Task Master: Making the Bed

From thread count to getting the comforter into the duvet, we've got expert advice to make this chore as easy as possible.

making a bed

Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

First things first: Why make the bed every day? You know the theory—it sets the tone for the day, it’s linked to productivity. Plus, who doesn’t want to come home to a put-together bed?

Does Thread Count Really Matter? 

  • What it is: The number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch of fabric. 
  • How it’s scammed: Manufacturers lie to achieve higher counts. They twist together multiple thinner threads and count each individually. 
  • What matters more: The quality of the material the threads are made from. The better the fabric, the softer the feel, even if the thread count is lower. Cottons—including combed, Egyptian and Pima—are a great choice for sheets. 
  • Baseline thread count: Go for 300, according to Becky Rapinchuk, cleaning expert, author and owner of  Clean Mama + Clean Mama Home.

Fitted-Sheet Fixes 
They slip off the corners in the night and get bunched up or loose in the center. No more! 

  • Before you buy a fitted sheet, make sure it’s the right size: Measure the depth of your mattress and compare to the sheet’s dimensions. This will prevent the sheet from popping off the corners every time you roll over.
  • Go with a flat sheet instead. Select a sheet one size bigger than your mattress, and tuck it in using the hospital corners method shown below.

How to Make Hospital Corners 

  1. Lay your top sheet over the fitted one, making sure the top edge of the sheet is even with the head of the mattress, with any excess hanging at the foot of the bed. 
  2. Lift the foot of the mattress and tuck in fabric. The only excess fabric should now be hanging along the sides. 
  3. With one hand, pull the corner of the sheet upward, creating a 45-degree-angle fold (it will look like a small sail).
  4. With the other hand, press against the side of the mattress, and fold the “sail” underneath.
making the bed

Illustration by Remi Geoffroi

Illustration by Remi Geoffroi

To Top Sheet or Not to Top Sheet?
Fans claim the top sheet acts as a barrier between you and the much more expensive and harder-to-clean comforter or duvet. Foes say the bed is easier to make without a top sheet, which just gets tangled while you sleep anyway. Luckily, it’s totally cool to ditch the top sheet if it drives you nuts. For the best of both worlds, check out primarygoods.com for sheets and duvets that snap together.

Getting the Comforter into the Duvet Cover—and Keeping It There
Try this method instead of doing endless fiddling (check out the video below):

  1. Lay the duvet cover inside out on the bed with the opening at foot of bed. Lay the comforter on top.
  2. Line up all the corners and if there are ties, use them! (If not, go for these: Hold On! Comforter Clips, set of 4, bedbathandbeyond.com, $6.) 
  3. Starting at the head of the bed (the tied end), roll the comforter and duvet together into a log. 
  4. Once fully rolled, reach into the duvet opening, grab an upper corner and pull through. Repeat with the other corner and the middle.
  5. Unroll the log, shake out any lumps as needed, then button or zip the duvet closed. 

If Your Teens (or You!) Hate Making the Bed
“Streamline the job by simplifying the linens,” says expert Becky Rapinkchuk. “Use fewer pillows and less bedding. This saves time, plus bed making and washing/changing linens will be easier. Go with two to four pillows total—one with a sham and one sleeping pillow per person—a mattress protector, a fitted sheet and a comforter/duvet and duvet cover.”

Wrinkled bedding?
Take a deep breath and just let it go. It’s actually trendy now, since spending time ironing sheets is a thankless (and soon-ruined!) task. 

Keep your skirt down
Bed skirts that bunch up while you tuck in the sheets are annoying. Bed skirt pins are the answer. Hold Tight! Bed Skirt Pins, bedbathandbeyond.com, $4/set of 12 

Sleep tight
Try a pillow mist with lavender and chamomile for a restful snooze. Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, thisworks.com, $29