Marlen is a writer first, vintage hoarder second, and donut fiend third. If you have a passion for finding the best taco joints in Chicago or want to talk about Doris Day movies, then she thinks an afternoon coffee date is in order.
updated Dec 17, 2022
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So you have a headboard (or at the very least, a mountain of pillows stacked against the wall), but what about the space above that? For some reason, the space above the bed is a tricky one to decorate. As the focal point of your bedroom, the negative space above your bed feels so personal; it’s the one place where you can let your personality shine through the most. Luckily, there are seemingly limitless ways to jazz up the empty space.
From above-the-bed art to gridded gallery walls to statement-making tapestries, the options are a-plenty. Here are 60 to pull inspiration from.
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1. Hang a map
Skip the frame entirely and hang up a vintage map of your favorite region. The bare-bones look works in a minimalist bedroom with lots of open space.
2. Try three different-sized frames
If uniformity isn’t your thing, you’ll love this decor option. Each of these frames are different sizes, but they’re placed in a way that ties the bed together just neatly enough. So if you can’t seem to choose from your favorite photo collection, try hanging all three up to achieve this effortless look.
3. Use wallpaper and nothing else
Yes, it’s actually possible to blend minimalist and maximalist designs togetherr at once. This Barcelona bedroom uses a sophisticated yet bold wallpaper pattern to decorate the negative space behind the bed. Let the wallpaper speak for itself by leaving the wall free of hanging decor.
4. Frame a retro piece of art
The retro, wheel painting in this San Francisco rental truly becomes the focal point of the room. This technique is highly effective if you want to make a statement effortlessly.
5. Go for stability with shelves
Propping your bed up against a set of shelves (like in this product shot via The Wonder Forest, who sells the super cute pineapple bedding) might be a little bit of a new move for you, but if you have the space, it’s an interesting way to bring in more storage as well as something to look at above your headboard. Fill with books, picture frames and decorative objects to keep it interesting (and dust regularly!).
6. Wallpaper a wall
Take a leaf out of designers’ Kate McIntyre and Brad Huntzinger book (via Lonny) and decorate your empty wall space with wallpaper. A paper with a more sparse oversized mural pattern is daring without being dizzying. For example, while this floral and fern print is definitely bold, it also uses a lot of negative space, making it feel a little less overwhelming.
7. Install a shelf
Skip the tufted headboard and instead decorate with a shelf laden with accent pieces you love. Nuevo Estilo proves that from books to old oil paintings to statement lamps, adding a floating shelf can do wonders for the room.
8. Art + sconces = beautiful utility
Modern white sconces pop against a black background in this beautiful bedroom by @aloralighting. Oversized black and white posters above the bed bring the whole look together.
9. Accent with abstract art
This huge abstract art print breathes life into this otherwise monochromatic bedroom by @duealberi, making it a great choice for decorating over a bed. Bright, colorful and open to interpretation, abstract art always makes a good choice for a bedroom.
10. Open up the room with a mirror
The room will feel bigger with a few mirrors strategically placed around it, and a minimalist circle shape looks wonderful hung over a bed frame. Designer Lauren Geremia (via Architectural Digest) shows what a difference the small move could make with this Scandinavian inspired space.
11. Drape a tapestry
There’s a tapestry for just about any #mood. And we love this crazy cool Ouija board tapestry that @niche_noire used for decorating over a bed. The black and white serves as the perfect complement to the dark gray bedding.
12. Layer a mirror on wallpaper
Think of the empty space above your bed as a canvas to splash your personality on. If you want a very artsy backsplash, try layering your wall with a bold wallpaper pattern and a vintage, oversized mirror.
13. Hang a celestial banner
Looking to add a boho vibe to your bedroom? Try stringing these fun moon and stars wall banners from Urban Outfitters. Use one for a simple look, or layer several for a bohemian look.
14. Add texture with a wall hanging
Give the room a ’70s feel with a vintage-inspired yarn hanging, like designer Sarah Sherman Samuel used in this room makeover. You can DIY one yourself if you’re handy with craft projects, or you can leave the weaving to an expert and buy one.
15. Make a gridded gallery wall
If you have lots of different prints you want to hang, why not try decorating above the bed? If you have a large, blank space to work with, you can create a collage with just about anything you want. Try mixing color with black and white, old photos with new, or abstract art with photographs. We’re definitely drawing inspo from this bedroom by @brass.bed.manor.
16. Or try a statement gallery wall
Or if you like a more busy aesthetic, transform your whole wall into a colorful, playful gallery like former Lonny Editor-in-Chief Michelle Adams did in her New York home.
17. Add a jungle of plants
If you’re not one to collect art prints, hang up giant tapestries, or clutter your shelves with knick-knacks, then maybe plants are the way to go for you. Copy Katie & Tyler Branch of Branch Abode by installing a floating shelf above your bed, and then filling it with a tangle of potted plants. So cozy and eye catching!
18. Invest in a statement lamp
A great, sculptural way to fill up that negative space is to get a statement wall lamp that brings a lot of drama to the room. You can get an interesting industrial one that’s larger in size and brings lines into the room, like designer Amber Lewis did in this space she shared on Instagram.
19. Opt for textural baskets
Colorful, artisan baskets have been en vogue for a bit now and they’re a great option for above the bed. The round shape pairs nicely juxtaposed with a streamline headboard like the one here shot by Tessa Neusstadt for Homepolish via Style Files, while the lightweight nature makes them less worrisome (in case you’re not too handy with hanging and something comes crashing down in your sleep).
20. Construct a mini plant wall
Bring more nature into your bedroom with a collection of cute plants hanging above your bed.
21. Hang artwork next to your window
Here’s the predicament: you have lots of natural light from windows in your room, but barely any space to feature your one-of-a-kind paintings. Think outside the box and pivot to the side above your bed for decorating. Hang two different-sized frames up next to the window to add interest and play on the window’s unique size, as well.
22. Hang up framed wallpaper
You can afford to splurge on a favorite bold pattern when you buy only a sample of pricey wallpaper and then frame it.
23. Incorporate drapes
Don’t worry if you don’t have a window behind your bed…you can still add the drama and softness of drapes by hanging them on the wall!
24. Make your own mural
You could paint one yourself, or purchase some mural art paper, but a mural on the wall above and behind your bed makes a strong visual statement.
25. Install faux antlers
There are a lot of retailers that sell decorative options for faux antlers. These are especially perfect for more rustic spaces, boho bedrooms, or cabin-like sleeping quarters.
26. Work in woven baskets or plates
Add textureand3D vibes to your bed by hanging woven baskets or plates on the wall.
27. Add interest with a wreath
It’s another simple way to add texture and sweetness to your bedroom.
28. Hang up a small rug
Rugs aren’t just for the floor.
29. Jazz it up with macramé
Macramé has made a huge resurgence in interiors, and above the bed is a perfect spot to play with this trend.
30. Play with pennants
Not just for kids or sports fans, pennants can be a fun way to show off your love of your home state or of witty sayings.
31. Reclaim architectural elements
If your home doesn’t have a lot of architectural interest baked in, you can infuse your bedroom with some by hanging a reclaimed architectural element above your bed as a focal point.
32. Throw in a metal tray
The metallic finish will add a bit of global glam above your bed.
33. Display a mini art installation
Any collection of small options attached to the wall will become a little art installation.
34. Commission absurdly-oversized pet portraits
They’re the light of your life, so highlight them with a focal point above your bed.
35. Chalk it up
With all the chalkboard paint options available, you can splash some above the bed and then have a canvas you can change and update as often as you’d like.
36. DIY vinyl cross pattern
If you can’t paint your wall or add wallpaper, consider creating a pattern yourself with washi tape or vinyl stickers.
37. Upcycle a window frame
With or with glass, hanging an old window above your bed is another great way to add architectural interest.
38. Grab some tennis rackets
It’s fun and sporty, and the more vintage, the better.
39. Focus on one piece of art
Does it get much simpler than hanging one piece of art above your bed? For the ultimate look of sophistication, consider the art as a composition with your bed frame and nightstands—choose a proportional piece of art and coordinate the color palette.
40. Or test out two…
Two pieces of art hung side by side above your bed’s headboard will immediately add a shot of symmetry to your bedroom’s design.
41. Go simple with a dreamcatcher
Dreamcatchers aren’t just for your childhood bedroom. The minimalist look is whimsical and soothing at the same time. This Puerto Rico home uses the decor piece to accentuate the bare walls and white color palette.
42. Go for art that says something
When you choose art with text as the primary element, you infuse a huge dose of graphic vibes to your bedroom.
43. Paint on shapes
Not impressed so far with the hanging suggestions above? Grab your paint brush and splash some color on the wall behind your bed in a dynamic shape,thenhang some art.
44. Find a vintage brass sculpture
Opting for a 3D element above your bed will make the decor visually jump off the wall in your bedroom. Just be careful not to hang it too low where you bump your head on it!
45. Select a wood accent wall
When you need added warmth and a bit of nature in your bedroom, hang a wood accent wall. You can do it with reclaimed wood, faux wood, or even wood flooring. In the above room, the wood paneling is from Lowe’s.
46. Try an oversized mirror
An oversized mirror hanging above your bed (hopefully properly anchored to the wall) or leaning against the wallbehindyour bed can make for an instant boost of light in your sleep space.
47. Shed some light on the subject
Don’t be afraid to mix a combo of elements above your bed to up your design game. I like that in this bedroom the sconces become a part of the art composition, rather than just placed on either side of the bed.
48. Highlight a wooden map
Part-art, part-sculpture, a wooden map like the one above is both worldly and warm. The one shown above is from Etsy.
49. Experiment with a wallpaper-paneled accent
Need instant architectural gravitas? Hang some wallpaper up behind your bed and frame with wood to create faux wall panels.
50. Lights, wallpaper, action
This look is a three-fer, but it really wows. A tight collage of abstract paintings pop on top of a bold wallpaper, which are both accentuated thanks to hanging pendants on either side of the bed.
51. Use bed storage to your benefit
If space is at a premium in your bedroom, there’s no shame in using the wall above your bed as storage. A wide headboard or paneled shelving serves both function and fashion. Layering a statement piece of artwork next to your books and alarm clock makes for a maximalist aesthetic of sublime organized chaos.
52. Build a wall of shelves
Don’t live in earthquake country? Consider shelves above your bed. It adds an architectural elementandextra storage. (Or if you do live in an earthquake-prone area, just make sure they’re really sturdy and not directly over your bed.)
53. Get a trompe l’oeil feature wall
Did your rental not come with a charmingly crumbly brick wall in the bedroom? Fool your eye with a faux wallpaper instead.
54. Stick to vinyl lettering
Sometimes words on the wall are corny, but also sometimes they’re incredibly sweet.
55. Try hanging frames
What makes this gallery collage so unique is the oversized, long hanging strings that are visible.
56. Set up a casual, random gallery wall
If you have a bunch of small pieces of art and want to create a casual, bohemian energy in the bedroom, create a randomly arranged art collage.
57. Embrace a uniform gallery wall
If you like the idea of a wall collage but want something more controlled and uniform, line all of your art up and make sure the frames match.
58. Install neon wording
Have something to say? Say it in light and hang it above your bed.
59. Ogle over a solid-color canvas
Grab a fresh canvas (or reuse an old vintage piece of art) and coat it in one bright, bold solid color.
60. Create a bookworm’s dream sanctuary
Can’t get enough of your novels? Try this idea out. It’s like shelves above your bed, but much more substantial.