The art of European bed making and why I love it

I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with the way some Europeans make their bed.

In other words, I’ve become a fan of the ‘one bed, two duvets’ method.

The first time we visited Europe, we were a little confused by the bedding situation. It’s a little weird, right? We thought they had forgotten to give us a top sheet. All we got was a fitted sheet with two single duvets (aka quilts/doonas – I’m from New Zealand, so we call them duvets) placed beautifully on top.

We looked at each other with confusion and wondered whether we should say something. We didn’t want to be those people. But also – were we really expected to sleep under just a duvet?

The art of European bed making and why I love it

But, we trusted in the process, and each cautiously climbed in under our individual duvets. Yes, it was strange at first, but after a moment or two it felt pretty darn good.

There was no tug-of-war during the night. I didn’t have to worry about the sheets getting untucked at the bottom (I hate that). And, we could each rug ourselves up with as much or little cover as we wanted. Bliss.

And so the obsession began.

The art of European bed making and why I love it

The art of European bed making and why I love it

During our most recent trip to Europe I would say that 90% of our nights were spent in the ‘one bed, two duvets’ method. In fact, it got to a point where we actually became disappointed upon seeing a bed made any other way. You mean we have to share blankets?!

Because we spent most of our time in Finland, we started referring to the ‘one bed, two duvets’ method as a Finnish Bed.

Every location we visited afterwards, we’d grin with delight finding a ‘Finnish Bed’ inside. “Yuss! We got another Finnish Bed!” and “Is the bed Finnish?” became the first things we’d say to each other as we walked into our room for the night.

The art of European bed making and why I love it

As our European adventure came to an end, we started to question our usual bed-making habits. Did we really want to go back to the ‘one bed, one duvet’ method? Would we be happy, no longer sleeping in a Finnish Bed?

The simple answer was ‘no’.

So, we did what any normal couple would do, and completely changed our bedding. Our flat sheet was kicked to the curb, and our queen duvet was replaced with two single ones.

I don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner. Our bed is so much easier to make now. No more tucking sheets in, or trying to get our big old duvet even on both sides. And the great thing is, once Summer is over we can either replace our duvets with winter weight versions, or pull one of our blankets on top for some extra warmth.

Want to know how we did it?

How to make your bed ‘Finnish’

1. Place a fitted sheet over your mattress.

2. Replace your duvet with two single ones. (We opted for matching duvet covers, but you could totally use different or complimentary colours.) Make sure your duvet covers are a good quality thread count. There’s nothing worse than scratchy fabric on your bare legs!

3. Fold the duvets so they each cover only half of the bed. You can do this by folding them lengthwise in half or thirds; or by tucking the sides under, so they meet in the middle. Fold the bottom edge under to keep it tidy.

4. Cover the top of your bed in as many pillows as you can handle.

And that’s it — you’re now ready to sleep like an angel.

The art of European bed making and why I love it

So what do you think?

Are you also a self-confessed lover of the ‘Finnish Bed’? Please tell me we’re not alone in this!

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The Art of European Bed Making




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Author: Michelle

Michelle Harvey is a kiwi traveller, writer, photographer, list-maker, coffee drinker, and wanderer. Winter holidays are her favourite kind.

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  • We are currently traveling in Europe from the US and we too are going to switch to European bedding. I’m always hot and my husband is often too cold, this is such a great solution. I have spent my life with a tucked in flat sheet and love the freedom of no flat sheet. I don’t think I’m going to like washing and putting the duvet cover on all the time, but I don’t like washing the bedding the way it is anyway. I don’t think it’s just Finnish. We have come across it all over Europe. Excited to get home and go shopping!

    • Yes! We’re the same – I’m always too hot, and my partner likes to be wrapped in blankets. Actually, we’ve found changing the duvet cover so much easier this way – because they’re much smaller. I hope you’re enjoying your trip!

  • I Love This! We have a platform bed that has been kicking my OCD into high gear! It is impossible to make our bed in the conventional way using a top sheet which has been driving me bonkers. That is, until I discovered the European way of making a bed. Hallelujah! No more hospital corners! No more backaches! Such a relief, I can’t tell you. Your article made me smile. Now I’m inspired to find the perfect duvets; one for hubby and me!