A bed skirt is often regarded as a tertiary bedding accessory. However, it has both aesthetic and practical implications: besides concealing the view under your bed frame, it also prevents dust from gathering beneath the bed (thus it is also known as a dust ruffle).
However, there has been a recent surge in non-conventional bedframes among consumers, prominent among them being adjustable bases, that have platforms for your head and feet which can be inclined independently from each other.
Being something of a clean-freak, I’ve always used dust ruffles with my beds, so when I got my first adjustable – the first question that crossed my mind was – you guessed it – can you use a bed skirt with an adjustable base?
Turns out there isn’t a simple answer to this, and I’m sharing my findings with you through this write-up.
You may want to read: The Best Bed Skirts
What Is A Bed Skirt?
Before I answer the actual question, let me give you some background information that will help you understand it better. A bed skirt is simply a piece of fabric that goes between the mattress and the platform of the bed, and falls to the floor on either side, thereby blocking out the underside of the bed from view. Here’s a video that illustrates how a bed skirt is installed over a bed:
Can A Regular Bed Skirt Work With An Adjustable Bed?
As you may have guessed already from the above description of how a bed skirt works, the short answer is no. Since the platform of the adjustable base can be raised, a regular dust ruffle that goes directly over the platform will get stretched every time you modify the angle of the head or the foot of the platform. Unless it is an excessively long piece of cloth (or similarly elastic), the bed skirt will get torn / frayed, and there’s also the risk of it getting stuck in a cranny between the platform and the frame, which could prevent the base itself from functioning properly.
You may want to read: Bed Skirt Pins Shopping Guide
Are There Any Workarounds?
Don’t be put out by the blatant no I just gave you – turns out, there are a couple of ways to use a ‘bed skirt’ with an adjustable bed if you’re willing to loosen the definition of what constitutes a bed skirt!
— The DIY Route
Some of my more DIY-loving readers may already have started thinking along these lines – if the sheet going over the platform is the cause of the problem, simply get rid of that part of the ruffle and stick the side portions to the side of the bed frame directly! You’re on the right track, if that’s the case. One DIYer recommended using Velcro strips attached to the skirt fabric, as these make it easier to fix it to the frame (make sure you get the kind that are meant to be used with cloth though). Bear in mind that when I say bed frame or frame, it could mean the frame of the actual bed or the adjustable base, depending on whether you’re using the adjustable base inside an actual bed, or just by itself. In case of the latter though, be careful that the fabric is thin and well stretched once you fix it to the side of the frame, otherwise it may get stuck in the moving parts of the adjustable unit.
— The Commercial Route
If you can’t be bothered to with do-it-yourself stuff, there’s still good news for you: some manufacturers have recognized the need for bed skirts for adjustable bases that work similar to the DIY approach and created commercial wrap-around models – all you do is buy ‘em and stick ‘em, without any of the preceding steps!
So now you know that even though you can’t use traditional bed skirts with adjustable bases, it is still possible to achieve results that are just as good through a little bit of DIY work – useful if you’ve already spent cash on normal dust ruffles and gotten an adjustable base after. If you haven’t bought any bed skirt yet and are looking for one to go with your adjustable base, you could also get a readymade one that is specifically designed for this purpose, instead of doing the whole modification thing. I hope this answered the queries you had about bed skirts and adjustable frames, but if you’ve got any more (or have something to add), don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments section. Also, do share this post with your friends and family who are planning on getting an adjustable unit, or already own one.
Photo credit: Gianna Stadelmyer/Shutterstock; Dmitrii Pridannikov/Shutterstock
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between a bed skirt and a dust ruffle?
While the terms dust ruffle and bed skirt sound like completely different things, they actually refer to the same bedding item and are often used interchangeably. Whether you prefer to use dust ruffle or bed skirt, it’s up to you, but when you walk into a bedding store and ask to see a sample, you will be directed to the same product: A decorative fabric that is used to cover the area between the bottom edge of your mattress and the floor, creating a hidden storage space under your bed, and protecting that area from dust accumulation.
Does a bed skirt have to match the sheets?
The bed skirt you chose does not have to match your bedding unless that's the look you want to create. However, if you want to “pull together” a look for your bedroom, then you’ll want to do some coordinating between your bed skirt and the other elements in the room. For example, to get a sophisticated bedroom vibe, match the color of the bed skirt with the headboard, curtains, comforter or other elements to give the overall look a sense of style, cohesiveness and harmony.
What is the best fabric for a bed skirt?
A bed skirt is not a sheet and needs to keep its shape to do its job of keeping dust out from under the bed. The best bet is to choose a bed skirt made from 100 percent cotton or a cotton/polyester blend that will hold up to many washings without wearing out. Alternatively, for more of a luxe feel and look, linen is the way to go, but it’s more expensive than cotton or a cotton blend. Linen is a strong fabric made from the flax plant, and is a number one choice for tailored or box-pleat bed skirts because it will hold a pressed crease.
How often should a bed skirt be washed?
A bed skirt is a decorative item that never makes contact with your skin, so it doesn’t have to be washed as frequently as your sheets and pillowcases. A bed skirt is also more difficult to remove for washing since it is placed under your mattress, which may be heavy to lift. However, like most things, a bed skirt can become dusty, so washing it every three to six months is not a bad idea. It will keep the bed skirt looking fresh and reduce the amount of dust in your room. Depending on the material of your bed skirt, it may become wrinkled when washed in a machine, and you’ll have to iron it to get out the wrinkles and have the skirt drape the way it should, especially if it is tailored or has box pleats. As well, it’s a good idea to check the washing instructions on the label since putting a bed skirt in the dryer may cause it to shrink and it will end up not fitting properly.