang above the bed, my my immediately drifted in a whole different direction…wondering if you were going to post about some sort of swing contraption. Apparently, 50 Shades infiltrated my psyche, and I haven’t even read it yet.
Once I picked my mind up out of the gutter, I love your ideas. My 10 yr. old wedding bouquet is above the bed, kind of cool, kind of dusty. I think I can do better… : ) Thanks for the inspirations!
we have a wall paper on our bed wall. We also have a VERY small bedroom (like 10’x11′) with a King bed so I tried to keep it simple so it doesn’t look cluttered.
I love this!…I just did a Master Bedroom post this week…Mine still needs some work, but these are some great inspirations. I fall into the window/curtains category. :) Great post, Kate!
some of these scare me even tho they look great! Having a friend who survived the Northridge earthquake and warned me to NOT have stuff over the bed & having felt a few myself, I would not want what could be a lethal weapon should it get jolted right off the wall, over my head!!!. PLEASE be careful especially when putting things over your bed if you live in an earthquake zone.
3 black and white photos framed in black…glad to see it on your list!
We have a huge round mirror above our bed. I keep thinking of replacing it with a big LOVE sign, but haven’t gotten around to that yet!
I adore the black and white photos but I love the mirrors…. oh no!… now I can’t decide!
Great ideas for over the bed decor! I prefer to have nothing over my bed (respresents less stress in my life) but other beautiful pairs of items around my room. From a Feng Shui perspective, it’s best to have items in pairs of two (ex. a picture that has two flowers) or items that represent romance since the master bedroom is the room of romance. So it you want to spice up your relationship or attract a relationship into your life, focus on a pair of pictures. In respect to mirrors – if you do not sleep really well at night, limiting the amount of mirrors in your bedroom is best. Mirrors reflect the light and also the energy in the room, creating a more active and chaotic feel in the room.
elz says: add a big LOVE sign – perfect idea!
Feng Shui expert!
I’ve hang curtains above the bed!
Love, love, love this post. Thank you for compiling :-) We are in the process of buying our first house and so I will be visiting your site a lot more often now. Previously I just dreamed, now I can explore your site with the view of making it happen :-) Very excited
I have a a silk antique drapery panel I bought years ago hanging over one of the beds. I’ve been kicking around the idea of taking the legs off this big metal outdoor table I have (you know the old style ones) and spray painting it one colour then putting a stencil design of some kind on it and spray painting in another colour and hanging that over the bed.
Excellent post! I have art work above the bed, but now keep thinking of wedding photos or stencils…. I am struggling with chandeliers for my tiny dinning room. I need somtinhg that can have the chain go like a semi circle because the eletrical hole for it is not centered in the room… I hope some day you could inspire us with dyi chandeliers… Thanks!
Hi Mariella, you can always work with the off position of your chandy by swagging it. I’ve done that in my daughter’s bedroom, our dining room, and in our kid’s study. If you have enough chain/wire, it’s easy, just buy one of those strong ceiling hooks they sell in the hardware department, they have ones designed for just that purpose and secure it to your ceiling over where you want the chandelier to hang … they’d work great for hanging planters too, now that I think of it!
Ok – how weird was that? Just after i posted a message i saw your post on chandellires at centsational style…. Lol thanks!!
Hi Kate –
My bedroom is sort of tropical do it yourself Tommy Bahama style with dark wood furniture, creamy white walls, monstera leaves, and a leaf green comforter/shams on the bed. I had a great idea about a year ago to amp up the tropical feel by hanging a bamboo window shade from the ceiling which hangs down behind our high headboard. I hung a small green sign in the middle of the bamboo shade that I’ve had forever that says “dream”. I already had the bamboo shade and sign so it was a totally free idea that really made an impact in the room!
Hey, great post! My husband and I bought our first home last year and we are slowly but surely making it our own. This had given me some great ideas for our room and the guest rooms.
I have a large salvaged piece of door trim screwed into the studs. It has a perfect ledge for propping black and white pictures. I like the clean look of the black and white photos with the very rustic look of the old trim.
Hey! That’s my bedroom! AND my cat! (the one from Style at Home with the cat on the bed and big green pillow) I was actually JUST thinking about painting my bedroom suite even though it’s a beautiful wood. But now seeing it again in the pictures … hmm … looks pretty good. Thank you for confusing me even more. I’ll never make a decision on this now. ~ karen!
No don’t paint Karen! Especially with all that white, I LOVE that contrast, and your green pillow, and your kitty. Don’t change a thing! xo
I love posts with all in one, rather than looking for inspirations from all over the place. Great Post!
Karen/Art of Doing Stuff: It would be an absolute crime for you to paint your gorgeous bedroom set. Some woods just shouldn’t be painted and your bedroom set is an example of that.
Our bed is in the corner, so there is not a wall directly behind to hang anything on. I bought curtain rods and shiny curtains from Target and hung them close to the ceiling, with a capiz chandelier in the middle that acts as a reading lamp. I love the way it looks like a large, fabric headboard. There is a photo here: http://pinterest.com/pin/50454458294869999/
Kate (and anyone else who lives in earthquake country) – what do *you* hang above your bed? We’re in the Bay Area as well and while I love the idea of mirrors above the bed, I’m terrified of actually hanging them there given the possibility of earthquakes. Or is there a way of securing them to the wall that would prevent them falling and shattering all over in an earthquake?
Hi Samantha, I actually have a mirror over my bed, the D ring hooks are secured to wall studs and in Matt’s opinion “ain’t goin’ anywhere” – there are kits you can buy that give you extra security too.
I love this post. I’ve been looking for something to hang above my large headboard and you have given me so many ideas. Thanks for doing the work for me and providing all the images and inspiration in one spot.
Love these ideas! What do you do, though, when your bed is against an off-center and huge window? There is no other option in this room, so do you cover it up? Curtains all the way across?
Gorgeous bedrooms Kate..Thanks for sharing..Karen..I agree with Kate..I would not paint your beautiful bedroom suite!!
Our bed is under a window. After five months in our house, we’re still curtainless. Good thing we’re on a large property so privacy is not a problem. However, sleep-ins are not happening. Oh well, early mornings mean more time for renovation, right?
Love this post! My husband and I have been discussing redoing our master bedroom. Right now it is various shades of brown. I would like to paint the walls a light shade of gray but not sure what to do about bedding. Our furniture is a dark warm pine color. I would really like to create a cozy and inviting room. I am bored of the brown. Any suggestions?
Great ideas, I want to redo my Master Bedroom, too.
These are such great suggestions! Our favorites are picture frames, art and curtain. We have nothing on our wall BUT that’s because our bed is in the centre of 2 window frames hard to put stuff there to make it look good :(
The wall space above our bed has been through many changes. It now stands empty, waiting for my fiance to finish a gorgeous koi pond painting with deep blues and oranges, that will look great with our Valspar Silver Fox paint on the wall. Now if only I could get him to finish it before I change my mind about our room colors!
I love my unique headboard — I made two stained glass ‘Sun Ray’ panels which sit above an upholstered section. The wood frames are connected to the bed posts. Photos at http://vanessadawne.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/creativity-xxiii-raising-the-sun-victoria-style/
Just before Christmas last year, I added a string of lights behind them — so gorgeously romantic in the evening. Photos at http://vanessadawne.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/project-7-christmas-lights-update-romantic-headboard/
Definitely my favourite headboard ever!
I have a bed with a very tall white headboard that doesn’t leave room for much. My decor is beachy so I have a row of large white star fish, the thin kind, that are strung together on a ribbon. It looks nice there. Before that I had a beachy wreath with moss and shells. Just some other ideas.
ah Kate…you forgot the southern girl’s best friend above her bed. the monogram. we have a large wooden W for our last name and then two whimsical letters on either side for our first names. i LOVE it and will always have it above any bed we ever sleep in for the rest of our lives. (i bought the letters large enough to fill the space)
Beautiful post, love it1
Beautiful ideas! Does anyone know where I can mirrors like the ones in picture #2?
Kate, Love your ideas! I come here often for inspiration. I don’t live in earthquake country but I love the vinyl lettering I have above our bed. (“LOVE, always and forever” in a beautiful script) These are a nice option for those who are afraid to hang anything above their bed. The lettering is easy to apply and can be changed without damage to the wall. There are many words and quotes to choose from too!
Amazing collection! Thank you for all these wonderful ideas. Kari