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How to Make a Bed Like the Magazines

Want to be more productive, more restful, and have a beautiful bedroom? Here’s how to make a bed like a hotel or magazine in 8 steps.

Lately, I’ve tried to get better about making our bed because I’ve heard time and time again that it sets the tone for a productive day. (Turns out, it’s true.) Did you know you are also 19% more likely to get a better night’s sleep if you make your bed every morning?

(Robert is much more consistent at being the bed-maker in our marriage. Must be a veteran thing.)

And at the end of the day, if you’ve had a rough one, at least you have a nicely made bed to crawl into, right?

Some days we just toss the covers up and call it “good enough”. Other days, we take a little extra care to zhush it up with the works.

We can honestly say this is how to make a bed like the magazines because our beds that we have made really have been photographed in several national magazines at this point (that’s still bonkers to me TBH).

A few weeks ago, on Instagram, when I shared our winter bedding that we splurged on for ourselves at Christmas, I was surprised that a bunch of you asked for a bed making tutorial.

So finally here’s my process for a super deluxe (fries on the side?) looking bed that beckons for a long nap… or that could just be my energetic 4 year-old causing that side effect in me.

How to Make a Bed Step by Step

You really don’t have to splurge on super expensive bedding to make a professional bed.

Some of my favorite bedding pieces of all time are the best low budget sheets, pillows, and comforters on Amazon. Throughout this post, I’ll pop in some of my go-to low-budget bedding recommendations alongside a few splurge favorites.

1 (Optional) Start With a Bed Skirt

These days, you really don’t need a bed skirt. But they are still very useful if you need to hide an exposed bed frame, a box spring, or storage underneath the bed.

Just make sure the hem of the bed skirt is barely skimming the floor, not too high and not puddling.

I love using a bed skirt on our air mattress attached with a little painter’s tape to make it look like a real bed when guests visit.

2 Add a Mattress Topper / Protector

If you can’t afford to upgrade your mattress, you can add a mattress topper instead for a budget-friendly way to add plushness.

I use this mattress topper on our cheap guest bedroom mattress to make it feel pillowy soft. It’s my little trick for making air mattresses feel more like real beds too.

Don’t forget to add a waterproof zippered mattress:

  • Protect from spills
  • Keep out dust mites
  • Prevent sweat accumulation
  • Keep out pollen and household allergens
  • Makes easier clean up when living with accident-prone pets or kids

Mattress Topper / Protector Recommendations:

  • We bought this memory foam mattress pad topper (pictured below) 4 years ago and loved it so much that we’ve bought 3 more for our other beds and bedroom makeovers we’ve done for friends ever since.
  • We don’t mess around with accidents living with a dog and two kids, and these mattress protectors have never failed us. We even have one on our day bed mattress on our back porch and it stays totally dry.

3 Add Sheets with Flat Sheet Upside-Down

Fit your sheets on the bed with the foot of the top sheet tucked in using hospital corners and smoothed on top and pulled all the way up to the head of the bed.

Bed Sheet Recommendations:

  • These are my favorite sheets that feel a lot like the luxury brands and are less than $40.
  • We just got this luxurious sateen sheet set (pictured below) as a Christmas gift to ourselves after a decade of buying the $40 sets, and I do have to admit they are a dream. I’ve never slept so cool.

If you are using printed sheets or ones with trim on the top edge, lay the flat sheet upside-down so that when you pull the covers back, the pretty pattern is visible. Here is an example of printed sheets placed upside-down and pulled back on my daughter’s bed so you can see what I mean.

4 Put on a Coverlet or Quilt

Smooth out a quilt on top of the flat sheet, pulled all the way to the top of the bed. Then, pull back the quilt and flat sheet about a foot and tuck it all in on the sides of the mattress.

Quilt Recommendations:

  • It’s hard to go wrong with a classic embossed coverlet quilt, and this one is great for a tight budget.
  • I fell in love with the vintage floral pattern on this quilt that’s more of a splurge option (pictured below).

Here is how the sheet and quilt look tucked in at the sides.

5 Add a Duvet or Comforter and Fold

This is the step that makes the bed looks fluffy and luxurious.

Pull the duvet/comforter all the way to the top of the mattress, fold it back halfway, then fold it halfway again so it’s doubled over in the middle of the mattress. (You can see this in the picture above.)

Robert and I are hot sleepers (hence, the ceiling fan hanging out above the bed), but even with all of these fluffy layers, we are very comfortable. We stay far far away from anything flannel or velvet and have learned that we sleep the absolute best in cotton and linen.

Duvet Recommendations:

6 Stack the Sleeping Pillows

Just like with a mattress protector, add zippered pillow protectors too. I like to shake out the pillows and give them each a good fluff first, then stack the pillows to give some structure to the decorative pillows in the front.

Sleeping Pillow Recommendations:

  • My favorite lower-budget option are these gel pillows that we use on almost all of the beds in our house. They keep their fluff and stay cool.
  • Robert has neck issues sometimes from an old injury, so we invested a little more in the Coop adjustable memory foam pillows that we customize to our own individual comfort level.

7 Place Decorative Pillows in Front

The really fun part! Get creative playing with different pillow sizes, shapes, textures, patterns, and colors as the focal point. Here are some helpful tips for mixing and matching throw pillows.

  • Place a row of 3 Euro pillows together
  • Add two 22″x22″ pillows with an oblong pillow in front
  • Use two 24″x24″ pillows with a 20″ pillow in front
  • Use only a simple singular pillow

Work with what you have and play around with combinations until it feels right.

Throw Pillow Insert Recommendations:

I always try to use a down alternative insert one size larger than the pillow cover so that it looks extra fluffy. These are my favorite low-budget down alternative pillow inserts.

8 Finish With a Throw Blanket

It’s nice to keep an extra blanket handy at the foot of the bed in case you get cold at night or just want a soft throw to snuggle with or like using a weighted blanket to ease stress.

  • Fold the blanket across the foot of the bed
  • Drape the blanket across the foot of the bed for a messier look
  • Drape the blanket diagonally for a lived-in look

Here’s how I have draped a blanket on our guest bed diagonally at the corner of the mattress before.

The only thing better about a pretty bed is being able to cozy up IN it! Fair warning though: Once you make your bed exactly like you want, it’s pretty hard to leave.

I definitely have an easier time getting in the habit of making the bed when I know I’ll love the pretty outcome. Plus, there’s just nothing more rewarding than getting into that crisp made bed at night.

Maybe our moms were right all those years ago when we were kids, huh? (Who would have thought, right?)

Bedroom Source List

So the real question is are you a bed maker-upper? Or a why-bother-when-no-one-will-see-it-but-me kind of person?

Depends on the day for me. I’m trying to get better about it. If only I could magically become a morning person.

Do you have any tricks of your own you use to make your bed look all magazine-fancy-like? Share away!

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60 Comments

  1. I feel like this is a very American thing to do. I live in Belgium and I don’t know anyone who makes a bed like this. We just have two pillows, and a duvet with a fitted duvet cover. The pillowcases come in the same package as the duvet cover does. You have them in all kinds of patterns and colours.
    I do like the look of yours very much, but I wonder what you do with the ‘extras’ when it is bedtime. Throw them on the floor?

  2. I don’t make the bed, we just pull the comforter up to the top every day. But THANK YOU so much for this post!! We need several sets of sheets and some new bedding. You’ve helped me save a ton of $ with the sheets link and now I’m actually excited about redoing our 5 Bedrooms!

  3. I make our bed each morning. Love your ideas to make it seem more plush. The top of your bed frame is so beautiful I wouldn’t hang anything over it. How about a picture over each of the nightstands!

  4. I love the new night stands. Kirkland’s has some that are similar (just search “charging station table”) but not in that beautiful blue. I guess one could get out to old paint brush to achieve that color. Great job with your bedroom.

    1. I forgot to check there! I think I’ve seen similar ones there too. Fusion Mineral Paint has a color called Homestead Blue that is similar.

  5. I’m a definite bed maker and have been for as long as I can remember! If I don’t have it made before I start the day or leave the house, it makes me crazy. I’ve timed myself before while making our bed, which has a similar setup of bedding and pillows to yours, and it only takes 3-4 minutes tops (pretty pillows and all). To me, that’s a small amount of time to spend on a task that makes it well worth it in order to start and end my day on the right foot.