How to: Make a bed
Crisp, clean linens, a fluffy duvet and perfectly plump pillows: These are the makings of a divinely dressed bed and you can achieve one in minutes with a little know-how, some attention to detail and a touch of care. Here's how to beautifully make a bed.
Alex Newman, author of Hot Property: Easy Home Staging to Sell Your House for More Money in Any Market (John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd., 2007) recognizes the power of a beautifully made bed. She believes every room needs a focal point and in the bedroom, the focal point is the bed. "The more beautiful and lavish, the more people will be stopped in their tracks," Alex says.
Whether you want to impress prospective homebuyers, wow your visiting mother-in-law or challenge the domestic goddess in you, take some pointers from Alex and your bed-making efforts will result in true beauty. Before you begin, work with bedding that matches or complements the colours in your bedroom and consider whether or not want to show off your bed frame or conceal it with a bed skirt. Hide a metal bed frame with a bed skirt. "Tailored skirts are generally more in vogue, but that doesn't mean the gathered kind can't look good," says Alex. "If you have a sleek Roche Bobois-style bed, definitely no skirt."
With bedding that complements your bedroom's decor and a foundation that's skirted—or decidedly not—you're ready to make up a perfect bed.
How to make a bed: Bed sheets
Your bed sheets make up the base layer of your pretty bed. For maximum appeal, use clean, crisp sheets either fresh from the dryer or freshly pressed. "If you wash your sheets, the dry cleaners will iron them for less than $10," says Alex. She recommends opting for classic white sheets because it "always looks good" and avoiding dark or intensely hued sheets that tend to look dated.
Place a fitted sheet on your mattress, tucking each elasticized corner under each mattress corner. Tuck any loose edges under the mattress while smoothing wrinkles as you work. Next, place your flat sheet and blanket, pulling up the flat sheet far enough so there's enough length to fold over the blanket. If you're not using a blanket, Alex suggests folding back the edge of the top sheet anyway for a crisp look. Smooth out any wrinkles and visually check to ensure the overhang on each side is about equal in length.
How to make a bed: Hospital corners and decorative blankets
To fold a "hospital corner", tuck in the sheet and blanket edge along the foot of the bed, pulling the fabric taut so it lies smooth. Next, take a corner of the sheet and blanket, pull it taut and angle it towards the headboard as you tuck it under the mattress, leaving a neat angled edge. Repeat on the other side. Don't obsess over perfect hospital corners, but avoid any bulky lumps and bumps. "As long as it's neat and trim, and carefully tucked in, you're fine," says Alex. "We can't all be nurses, now can we?"
There are some blankets that are just too gorgeous to remain hidden under a duvet so go ahead and display these beauties. "Blankets are nice folded at the end of the bed," says Alex. "That suggests a place to relax and read with a cup of tea, while not having to actually climb under the covers." She recommends texture-rich blankets like mohair, cashmere or good polyester facsimiles.
How to make a bed: Duvets, comforters and quilts
You're almost done. With the sheets and blankets dressing your bed, it's time to fluff up your duvet, comforter or quilt and lay it on your bed for its final layer of bedding.
Tip: Choose your bedding's top layer according to your room's decor. "Quilts are nice with anything country—French, Canadiana, Americana," says Alex. "Duvets can go with any decor and have a more modern look, but comforters work just fine."
Do a visual check to ensure the duvet, comforter or quilt's overhang is equal in length and no loose blanket or sheet edges are left hanging.
How to make a bed: Pillow talk
Pillows are the perfect finishing touches of a beautifully made bed. Fluff up your pillows and place them at the head of your bed, either propped up against a headboard or laid flat. Use an assortment of pillow sizes for visual interest but don't go overboard. The pillows shouldn't make the bed look too top-heavy or bordello-like, Alex warns.
That's it, you're done!
When you make up a beautiful bed, your reward is a welcoming retreat where you can revive and restore your energy. According to mattress retailers Sleep Country Canada, you spend one-third of your life sleeping, so devoting time—and effort—to make your sleeping area comfortable and pretty is well worth it.