How to Make a Bed With ‘Hospital Corners’

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In addition to favoring mattress of a certain firmness, and sheets made from some materials but not others, most people also have a preference when it comes to how a bed is made. To put it in Seinfeldian terms: A “tuck” or a “no tuck.”

If you like to sleep swaddled in tightly tucked sheets—or have served in the military, or worked as a nurse or hotel housekeeper—you may already be familiar with “hospital corners.” This bed-making method results in sheets so securely in place that (depending on how you sleep) you’re able to slip in and out of them as if they were an envelope.

Whether you’ve forgotten the technique, or never learned it in the first place, here’s how to make a bed with hospital corners.

What are hospital corners?

Also known as “military corners” and “mitered corners,” this bed-making technique involves securing a flat sheet on a mattress using a series of folds and tucks. Even after fitted sheets became widely available in the 1950s, hospital corners are still widely used in healthcare facilities to change the sheets on a bed without having to move an immobile patient.

How to make a bed with hospital corners

Here are step-by-step instructions for making a bed with hospital corners:

  1. Place a flat sheet on the bed, so that the top of the sheet is aligned with the top of the mattress.
  2. Adjust the sheet so that the three sides draped over the side of the mattress are all the same length.
  3. Lift one corner of the mattress at the foot of the bed with one hand. Use your other hand to tightly tuck the sheet under the mattress. Do the same on the other side of the bed.
  4. Lift one of the untucked corners so it forms a triangle on the top of the mattress.
  5. Grab the part of the sheet hanging down, and tuck it under the mattress.
  6. Pull the top part of the sheet down—making sure that it’s straight and tight—and tuck it under the mattress. Do the same thing on the other side of the bed.

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