What is a Bed Skirt and Why Might I Use It?

Last Updated On January 17th, 2024
What is a Bed Skirt and Why Might I Use It?

Key Takeaways

  • Decorative and Functional: Bed skirts are not just decorative; they also serve functional purposes. They can enhance the visual appeal of a bed and hide storage or unsightly areas underneath it.
  • Variety of Types: Bed skirts come in various types, including split corner, linen, canvas, wrap-around, and Velcro options. Choosing the right type depends on your bed’s design and your preferences.
  • Maintenance Matters: Proper care is essential to ensure the longevity of a bed skirt. Choose a machine-washable fabric, wash it in cold water, and hang it to dry. Bed skirts don’t need frequent washing unless you have allergies.

A bed skirt is a fabric covering the bottom edge of a bed. It’s often used to create a decorative element around the bed that can complement the overall style of a bedroom. They add a nice touch and can also be an important part of the bedroom décor.

Not only does a bed skirt make a bed look nicer. It can be used to limit dirt and dust or be a handy cover while using the underneath area of the bed for storage.

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What is the Purpose of a Bed Skirt?

The purpose of a bed skirt is mainly to add some visual appeal to the room. It’s a good way to dress up a bed and give it a classic look, particularly if you want to style a king bed for a master bedroom.

A bed skirt is one of the most common bedding accessories people add beyond the typical sheets, pillows, and blankets when making the bed. While they are primarily used to be decorative, bed skirts can also serve many other purposes. You can also use them to protect the floor from dirt, dust, and spills.

Is Dust Ruffle the Same as Bed Skirt?

A dust ruffle and a bed skirt are essentially the same things. Adding a bed skirt to your bedroom’s décor is a way to prevent dirt and dust from getting beneath your mattress.

Does My Bed Need a Bed Skirt?

Bed skirts are used to add style and elegance to the bed, often accompanying an antique bed frame with a four poster design and a classical fabric canopy. They can also hide unsightly spaces like under-the-bed storage and create a unique look.

Consider a bed skirt if your bedroom has hardwood flooring. Pet hair, dust, and other filth can be tough to clean up, especially if you have a pet with long hair. It can be hard to sweep pet hair with your hand, especially under a bed. A bed skirt can be used to prevent this and keep pet hair off of bedding.

There are many benefits to bed skirts, including the following:

Wraparound Bed Skirts Improve Cleanliness

Bed skirts can improve hygiene. A bed skirt is sometimes called a “dust ruffle” because it blocks most dust particles from gathering under the bed. Dust can cause dust mites and other issues. While it doesn’t keep the underside of your bed totally clean, it can reduce the frequency of your cleaning.

They Are Practical

Simply put, they save time when cleaning. A room without a bed skirt winds up with dust settling in all of the hard-to-reach places, such as under a bed and underneath raised dressers. A bed skirt prevents a lot of this, making cleaning a mattress and its surrounding frame easier.

They Improve the Room

Finally, bed skirts look nice. They hide unsightly box springs and bed frame legs. They can also hide unsightly storage and a set of bed risers.

They Can Help With Allergies

According to the European Respiratory Journal, a dust ruffle can prevent dust buildup under the bed. If this dust is otherwise allowed to build up, it can affect breathing.

Children with asthma who use the proper, high-quality bedding materials can significantly reduce their allergic responses. Even adults with asthma can benefit from a bed skirt paired with a hypoallergenic mattress.

See our guide to tips for sleeping with asthma for more ideas to improve rest.

How to Choose the Right Bed Skirt

Since bed skirts are not adjustable, you must pick the appropriate size to hide your bed frame legs and box spring. Take a measurement from the top of your box spring to just above the floor. The average bed skirt is 15 inches long, but some manufacturers also provide alternative lengths, and others can be limited in color, such as off-white or white.

If you have a unique antique bed or not a traditional size like an Alaskan King, a custom-designed bed skirt can be necessary. You can even make one yourself, if you’re looking to do a DIY bedroom makeover on a budget.

And if you want to use a bed skirt with an adjustable bed, you will need to pick a design that can move with the base as it elevates the mattress.

Also, choose fabrics that need little effort to save time when it comes to washing. For example, microfiber does not require ironing and is easily cleaned. Avoid bright colors or other qualities that make cleaning more difficult.

Unless you specifically desire an entire matching appearance, your bed skirt need not match your bedding set. A decorative cushion, bed sham, or other design feature in your space that matches the color can solve that.

Consider getting multiple bed skirts if they are reasonably priced. When you wash your bedding, you can switch out the skirt to keep things new and looking fresh.

Types of Bed Skirts

There are many different types of dust ruffle, some that are easier to put on as you make the bed than others. They might be warm and conventional or fitted and slick. Additionally, materials range from high-end velvet and linen to reasonably priced, valuable microfiber. Here are some typical types of dust ruffles to choose from:

Split Corner

A split-corner bed skirt has vertical slits at its feet. It allows for tucking under foot panels in skirts. This type of bed skirt is excellent for when you have decorative bed legs, you would like to feature.


Linen bed skirts have three layers positioned between mattresses and springs. The panels can be secured by an internal spring to hide the box and the frame. They can be purchased in pleated, lined, or layered styles, each offering elegance and luxurious looks. The classic pleated bed skirts you can easily find online give the bed style by concealing clutter in the bed.


Canvas bed skirts are thick and opaque when hiding objects under the bed. Materials are generally polyester, while droppers are canvas cotton. This is machine washable and may require steaming when unpacked if hanging is not possible.

Wrap Around

A wraparound bed skirt doesn’t have the flat fabric sheet covering the box spring before dropping down. Instead, a wraparound bed skirt is a wrap that lines itself around the mattress and stays in place with an elastic band or other attachment. Some wrap-around bed skirts also have adjustable straps to make sure the skirt is a perfect fit.


Velcro bed skirts can provide a super simple installation and removal. The mattresses are securely attached to the springs without lifting them off, while the bed frame is concealed.

Bed Skirt Weaves

The fabric material isn’t all that you can consider when choosing a bed skirt. Different weaves can give the skirt a different feel and longevity, so it can be good to understand each one.

Much like you can find percale and sateen sheets, you can find bed skirts with either of these popular cotton weaves. Of the two, percale tends to be the more durable one. The tight weave contributes to the fabric’s strength and resistance to pilling, ensuring a longer lifespan.

While sateen has a smooth and luxurious surface, the long floats in the weaving pattern can be prone to snagging and the fabric pilling.

Known for its raised, quilted appearance, matelassé adds a touch of sophistication to a bed skirt. The intricate weaving technique creates a textured surface without the need for stitches or padding. With its intricate weave structure that mimics quilting, it can be quite durable,. The thickness and quality of the fabric contribute to its resistance against wear and tear.

Twill weave produces a diagonal pattern and is known for its durability. A twill bed skirt can have a sturdy and textured look, adding visual interest to the bedding ensemble.

How to Care for a Bed Skirt

If you are considering buying a bed skirt, get something quality you will enjoy for a long time. Quality is essential because it can last for many years.

It would help if you also chose a bed skirt that is made out of fabric that is easy to clean. If you are the type of person who likes changing up the bed appearance regularly, you should pick a bed skirt that is machine-washable.

It would also help if you always wash it separately from your bed sheets, and review the laundry care symbols on its attached tag.

Generally speaking, make sure that you wash a bed skirt in cold water. Washing your bed skirt in hot water can cause it to shrink and can cause the color to become dull if you have a brightly colored dust ruffle. You should hang it on hangers and dry it in a well-ventilated area.

How often should you wash a bed skirt? Unless you have severe allergies, you probably don’t need to wash it as often as sheets. Bed skirts can be laundered every few months.


Is a bed skirt the same as a fitted sheet?

No, these two bedding items are not the same. A fitted sheet is mainly used as an upper layer of the actual mattress, covering the sleeping area for you to rest more comfortably. Still, with some creativity, fitted and flat sheets can be recycled into bed skirts.

Can you use a sheet as a bed skirt?

You can. After all, what is a bed skirt besides cloth that covers the lower part of a bed? You can also use an oversized blanket or duvet for the same purpose.

Lay the sheet over the surface beneath your mattress, be it the bed’s platform, box spring, or wherever you see fit. As long as the sheet is not too large or small, it will sit similarly to a dust ruffle. While most of the time, a conventional bed skirt could be more aesthetically pleasing, repurposing a sheet does get the job done and usually looks nicer than nothing.

Do you need a bed skirt with a comforter?

A bed skirt can match or complement the color of your comforter or quilt for a uniform bed design. The skirt pours down to the floor from the space between the mattress and the box spring or the bed’s main platform. Your bedding may only cover part of the box spring and its unattractive legs if you don’t have a bed skirt. That said, an oversized comforter can provide a similar look.

How can I hide my bed frame without a bed skirt?

There are several ways you can cover the bed frame, including using some other fabric, installing drawers, and adding a regular sheet or another fabric cover like an oversized comforter or duvet.

You can also choose bed frames that conceal their legs by design. Known as floating bed frames, these platform beds are designed to give the illusion of hovering off the floor.

Does a bed skirt have to touch the floor?

Using a bed skirt properly, it should barely touch the floor. It should completely enclose the bed frame once the ties have been fastened. A bed skirt looks less crisp if it’s bunched up against the floor, which many find unappealing. However, a too-long bed skirt can still provide all the benefits of a dust ruffle, while a too-short bed skirt may not catch all the dust.


Dust ruffles are a way to beautifully conceal clutter and hide unattractive storage or bed frame legs, which can instantly improve a bedroom’s overall look and feel. You can pick a bed skirt that closely fits your bedroom color scheme and style because many alternatives are available.

About the author

Eric Ridenour is a health and wellness writer with a strong focus on sleep and nutrition. With a background in health science and psychology, Eric has a deep understanding of the connection between sleep and overall well-being. His expertise has been sought by various businesses and individuals, and his work has been featured in reputable publications such as Thrive Global, Drug Report, and Authority Magazine. Eric's commitment to promoting better sleep and comprehensive wellness is evident in his writing and consultations. He is a published author working on his second book.

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