You don't have to be a perfectionist to keep a tidy bed. Your bed will look nice, stay clean, and be the place you would like to sleep. Putting it all together neatly at first will even make daily bed-making easier!
- Start at the bottom with a dust ruffle. If your final bed cover does not go all the way to the floor, a dust ruffle will help to keep dust from collecting under the bed while providing a decorative accent. The dust ruffle goes on top of the box spring, covering the box spring and bed frame. They do not require washing as often as sheets, and should stay clean with quick and regular vacuuming.
- Put on a mattress pad and any protective coverings (such as a waterproof sheet for a child's bed). Smooth them out, running your hands outward from the middle to remove any creases or wrinkles.
- Put the fitted bottom sheet in place. Pull the fitted bottom sheet elastic tightly and evenly over the mattress corners. It helps to work diagonnally from one corner to another, Smoothing from the center, then tucking under the sides.
- You can Use a flat sheet instead of a fitted sheet on the bottom, if you don't have any fitted sheets. First unfold the sheet with the wide hem at the top and the narrow hem at the bottom. Spread it out evenly across the bed, tucking in the bottom edge of the sheet. Then pick up the side edge at the bottom corner holding it out while tucking the left part hanging down at the corner, then let the edge fall and tuck it in as well. This is a "hospital corner". Repeat for the other bottom corner, then repeat the entire process at the top. Finally, smooth from the center and tuck in the sides.
- Unfold the sheet, wrong side up, with the wide hem at the top and the narrow hem at the bottom. (This will mean the right side of the sheet shows later when you fold down the top over the blanket.) Spread it out evenly across the bed, allowing any extra length to fall at the bottom edge. Tuck in the bottom edge and make hospital corners as in the previous step: Pick up the side edge at the bottom corner and hold it out. Tuck in what is left hanging down at the corner, then let the edge fall and tuck it in as well. Repeat for the other bottom corner.
- Put blankets over the sheets. Place blanket(s) right side up with the top of the blanket at the point you wish to turn down the top sheet - about 8 inches from the top of the bed. Tuck in the bottom edge and make hospital corners there. Fold down the top sheet over the top edge of the blanket. Tuck in the sides if you wish to keep the covers tight or if they would otherwise hang out below the comforter or bedspread.
- Decorate with a warm comforter. Most comforters are decorative and too thick to tuck in, so simply spread it out evenly over the bed. Run your hands through the middle, removing any wrinkles or creases.
- Decorate with a bedspread. This is a final decorative and protective cover that is usually lighter than a comforter. Again, spread it out evenly over the bed and run your hands through the middle to remove any wrinkles or creases. Bedspreads may be removed and gently hung over a rack or chair, or folded down neatly at the foot of the bed for sleeping.
- Don't forget the pillows. Put on any under-case pillow covers, then pillow cases. Fluff out the pillows and place them at the top of the bed. If you wish to cover the pillows with the bedspread, fold the spread at the top sheet/blanket line, then put the pillows in place and fold the cover back up over them.
- Add accessories. Place additional or decorative pillows on top, and step back to survey your creation!
Undercovers such as mattress pads and pillow covers will help protect your bed and pillows so they last longer. In return they also protect you from allergens and asthma-inducing particles that might collect there.
Use sheets large enough that they won't come untucked and pull out while you are sleeping. This makes the bed more comfortable to sleep in and easier to make up again the next morning.
Tuck in sheets and blankets snugly and smoothly, removing any creases or wrinkles. Folds are both uncomfortable and unsightly.
You can also put the sheets on the bed, upside down, and then fold the top back a foot, so that the top side shows for that one foot. Then tuck in the edges.
Bring the bottom edge of the flat sheet just to the edge of the mattress (with nothing to tuck). This gives you more fabric to tuck in at the top, for a better fit where it is most needed.
Think before giving up on that second sheet. The practice of using only a comforter or duvet without a top sheet makes daily bed-making a bit simpler, but that sheet serves other purposes: protecting the sleeper's skin from rough blankets and covers, keeping blankets and comforters cleaner, and adding a little extra layer of warmth. It's a lot easier to regularly wash a sheet than it is to wash blankets and comforters, and the covers last longer when they are kept clean and laundered less.
You may also find this video, from the Washington State School for the Blind helpful. If using a screen reader, press space or enter on the first button to play.