Expert How-to Instructions for Making Your Bed

Sally Painter
Woman making the bed

Learn how to make your bed so you can instate good housekeeping habits. Once you've gathered all the bedding, it's time to start with the very basics and layer the bedding as you go.

Step 1: Bed Skirt or Dust Ruffle (Optional)

If you use a bed skirt or dust ruffle, once laundered, you'll need to return it to the bed.

  1. The top mattress will need to be removed so the bed skirt or dust ruffle can be placed over the box spring.
  2. Center the bed skirt or dust ruffle over the box spring. It should fall over the edge of the box spring, completely hiding it from view.
  3. Replace the top mattress, being careful not to disturb the bed skirt or dust ruffle.

Note: Elasticized bed wraps that don't require removing or lifting the top mattress are available. If you're looking to simplify the process of making your bed, you may want to consider one of these.

Bed Skirt or Dust Ruffle

Step 2: Mattress Cover/Pad and Topper (Optional)

Position and secure the mattress cover/pad over the mattress. Most covers and pads have elasticized corners similar to a fitted sheet. If using a mattress topper, position it evenly on top of the mattress and secure it with the elasticized corners, making sure it fits snugly around and underneath the mattress corners.

Mattress Cover/Pad and Topper

Step 3: Place Bottom Sheet

The majority of people use fitted bottom sheets. These have elasticized corners that slip over the mattress corners and fit snuggly underneath.

  1. Start at one corner and fit the sheet over the mattress, tucking it securely underneath.
  2. Move on to the next corner making your way around the bed until all four corners are snuggly in place.

Tip: If for some reason you are using a flat sheet for the bottom sheet, you will need to tuck the sheet at the corners by using the hospital corner technique (see step five). This method is also used for securing top sheets to the mattress.

Place Bottom Sheet

Step 4: Add Top Sheet

The top sheet is a flat sheet without any elastic on the corners. When placing the top sheet onto the bed, lay the printed side facing down. The pattern of the sheet should be visible when you slip between the sheets. This provides a nice finish to your if your bedding ensemble if you fold the top sheet over the bedspread or comforter.

  1. Place the top sheet evenly over the bottom sheet that you already secured over the mattress.
  2. Make sure that the sheet falls evenly over the mattress.
  3. Fold over the top of the sheet exposing about 6" to 8" of the bottom sheet. (leave for now)
  4. Leave enough sheet at the bottom of the mattress so it can be tucked securely along the bottom of the mattress.
  5. Lift one bottom corner of the mattress and tuck the bottom of the sheet underneath the mattress.
  6. Move to the other end of the mattress and repeat, tucking in the bottom of the sheet.
  7. Move back to the other bottom corner, lift the mattress and tug on the bottom corner of the sheet to make sure it is smooth (i.e., not bunched up underneath the mattress).
  8. Lower the mattress.

Step 5: Add Hospital Corners

Give your bed a finished look with hospital corners.

  1. Grab the hanging sheet fabric and lift it the over mattress at a 45° angle.
  2. Tuck the excess fabric underneath the mattress.
  3. Drop the fabric so it hangs from the mattress.
  4. Align the fold in the fabric so it is vertical to the edge of the mattress or bring it in underneath the mattress at an angle.
  5. Tuck the sheet underneath the mattress until it has a smooth finish.
  6. Continue tucking the remainder of the top sheet underneath the mattress for a snug finish.
  7. Use your hands to smooth out any remaining wrinkles.

Step 6: Add a Blanket (Optional)

With modern heating, many people opt out of using a blanket under the bedspread or comforter. This is a personal choice. If you don't use a blanket, skip this step and go on to the next one.

  1. If you wish to use a blanket, lay it over the top sheet and secure it by using the hospital corner technique.
  2. Fold the top hem of the flat sheet over the blanket to create a tailored finish.
Add a Blanket

Step 7: Comforter, Duvet, Quilt or Bedspread

Place the comforter, duvet, bedspread or quilt on the bed and position so it falls evenly over the bed. If your comforter has a decorative backside, you can turn it down to showcase this pattern.

  1. Most quilts, duvets and comforters don't touch the floor, so a bed skirt can be used to finish the bedding look.
  2. A bedspread will fall to the floor. Adjust the bottom bedspread corners, so they create a triangle at the end of the bed.
    1. Hold both sides of the bedspread corner and left it fall slowly to the floor.
    2. Fluff out the corner so it forms a nice triangle shape or bell shape, depending on how the bedspread is finished.
  3. If your bedspread has a ruffled tiered hemline, you may need to adjust so it fits the edge of the mattress.
  4. Fold the sheet over the top hem of the comforter, etc. then fold over a second time for a smooth finished look.
  5. For a truly finished look, once the bed is made, run your hand over the mattress to smooth out any wrinkles or puckered bedding.
Comforter, Duvet, Quilt or Bedspread

Step 8: All Kinds of Pillows

You will need to add the pillows you'll be sleeping on. These are covered with pillowcases that preferably match the sheets.

  1. Place your sleeping pillows either against the headboard or lying flat on the bed. This is a personal choice that depends on whether you're layering shams and throw pillows as part of a designer bedding look.
  2. If you have pillow shams, including Euro shams, these go next. If you have long bolster pillows, you can place these behind or in front of the pillow shams, depending on the look you prefer.
  3. Next, layer the decorative pillows according to size. Place the larger ones first and the smaller ones the last.
  4. A lumbar or small bolster pillow can be placed in the center. It should be the very last pillow added.
  5. If you prefer old-fashioned styling, you can cover the bed pillows with the bedspread and place the pillow shams and decorative pillows on top.
All Kinds of Pillows

Step 9: Add a Throw

You can add a folded throw at the bottom of the bed. For easy access, fold in accordion style (folded on top of itself). You can also add a throw about one-third from the bottom of the mattress, tucked in along the sides of the mattress for a striped effect.

Make Your Bed

It's easy to make your bed once you understand the steps required. Making your bed each morning ensures you come home to a neatly made bed ready for you to get a good night's sleep.

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Expert How-to Instructions for Making Your Bed