What is a Bed Skirt?

Dan Cavallari

A bed skirt is a piece of fabric that runs around the perimeter of a bed. It tucks in between the box spring and the mattress and drapes downward, often touching the floor, to hide the box spring and space beneath the bed. The purpose of a bed skirt is to enhance the visual appeal of a bed unit, especially units with unattractive metal frames. The style, color, size, and price of the skirts will vary according to the materials used, the manufacturer's costs, and any additional stitching that enhances the aesthetics of the skirt.

A bed skirt tucks between the mattress and the box spring.
A bed skirt tucks between the mattress and the box spring.

In many cases, a bed skirt is included with sheet sets so the skirt will match the blankets and/or sheets exactly. In other cases, the skirt may be sold separately, and the purchaser can choose what style and color he or she desires. When choosing a bed skirt, it is important for the purchaser to remember that the skirt will come in different sizes according to the size of the purchaser's bed. One should be sure to know what size bed he or she owns before purchasing; common sizes include king, queen, full, and twin. Buying a skirt designed for a twin bed and trying to install it on a queen bed is an exercise in frustration.

Some beds are designed so that they do not need a bed skirt.
Some beds are designed so that they do not need a bed skirt.

Some bed skirt materials are pleated to enhance the aesthetic of the fabric. This means the skirt is sewn in such a way that folds occur at regular intervals throughout the perimeter of the fabric. Such a design may cost more than a bed skirt without pleats, since extra work must be done to create such pleats, and extra material will often be necessary. Simple bed skirts may just feature solid colors with no extra stitching or designs. The type of fabric used to make the bed skirt will also have an effect on price, as thinner cottons or synthetic materials may be far less expensive than cotton with a higher thread count or more expensive materials such as silk.

Installing a skirt around the perimeter of the bed has another advantage: items can be stored beneath the bed without being visible when not in use. The skirt will hide items underneath the bed, and accessing those items when necessary is easy and requires little or no extra effort. Whether the skirt completely conceals the items or not depends on the length of the skirt and the height of the bed.

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