You’re Probably Setting up Your Bed Wrong—Here’s How Pros Say to Fix It

Unmade bed in an apartment bedroom
Carlina Teteris / Getty Images

We love a good bed-making debate: Comforter or duvet? Top sheet, or no top sheet? Lots of decorative pillows or none at all?

Chances are, you have strong opinions about at least one of the above—and you should! Your bed is your safe haven. But regardless of how you prefer your own little sleep nest to look and feel, there are a few things that just feel better when you do them right.

We turned to the experts to ask what key bed-making mistakes and bed-top problems they feel are most common when people are setting up their beds, and how to fix them.

Meet the Expert

  • Nell Diamond is the founder and CEO of Hill House Home, a home essentials and clothing company.
  • Christina Manzo is a designer with Decorist, an online interior design service.

Problem #1: A Bunchy Duvet

If you’re on the duvet side of the duvet vs. comforter debate, Hill House Home’s founder and CEO Nell Diamond agrees. There are proven benefits to a duvet: You have more temperature control and they’re easier to wash, to name two.

But there’s one common headache.

"The duvet can slip,” says Diamond. “My advice is to purchase a cover and insert with ties. You can tie your insert to the cover while you make your bed, and avoid messy bunching all night! We added ties to our duvet covers and down-alternative inserts after customer feedback, and now I'm obsessed.”

Sourcing a duvet with ties isn’t just practical—it’s aesthetically better, too. “The ties keep your bed looking and feeling freshly made even after a night of tossing and turning,” Diamond assures us.

Problem #2: Your Duvet Is the Wrong Weight

As mentioned, one major perk of a duvet is that you can adjust the weight for the season—but this is only a perk if you actually make the transition!

“I prefer to use natural fill in a duvet and often opt for a down-filled duvet insert,” says Decorist designer Christina Manzo. “Not only does this tick the box for providing a hypoallergenic fill, but it is ideal for winter months for its warmth and breathability."

"[If you want one duvet year-round], I would recommend a 400 to 600 fill level so your insert can easily transition from spring to winter," Manzo adds. "You can easily add that extra layer of warmth when needed on that cold winter night!”

Problem #3: You’re Not Using Enough Layers

“The most common bed-making mistake is not layering properly or not layering at all,” Manzo says. “A beautifully made bed can be simple and chic, providing the space with an elevated aesthetic. Layering and proportion are the key ingredients to a well-made bed.”

 If you’re panicking about what layers to include on your own bed, Manzo has this helpful checklist:

  • A sheet set (including pillowcases that are appropriately sized to your bed—king cases for king beds, or standard for all other beds)
  • Quilt
  • Duvet with insert
  • Two or three Euro shams
  • Either a decorative long lumbar or two smaller decorative pillows.

“Toss a lovely cashmere throw blanket for a truly sophisticated feel!” Manzo says.

Problem #4: Underestimating the Importance of a Quilt

“I love dressing a bed with both a quilt and a duvet—[not only for] extra layers on a cold night, but [also for] a beautifully tailored bed when it’s made,” says Manzo. “When using a quilt, I find that I reach for this on chilly nights because it’s easier to snuggle into as you wrap yourself within the material. When used [with a duvet] on colder winter nights, you get the luxurious feeling of a ski resort, while simultaneously keeping your body warm.”

Problem #5: You Have the Wrong Amount of Pillows

As Manzo explains, the number of pillows you have on your bed is “dependent upon the size of the bed, whether you are dressing a king or a queen.” 

For guidance, she’s created this handy list:

  • King bed: four king-size pillows, three 26” euro pillows, and the option to add one longer lumbar pillow for color/texture.
  • Queen, bed: four standard pillows, two 26” euro pillows, and the option to add one longer lumbar pillow or two 22” square pillows for color/texture. 

“Simple and chic!” Manzo says.

Problem #6: Ignoring the Power of Seasonal Sheets

If you live in a colder climate, Manzo strongly suggests using flannel sheets during the colder seasons.

“Flannel sheets are definitely worth investing in during the winter months,” she says. “Layering is important for those colder nights and flannel sheets do not disappoint.”

Problem #7: Picking a Throw for Function Only

“Throw blankets are always in style and truly timeless,” says Manzo. The problem comes when you select a throw purely for its functionality and miss the chance to pick one for its aesthetic value, too.

“They are the perfect way to add color and texture to your home, while also providing comfort and warmth,” Manzo says. “Throws allow you to bring your unique personality to your design and can easily be swapped out for the different seasons. For the winter season, I love cozy wool and cashmere throw blankets.”