How to Make Up the Ideal Bed

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


You don’t have to splurge on a trendy hotel room to tuck yourself into pure luxury.

It’s one of those unexplainable truths of life: Sandwiches and beds always seem better when someone else makes them. While there’s not much that can be done about the PB&J, with the right know-how, you can make up a bed that rivals the swanky hotel bed of your dreams.

Step 1: Dress Up Your Box Spring

Depending on what kind of bed frame you have, a valance (a.k.a. bed skirt or bed ruffle) can add to its overall style. It can help to keep dust from collecting underneath the bed. Just remember, it's a good idea to wash a bed skirt now and then—ideally once a month.

Step 2: Add a Mattress Pad

Like the valance, this is an optional layer, but a good quality washable, waterproof cover can help to protect your mattress from errant spills and stains. In addition, some can also protect your mattress from allergens and bed bugs and provide extra comfort through a padded top. Stretch it over your mattress and smooth it out to eliminate any wrinkles.

Step 3: Choose Your Sheets

You don’t have to break the bank on sheets to make up a luxurious-feeling bed. Look for a set with a thread count of roughly 200 to 400 in high-quality cotton like Pima or Egyptian for smoothness and breathability.

Step 4: Keep it Neat

Taking a few extra minutes to carefully make your bed can make all the difference at bedtime. After all, nobody feels pampered slipping into a rumpled set of sheets. Have someone help you with the fitted sheet if you can, to make sure the corners are all pulled tight and even. Then lay the flat sheet over the top, finished side down. Pull the top up until it’s even with the top of the mattress, and allow the excess to drape evenly on the remaining three sides. Tuck the end of the sheet between the mattress and box spring. Then create hospital corners: Tuck the bottom corner in, then tuck the adjacent side in, creating a vertical fold. Repeat on both sides, and then pull the rest of the sheet until it’s smooth and taut. You may even want to take the extra step of ironing your sheets and pillowcases after washing for that “extra crisp,” fresh-from-the-hotel look.

Step 5: Add a Blanket

Place a blanket over the sheet, and pull it to about eight to 10 inches from the top of the mattress. Tuck in the end, making hospital corners like you did with the sheet, and then fold the top of the sheet down over it.

Step 6: Time for a Bedspread

This is where those boutique hotels add a dose of fashion to their sleeping quarters. Whether it’s an all-in-one comforter or a duvet, the right bedspread can add warmth and style to your room. And you have some options about how to display it. While the traditional look of simply laying it over the top certainly works, folding it down makes it a bit more casual and inviting, while tucking it in like you did the sheet and blanket adds a tailored look. If you don’t need the extra layer, a simple band of fabric or throw folded neatly across the end of the bed can also add beauty without bulk.

Step 7: Finish with Pillows

Pillows can be both a colorful accent and a functional addition to your bed. For instance, luxury hotels tend to put five to seven pillows on each king-size bed—two for each partner in the bed, plus decorative throw pillows. But the ideal number of pillows is up to you. Using too few may not feel inviting, but if you add too many more than you use to read or sleep, taking them off and on each day can become tiresome. (After all, the housekeeping staff is, well, you!)