How to Make a Bed the Proper Way

a freshly made bed

The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh 

  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

It seems so easy to leave a bed a jumbled mess when you wake up. After all, you're only going to mess it up again later. Making a bed has become one of those chores that very few people bother with, but a properly made bed has a dramatic impact on the way a room looks and feels. For starters, it helps the room appear less cluttered and chaotic. It also sets the stage nicely for your night's rest: It's so much nicer to slip into a bed with smooth, crisp sheets than one with rumpled sheets and a balled-up blanket.

What You'll Need


  • Fitted sheet or flat bottom sheet
  • Top sheet
  • Pillowcases
  • Comforter, duvet, quilt, or blanket
  • Mattress pad (optional)
  • Decorative linens (optional)


  1. Gather Your Linens and Supplies

    Choose bed linens that are comfortable and beautiful for you. If you like the way a bed skirt makes your room look, by all means, grab your favorite. If you're more minimalist in your bed linen approach, that's fine too. A bed that is made, however simply, is still a major improvement over a mass of pillows and blankets. It's always a good idea to have at least one extra set of sheets and pillowcases so you're never without a fresh set when it's time to strip the bed.

    used linens in a laundry basket
    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh
  2. Remove the Used Linens

    Take off the used linens and put them in the laundry if they're ready for a wash. Shake out any mattress pads, pillow protectors, and comforters that don't need to be laundered. If you use a bed skirt and it needs to be laundered, remove and replace it. If the mattress looks dirty, clean the mattress

    woman removing sheets from the bed
    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh
  3. Put On the Bottom Sheet

    If your bottom sheet is fitted, simply slip the corner pockets onto the ends of the bed and adjust the fitted sheet around the perimeter underneath the mattress pad and mattress.

    If your bottom sheet is flat, create hospital corners. Arrange the sheet so that 12 inches hangs beyond top of the bed and the sides of the sheet overhang evenly on both sides of the mattress. Tuck in the sheet snugly at the foot of the bed. At each bottom corner, lift up the loose sheet at the side, and place the flap on top of the mattress. Tuck in the sheet right at the corner, then lay the flap down so the fold forms a 45-degree angle away from the mattress corner. Tuck in the bottom edge of the angle, and continue tucking along the entire side of the bed.

    woman tucking in corners of the fitted sheet
    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh
  4. Add the Top Sheet

    Place the top sheet evenly on the bed. At the top of the bed, you can leave some excess sheet to fold back over the blanket, or you can arrange the sheet so the top edge is even with the edge of the mattress.

    Tuck in the sheet at the foot of the bed and at each bottom corner, using hospital corners. However, leave most of each side untucked so it is easier to get into the bed. If this is a guest bed that is used only rarely, or you're a stickler about folding under, you can tuck in the sides completely, if desired. Just remember your comforter, quilt, or duvet will likely cover up the little bit of sheet hanging down.

    woman placing the top sheet on the bed
    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh 
  5. Add a Blanket, Comforter, or Duvet

    Spread the blanket evenly over the top of the bed, smoothing the edges as you go. The top edge of the blanket should be even with or slightly below the top edge of the bed. Fold any excess top sheet back over the edge of the blanket, if desired.

    woman buttoning up a duvet cover
    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh
  6. Position the Pillows

    Place the pillows in the desired configuration. To place pillows under the blanket, fold the top sheet down over the blanket, place the pillows flat on the top sheet at the head of the bed, then fold the blanket over the pillows towards the head of the bed, and smooth out the blanket. Alternatively, you can place the pillows upright against the headboard or wall at the head of the bed. Do whatever gives the bed that finished look that you love.

    woman positioning a throw pillow on a bed
    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh

Tips for Making a Bed

Make a ritual of it. The more often you make your bed, the faster it will go. Many people find that making their bed every day becomes a welcome ritual, signifying setting things in order for a new day.

Wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week. Wash a mattress pad every few weeks or at least once a month.

Use a mattress pad. You can use one for comfort and to protect your mattress from sweat and other contaminants. A mattress pad is much easier to clean than a mattress.