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Many of us look at the beds in magazines with envy. You know, the ones with the comforters folded just so and the pillows piled to perfection. So we thought Valentine's Day would be an appropriate time to learn how to make a pretty, romantic bed. Elizabeth Mayhew, a lifestyle expert, was invited on TODAY to share her tips on how to make your bed prettier – and more romantic.
Beautiful bedsFor some it might seem like a waste to time to make the bed every morning only for everything to be tossed aside at night. But women in particular crave the look of a luxurious well-made bed with crisp sheets and layers of fluffed pillows. Why? Because for many women, the bedroom is the sanctuary they retreat to every evening and they want a place that is welcoming as it is attractive. A well-made bed transports you, makes you feel better, and is the symbol of ultimate comfort. We are willing to endure the five extra minutes it takes to stack the pillows and fold the duvet (the same way we suffer through wearing high heels) if only to enjoy that minute at the end of the day when you can fall into a cloud. After all, don't we deserve it?
Start with the basicsStart with mattress covers and pillow covers are a must; they protect your mattress and pillows and help them to last longer. Then you can start thinking about your sheets. Thread count is the number of threads that run horizontally and vertically through one square inch of fabric. Normally you see sheets that range from 80- to 800-thread count — 800 being the "best" and therefore the most expensive. Usually the higher the thread count, the better or softer the sheets feel. But most people would have a hard time distinguishing between a 380 thread count sheet and an 800 thread count sheet.
Sometimes companies tout high thread count as the distinguishing trait of their sheets, so they can charge more. You do want to be aware of cotton quality, however. Egyptian cotton is considered the best cotton in the world because of its long and strong fibers (it's called Egyptian because it is grown in the Nile River Valley in Egypt). Second in quality would be Supima cotton and third would be Pima cotton. The most important thing is that the sheet feels good to you, no matter thread count or cotton quality.
White sheets are a good choice. Darker sheets tend to fade and lose their color. White also give sheets give a crisper look. If you buy white sheets for the beds in your home, they always match each other.
Make a beautiful bed
- Start with your mattress pad and fitted sheet. Place the flat sheet, wrong-side up, on top of the fitted sheet.
- Lay a blanket cover on top of the sheet, four or so inches below the sheet. Instead of using a duvet to cover the bed, you may want to use mattlesse or crisp blanket. They give a cleaner, more finished look. Duvets can look lumpy and messy.
- Fold the flat sheet down over the blanket to reveal any embroidery or stitching of the sheet.
- Tuck the flat sheet and blanket under the mattress at the bottom edge of the bed, then make square corners at either end.
- Continue tucking the sheets under the mattress along the sides of the bed.
- Put European pillows (square pillows, sometimes called Continental pillows) covered with shams at the head of the bed. This anchors the back of the bed and gives a luxurious start to the pillow arrangement. It can also provide comfortable support. Shams have a flange that surrounds all sides of a pillow, with a hidden pocket in the back to slip the pillow inside. Unlike pillow cases, these are used for decorative purposes only so you can wash them less frequently —about once a month. Wash the pillow cases you sleep on about once a week. Shams tend to be more expensive and need to be ironed.
- Add two regular pillows with pillow cases. Pillows usually come in standard, queen or king. Choose according to bed size.
- Add two more regular pillows in shams to finish off the look.
- If you want to add some diversity in size and shape, add a boudoir or neckroll pillow.
- Place duvet cover over blanket and fold in thirds at the end of the bed