By Teri Olcott
Making the bed isn’t something anyone looks forward to. It’s a household chore that has to be done, and sometimes we put it off or do it quickly so we can move on to other more enjoyable things. You won’t get a medal for making a “perfect” bed, but you will get a good night’s sleep and maybe some satisfaction out of a job well done. The following tips will help ensure that your bed is not just made, but made to perfection.
1. The Mattress is the Bedrock of a Well-Made Bed
A comfortable mattress is where it all starts. If your mattress is too hard, too soft, or just worn out, consider investing in a new mattress. A typical mattress has a lifespan of 8 to 10 years.
2. Use a Mattress Pad
A mattress pad not only adds an extra layer of comfort, but also protects the mattress from dust, spills, and stains. If you find the mattress pad bunching up or shifting on the bed, use safety pins on the corners to keep it in place.
3. Fitted Sheets
Make sure your fitted sheet really does fit your mattress. If the elastic corners keep coming loose, the corner pockets are probably too shallow, or the sheet is too tight. A fitted sheet should fit tight, but not so tight that it is in danger of ripping or coming loose. Pull on the elastic corners of the sheet and tuck them around the corners of the mattress. Make sure the entire sheet is smooth on top of the mattress with no wrinkles or creases.
And when it comes to sheets, invest in the highest quality you can afford. Sheets are not cheap, but good sheets will last for many years. Sheets that are stiff, scratchy, or get pilly after a few washings are a waste of money. A high thread count is important, but anything above a count of 430 really isn’t necessary and is more of a gimmick to make you believe you are buying high-quality sheets. When buying online, read all the reviews. If buying from a store, don’t be afraid to open the package and feel the fabric.
4. Don't Forget a Top Flat Sheet
Lay the flat sheet on top of the fitted sheet. The edge with the large hem goes toward the top of the bed and should align with the edge of the mattress. If your sheets have a pattern, the pattern side should face down. When you later fold back the top sheet, you will be able to see the pattern. Make sure the top sheet is spread evenly over the mattress with the same amount of sheet hanging over both sides of the bed.
5. Make Hospital Corners
To get that tight, crisp, tucked in feel, use hospital corners at the foot of the bed. A hospital corner is a way of folding the end of the top sheet under the mattress. This is probably the most important step in making the perfect bed.
To make a hospital corner, stand at the foot of the bed and tuck the end of the top sheet between the mattress and the box springs or platform. You will need to lift up the mattress to do this. Make sure the sheet remains smooth and wrinkle-free. Go to one side of the bed and lift and fold the top sheet so it forms a tight 45-degree angle from the corner of the mattress. Keeping the folded part on top of the mattress, tuck in the sheet hanging below the mattress. Let the folded section drop down and tuck that edge in as well. Now tuck the remainder of the sheet smoothly under the mattress all the way along the side of the bed. Repeat the process for the opposite side. You should now have a top sheet that is smooth and tight across the bed.
6. Use a Bedspread, Comforter, or Quilt
With the top sheet perfectly smooth and in place, lay your comforter, quilt, or bedspread on top. The top edge should be about six inches down from the edge of the top sheet at the head of the bed. Fold the top sheet at the head of the bed down over the top edge of the quilt or comforter. The pattern of the top sheet, if you have patterned sheets, will be visible. If your top layer is a blanket or thin quilt, you can fold the blanket and sheet back together. Tuck the hanging edges of the folded blanket and sheet underneath the mattress for a finished look.
Any additional blankets can be folded and placed at the foot of the bed. These blankets can be for purely aesthetic purposes or if you get cold in the middle of the night.
7. And Finally: Pillows
Placing pillows at the head of the bed completes the look of a perfectly made bed. Try to match at least two pairs to your quilt or comforter cover. Then place your actual sleeping pillows, (the ones in pillowcases that come with your sheets), in front of the first pillows. Any decorative shams, bolsters, or throw pillows come next. There are no set rules when it comes to pillows. You can have as few or as many as you would like. Be sure to give the pillows a good fluff and smooth out the pillowcases. Some people actually iron their pillowcases.
Now that you have a perfectly made bed, remaking the bed every morning should be little more than smoothing out the bottom sheet, tightening up the top sheet, straightening up the top quilt or blanket, and laying out your pillows and footer throws. Those same people who claim we spend one-third of our life in bed also say that making your bed on a daily basis can help start your day off right.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Teri Olcott and www.shutterstock.com