Interior Styling One Room Challenge

One Room Challenge Week 5: How to Style Textiles Like a Pro

May 2, 2018

Pom pom throw, rust velvet pillows, linen duvet in a pile.

[lamp | nightstandpink lumbar pillow | patterned throw | rust velvet pillows | blue pom pom throw]

OMG IT’S WEEK 5. This week is all about wrapping up the last details for next week’s One Room Challenge reveal. One of my big last tasks (of many other last tasks) is settling on bedding for our guest bedroom.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is where I should describe my style so I guess I’d say it’s something along the lines of traditional-modern which doesn’t sound like a real thing. I am glad you’re here.

Last week I asked for recommendations on a linen duvet – you were all so helpful! I heard great things about the linen duvets from H&M and also got a tip that IKEA has one that’s reasonably priced. I ended up going with the West Elm Belgian Flax Linen duvet cover. I was worried it would be too bright white until I realized that’s exactly what I needed to go with the lampshades.

Pictured above is a pile of linens and pillows n’ things I bought to see what would work best. Spoiler alert: I’m returning most of it! Both the patterned throw and blue stripe pom pom throw are so tiny and too small to properly drape along the sides of a bed.

Are you in need of a recap? Catch up on the previous weeks’ progress here:

I’ve got some advice for you, are you ready?

As I scramble to complete my list of tasks for the ORC reveal, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’ll shoot my reveal and how I can help others show off their hard work. And one thing I’ve accepted about myself is that I can’t stop myself from giving unsolicited advice. I think this makes me fit right in on the internet but maybe not so much in real life and thus, as most things are, I am better on the internet.

I consider myself a professional dabbler and one of the things I’ve professionally dabbled in is being a bedding stylist for product and lifestyle photography. I’ve learned a few tricks for styling textiles as well as photographing interiors and I’m going to share them with you right now. This isn’t a guide on how to dress your bed (Studio McGee has a great foolproof bed dressing guide) to but how to make your well-dressed bed look its best.

How to make your bed look dang good in photos

how to style bedding like a pro - wrinkly before

If it’s a textile you need to steam it! 

Out of the package and even out of the dryer, textiles often have folds and creases that can ruin a good photo. This goes for bed linens, throw pillows, curtains, towels, all the things! A clothes steamer or iron will be your best friend in lifting out those sharp lines. Look at that big, beautiful lumbar pillow. Out of the bag, it has sharp creases and wrinkles. Linen, of course, is meant to have a lovely crinkle – but that doesn’t mean it should look creased.

Using a clothing steamer to remove wrinkles from a pillow.

With just a little steam magic you can see the harsh wrinkles falling out of the pillow cover.

Use a clothing steamer to make bedding look perfect.

It’s also totally fine to steam the pillowcase by itself, hanging clipped to a pant hanger rather than on a pillow insert while reaching the whole way across a bed.

How to style bedding like a pro - after.

Much better! The steamer pictured above is one from Rowenta, who I’ve always trusted for irons as well. I must say I don’t love the attached hanger on this one, as the clips underneath can be hard to get to. I prefer standing steamers to handheld ones because their tanks have a higher water capacity, you don’t have to hold the weight of a tank of water while you steam, and they double as a place to hang the thing you’re steaming.

Sad Pillow Corner Examples

Stuff your sad pillow corners. 

Pillowcase corners, especially the ones that go on standard pillows (the kind you actually put your head on to sleep at night) are often under-stuffed, sad and empty. Pillow inserts often don’t fill those corners (but you should buy pillow inserts that are larger than your pillow cases, btw) and you can make them look better by filling them with fiber fill stuffing.

Fiber Fill to Stuff Pillow Corners

Yeah, it’s the stuff used to fill stuffed animals. I’ve even used paper towels in a pinch.

Stuffing pillow corners

Be careful not to overstuff, you want the corners to look like an extension of the pillow, not a party hat. Stuff all four corners.

Stuffed Pillow Corners before and after side by side

Perky pillow on the left (also steamed) and sad droopy pillow on the right.

No droopy ruffles - bedding styling tips

[photo source]

Support your pillow ruffles and flanges.

If your shams have a ruffle border or flange (flat, unfilled border beyond the pillow case’s seam) they aren’t going to stand up on their own. The answer is tape. If you want to get intense, you can use metal tape that you can bend to sculpt ruffles. For something less fussy, I’ve always used regular old masking tape. The picture above shows some very expertly styled pillow flange and there’s definitely tape back there.

To wrap up: My Top 3 Bedding Styling Tips

  • No folds, no wrinkles – If it’s a textile, you need to steam it.
  • No sad pillow corners – Use stuffing to perk them up.
  • No droopy ruffles – Use masking tape to get those ruffles to stand up straight.

And while I’m at it:

5 Tips for Better Interior Photos

  • Don’t go too high – it shouldn’t look like you took your photos while hovering in the corner of your room.
  • Something needs to be straight – Even in old houses, there is a nearly straight line somewhere. If you’re shooting into a corner, make sure that line is straight up and down. If you’re photographing a bed straight on, make sure the headboard is straight. You can rotate your pictures in photoshop to fix anything askew or if you’re using your phone, turn on the grid option in your photo app.
  • Watch your rooms to know when the light is best – Avoid bright, harsh light. You may love the look of light streaming in through your windows and falling dramatically onto your floors and walls, but it doesn’t make for great interior photos. Wait for a time when your room glows with even light throughout. On that subject, an overcast day is actually better for photography than a cloudless, sunny day.

If you made it this far, and I do mean both to week 5 and to the end of this post, I have a corgi reward for you.

Penelope the corgi

“I didn’t see you there. Welcome to elegance.”

This is the most expensive bedding in the whole house and you bet it’s not for me and Andy and you bet I put a corgi on it.

Corgi smile on a bed


Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to! I could not be more excited to see Allison‘s brass trellis and tufted bed (her new black doors are stunning) and I am in love with how Jewel and Mila are using bright, bold colors this season. Nicole is making an incredible day bed for a friend’s nursery and Erin is killing it DIYing the most luxurious bathroom ever.

One Room Challenge Guest Participant

Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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  • Reply Mila May 2, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Reading this makes me wonder if you could come to my home, style my kitchen, and take gorgeous photos. I WILL PAY!!!!! Perky pillows… steamer… I mean, you are a total pro. I am buying a steamer right now and this room looks amazing. Cant wait for the reveal!

    • Reply thesweetbeast May 3, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Haha I would LOVE to! If only there were enough time. So glad you’re getting a steamer – everyone should have one! Can’t wait for your reveal.

  • Reply jewel marlowe May 3, 2018 at 12:16 am

    I just love the colors in this space. It’s looking so good!

    • Reply thesweetbeast May 3, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Thank you so much! I cannot get over your velvet terrazzo sofa!

  • Reply Kalila May 3, 2018 at 5:18 am

    Very helpful tips!

  • Reply Erin May 3, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Love this post, so many great tips! Looking forward to seeing your reveal!

    • Reply thesweetbeast May 3, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Thank you! Love watching your tile stories – you’re amazing!

  • Reply Lindsey at HilltownHouse May 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    The bed linens you chose are just too gorgeous and compliment the moody walls so well!

    • Reply thesweetbeast May 4, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      Thank you! I’m hoping to brighten everything up with the linens – can’t get over that rust velvet tho!

  • Reply Jude May 6, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Great tips!! can’t wait to see your reveal :)

  • Reply Vanessa May 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Those are good tips Emily, and I have wanted a steamer for a while because some things are hard to iron, but I wonder how much use I’d get out of it in the long run without a blog. The rusty pillows are beautiful, I hope that you are keeping those.

  • Reply Jess | Jessica Devlin Design May 7, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Thanks for all the tips! I remember the first time I steamed my drapes was a big “ah ha!” Moment for me. They went from pretty frumpy to beautiful. Finally understood how the professionals did it. Can’t wait to see your reveal

  • Reply Erin Keegan May 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Oh my god, so . . . I am having a saga with my bedding the last year or two. No matter what I do, the top of my top sheet gets hard hard creases in the dryer. I tried ironing and 1) i think my iron might suck because it doesn’t get all the wrinkles out, and 2) even if I get the wrinkle out of the top part, it comes back after I sleep in it a night or two. So I tried steaming and still doesn’t get the wrinkles out completely. So I tried a trick I read online of putting your sheets on when they are still half damp and letting them dry there. That worked the best but still i want crisp crisp sheets. My husband thinks I’m obsessing unreasonably, but I hate folding down a wrinkly sheet or pillow case ends that are all busted. Maybe my steamer sucks too. LOL

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