Our decorating expert Phoebe Howard shares her secrets to creating a bed that looks beautiful every day

Phoebe shares her secrets to creating a bed that looks beautiful every day with an easy four-step formula.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Her Formula: How To Make a Bed
1. Invest in Classic Linens
Always buy the best linens you can afford. Choose a matching set of sheets, standard shams, and a duvet cover in white or ivory. Then add a solid-colored, lightweight quilt or coverlet with coordinating European shams. Pick bedding that is light in color and made of linen or cotton—it's easy to maintain and always in style.

2. Iron Your Sheets
Whether you send them out to be pressed or do it yourself with plenty of starch (Phoebe likes using Magic Sizing), ironed sheets add a polished touch. "I promise it's worth the effort," she says. "There is nothing better than a crisp bed!"

3. Have Nice Folds
For a smart finish, turn your top sheet back at least 14 inches over your coverlet to show off interesting trim details. Fold your duvet in thirds in a Z pattern, and place it at the foot of the bed so it looks nice and fluffy during the day and can be pulled up easily at night.

4. Layer Your Pillows
Place your standard shams closest to the headboard, and then add a pair of European shams. For king-size beds, use three Euro shams instead of two. Finish the arrangement with decorative pillows in another fabric for a dose of personality. Don't go overboard with the pillows! You should always leave some space between your pillows and the folded duvet cover.

Phoebe's Favorite Bed Linen Essentials
Making a great bed is easy with these pretty picks.

  • Fog Spade Throw Pillow (D06-TL3), 20" H × 20" W, $88; serenaandlily.com
  • Hotel Sheets and Pillowcases in White/Sky, White/Ivory, White, and White/Sahara by Bellino Fine Linens (bellinofinelinens.com), from $50; touchofeurope.net
  • Martha Stewart Collection Stenciled Leaves Quilt in Blue, Full/Queen, $200; macys.com
  • Washed Cotton Linen Water, 33 ounces, $22, and Fine Laundry Soap, 12 ounces, $23; khalldesigns.com