Alternatives to Dust Ruffles

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An overhead view of a contemporary bed with a fitted sheet covering the box spring.
Image Credit: Angel Vasilev/iStock/Getty Images

You may remember your grandma fluffing a charming dust ruffle to hide an unattractive bed frame or storage stuffed under the bed. But you find the look dated, and you've got dust bunnies proliferating -- so ditch that dust ruffle and impose your own style. Whip up a slipcover for your box spring from sheets or bedspreads you might already have on hand. Or try another inventive substitute to disguise the mattress supports and complement your decor.


Sheet Simplicity

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A regular fitted sheet will cover a box spring that peeks up over the bed frame. The look is neat and can be selected in a design to complement all your bed linens. You can go with a less expensive sheet than the ones you sleep on -- lower thread count makes no difference if a sheet never touches your body. Another option is to arrange a flat sheet over the box spring and under the mattress, pleating the corners so it hangs uniformly from bed to floor. This creates an unfussy finishing touch for the bed and can be whipped off for a turn in the washer and dryer. A wrinkle-free or wrinkle-resistant sheet is ideal if you don't like to iron.

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From Table to Bed

You don't need a dust ruffle when you have old tablecloths to repurpose. A lace tablecloth makes a fine finishing touch for an antique bed with a metal frame. Just spread the cloth over the box spring or platform under the mattress and drape the ends down over the frame. The cloth doesn't need to reach the floor -- a tablecloth with scalloped edges will look prettier if it hangs above the floor. Use a couple of tablecloths for a very large bed. If the tablecloth is too narrow, cut it in half to pin or tape to the box spring on each side. Trim away damaged parts of a tablecloth and stitch the hemmed remainder to sewing tape you can tape or pin to the bed. Hunt for inexpensive old lace tablecloths at thrift stores and flea markets.


Extra Bedspread

A bedspread one size smaller than the proper size for your bed will fit under the mattress and hang down to the floor, hiding the trash and treasure you store under your sleeping quarters. It's a very clean, finished look, no gathers or ruffles. Most bedspreads are washable and can be repurposed for little or no expense. Try it when a child upgrades to the next-size mattress -- dye an old bedspread to match new bedroom decor colors. Look for thin, inexpensive bedspreads at street markets or in the bargain sections of big box stores to find colors and patterns that go with your bed linens.


Get extra-innovative by crafting bed edging with ribbon, strips of fabric, small banners, or ethnic flags and trim. The edging should go around the bed and hang down from the mattress. Ribbon or fabric strips can be looped over hem tape or a string long enough to cover the exposed sides of the bed. (A bed against a wall doesn't need trim on the concealed side.) Cloth banners with appliqued letters that spell a child's name or an inspirational word can be stitched to ribbon, string or tape for the same below-mattress edging. Mantra banners and strings of colorful tribal textile strips add an exotic note to eclectic bedroom decor. Keep trim above floor-length to avoid dust collection, and cleaning will be easier.


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