Read a very interesting post from one of my favorite blog, Chez Larsson this morning, Making a Swedish Bed. If you read all the comments, you will see all different ways to make a bed in different countries. We are Chinese living in US, so the way I do it is a mix of two styles.
Typical Amercian bed has a metal frame, then a boxspring, and then a matress on top. On top of the matress is a matress protecting pad, fitted sheet, flat sheet, blanket or comforter. Oh, almost forgot, there is a bedskirt covering the spring box and metal frame, so you don't see them and whatever mess you have under the bed.
Typical Chinese bed is like a very tall platform bed, with a metal or wooden frame and solid wood boards connected together like one big piece of plywood on top. Then we have several layers of pads, filled with 100% cotton, and normally about 1" thick each. Depends on how firm you want your bed to be, you can use more or less pads. Some people use down pads for a more fluffy feeling, but most of us prefer firmer surface to sleep on, gives you extra energy in the morning. On top of those pads is a flat sheet, tucked in at the headboard and footboard, but overhang on the sides to cover the view of underneath the bed. Normally this sheet is what people see during the day, so, they are pretty in general. Our comforters are also made with cotton fabrics and 100% cotton filling in the middle. Traditionally, people use them as is, but then everytime you want to wash the cover, you will have to take out all the stitches, and wash the two pieces of fabrics, then you need to sew them back together. That is lots of work, so people used to wash them less often. Then don't know since when, maybe 30 years ago, we started using duvet covers. LOVE them! The comforters will be folded, and put at the head of the bed, where you normall put the pillow, then, the pillows on top. To protect our pillow, we put it in a pillowcase, then use something like a washtowel on top, but they normally has more designs. When it's bedtime, each person will open their comforter, put on their side of the bed like a big long envelop, and sleep inside. Yeah, you don't share your comforter with your spouse, so no fighting at night, and since the comforter will be tightly wrapped around you, it's much warmer too.
Since we live in US, sleep on amercian bed, I prefer the the mixed style. Bedskirt covers the boxspring and metal frame, fitted sheet and matress pad protects the matress. On top of the fitted sheet, I have something special, a big square double sided sheet, basically like a huge pillow case sewn shut. It's smaller than the bed, covers 2/3 of the bed surface. Best thing about it is it is easier to twist and turn during sleep, since this smaller sheet thingy just slides on the fitted sheet. This helped tremendously during pregnancy, since I was sweating a lot, turning and getting up a lot. It made the turns much easier for me, with a very heavy belly. Next morning you get up, you don't have to redo the whole fitted sheet, just pull this smaller one flat, much easier. And you don't have to wash your sheet as often. We don't use a flat sheet, since I find it very annoying and never stay still. We use comforter with duvet cover. No bed spread on top. I got to choose different covers for different seasons, or to fit my mood. In the morning, I just pull the comforter flat, equally hanging from both side, fast and easy. Of course, you have to let the matress and comforter air a little bit first, to let the warmth and humidity out. You can do your morning routine during that time.
One of the comment on that original post was complaining she cannot find many duvet covers in US. First of all, there are more stores carring them now. And even if you cannot find one you like, it's super easy to make, if you have access to a sewing machine that is. I will talk about how to make that in another post. And I will also teach you a easier way to put the comforter into the duvet cover by yourself, nice and flat.
OK, there you go, the American, Chinese and my own way of making a bed. Like you have nothing else important to do today than reading this. =)