How to Buy a Bed

Three Parts:Choosing a MattressChoosing a Bed FrameFinding the Right Price

As you age, a good mattress becomes more valuable. The right mattress will reduce back and joint pain, while a good frame will make a home more attractive. Choose your budget and follow this guide to buy a bed set that will last a decade.

Part 1
Choosing a Mattress

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    Distinguish between the main types of mattresses. Choose which of the following types you want before moving on to the brand.
    • Inner spring mattresses. The most common type of bed, the inner spring mattress is usually distinguished by coil count. The top of the mattress has smaller, tighter coils. The bottom of the mattress has larger coils. They are available in all price ranges.
    • Foam mattresses. Memory foam is soft and conforms to the body. It is good for people who desire extra softness. While this type is often more expensive than inner spring mattresses, it is sturdy and conforms to people’s bodies differently. Most people love or dislike this kind of mattress because you sink slightly further into the bed. People with pressure points and joint problems may prefer a foam mattress.
    • Air mattresses. Sleep number beds are the most well known type of air mattress. They separate the bed into 2 areas, which can be controlled by 2 different remotes. The air bladders above the coils can be firm or soft. If you disagree about the type of mattress you and your partner want, the extra cost may be worth it.
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    Adjust your preference according to your size. The larger your waist-to-hip ratio, the faster your mattress is likely to wear out. Spend a little extra to get a mattress with very strong inner coils. [1]
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    Don’t trust an “environmentally-friendly” label. Look it up before you buy, because eco-friendly models are more expensive. Make sure it was certified by OE Standards or the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
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    Expect to pay at least $1,000 for a good mattress set. If you suffer from any health problems or sleeping problems, you don’t want to choose a price point that is too low, or you will need to replace it in a few years. Mattress sets usually cost between $1,000 and $5,000; however, you can be a smart shopper and save yourself $200 to $500 off the ticket price.
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    Test your mattress several times. Spend at least 15 minutes on the bed, changing positions frequently. Never buy a mattress that is untested, because each body prefers a different level of softness.
    • If you will share the mattress, make sure both people try it before you buy.
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    Research to see if any major hotel chains use the bed. If they do, call the hotel to ask what types of beds they use and book a night. Testing the bed for 8 hours is the best way to see how comfortable it is.

Part 2
Choosing a Bed Frame

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    Measure the space where your bed will go. The size of bed you need should be determined by the amount of room you have and how tall you are.
    • A twin bed fits in a space of 39 inches by 70 inches (99 to 178 cm).
    • A full bed requires 54 by 75 inches (137 by 190 cm). This type of bed is also called a “double” or “standard” bed.
    • A queen bed needs a space of approximately 60 inches by 80 inches (152 by 203 cm).
    • A king bed needs 76 inches by 80 inches (193 by 203 cm).
    • A California king, the largest size, requires 72 inches by 84 inches (183 by 213 cm). [2]
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    Adjust the measurement for the size of your bed frame. Decide if you have the space for a large bed frame, with a footboard. If you don’t, you can buy minimal bed frames in both wood and metal.
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    Consider a platform bed. If you are in the market for a smaller frame, a platform bed has a sturdy platform instead of slats. With some beds, you may not need a box spring in addition to the platform.
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    Measure the height of any mattress and bedspring sets you are considering. Then, determine if you need a high or low bed frame. You don’t want the bed frame to be so high that it is difficult to get in and out.
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    Choose a bed with storage in the bottom. If you have few closets, then a bed with drawers in the bottom will be a space-saver. The bed may be slightly more expensive, but it may give a good return on the value.
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    Search through colors and styles of décor. Page through décor magazines like Pottery Barn, West Elm, Ikea, Restoration Hardware and Crate and Barrel. Choose your style and then go comparison shopping in furniture stores or in box stores, like Target.

Part 3
Finding the Right Price

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    Give yourself some time to buy the perfect bed. The more rushed you are in making a purchase, the less likely you are to find a good deal.
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    Buy your bed in May, if possible. Mattress companies often come out with new models in May or June, or retailers will mark down old models. Other good times include long weekends, like Labor Day and President’s Day, when furniture stores have big sales. [3]
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    Don’t buy a bed set online, unless you are absolutely sure about it. If you slept on the mattress while staying with friends or at a bed and breakfast, you may be able to order it at discount online without too much worry. However, large pieces of furniture are very difficult and expensive to return to online retailers, who can’t sell a used bed.
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    Do comparison shopping online. After you test out mattresses at several stores, look online for the best prices. Make sure to include shipping costs and warranties, and then bring the price into a store to ask for a price reduction.
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    Take into account the extra fees. Ask about free delivery. Shipping and delivery fees can be several hundred dollars.
    • Work up a comparison sheet between retailers. Compare the total price with delivery and fees, not just the cost of the bed or mattress.
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    Get a comfort warranty on the mattress and box spring. If possible, choose a retailer that lets you bring the bed back within 30 days after purchase if it is uncomfortable.
    • Give preference to any retailer that gives a price and comfort guarantee for 1 year after purchase.
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    Ask for discounts for buying a bed set. Sold separately, a bed set and mattress can be over $1,000 each. However, most bed stores are willing to make a deal when you purchase both at once.
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    Consider interest-free financing. Luckily, many furniture stores still offer installment payments for such a large investment. You may be able to start an account and pay no interest if you pay it back within 1 year.


  • Buy a mattress cover and put it on right away. Staining a mattress may void the warranty.

Things You'll Need

  • Décor magazines
  • Mattress cover

Article Info

Categories: Bedroom Style