Picking the Perfect Mattress and Frame: A Complete Buying Guide
Did you know we spend almost a third of our lives asleep? That’s right! So, choosing the right mattress and frame for your bed is essential to get the uninterrupted sleep you dream about. Selecting a new bed can be overwhelming, given the dizzying range of options available, from foam and hybrids to adjustable bases and box springs. In this comprehensive bed buying guide, we will break down how to confidently select the right mattress type, bed frame, and features to meet your lifestyle needs and sleep preferences for a refreshing night’s sleep. Sweet dreams ahead!
Understanding the Different Mattress Types
When it comes to bed shopping, one of the most confusing aspects can be deciphering between the mattress types on the market—innerspring, memory foam, latex, and more. Don’t worry. We’ll explain what makes each mattress type unique so you can zero in on the best match. Whether you want the cradling comfort of memory foam or the targeted support of an innerspring, there are fantastic options for every type of sleeper.
- Memory Foam: Recognized for its exceptional ability to conform to the body’s shape, memory foam offers remarkable pressure relief. It’s particularly suitable for side sleepers and individuals with joint pain. However, it’s important to note that memory foam retains heat, leaving some sleepers overheated. Manufacturers offer variations with cooling technologies, like gel-infused foam or open-cell design, to help regulate temperature.
- Latex: This material combines contouring comfort with bounce, providing a more responsive feel compared to memory foam. Natural latex derived from rubber trees is eco-friendly and durable but can be a bit more expensive. The material molds enough to ease pressure points but still provides lift and support. Latex is a nice middle ground for sleepers who don’t want to sink too deep into traditional memory foam.
- Innerspring: Traditional innerspring mattresses use steel coils for support and durability. They allow ample airflow to help regulate temperature, making them suitable for sleepers who tend to overheat. However, choosing the right innerspring mattress involves considering factors like coil count, thickness, and distribution. Pillow-top versions or hybrid models incorporate foam layers for enhanced comfort.
- Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses deliver the best of both worlds. Combining the strengths of both innerspring and thicker foam or latex layers, hybrid mattresses offer a balanced blend of support and comfort. These mattresses often feature pocketed coils for support at the base, coupled with foam or latex layers for pressure relief and contouring.
- Adjustable Air: For those wanting the highest level of personalization, adjustable air mattresses feature chambers that can be adjusted to your preferred firmness level. Controlled remotely via an app or remote, they cater to the individual preferences of each sleeping partner. While highly customizable, they tend to be the most expensive option on the market. But for those with specific needs, it can be worth it!
Figuring Out Your Firmness Level
Understanding mattress firmness is pivotal in discovering your ideal sleep experience. Whether you prefer to sink into cloud-like softness or seek robust support, different firmness levels cater to diverse sleep positions, body types, and specific concerns like back pain or joint discomfort. As you evaluate mattresses, understanding firmness levels helps you strike a balance of cushiness and support for your best night’s sleep. Not all mattress stores use the same scale for firmness. Be sure to ask questions, and if purchasing in person, try out the different mattresses to get a clearer understanding of their firmness scale.
- Soft Mattresses: Soft mattresses are ideal for lightweight individuals and side sleepers. They provide a plush, cloud-like sleep experience with ample cushioning. With more “give,” these mattresses allow lighter individuals, especially side sleepers, to sink into the comfort layers. This cradles pressure points like shoulders and hips, leading to better spinal alignment. However, if you are a stomach sleeper, soft mattresses may not provide enough support for proper positioning.
- Medium Mattresses: Medium firmness is the most popular choice, balancing comfort, and support. This versatile firmness works well for the majority of sleeping positions and body types. The medium feel caters to back sleepers by supporting the natural curvature of the spine while still cushioning the shoulders and hips to relieve tension. Combination sleepers who toss and turn throughout the night also enjoy medium firmness, which adapts to shifting positions.
- Firm Mattresses: On the other end of the spectrum, firm mattresses offer robust support with less give and flexibility. Recommended for stomach sleepers and heavier individuals, firm mattresses provide sturdy support, preventing excessive sinkage that could cause spinal misalignment. However, they can feel excessively rigid for side sleepers without enough relief of pressure points.
Comparing Mattress Sizes and Room Fit
When assessing mattress size for the perfect fit, providing your room with breathing space is essential—especially if mobility is a concern. No one wants to navigate a tight squeeze around their bed. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least 2-3 feet of space around all sides for hassle-free linen changes, cleaning, and walking space. For shared beds, allocate approximately 30 inches in width regardless of height. With room size in mind, here is an overview of the mattress size options:
- A twin mattress is typically 38 inches wide by 75 inches long. It’s the smallest standard adult mattress size and is suitable for single sleepers or children. This size is ideal for smaller rooms or guest bedrooms with limited space.
- Twin XL. Slightly longer than the twin mattress, the twin XL measures 38 inches wide by 80 inches long. It offers extra length, making a twin XL suitable for taller individuals or teenagers who need more legroom.
- Also known as a double mattress, a full-size mattress is 54 inches wide by 75 inches long. It provides more width compared to a twin, making it a better choice for single sleepers who prefer more space or teenagers transitioning from smaller beds.
- A queen mattress measures 60 inches wide by 80 inches long. It’s a popular choice for couples, giving them enough room to share, and individuals who want more room to stretch. It’s also a good option for smaller primary bedrooms and guest rooms with limited space.
- The king mattress is one of the largest standard mattress sizes, measuring 76 inches wide by 80 inches long. It offers ample space for couples who prefer extra room while sleeping. This size is ideal for larger main bedrooms.
- Split King. A split king mattress is two twin XL mattresses placed side by side, measuring a total of 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. This setup allows couples to customize their sleep experiences by selecting the firmness or features on their side, and each side can be elevated independently with an adjustable base bed.
- California King. The California king mattress is narrower and longer than the standard king size. It measures 72 inches wide by 84 inches long, providing extra length for taller individuals without compromising width.
Additional Mattress Features to Consider
Look beyond the basics and consider features that could improve your sleep quality and environment. Address specific concerns, such as overheating, joint pain, or mobility issues, with a mattress that provides targeted relief. These supplementary features can personalize your mattress further.
- Cooling Technologies. For hot sleepers, mattresses with cooling features like gel-infused foams, breathable construction, or cool-to-the-touch materials can help regulate body temperature for a more comfortable sleep.
- Motion Isolation. Especially beneficial for couples, motion isolation ensures that movement on one side of the bed does not disturb the other sleeper. Memory foam tends to excel in this aspect compared to innerspring mattresses.
- Mattress Height. While not directly related to comfort, the height of the mattress can influence aesthetics and ease of getting in and out of bed. Taller mattresses, typically around 14 inches or more, offer a luxurious feel but may not be practical for everyone.
- Edge Support. Dawn House mattresses have a patented edge support that provides stability when sitting on the edge of the bed while maximizing the sleeping area. This feature gives you stable support when getting in and out of bed or when leaning on or walking around the bed.
Choosing the Right Bed Frame
A bed frame serves as the foundation for your new mattress and can make a significant difference in the lifespan of your purchase. Choose a bed frame that supports and complements your mattress selection. Compare options based on function, budget, and style to determine the best fit for your priorities.
- Adjustable Base. An adjustable base bed allows you to customize the angle of the mattress, providing flexibility for various sleeping positions. These bases usually come with remote controls or smartphone apps to adjust the incline of the head or foot of the bed. Adjustable base beds are suitable for individuals who prefer elevated sleeping positions for health reasons or added comfort while reading or watching TV in bed. Adjustable bases offer personalized support when paired with compatible mattresses and can enhance overall sleep quality.
- Platform Beds. Platform beds feature a solid or slatted surface that supports the mattress directly, eliminating the need for a box spring. They often have a lower-profile design and can be made from various materials such as wood, metal, or upholstered fabric. Platform beds provide stable support for different types of mattresses, including foam, latex, or hybrid mattresses. The absence of a box spring reduces the overall height of the bed and can contribute to a sleeker bedroom appearance.
- Box Springs. Traditional box springs consist of a wooden frame covered in fabric with a spring system inside, providing additional support and height to the mattress. While they were originally designed to absorb shock and extend the lifespan of innerspring mattresses, they are unnecessary for newer mattress types like foam or hybrid mattresses with sufficiently dense cores that inherently offer needed compression resistance alone. However, some prefer the added height and slight bounce of box springs.
Bed Shopping Online and In-Store
Both in-store and online mattress shopping have their advantages. Online retailers offer convenience, extensive options, and often competitive pricing. On the other hand, in-store shopping allows you to test the mattress firsthand, enabling you to feel and try the mattress before buying with the guidance of sales staff. Head into bed shopping with a must-have shortlist to rank your sleep priorities to help streamline selections. It’s important to research your options, read reviews, and, if possible, take advantage of the in-home trial periods offered by some retailers to see if the mattress meets your expectations.
Most mattress companies offer trial periods, usually 100+ nights, allowing you to test the mattress at home. But make sure you understand the terms and conditions of trial periods and return policies because these vary with each manufacturer.
Also, know the warranty of your mattress. Warranties cover manufacturer defects and certain issues over an extended period. Some terms can be complex, so we suggest you read and understand the warranty details before purchasing.
If the purchase of your new mattress is not time-sensitive, manufacturers offer good sales throughout the year. You could wait for the next holiday when you often see competitive offers to pick up a new mattress at the best price.
Bed Delivery to Your Door or DIY
Don’t forget about the delivery options when bed shopping. Some mattress purchases provide in-home setup included in the price or for an extra fee. In this case, a team will deliver and install your new mattress and remove your old mattress. Alternatively, foam bed-in-a-box brands ship compressed mattresses directly to your home using UPS or FedEx, allowing do-it-yourself setup at your convenience. But remember, these mattresses are often heavy and awkward, so you may need extra help to carry the mattress to your bedroom and move it into place.
Mattress Care and Longevity
Once you have bought your new mattress, it is important to maintain your investment. To extend the lifespan of your mattress, use a quality mattress protector to prevent damage from spills, allergens, and wear and tear. Regular cleaning and maintenance, like rotating or flipping the mattress, will keep your mattress fresh and hygienic. Expect to replace your mattress every 8-10 years on average.
Investing in a new mattress and bed frame isn’t just a financial decision but an investment in your health and sleep quality. Crafting a list of features that matter most to you and understanding your options will help you find a bed customized to your comfort, promising dreamier nights ahead. This thoughtful investment in your sleep space ensures a comforting retreat to look forward to at the end of each day.