How to Make a Fake Bed for Staging a Home in Six Steps

fake bed staged for home sale

Bedroom Staging Tips – Make a Fake Bed for Staging

Remembering that the purpose of home staging is to show the home in its best light and define each room’s purpose, having empty bedrooms in empty houses will be confusing to potential buyers.

Not only will a potential buyer not know that a space is a bedroom, but they will have trouble visualizing their bed in the space.  Is the master bedroom big enough for a king bed?  Unless you show buyers that yes, there is plenty of space for a king bed and two nightstands, they will think the room is too small.  Seeing is believing when it comes to bedroom staging.

The cost of buying a bed for staging a bedroom can cost hundreds of dollars if you have to buy a frame, a mattress and box spring set and a headboard.  Add to that the cost of bed linens and you have a pretty significant staging expense for each bedroom.

Some stagers use air mattresses which is a great strategy since you can reuse them on several jobs to recoup their rather high price.  In fact, a king air mattress can cost upwards of $125.  And you will need two air mattresses so the bed doesn’t look like it’s sitting on the floor – a look you definitely want to avoid if you are trying to get a good price for your home.

Our method for creating a fake bed for home staging comes in at a fraction of the cost of using air mattresses.  To make our fake beds you will need:

  1. A bed frame or something to elevate the bed off the floor.
  2. Two mattress boxes available online – cost approximately $25 each. These boxes are available in twin, full, queen and king.
  3. A bed skirt, preferably white or off white, pleated and ironed.
  4. Thick comforter in white or off white.
  5. Pillows and pillowcases in white or off white.
  6. King pillow shams or euro pillows with covers.  Our preference is for something quilted in a soothing color.

A well made bed for home staging looks clean, crisp and well dressed.  We use the items above to create the look of a well made bed, but without a headboard, frame and traditional mattresses and box springs.

  1. The “Frame”

We frequent thrift stores to stock up on metal bed frames with wheels.  They can be used over and over again and fold up into a very small footprint for storage.  You should be able to find an adjustable frame or two that works for twin, full and queen sized beds.  King sized frames need a center support so they are configured just a little differently than for smaller sized beds.  These too are usually pretty easy to find and under $5 each.

If you don’t have a bed frame, you’ll need something to support and elevate the mattress boxes.  You’ll need about 7″ clearance off the floor as you don’t want the fake bed to sit on the floor.  You can use blocks of wood, small crates,  bed risers, corrugated boxes or even upside down mixing bowls of the same height.  None of these items will be seen so it really doesn’t matter what they are as long as they are in tact and the exact same height.  They don’t need to support the weight of a person, just the weight of the cardboard mattress boxes and the linens you select.

Place one of each of these support devices at each corner of the bed to support the first mattress box.

2.  Mattress Boxes to the Rescue

Mattress boxes are used mainly for shipping mattresses when moving long distances.  Moving companies usually have a supply of them, but you can buy your own from one of the online options mentioned above.

Since they come in the same sizes as traditional mattresses do, you can put the most appropriate sized fake bed in each bedroom.  If the room is large enough for a king, then use king boxes.  If the space will look too cramped with a king bed, then choose a queen and so on.  Boxes aren’t a major investment so you get to select the best size for each room without worrying about who is sleeping in the room and their preferences.

Since these corrugated mattress boxes are made of very strong and reinforced cardboard, they hold their shape well, even with nothing inside of them.   You can always stuff them if you want with towels or bed linens if you are looking to start packing early or need to store a lot of linens out of sight when staging.  Make the boxes do double duty!

Place one mattress box on the bed frame or on top of the four supports you have assembled.  You should now have a box and box support that rises approximately 15 inches off the ground.

3.  Skirt the Bed

Over this fake bed for staging assembly, arrange the correct-sized bed skirt.  The bed skirt should have a 15″ drop to cover the box and reach to the floor – thereby hiding the frame or supports.

A bed skirt that isn’t ironed looks sloppy as they are usually made of very light weight material.  We prefer tailored or pleated bed skirts because they hang better than gathered ones which never look quite right.  If you can find a quilted or very heavy weight bed skirt even better as these will drape better and always look neater.

4.  Height is Important

Place the second box over the first box and bed skirt assembly.  The fake beds should now be 23″ high.  At this point, take a critical look at the assembly and decide if it is tall enough and in proportion to the height of the room.  If it looks too short and unsubstantial at this point, you will need to help out the structure a bit.

Placing blankets, quilts, throws, towels and other soft linens in between the boxes will raise the upper box to a more pleasing height.  Lay the linens out flat and make sure they add inches between the bed skirt top and the top box.  You don’t want to put anything hard or heavy or slippery in this gap to fill it.  Add enough fill to achieve a more pleasing height to your fake bed.

5.  Soften the Structure

Once you have achieved the height you want, now comes the task of making the boxy structure look like a real bed with real mattresses.

To do this we need to soften the sharp edges and corners of the upper mattress box.  Using a comforter with a lot of loft works great.  Make sure the comforter is large enough to reach down to the top of the lower box, hiding the top edge of the bed skirt.  We like to use white comforters with polyfill which hide the sharp edges of the mattress box.

You can also drape a mattress pad over the top box to soften the edges.  We don’t use fitted or top sheets as the comforter goes top to bottom and side to side and no one would see the sheets at all.  But the use of a white comforter gives the visual impression of clean white sheets which is the look you want.

6.  Dress for Success

In the last step, you dress the bed so it looks like a perfectly arranged, luxurious bed.

We use several types and sizes of pillows to mask the fact that we don’t use a headboard with our economy fake beds.  We arrange either standard or king sleeping pillows with crisp, white pillowcases in the front, followed by king shams and then two or more euro shams in the back to “simulate” a headboard.  At 20″ square, two euro shams will work for a twin headboard, two or three for both full and queen sized beds and 4 for king sized beds.

All the pillows hide the fact that there is no headboard and they also hide the square edges of the top box at the head of the bed.

At the foot of the bed, we place another comforter or duvet, folded into thirds.  We like to keep the duvet cover in pastel shades to impart a calming look to the space.  Fluff it up well and it too will hide the square edges of the mattress boxes at the foot of the fake mattress.

We cringe when we see home staging television shows putting fake beds on the floor without taking the effort to make their work look real enough to fool buyers.

Remember when staging and using fake beds, make sure you put a tent card or other warning on the bed so that someone doesn’t accidentally sit on the structure .

We understand that real furniture can cost more than a staging budget allows but this shouldn’t be a problem in bedrooms because of the handy bedroom staging tips and procedure we’ve outlined for you in this article.  Happy staging!