According to the National Association of Realtors' annual report on home staging, the primary bedroom is the second most-important room buyers when it comes to what they want to see staged during a showing. What are they looking for? Space and luxury. No matter the price point of the home, no matter the neighborhood, no matter the buyer's demographic, they are seeking a bedroom that they can imagine themselves curled up in surrounded by luxurious, cozy bedding. They also want to see if a king size bed, or at least a queen, will fit in the room along with two matching nightstands (at a minimum--if it can fit even more furniture without looking overcrowded, that's even better). So, when I stage homes, I understand the importance of using the largest size bed I can fit into the space (while still having room for the nightstands) and layers and layers of bedding and pillows.
When I'm providing one my Buyer's Eye Pre-Listing Consultations to home sellers who'll continue living in the house while it's on the market, I often recommend that they replace their bedding in the primary bedroom. Most of the time, the existing bedding in my clients homes is too dark, too busy, showing too much wear, or all of the above. It doesn't hurt to add fresh bedding in all the bedrooms in the home, but when budgets are tight, I emphasize that the primary bedroom is what matters most.
The following bedding essentials are what I use when I style the beds in vacant listings, and what I recommend my owner-occupied listing clients purchase to replace their old bedding (or I can act as their personal shopper and procure it for them).
The bed in the primary bedroom should have a headboard. (Please, please, please do not buy a headboard that lights up to stage your listing).
If it's not a platform bed with wood or upholstered side rails, it should also have a bed skirt to hide the box springs, metal frame, and anything being stored under the bed. Be sure to measure the "drop" before purchasing. Bedskirts sit on top of the box springs or bed platform, under the mattress. So the drop is the distance between the top of the box springs or platform and the floor.
New sheets only need to be purchased if the coverlet or comforter is going to be folded down to reveal the sheets. For simplicity, and to save money, I advise my clients to simply purchase a solid white coverlet and pull it up all the way to the headboard. This takes the place of a top sheet and will cover the sheets they already own. Then, for a layered look, a comforter can be folded in half or in thirds and placed at the foot of the bed.
Some people like that folded-down-to-get-a-peak-at-the-sheets look, so if my clients want that, and they don't already have solid white sheets, they'll need to purchase those, as well. I recommend cotton, 1,000 thread-count or higher. The higher the thread-count, the more crisp and luxurious the sheets will look. Again, white sheets are optional. If you pull the white coverlet all the way to the top so it covers worn and/or colored sheets, that's enough.
A fluffy comforter is a must. Fold it in half or in thirds and place it on top of the coverlet at the foot of the bed.
If the comforter is down-filled, like the one shown above, it should be covered with a duvet. Everything above should be white or off-white, but here the duvet, accents pillows and blanket (further below) are where you can add patterns and colors, if you'd like. Just keep the patterns simple and the colors light. Avoid bright colors like neons, reds, oranges, and yellows. Those colors a) don't have broad enough appeal to be practical for selling a home; b) become the center of attention instead of the room itself; c) bright red doesn't photograph well; and finally d) red has been scientifically proven to elevate a person's blood pressure, which is not the effect we want to be having on potential home buyers. Stick with neutrals like shades of grey, beige, tan, brown, and black (black is especially great for adding contrast), or shades of green or blue. If you'd like a textured duvet, be sure to select a texture that isn't going to clash or compete with the texture in your coverlet. That might be when you'd want to use white sheets as your base layer, instead of a coverlet.
There should be four bed pillows on the bed in identical sizes and firmness, preferable extra firm so they stand up nicely on their side. Put two of the pillows in crisp, all-white pillow cases and lie them flat or propped against the headboard. The other two should be covered either in white pillow cases or the shams that came with the coverlet or comforter. The pillows should be the appropriate size for the bed. If the mattress is a king size, the bed pillows should also be king, queen mattresses should have queen pillows, and so on.
For color and additional texture, several accent pillows should be placed in front of the bed pillows. There is a huge variety of pillow covers available on Amazon. Choose five 20" square and one 12"x20" lumbar size. They don't all have to be the same color or texture or even pattern. The best colors are neutrals like beige, tan, gray, brown, black, or shades of green or blue. Select colors that are in other pieces of decor in the room, such as wall art, to pull together a more cohesive look.
Feather or down-alternative pillow inserts that can be chopped in the middle look the most expensive and luxurious, and anything that looks expensive is going to elevate the perceived value of the whole house in the eyes of potential home buyers. When stuffing accent pillow covers, you always want inserts that are one size larger than the covers for a fuller look. So, for 20"x20" covers, choose 22"x22" inserts. Fold the insert in half and it will be easier to stuff it into the cover.
The final touch is a knit blanket placed at the bottom of the bed, either loosely folded across the foot of the bed on top of the comforter, or "casually" draped on a corner. You're going to be amazed at how hard it is to make "casual" look right. You may have to give it several tries.
If you're in Southern California in my service area, I offer a Photo Prep service, and I can come make your beds for you and style other things in the home before the marketing photos are taken.