According to a YouGovUS study, only a little more than a third of Americans make their bed every day. If you don’t rank among this group of daily bed-makers, you’re not alone. More than 50% of Americans make their bed only occasionally or not at all.
Maybe you think making your bed is a waste of time. Maybe you think you’re too busy to make your bed. Or maybe you just forgot how to do it (or never really knew). We’ll get to those first two excuses a little later, but first we’ll start with the process.
How to make a bed from scratch
Seven simple steps separate you from sleeping on a bare mattress and sleeping in an immaculate, trim, and orderly bed.
More than 50% of Americans make their bed only occasionally or not at all.
- Use clean sheets. Start with clean bed linens. Experts in all things domestic like Martha Stewart and Good Housekeeping recommend changing your sheets once every week or two. (As we learned from our own study, this sheet-cleaning cadence is not always the case.)
- Secure a mattress pad. Cover your mattress with a protective mattress pad. Secure the corners diagonally across from each other to evenly distribute the pad.
- Wrap a fitted bed sheet. Arrange your fitted sheet on top of your mattress matching the short sides to the head and foot of the bed. Wrap the elastic corners around all the mattress corners in diagonal pairs as you did with the mattress pad in Step 2.
Lay a flat bed sheet. Spread the sheet over the bed matching the top to the head of the mattress and allowing an equal amount of sheet to drape over the sides. Tuck in the bottom at the foot of the bed between the mattress and the box spring. Make hospital corners on the two sides at the bottom. Tuck remaining sheet in tightly all around both sides removing any gathers or wrinkles.
- Spread a cover sheet. Lay the sheet on the bed with an equal amount draping over each side and the finished top even with the top edge of the mattress and facing down. You’ll see why in Step 5. If you use a blanket, skip down to Step 5 now. If you don’t use a blanket, make hospital corners on both sides of the bottom of the bed, leaving the sides beyond the corners untucked.
Pro Tip: Make sure to fold your newly laundered fitted sheets and flat sheets vertically in half first to form nice, crisp creases down the middle. The crease will help you find the middle of the sheets so they drape evenly on both sides without a lot of fuss.
- Add a blanket (optional). Lay the blanket on top of the cover sheet, making sure to have an equal amount draping over each side. Now make hospital corners with both the blanket and the cover sheet together. Before you tuck in the sides, fold down the cover sheet and blanket about 12″ from the top to display the nice finished edge of the sheet. Smooth flat and tuck in the sides.
- Top with a duvet (a.k.a comforter). Depending on how puffy your comforter is, you may want to incorporate it in the folded down cover sheet or simply pull it up to the top of the bed. There should be enough comforter to drape around the sides and foot of the bed. If it is too short to hang at the foot of the bed, you can just pull it up to the fold in the covers.
- Prop up pillows. Always slip a clean pillowcase over a pillow you will sleep on to protect it from sweat, drool, and skin oils. Fluff up pillows and stand them against the headboard. Layer decorative pillow shams in front of the pillows you sleep on. (Hint: The open end of pillowcase goes on the outside of the bed.)
- Wait until bedtime. Look forward to climbing into your clean and tidy bed at night.
Pro tip: Spritz a lavender linen spray on your pillowcases right before you go to bed. The calming scent will sooth your mind, lift your spirits, and lull you into a deep, restorative sleep.
How to make hospital corners
- Tuck sheet in at the bottom removing all gathers and wrinkles.
- About 16 inches from the end of the bed, pinch the hem of the sheet hanging on the side, pull it out straight towards you, then fold it over onto the top of the bed to form a triangle with a 45° angle.
- Tuck in the edge that hangs below the triangle.
- Holding the point of the triangle on the edge of the bed with one hand, pinch the top of the triangle and fold it down so that the 45° angle is on the side of the bed.
- Tuck in the hanging edge all the way up the side of the bed.
- Repeat on the other side.
How to make your bed every day
Daily maintenance of your bed is easier than dressing a bare mattress and really just amounts to straightening out all the pieces that are already on the bed. Here’s how to do it:
- Fold back your covers to let your bed air out for a bit to prevent mold, mildew, and general funkiness.
- Set pillows aside until Step 7.
- Smooth the bottom sheet and re-tuck any edges that have come loose.
- Pull up the top sheet and blanket (if you have one) and lay it flat over the bed sheet. Make sure that it is parallel to the bed and it drapes evenly over each side.
- Fold down the top of the covers 8 – 12 inches and tuck in the sides.
- Pull up your duvet making sure that the draping edges are even on both sides, or leave your covers exposed by folding your comforter in thirds and laying it across the foot of the bed.
- Fluff up your sleeping pillows and shams and stand them against your headboard.
- Stand back and admire your handiwork.
6 excellent reasons to make your bed every day
Think you’re too busy/tired/rushed to make your bed? Even though it’s just going to get rumpled up again at night — every night — there a several good reasons to make your bed that go beyond making your room look neat and tidy.
- That neat and tidy look of your bedroom will give you a sense of control and order in your life. Creating this order out of the chaos that was your bed will empower you to attack the day with a positive attitude.
- You can accomplish something that pays dividends all day long — especially at bedtime — even before you brush your teeth.
- According to the National Sleep Foundation poll, there is a correlation between making your bed and getting a good night’s sleep. And a good night’s sleep means better health and well-being.
- Making your bed keeps dust and pollen off of your sheets and pillows.
- Making your bed won’t keep your fur babies from sleeping on your bed, but it will keep their hair off your sheets and pillows.
- Making your bed can help you change the world.
Whaaaaaat? Yep, that’s right.
“If you wanna change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Those aren’t Martha Stewart’s words. That pearl comes from none other than former Navy SEAL, retired 4-star admiral, ninth commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, and retired Chancellor of the University of Texas System, Admiral William H. McRaven. McRaven counts making your bed among the many little things you can do that can have significant positive impacts on your life and others you encounter in your day.
Changing the world will probably entail a bit more than just making your bed, but it is certainly a good place to start.
We challenge you to try making your bed every day for just one week. We’d love to hear how accomplishing this little chore affected you and those around you. Share your stories in the comments below.