Active Home: A Designer’s Guide To Bed-Making

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Active Home: A Designer’s Guide To Bed-Making

I admit it – I’m a bed maker. There may be some of you who tend to leave it as is or toss the comforter over the lumpy sheets and pillows. And why not? You’re only going to get back into it in the next 14 to 16 hours. Not me – I gain a great sense of satisfaction from a well-made bed and can’t start my day until I do so.

I will also admit to having a few (maybe nine) pillows on my bed. A well-designed bed is like painting or cooking – you’re adding layers to the medium that you’re working in and building on the flavours. In the art of bed-making, you’re also layering with fabrics, textures and pillows to create the perfect bed – that’s just right for you.

Photography By John Heineman

The design of your headboard generally sets the tone, as it’s the backdrop for your bedding. The material that it’s made of, as well as the height and the style, will influence the overall look. However, you can create different effects if you don’t have a headboard – and that’s where pillows (and more pillows) can come in handy.

Photography courtesy of Revelle Home Fashions


Fitted sheets are now deeper – more voluminous – in order to accommodate thicker mattresses, pillow tops and mattress covers. Make sure that the bottom sheet is pulled taut and tucked under all of the corners. The top (flat) sheet should be placed with the pattern down. The end with the largest hem goes at the head of the bed, then when you fold it over, the pattern will be showing. I prefer solid-coloured sheets, like white or natural-toned, so that I can make a bigger statement with my top covers. I also include a thin, cotton blanket for a breathable layer of insulation. If I don’t want to use the duvet, or find that it’s too hot, I still feel cosy.

Photography By Brandon Barre


Duvets are very versatile covers, because inserts come in varying degrees of warmth ratings, as well as alternative stuffing options. I’ll share a design secret with you – for an extra fluffy looking bed, add an extra duvet inside the cover.

Unlike duvets, comforters don’t require inserts. The colours and patterns of the fabric are usually dyed, then filled with a polyester (synthetic) batting and stitched to keep the filling evenly distributed. Often a comforter is sold in a packaged set, with pillow shams and (possibly) decorative cushions to match.

Photography By Brandon Barre

Not all bedding manufacturers have caught up with the changing mattress industry, so I suggest that you purchase a duvet or comforter that is a size larger than the actual bed – a king for a queen, a queen for a double, etc. When dealing with a king-sized bed, I will often have top covers custom-made with additional fabric for better coverage.

Photography courtesy of Revelle Home Fashions


It is my penchant to expose approximately one quarter of the top sheet by folding it down from the head of the bed. Turn down the sheet, blanket and duvet together, and then smooth them down. I’ve ironed many beds into this configuration for photographs, and its very rewarding when all the linens line up. If you prefer a flat finish, bring the sheet, blankets and covers up to the head of the bed, and then smooth out each layer (one at a time) so that they lay flat.

Trend-setting bed frames now have lower sides and exposed legs. With this type of look, the bedding should be tucked in to keep it sleek and stylish. For this modern effect, you’ll need to look up how to do a proper hospital corner, unless your career background makes you an expert.

Photography By Brandon Barre


Start with two sleeping pillows, place the open ends of the pillowcases so that they meet each other in the middle of the bed. Next up are the Euro shams. Arrange up to three (on a king-sized bed) of these large, square pillows. They should complement the duvet cover, but they don’t have to match. The next set of pillows fill the matching shams of the duvet cover. As these will only be used for display, make sure that they are nice and full. Arrange complementary throw pillows in colours and textures to go with the overall ensemble.

For the pièce de résistance, add a quilt or matelassé along the bottom of the bed.

This is just a guideline to making a fabulous-looking bed. If you invest in great bedding, and then add your personal preferences and style sense, I guarantee that you’ll want to make up your bed everyday.

Photography By Brandon Barre

Jane Lockhart, B.A.A.I.D., Founder & Principal Designer of Jane Lockhart Interior Design. Lockhart is a multi-award winning designer, author and television personality, including six seasons as creative director and host of W Networks’ Colour Confidential.


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