Disclaimer: I admit that my beds are not always made neatly. I further admit that there is more than one way to make a bed. What follows is the result of research and listening to people who make beds for a living and take care of patients for a living, not my own personal bias.
There's more to making a bed than just having something that looks nice. Standard nursing care has long recognized the importance in having wrinkle-free, smooth bedding to aid in the recuperative sleep of patients and as a preventative against bed sores. In cancer patients, sleep disorders are common. Along with lowering the noise level and dimming the lights, making sure that the bedding is dry and wrinkle-free is part of creating an environment where the patient can get the rest needed to be able to regain health.
Learning how to make a bed properly, even luxuriously, will not only prove useful if you are hosting guests, you will also find it helpful if you are caring for a sick loved one. Most importantly, you will find that when there isn't time to do any of the other things you might like to do for self-care. This is ONE thing you CAN do that won't cost you anything and will help you get the rest you need . . . . PLUS it should impress your husband. Who says you have to stay at a fancy hotel before you can enjoy the luxury of a finely made bed?
Before you make the bed
One way to make this chore easier is by folding your bedding in half lengthwise after laundering -- this means matching the sides and corners and smoothing out all of the wrinkles. This will create a crease in the center of your sheet that will serve as a guide when you are trying to center sheets on your mattress. This is a major help when making a large bed.
Hospital Corners, a solid foundation
The most common complaint about hospital corners is that this method of securing sheets does not allow for movement. However, the bedding can be loosened to accommodate the comfort level of the person using the bed when he or she gets into the bed. Having bedding in place keeps the legs from becoming entangled in the sheets and restricting movement during sleep.
In addition to contributing to a good night's sleep, hospital corners can save you money. Knowing how to fold hospital (or mitered) corners means that you can purchase flat sheets or make your own without being bothered with elastic binding. Also, this tight pleat will anchor your bedding without fraying the edges like some other methods.
Making hospital corners is a skill that takes time and patience to learn. Knowing how to make a bed tightly will ensure that there are no wrinkles when it's time for bed. I've watched lots of footage on how to make a bed.
Best Video for Hospital Corners
It should come as no surprise that none of them come close to the precise detail as one made by Sgt. Shane Medders. I highly recommend that you follow this link to see his video.
The runner-up for instructional videos is an instructional video of a man demonstrating to nursing students the proper way to make a bed. He credits the U.S. Navy with his training in bed making.
This site has good photos with written instructions to show the process:
Once the Sheet is on . . . Then What?
This depends upon your resources and your needs. There are two separate categories for this. The first category is for regular household use.
REGULAR HOUSEHOLD USE
What follows is the order that bedding is placed onto the mattress. This list is a loose consensus of several sites.
1. A foundational sheet is placed over a mattress which has already been covered with a mattress protector. This foundation sheet can be fitted or flat.
2. A second sheet is placed over the foundational sheet -- Optional
3. A flat sheet -- the first top sheet
4. A thin blanket. Optional
5. Another flat sheet. Only necessary if you've added the thin blanket
6. A bedspread or comforter
7. Any additional quilts or blankets folded at the foot of the bed. Optional
Numbers 1 through 5 are anchored with hospital corners.
Numbers 1 and 2 are tucked on the sides as well as the ends.
Numbers 3 through 5 are tucked 3 quarters of the way up the sides of the bed and turned down for ease of access.
CHILDREN'S BEDDING -- CARE OF BEDRIDDEN PATIENTS
For this bed, you will need:
1. rubber sheet/pad
2. Bottom Sheet
3. Draw sheet/pad (for bedridden patients)
4. Top sheet
5. Pillow w/ pillow case
6. Blanket (use to cover bedridden patients while changing the linen)
7. Hamper (this is for your convenience when changing soiled linen)
When making a bed for bedridden patients or children that have difficulty with bed wetting, a waterproof mattress protector is a tremendous help. On top of this, you can then place another waterproof pad. Other items can be used in place of waterproof pads such as flattened garbage bags or even disposable plastic or vinyl table covers.
You can save a little time when initially making the bed to make 3 or so layers of alternating plastic and bottom sheets. This way, when you must change the bedding, you can remove the topmost layer from the bed and have the lower layer already in place, ready to go.
Why a draw sheet?
Bedridden patients will require a draw sheet. A bedridden patient will need to be repositioned every few hours to prevent bedsores. A simple tool, draw sheets protect both the caregiver and the patient from injury. A draw sheet enables the caregiver to move the patient either from one side to another in the bed, or to reposition the patient higher or lower in the bed. To make a simple draw sheet, take a top sheet and fold it in half, matching the top and bottom edges. Position this on top of the bottom sheet between the chest level and knee level of the patient. Tuck the overhang underneath the mattress, smoothing out any wrinkles. A draw sheet also helps you turn the patient to one side when making the bed.
Making An Occupied Bed
Pull up the soiled bottom sheet and plastic liner and tuck it next to the patient's back in the center of the bed. Place the clean linen onto the stripped half of the bed and tuck the clean sheets onto that half. Turn the patient over the top of the soiled linen onto the opposite side and onto the newly made side of the bed. Remove the soiled linen and flatten out the clean linen, making the other side of the bed.
Click the video below for an example of how to make an occupied bed.