When someone asks you if you know how to make a bed, the obvious answer is yes. Sure, we all know how to make our bed in the morning...straightening up the quilt cover and throwing the pillows back in place. But making a bed properly, from scratch, does require some thought and process that eventually becomes a habit with a rhythm, and can even become somewhat meditative. In places where routine, commitment and discipline are central to everyday life (like the army) making your bed, every morning, is a simple task that represents the accomplishment of the first task of the day. It should give you a sense of pride that encourages you to do another task and another, hence setting the tone for the day.
So, we’ve prepared a step by step guide, on how to make a bed from the bottom up, giving you the confidence to make a bed fit (and comfortable) for a friend, a relative, even an admiral...or maybe just for you!
When you’re looking at a naked mattress, the first place to start is with a mattress protector. The mattress protector is your unassuming, unglamorous yet essential bedding piece. Contrary to what some people believe, the mattress protector should not be reserved purely for the ‘yet to be toilet trained’ little people of the household!
So what does a mattress protector do?
It keeps the mattress, and your sleep environment, protected and clean. It prevents all the stuff we don’t like to think about (perspiration, bodily fluids, dead skin and oil) from being soaked up by your mattress.
It could prolong the life of your mattress. Even a little moisture, on a regular basis, being soaked up like a sponge, may start to affect the foams in the mattress.
It could help prevent dust mite allergies from acting up. After all, without mould and bacteria on your mattress dust mites can’t live.
There are different types of mattress protectors - some of the best protectors feature fabrics that wick away heat and moisture from the body such as bedgear Dri-Tec. Putting the mattress protector on is straightforward. Just make sure it fits nice and snug as you don’t want to deal with excess fabric to tuck.
Next, find your finest fitted sheet! Most sheet sets will come with two sheets: the fitted sheet to cover the mattress and the flat sheet that goes on top. You sleep between the two! Sheets come in different thread counts, which refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. Generally, the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet.
The fitted sheet is usually sewn with elastic that makes pockets on the four corners, which help it hug the corners of the mattress. Lay it down and work one corner at a time, tucking it under the mattress and lining the corners up. Fitted sheets really are a blessing - they make bed making easy. That is, until it comes time to fold it up and put it away after washing. Luckily we’ve prepared a guide for that too!
Stand at the foot of the bed with your flat sheet and spread it over the fitted sheet. The end of the sheet with the wide hem goes at the top of the bed and needs to line up with the top of the bed. The other end can be tucked into the foot end of the bed. To make a hospital corner, grab and lift the draping sheet from the side (about 20 cm from the foot of the bed) and tuck the triangle-shaped lower drape under the mattress. Then fold the top drape to form a 45 degree angle with your free hand holding the corner in place. Then tuck in sheet on both sides of the bed.
There are all kinds of tricks to fitting a quilt inside a quilt cover such as, turning it inside out laying it down and rolling the quilt into a sausage. But sometimes the tricks make the job more difficult than it needs to be. We recommend feeding the corners of the quilt to the corners of the cover and then shaking the quilt cover until it falls over the quilt evenly. A couple of decent ruffles keeps the quilt nice and fluffy and sitting pretty. Make sure the quilt then goes onto the bed evenly with the same amount hanging on each side and with a gap at the top of the bed for the pillows. You can opt to tuck the quilt in around the sides.
The finishing touches begin with folding your flat sheet back over the quilt. Then, you’re ready for the pillows and cushions. Be as creative as you like - there are no hard and fast rules here - it’s more of an art than a science!
First, grab your pillows and give them a good fluffing before placing them between the folded over quilt and the headboard. When it comes to cushions, you can decide how many you prefer, what colour/pattern they should be, and whether you like to chop, or not to chop. Stacked up on a neatly made bed, their main purpose is to look good. Let’s be honest, they only get thrown aside when it’s actually time to sleep. Yet, when artfully arranged, they should do their job of enticing you into this cosy corner of the house, and should make you want to dive head first into your bed at any given time of the day. The only remaining question then, is, how many cushions are too many on a bed? Anne Ellard of Houzzsuggests that a nice ratio is 2:2:1 - two cushions of the same size and colour at the back, 2 smaller cushions in front (in a complementary colour) and one smaller accent cushion at the very front.
Lastly, throw on a throw (especially for the cooler months) - either angle across one of the corners at the foot of the bed, or, nicely folded straight across the end of the bed.
See, it’s all the little things that create your comfortable.
There, you’re done. Now you’re ready to change the world.