With the exception of tap water, everything is better in a hotel, especially if you’re staying somewhere luxurious. But there’s something downright transcendent about the bed: bright-white sheets so crisp you let out a little squeal every time you jump under them; layer upon delicious layer of blankets; and perfectly squishy pillows that cradle your head just so. Alone, it’s enough to justify the room rate.
Recreating a fancy bed at home has always been easier said than done for me (and for the record, I make a mean hospital corner). Turns out, I’m not the only one who’s tried to DIY a hotel bed with less-than-five-star results. Thankfully, everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Martha Stewart to the Ritz-Carlton’s bed-making expert (yup, you read that right) has weighed in with tips and tricks to pull it all off. Here are some of my favorites.
Get the Foundation Right
High thread-count sheets will get you only so far — a great mattress is the heart and soul of a sumptuous bed. Once that’s in place, you’ll need to add three more foundation layers, according to Yahoo! Voices: a felt mattress protector; a box-style featherbed, like this one from Laura Ashley; and a felt sheet protector. That’s a lot before you get to the actual sheets, but hey, if it means feeling like I’m sinking into my bed every night, count me in.
Focus on Flat Sheets
Swap out fitted sheets with a flat sheet instead, Haajar La Roche, the Ritz-Carlton’s bed- making expert, told HotelChatter.com. A fitted one loses its elasticity over time, while a flat one provides a better fit, is more durable, and is a heck of lot cheaper to replace than a whole new set. I’m currently swooning over this Egyptian cotton beauty from Kassatex.
Iron the Linens
I know what some of you are thinking. “I barely have time to make the bed every other day, much less iron the sheets.” But here’s the thing: pressing sheets not only lifts wrinkles, it also makes the bed look and feel just like a hotel’s. For extra crispness, take your cue from Martha Stewart and mist bedding with sizing (a fabric finisher for manufactured fabrics) instead of starch before ironing — it’s made especially for synthetics and fabric blends.
Hospital Corners Make a Difference
Perfectly tucked-in sheets could very well be what separates the five-star hotels from the budget-friendly joints down the street. Joshua O’Driscoll, Director of Housekeeping at The Pierre in New York City, gave readers of the online magazine Goop a five-step guide to pulling off pristine corners. The most important one? Giving yourself time to tuck the sheet “neatly and evenly” under the mattress.
You Need a Duvet
A well-constructed duvet brings a lot to the bed, namely unmatched loft and warmth. There are versions in all different weights, making them a perfect year-round addition. For best results, give yours a hearty shake before making the bed. And consider investing in a silky-soft cover — it can replace the top sheet, a move Darlene Weir of Fieldstone Hill Design swears by.
Wrap all of yours in pillow protectors. In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Blanche Garcia, interior designer of the show “Hotel Impossible,” explained that these inexpensive covers extend the life of your pillow, help keep out oils and sloughed-off skin cells, and help the pillow look extra smooth under a case.
…And Give Them a Good Fluff
Ana Lissa Sison, Director of Housekeeping at the Peninsula New York, spilled her no-fail bed-making method to Travel + Leisure. Among her tips was giving a good karate chop to the middle of the pillow to fluff up the feather filling. Then fold the pillow in half lengthwise and stuff it into the pillowcase. Pinch an outside corner of the pillow then pull down the pillowcase.
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