Thursday, May 16, 2013

May is a Great Time to Buy: Our Favorite Tips on How to Buy a Mattress

Article by Jennifer Adams

You spend more time on your mattress than on any other piece of furniture you own. And because quality sleep means so much in how you feel during the day, it’s critical that your mattress is comfortable and works really well for you. If it’s not, it’s time to find a new one.

If you’re like most people, you should expect to replace your mattress at least every ten years, no matter how much you paid for it. Get a new mattress every five to seven years if you have back problems, allergies or other medical issues, or if it’s simply no longer comfortable. Our bodies and sleeping patterns change over the years, so something that is comfortable now may not be down the road, even if there’s nothing wrong with the mattress.

And, with June weddings, graduations, people moving after the school year and many other reasons, many mattress stores hold additional sales in May, particularly over Memorial Day Weekend. The new models come out in the summer, so the stores want to reduce their inventory.

Tip 1. Relax. Don’t get hung up too much about hitting the sale. It’s easy to get carried away with the crowds. The critical thing is to get the right mattress. If you’re not sure, don’t buy one. Come back another day when it’s less crowded.

Tip 2. The best mattress for you is the one within your budget that you find the most comfortable. Once you find it, stop looking! You’ll only find ways to spend more money. If you find a comfortable bed within your budget, you should be fine for a few years with all but the very least expensive mattresses. If they’re comfortable, even cheap ones may be perfectly fine as guest beds or for other infrequent uses.

Tip 3. Give yourself an orientation to the industry and what’s out there. Do some research before you set a budget. Like shopping for a car, don’t buy one right away. Look at ads and visit several stores to get a general sense of the price ranges and the sales pitches. Lie down on a few. Ask about warranties. Some require you to purchase a new box spring or platform and a mattress protector, some don’t.

Don’t count on actually being able to compare mattresses store to store. Unlike car dealers, mattress manufacturers send differently labeled products to each store. You can, however, find something comfortable and that’s what counts.

Some retailers offer protection plans, find out what it covers and how much it costs. Consumer Reports’ website has a great Mattress Buying Guide as well as a lot of extra information. You may need to have a subscription to see all the ratings, but it’s worth poking around to see what’s there.

Tip 4. Know your sleeping habits. Just because a mattress is labeled “firm” doesn’t mean it’s the best mattress for you. Do you and your sleeping partner, if you have one, have similar tastes? Do you sleep on your back, side or stomach? If you sleep on your stomach, you’ll need a firmer bed. If you’re a side sleeper, look at softer beds. If you sleep on your back, or back and sides, you’ll probably like something not too firm and not too soft, but “just right.”

Tip 5. Box Spring or not? “Box springs” are the foundation on which the mattress sits. Box springs are usually sold with a paired mattress. Sometimes, however, the same box spring with different colored ticking is sold with many different mattresses from the same manufacturer.

With less expensive mattress sets, the “box” may have no springs at all, it might be just a wood box with a light layer of padding and a matching cover. It’s helpful to know what you’re getting, and a quality box spring can make a difference in the way your bed feels.

And some mattresses, such as the “memory” foam beds may not need a box spring at all, so are good options for a sleek and contemporary platform-style look. You may need more support for a mattress of this type, however.

Tip 6. All beds need air circulation around them so never place mattresses or box springs directly on the floor. Many mattress stores have very inexpensive metal frames, some may even give you one with your mattress purchase. Use it if you don’t have anything else. Because of humidity changes, and the heat you emit at night, your mattress needs to dry out. 

Prevent mold and mildew growth and allergens, protect yourself and your investment. Also use water resistant mattress protectors, sometimes the warranty will require it.

Tip 7. Strategies for saving money include starting at the back of the store. The most expensive mattresses are usually closest to the front, says Consumer Reports. Other ways to possibly save some money are to shop special promotions at major retailers, such as “year-end closeouts” and “mis-match sales” where the box spring fabric doesn’t match the mattress. Be aware that these may just be marketing ploys or may even be returns or refurbished mattresses or they may not be really any different than any other sale. Just make sure you know what the return policy may be and what the warranty covers. As long as you know what you’re getting, it’s comfortable and in your price range, go for it!

Manufacturers’ showrooms and outlets may also be a less expensive option. Also, less-familiar regional factories, such as Parklane Mattresses, based in Vancouver,Washington, often build mattresses for hotels, resorts and as in-house brands for department or warehouse stores. Many of these have factory-direct stores either at or separate from their factory.

Sometimes they build mattresses in custom sizes or for special needs. They might have some special one-off that got refused, or a close-out line that they need to unload.

Send us your thoughts and stories! For additional information, see Consumer Reports, and the article “Best Time of Year to Buy a Mattress” by Brendan Gibney. Photos courtesy of Jennifer Adams Home and Parklane Mattresses.

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 12:01 AM 


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