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Make a Bed

Follow Martha's easy, efficient system for making a bed perfectly.


  • Mattress cover
  • Fitted sheet
  • Flat sheet
  • Blanket or comforter


  1. Step 1


    Begin with a good-quality mattress and box spring. Protect the mattress with a cotton cover; Martha adds a wool pad.

  2. Step 2


    Unless you're using a fitted sheet, make hospital corners with the bottom sheet, starting at the bed's head: Drape the sheet evenly over the bed, leaving about 1 foot of fabric hanging beyond the head. Stand beside the bed, toward its center, and pick up a side hem. Pull the hem toward you into a taut crease, then raise the creased section over the mattress so the sheet makes a triangular tent over the bed. With your other hand, smooth the sheet flat along the mattress's side. Then fold the creased section down over the side, and tuck the sheet snugly under the mattress. Repeat the process at the foot and other side of the bed.

  3. Step 3


    Add the top sheet, and make hospital corners at the bed's foot.

  4. Step 4


    Leave the sides untucked for easier sleeping. Finish with a blanket, quilt, or down comforter.

Martha Stewart Living, Volume 15 August/September 1993

Reviews (30)

  • Elsie45 25 Jul, 2013

    I find making a neat bed so difficult with certain sheets that are not crisp enough. I think crisper, softer sheets are more likely to make a lovely bed for guests. My favorite sheets personally are at they stay looking just made!

  • dorrainelmt 18 Feb, 2009

    Thank you for making it so simple

  • cathrynmb 17 Feb, 2009

    We got those little tunnel-shaped hard plastic thingies (2" long) to keep the fitted sheet from slipping. But they are difficult to put on, kill my wrists and fingernails, so hubby puts them on. It's his fault the sheet shifts, anyway... LOL!

  • mainemoosie 17 Feb, 2009

    we use jersey sheets almost exclusively. these, and most others, come prepackaged with fitted bottom sheet. where do you get sheets (reasonably priced) so you can have two flat (king) sheets?

  • mainemoosie 17 Feb, 2009

    pattyb2500. we have a low platform bed with sides--king size. it was a lot of work, even with 2 people; i'm 5-2. after our mattress failed (ask me about serta!), went back to honest sold latex--this from ikea. it is not very thick--just thick enough, and much lighter. i don;t know what else to offer. it was just way too hard. love my platform, love the new mattress.

  • mainemoosie 17 Feb, 2009

    alabaxter--we don't tuck the end in either. our feet like to be free or wrapped! we have a bench in front of the bed that hides the foot. but, regardless, we don't lose any sleep over it. ;-)

  • mainemoosie 17 Feb, 2009

    lobster17--we don't all get the magazine. these tips are new to me. don't read them.

  • lobster17 17 Feb, 2009

    Please stop repeating tips that were in your magazine and as a tip. All the extras are clogging up our computers. But PLEASE keep NEW ideas coming!

  • Alabaxter 17 Feb, 2009

    We don't like the ends tucked in....husband is longer than any mattress - so we need a way to make it neat. Ideas? It's a drag taking off all the pillows and having to undo the end each night and remake the whole thing in the a.m.

  • judithen 17 Feb, 2009

    Lidarose, have you tried second hand stores, consignment shops, charity thrift stores, garage sales etc? When we disposed of our parents' estates, there were many sheets made for less deep mattresses. Almost all of them were in good condition, some like new, and had been saved for "company". Many people replace mattresses in their own beds. But may not do so for a Guest Room bed. So the Guest Room bed may have an older, less deep, mattress.

  • pattyb2500 17 Feb, 2009

    Does anyone have a solution for putting sheets on a bed when the mattress sits low inside a wood frame with little room to even put my hands? The mattress is to heavy to lift the corners.

  • JoanMilke 17 Feb, 2009

    On one bed I use mattress suspenders. They work well with all but the thinest sheets. On another I use little plastic tubes that clip the sheet to the welt on the mattress. These work the best.

  • NICKYPAT 17 Feb, 2009

    To Lidarose, I had a similar problem with a small twin bed mattress and too large sheets. I purchased sheet garters, at Walmart that you hook onto the sheet corners to hold them in place. They look just like the old garter hooks used to hold up stockings, way back when. They hold the sheet in place and keep them from popping off the mattress.

  • Lidarose 17 Feb, 2009

    I use the top sheet down method and hospital corners as well. My problem is that my mattress is older, but still clean and in good condition. I can't find a fitted sheet that will work on my 9" - 10" deep mattress and I don't want to use a flat sheet on the bottom. The ones I find are all 15" - 17" deep. They swallow it. Does anyone have a solution other than a web site I saw which was way too expensive. Surely Martha, or someone on her staff could come up with a solution.

  • wendyake 17 Feb, 2009

    the flat sheet should have it's 'right side' against your body and turned folded over at the top of your bed by the pillows so you can 'see' the print

  • wendyake 17 Feb, 2009

    the flat sheet should have it's 'right side' against your body and turned folded over at the top of your bed by the pillows so you can 'see' the print

  • nettie76 17 Feb, 2009

    In Nursing school we had to face the pillow case opening away from the door.

  • shelshok 13 Dec, 2008

    The pillowcase opening should face the edge of the bed.

  • soupmom 2 Nov, 2008

    Which side should the top sheet be? Should it be face up with the wrong side on your skin?

  • Paddy1 14 Jun, 2008

    What is the proper placement of the pillows.....pillowcase opening facing the edge of the bed or facing inward?

  • Janescorner 5 Jan, 2008

    Add bottons to top edge of Duveecover and sew bottonholes onto the top edge of your sheet. Fasten sheet to duvee cover. This way the duvee cover does not have to be laundered as much.

  • Gillybean 5 Jan, 2008

    This brings me back to my nursing days and I still do the hospital corbners - force of habit . If our corners and pillows wer not right then the ward sisters would make you redo the whole bed - it was humilating especially in fornt of the patient but you sure learnt. It ceratinly makes a tidy bed though.

  • rcisneros 4 Jan, 2008

    I call the hospital corners " Marine Corps corners" simply becasue that is how we were required to have our racks made. However our drill instructors would usually drop a quarter to see if it bounced. If it wasn't tight enough and the quarter just plopped, everything was stripped off, sometimes including a bunkies rack, and it had to be remade.

  • rafka 4 Jan, 2008

    I used to make the hospital corners. Now I tuck in the bottom and a little at the side. This leaves a corner tail which I then tuck under at the corner of the mattress. It gives a pretty gathered effect and a looser foot to the sheet which I prefer to the really tight fit of the hospital corners. In the summer I don't put a comforter or bedspread. I use a long silk scarf across the bed at the foot or in the middle to add some color if the sheet is plain and tuck the sheet in all the way around.

  • pc1forever 4 Jan, 2008

    I was always told to put the pretty side toward me bacause that is the softest side. Now most sheets are not printed they are plane in color but, just remeber that the side with the stitches should be up. That way when you fold over the comferter. Now fancy Hotels that use a down comferter they use two top sheets. one on the bottom with the "pretty" side toward you and one on the top with the "pretty" side up. This is so they do not have to use a duvet over the down comferter.

  • luuvbug 3 Jan, 2008

    My trade is a housekeeper, I have heard the topsheet should be placed rightside down so when the topsheet is folded over the blanket it will show. I am confused if the topsheet should be folded over the comforter as well.

  • jean1 3 Jan, 2008

    I learned that you are supposed to put the top sheet on the bed with the top side down and just turn it down which shows any print or pattern. Would you explain how to do this and also incorporate a blanket turned down along with the top quilt?

  • mollyann 3 Jan, 2008

    i find i have the same problem so i have my husband take over this chore for me

  • dorisy2 3 Jan, 2008

    My bed is kind of like yours. I figure I don't have to have it so tight, as I am the one to see it anyway.

  • KBeltz 3 Jan, 2008

    I find it much harder to make taut corners because I have a large wood headboard, and footboard. The mattress fits close to the head and footboards, and the tall pillow-top king mattress is very heavy. Any suggestions?