June 23, 2012
Up all night … this photo featuring Heatherly Design's Tilbury bedhead took six hours to style.
Lissa Christopher consults the experts to reveal the secrets to a perfectly made bed.
There are two main approaches to the making of beds. The first is the unfailing daily smooth and tuck. Those who favour this approach often feel that if the bed is made then their lives, too, are in order. This feeling may be particularly important if the bed is in fact the only thing in their life that is in order.
Then there is the ''why bother'' crew. These people question the point of making your bed when you're just going to mess it up again tonight.
Both positions have merit, but a made bed dressed in quality manchester brings with it a special set of good feelings, particularly if you're aesthetically inclined.
The author of the bestselling The Happiness Project and forthcoming Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin, says she's amazed by the number of people who report that a made bed makes them feel good.
''For most people, outer order contributes to inner calm,'' she says.
And then there's the emotional high to be gained from a superlative hospital corner - that wrapping of the sheet (see graphic) which, if undertaken with sufficient rigour, will provide enough surface tension to make a dropped coin bounce on the surface of the bed.
Georgie Leckey spends hours making beds, mostly for photo shoots. She's an interior designer, the director of Heatherly Design, which specialises in upholstered bedheads, and a proponent of the hospital corner.
''They're beautiful,'' she says. ''But I have to smile because we spend hours styling our shots, and getting those beautiful corners … but I have a girlfriend who is a nurse and she's not happy with them. I think she thinks they should be tighter.''
That friend, Jeanie Hurrey, had two grandmothers who were also nurses and were trained back when sheets were starched and the coin-bounce test was taken seriously.
''[My grandmothers] taught me how to do a very tight hospital corner and I always have them on my shoulder when I'm making a bed at work,'' Hurrey says. ''I do them at home, too, and my husband teases me. He's like, 'Oh, you and your bloody hospital corners'.''
The hospital corner might have survived the passing years but the blanket has not. Almost everyone seems to have a continental quilt these days, Leckey says. The decorative blanket atop a quilt, however, is very much in favour.
''Layered bedding is really big right now,'' Leckey says. Cushions, quilts, throws, upholstered bedheads and even patterned wallpaper behind the bedhead ''add texture and interest … we are heading, particularly in winter, for velvets and felts and wools''.
One component of layering, however, can be divisive.
''My husband couldn't get over how many cushions he had to take off the bed each night,'' Leckey says. ''And we did have the discussion. 'It's a girl thing,' I said. Now he just accepts he has to take half a dozen off the bed each night before he can get in.''
Leckey says people are also moving away from sleek, contemporary bedheads, towards softer, lusher finishes, a trend that is benefiting her web-based business.
While safe neutrals remain popular bedroom fare, Leckey is all for taking a risk with colour.
''I think you can make a real feature of bold colour,'' she says. ''And there's a lot to be said for following your first conviction. People tend to move in a bit of a circle in the design process.''
A final word of warning on the making of beautiful beds: don't expect yours to look like the ones in magazines.
''People just don't know how many hours and how much Dacron [textile filler] go into achieving that perfectly styled look,'' Leckey says. The look pictured above, for example, took six hours to style.