How to Make Your Bed, and Why You Should

One reason: Getting into a well-made bed at night feels so much better.

Man tucking the end of his comforter to finish making his bed
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There are a great many people in this world who will tell you that you ought to make your bed every morning. Those people will have different reasons for saying so, and approaches of convincing you that range from dictatorial, to shaming, to a softer, more kumbaya approach. I am one of those people: I believe in bed-making, and I would like you to believe in bed-making too.

There are good reasons to make a bed! But also, and this is equally as important, if none of these reasons for making a bed speak to you, go ahead and leave your bed unmade. Making the bed is not a value judgment. (My approach to bed-making conversion falls more on the side of kaftans and lavender oil than wanting to change the world, military-style, like William H Craven.)

With that said, the benefits of choosing to make your bed are compelling:

  1. A made bed creates the appearance of a tidy, pulled-together bedroom
  2. Coming home to a tidy bedroom will make you feel good. Bed-making converts have said that arriving home to that nice-looking bed inspires feelings of being proud, in control, calm, capable and grown up. That all sounds nice! 
  3. If you work from home, as many of us do these days, making the bed in the morning is a signal that personal time is over and the work day has begun. 
  4. If you make the bed every day, the act of doing it gets easier and more routine
  5. If you have pets, making the bed will help to protect your sheets from pet hair, dander, drool, etc. 
  6. Experts recommend that people who struggle with sleep issues create nighttime rituals to signal the brain that it's time to go to sleep; turning down a made bed in the evening is one such ritual. 
  7. Getting into a well-made bed feels really good. It just does! If you're a person who views making the bed as a dreaded chore, reframing the job as a gift you give to your future self can help it feel like less of a slog. 

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Okay so now you're convinced! Or, perhaps not convinced but maybe curious? "Is this bed-making business all it's cracked up to be? It can't be, right?" Well! Time to find out for yourself.

Woman making her bed
One woman, female making bed in bedroom alone at home.
Hirurg/Getty Images

Now here's a secret of bed-making that many cleaning experts won't tell you, because they are not fun like me: There are as many ways to make a bed as there are ways to wear a silk scarf. Really! The important thing is that the bed gets made, and telling you exactly how it should get made feels a little invasive. It's your bed! Style it the way you like it!

Conversely, a thing you should absolutely never worry yourself with again is how someone else is making their bed. Not your bed, not your business. If Mike in Accounting wants to arrange his pillows at the foot of his bed each morning, please let him do so without offering your opinion of his lifestyle choices. Poor Mike has plenty of problems without you adding to them.

The easiest way to make a bed

Making a bed that's already dressed is a 5-step process that should take you only a minute or two. Here's how to do it:

  1. Remove the pillows from the bed and turn the covers and top sheet (if using) back to the foot of the bed; 
  2. Pull the bottom sheet taut and retuck it; 
  3. Pull the top sheet, if using, up to the top of the bed, smooth it; 
  4. Pull the covers up over the top sheet, smooth them, and then turn the edge of the top sheet over the hem of the covers; 
  5. Arrange the pillows at the top of the bed. 

Regarding those pillows, you have some choice here — you have a lot of choices here, actually, but there is one Big Choice to address: Making a bed with covered pillows, i.e. pulling the covers up over the pillows, versus making a bed with exposed pillows, i.e. arranging pillows on top of folded down covers.

Both ways of arranging pillows on a made bed are fine. The choice is mostly one of taste, but there are advantages to each approach that are worth considering: Covering the pillows protects them from environmental soils like dust and pollen and, most crucially, pet hair. If you have a pet who sits on the bed, covering the pillows will help to keep Fluffy's butt off the place where you lay your head at night. If you tend to sleep hot, leaving the pillows exposed will help them to dry and air out during the day.