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20-40-60 Etiquette: Bed-making suggestions for guests

[Metro Creative Connection]
[Metro Creative Connection]

QUESTION: As an overnight guest in a someone’s home, what is the proper way to leave the guest room bed? Pull the sheets, put the spread back on? Make the bed like nobody slept in it? Ask the host? If the host doesn’t say, what is proper?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: I always ask the host if I should strip the bed. If not, yes, I make it. You should ask your host.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Your answer to this question will be as varied as the hosts, so start by asking them how they prefer it. It depends on if they’re washing the sheets right away and you can help by stripping the bed or if they want the room to look presentable until they can get to cleaning it. Make sure you leave the room tidy. If you are in doubt, I would go ahead and make the bed neatly when you leave. But the best way to solve the mystery is by asking your host.

HELEN’S ANSWER: Every host is different. Ask them what they prefer. You probably stay with people who want the sheets taken off, or want them left on, or set in the laundry room. If they don’t tell you, then remake the bed and leave it like it was when you came in. I bet you are the perfect house guest and people love to see you coming! Thanks for our question!

GUEST’S ANSWER: Jane Jayroe Gamble, author of “Practice: Unleashing the Power of Faith,” and former Miss America: You are already a gracious guest if you are concerned about this issue instead of just leaving the room. As someone who enjoys having guests, I’m not sure what is “proper,” but I’ll tell you what is appreciated by this host.

ASK? Usually stripping the bed and putting the sheets near the washing machine is a big help and pull the spread up with pillows on the bed. However, if I’m not able to take care of the laundry within the next day, I would prefer to have the sheets left on the bed. For many people who hire help, it needs to be obvious that the bed has been slept in so there's no need to make it back perfectly.

If in doubt, leave the bed with the spread neatly folded but not pulled up. Pull the sheets up so the room is presentable, but it’s also clear that the bed has been slept in and is ready for fresh sheets.

Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is 40-plus, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email