How to Make a Bed: The Ultimate Guide

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Making a bed is an easy task… so easy we hardly even think about it. There’s much more going on than we realise, however. If we choose to make it, the way we make our bed can say so much about us. Not making the bed can do the same.

There are even special ways to make a bed, too, so it looks more presentable, more comfortable, and inviting. We can use blankets or duvets and add simple touches that give the bed a more luxurious appearance and feel.

Who’d have known so much could go into such a routine task? This is your ultimate guide to making your bed.

Why you should make your bed

There are more reasons than you think to make your bed. Here are some of the main ones:

It’s the right way to start a day

In a famous commencement address at the University of Texas, Admiral William H. McRaven discussed the importance of making your bed. He described it as accomplishing the first task of the day. He spoke of how the sense of pride you get from making your bed would inspire you to complete task after task throughout the day. He added that it reinforced the sense that the little things in life matter.

It makes the room look nice and tidy.

The minute you make your bed, your bedroom appears suddenly tidier. A made bed looks more inviting. The tidiness will highlight any room areas that need improvement and urge you to declutter if necessary.

In any case, you’ve got to take care of your bedding. You can make your bed look new for longer if you make it. Straighten out your duvets and sheets and fluff your cushions and pillows. This reduces wrinkles and helps them to keep their shape for longer. Leaving everything heaped up in an untidy pile on your bed will not do them any favours… or will it? More on that later.

Making your bed will help you sleep better.

It seems you’ll sleep more peacefully in a tidy bedroom. A survey of 1,500 adults in the US, ages between 25 and 55, found the ones who made their bed were 19% more likely to get a better night’s sleep.  Generally, people reported sleeping better when they got into a made bed when the sheets were fresh, and when the room was comfortable.

It helps you to observe good habits.

Making your bed is a simple habit, but it encourages productivity. According to “The Power of Habit” by author Charles Duhigg, it becomes a key habit that triggers a chain of good decisions throughout the day and makes you feel like you’re taking charge. Other good habits take hold, and you can improve your well-being and skills at sticking to a budget.

What making your bed reveals about your personality

A report commissioned by the sleep research site Sleepopolis revealed that making a bed can tell a whole lot about ourselves to others.

According to the research, people who make their beds (the bed-makers) can be:

  • Confident
  • Adventurous
  • High maintenance
  • Sociable

They also tend to be early risers and are likely to work in health- or tech-related fields.

All of this contrasts with people who don’t make their beds (the non-bed makers). The research found they can be sarcastic, shy, moody, and curious. These people were also likely to be working in business or finance, the research found and were prone to hitting the snooze button, whereas the bed-makers rose 16 minutes earlier. The non-bed-makers were also night owls.

In fact, whether you make the bed or don’t make the bed could even have an impact on your personal life. According to the research, bed-makers enjoy regular intimacy with their partner. Forty-two percent of them also mentioned that if a potential partner left their bedsheets untucked, this would be a turn-off. If you’re looking for love, you know what to do!

Why you shouldn’t make your bed first thing in the morning

So far, we’ve heard a fairly strong case for making your bed when you get up. However, some experts think we shouldn’t make the bed first thing in the morning. They state that making your bed when you get up could trap dust mites built up overnight. This creates a breeding ground for allergens.

At night, we sweat and shed skin, playing into the hands of these critters who love damp and humid areas. People tend only to roll their covers back and let the linen breathe in the summer, but some experts recommend rolling them back the whole year round. This is because we put the central heating on in winter. They suggest doing this for at least an hour a day.

Should we even make our beds at all?

Now, this is compelling. Some experts suggest going even further and not making the bed at all. They believe it’s the best solution and that leaving the bed unkempt exposes mites to air and sunlight. This causes them to become dehydrated and die.

So if you feel guilty about dashing out to work and not leaving your bed looking prim and proper, you can banish those bad feelings about it all. If you’re something of a neat freak and detest a messy bed, leave your bed unmade for at least a few hours in the morning and make it later in the day.

Make a bed.

How to make your bed like a pro

Of course, there are ways to make your bed look inviting and then there are ways! One way is to embrace the art of making a bed with “hospital corners”, which they do in hospital beds and the military. Here’s how to make your bed like a pro:

Protect your covers and mattress

The good news is you don’t have to put on mattress covers every single time you make your bed. That would become incredibly tiresome. You should, however, try to protect your mattress from spillages and wear and tear. By adding a mattress protector, you help to prolong the life of your mattress. A mattress topper can also help.

Do the same, too, with pillows. This is especially important if you suffer from asthma or allergies. The fabric stops allergens from settling into the pillow and making a home for themselves there.

Lay the sheets

Next up are the bed sheets. 

Apply your top sheet to the bed as follows:

  1. Layer the top sheet, which is an optional sheet, first. The fabric should be face down, so if there’s a pattern on the sheet, the dull side will face upwards and display the pattern when you turn the sheets down.
  2. Centre the top sheet and leave the corners hanging over the edges.
  3. Create hospital corners, which you can do by following the steps in our blog post on bedsheets.

Add a duvet

Adding a duvet cover to your duvet will protect it, just like a mattress or pillow protector does for these items.

You might find yourself wrestling with your duvet cover before you lay the duvet itself on the bed. If so, try the “Burrito technique”. It sounds odd, but it’s easy. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Lay your duvet cover flat and inside out on the bed.
  2. Lay your duvet on the top.
  3. Start with the closed-end and roll the two up together, as if rolling up a nice, tasty burrito.
  4. Wrap the ends and turn the “burrito” inside out.
  5. Zip, button, or flip as is appropriate.

The duvet (cover) is the most visible part of the bed, so choose a cover you love. The duvet should hang evenly over the edges, and you should fold it down to leave enough space for the pillows. You can give your bed a layered look by folding down the top sheet as well. If the sheet is wrinkled, iron the whole sheet or just the visible portion… whichever you prefer.

Want to give your bed that fluffy look? It’s simple. Just place two or more duvet inserts into the cover for instant fluffy-looking goodness!

Pop on the pillows.

You can arrange your pillows in the order that suits you. You could put on the pillows you actually use when you’re sleeping first and follow them up with sham pillows. Alternatively, you could place your sham pillows at the back to provide extra support while you’re on the bed reading or watching Netflix.

…. And then decorate with more pillows

Yes, you did read correctly: decorate your bed with more pillows… throw pillows, though. These decorative pillows can be square, rectangular, patterned, or plain… it’s up to you. Whatever you choose, they’ll bring real pizzaz to your bed.

If ever you get tired of them, you can change them. Generally, stylists recommend placing the largest pillows at the back and the smallest ones at the front when arranging pillows. It’s your choice, however.

Blankets or duvets?

Not everyone likes sleeping under a duvet, however. Some prefer sheets and blankets. Blankets seal in the heat, and when the temperature gets too warm, you can remove a blanket or two, whereas sometimes it feels as if there’s less balance under a duvet. You’re either too warm under it or too cold without it over you.

Duvets are practical and easy to tidy, but some like the romanticism behind a blanket. Duvets feel every day to them, whereas blankets have a sense of the foreign about them, getting away from the everyday. They can picture being in a European city somewhere when they wake up under a blanket.

Others would prefer a duvet any day of the week. They can quickly make their bed by pulling the duvet over it (and adjusting the top sheet, if they have one). With blankets, on the other hand, they have to fiddle around more. Some people haven’t got the patience for that!

Making your bed luxurious

Follow the tips above and you can make your bed like a pro. You can take extra measures, though, to give your bed that luxurious feel.

Cover the frame and box spring.

If you have a box spring, cover up the spring and the possibly unsightly base. You can do this with a bed skirt, which some refer to as a “box spring cover”. Either way, cover it up for that more luxurious look.

Alternatively, you don’t necessarily have to cover up the base. Some bed bases already look luxurious if they come upholstered in certain fabrics. Crushed velvet, for instance, will certainly give the bed that glam appearance.

Use good quality linen.

Egyptian cotton is one of the best ways to go. It’s light and breathable. 

Good quality linen will have a thread count (the number of yarns per square inch of fabric) of around 300 to 500. That’s generally the rule but isn’t always the case. The fibre quality and weave are just as important, if not more so, and you can find good quality linens with a lower thread count.

The higher the thread count, the softer the linen seems to be the consensus. Still, a 300 to 500 thread count doesn’t guarantee quality. Neither does a thread count of more than 500 necessarily equate to better quality either.

Pad and upholster your headboard

Headboards, along with a footboard, add a sense of completeness to a bed. They’re a chance to really give a bed the luxurious touch and inject style and character. Always remember that the bed is the centrepiece of the bedroom.

Headboards come in different styles, such as contemporary, traditional, panelled or slatted, and wood or metal materials. They can have a leather finish or a fabric finish such as velvet, crushed velvet, chenille, or fusion. To find out more about headboards, read our Bedstar Buying Guide to Headboards.

A few final words on bed-making

When it comes to bed-making and serious comfort, thoughts of hotel beds might well pop into your mind. Their reputation rests on guests having a good night’s sleep. They’ll pull out all the stops to make the hotel beds as presentable and as comfortable as possible, so you might want to take a leaf out of their book, too.

There’s some dispute about whether you should make your bed or not. It seems there are valid arguments for both. Making your bed starts off the day as you mean to go on, whereas leaving your bed unmade may have bug-slaying benefits. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

The way to make your bed is more straightforward than you think. Apply hospital corners for a professional presentation, pile on the pillows for comfort, and add simple but smart extras for that luxurious touch. Good job!

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