How to Properly Make a Bed

a freshly made bed

The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh 

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $20 and up

It seems so easy to leave your bed a jumbled mess when you wake up—after all, you're only going to mess it up again later. Making the bed has become one of those chores that very few people bother with, but a properly made bed can have a dramatic impact on the way a room looks and feels. Not only does it help the room appear less cluttered and chaotic, but it also sets the stage nicely for your night's rest. After all, it's so much nicer to slip into a bed with smooth, crisp sheets rather than one with rumpled sheets and a balled-up blanket.

What You'll Need

Materials

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

Instructions

  1. Gather Your Linens

    Choose bed linens that are comfortable and beautiful to 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 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 Used Linens

    Take off the used linens currently on your bed 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 to free them of lint, hair, or stray socks. If you use a bed skirt and it needs to be laundered, remove and replace it. If the mattress looks dirty, take the time to clean it

    woman removing sheets from the bed
    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh
  3. Put On 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 of the mattress, atop the mattress pad.

    If your bottom sheet is flat, create hospital corners. Arrange the sheet so that approximately 12 inches hang beyond the edge of the bed on both sides and the bottom evenly. 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. Repeat on the opposite side.

    woman tucking in corners of the fitted sheet
    The Spruce / Lucianna McIntosh
  4. Add a 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 that 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, leaving most of each side untucked so it is easier to get into the bed. If this is a guest bed that is rarely used (or you're a stickler about folding under), you can tuck the top sheet into the sides completely. 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 your chosen blanket, comforter, or duvet 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 Your Pillows

    Place the pillows in your desired configuration. When placing pillows under the blanket, fold the top sheet down over the blanket, place the pillows flat atop the bottom sheet at the head of the bed, then fold the top sheet and blanket over the pillows towards the head of the bed. Alternatively, you can place the pillows upright against the headboard or wall at the head of the bed. Do whatever gives your bed the look you love. You can also finish with a few decorative throw pillows if you desire.

    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 order at the start of a new day.

Wash your bedding routinely. You should plan to wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week, and your mattress pad every few weeks (or at least once a month).

Use a mattress pad. They're useful for adding a bit of comfort and protecting your mattress from sweat and other contaminants. Bonus: A mattress pad is much easier to clean than a mattress.