This article is intended to be an all-encompassing guide on how to choose a mattress that is perfect for you in every way. We’re going to cover everything from mattress selection to bed furniture to budgets. We’ll address major concerns and minor issues that can make or break your mattress purchase decision.
10 Important Steps for Choosing a mattress
Step 1: Consider Your Sleeping Style
If you want to know how to choose a mattress that’s right for you, first consider your sleeping style. Do you sleep on your stomach? Do you sleep on your side? or Do you sleep on your back? The position you normally fall asleep in is not necessarily the one you stay in. It is more likely to be the one you wake up in, since that’s the position you migrated to during the night.
Your sleeping style affects several things. First, your sleeping position determines the right type of mattress for you. Side sleepers need more support and a moderate firm bed to be comfortable. Back and side sleepers have a wider selection. If you normally sleep sprawled out, you’ll need more space than someone who sleeps in a fetal position. This will affect the minimum acceptable bed size for you.
Another factor to consider is who else sleeps with you. If your dogs or cats get into bed with you, you may want additional space so that you’re not all woken up when someone is pushed out of bed. Parents who want to co-sleep will want a larger bed so there is room for everyone.
Step 2: Determine How Much Space You Need
Don’t buy a queen sized bed because it is the best overall value. Only buy a bed that gives you enough space, or else you’ll never be comfortable. How much space do you need on the bed?
If you sleep by yourself, lay down in your normal sleeping position and where you prefer to sleep on the bed. If you like to sleep in the middle of the bed, you’ll need something with at least 6 inches on all sides of you to be comfortable so you won’t fall off the bed when you toss and turn. For example, twin beds are designed for one person. They’re 38 inches wide and 75 inches long.
If the average person is 24 inches wide, this gives them roughly 6 inches on both sides. Don’t choose a bed that is as long as you are tall. You’re going to either hit your head on the top of the bed or have your feet dangling over the end. Twin XL exist exactly for this reason. The 75 inch long twin mattress is sometimes called the short twin to differentiate it.
If you share the bed, give everyone 12 inches on all sides and between each other based on their sleeping position. For example, people who sleep on their side can be comfortable with a smaller bed than someone who sleeps on their back or stomach. But larger doesn’t hurt, and you want to give people space to toss and turn.
This is why a full or double bed that is 54 inches by 75 inches is the smallest bed you could even consider having two people share. However, that’s only practical if you both sleep on your side. And be honest – you’re not going to comfortable spoon all night, every night.
Give yourself more space if you can. This is why a queen sized bed should be the smallest bed for two that you would even consider. A king is better, but not everyone has the space in their bedroom for it. A larger bed than you need also typically costs more.
What if you’re shopping for beds in a shared bedroom? Again, put at least 30 inches between the beds to allow for easy access. This is why bunk beds are popular when two kids share a room.
How Big Are Various Types of Beds?
Beds come in a wide range of sizes. Let’s take a look at the dimensions of each commonly available bed size.
01. Crib Mattress:
Crib mattresses are 52 inches by 27 or 28 inches. This is considered suitable for an infant or toddler.
02. Twin mattress :
A standard twin or single mattress is 39 inches wide by 75 inches long. This is suitable for children old enough to climb in and out of bed, and it may work for a full-grown adult. A single XL bed is 39 inches wide but 80 inches long. This is ideal for adults over six feet tall.
03. Full Size :
A double full bed is 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. A double full XL like the single XL is an additional 5 inches long. A full double bed was once considered a suitable bed for couples. This was partially due to the fact that bedrooms were smaller 50 years ago. Then again, so were people.
We’ve grown several inches taller over the past few generations. And many of us are heavier, too, requiring additional space on the mattress. That’s why full mattresses are now more commonly used by individuals who want more space or share their bed with a pet or child.
04. Queen Mattress :
The standard queen bed is 80 inches long and 60 inches wide. This is the modern minimally acceptable bed for couples. The Olympic queen bed is 66 inches wide and 80 inches long. You get an extra six inches of width, but you don’t take up quite as much space as a king sized bed. The California queen is 60 inches long by 84 inches long. This bed is suitable for tall co-sleepers.
05. King size Mattress:
The standard king mattress is 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. The California king trades width for length. It is four inches narrower but four inches longer.
Step 3: Determine How Much Space You Have
How big is your bedroom? Recognize that the bed isn’t going to be the only thing in the bedroom. You’ll want to put at least 30 inches around every side of the bed that isn’t pushed against the wall. This makes it easy to walk around the bed. Putting 36 inches around the bed will make things feel more luxurious.
However, this means you can make more of the existing space if you’re willing to push the bed into the corner. Just don’t do that when the bed is used by two people, since it prevents one person from getting out of bed without climbing over the other.
Don’t forget to consider how kids will get in and out of the top bed. This is why combination stairs / book cases are becoming popular. It gives the child on top a safer way to climb down without taking up too much space. We don’t recommend bunk beds with desks and futons underneath. The bottom futon is never as comfortable as a full bed, and the desks under the bunk bed rarely have enough workspace.
Working Rules for Clearance
Twin size bed :
The minimum size bedroom is seven feet by ten feet or seventy square feet. This will work for a nursery or toddler’s room. It can also hold a twin sized bed if it is pushed against the wall. Then you have enough space for a desk or play area on the other side of the room. In general, the average non-master bedroom won’t go smaller than 100 square feet.
Twin beds can fit in dorm rooms, and these are often eight feet by ten feet for a single person. If there will be two twin beds in the same room, the room itself should be at least ten feet across. A twin XL will work in a 10 foot by 10 foot room. This is considered the ideal size for a single kid’s room. Note that designers avoid square rooms, so you’re more likely to face a 10 foot by 11 foot or 10 foot by 12 foot room than a simple 10×10 bedroom.
Full Size bed :
A full sized bed is 16 inches wider than a twin bed. It can be used for a wider young adult, two children sharing a bed or a college student who lacks the space for something larger. A full sized bed should be used in a room that is at least 10 feet by 12 feet. A full XL mattress will fit in the same room, assuming there is enough clearance for the door. Fortunately, this is the average size of an apartment bedroom. The average one is 11 x 12 nationwide, though dense urban areas may go as small as they can go.
Queen Size Bed:
In theory, a standard queen mattress could fit in a 10 foot by 10 foot room. However, the issue is clearance. If you push the 5 foot by 7 foot bed into a corner, then you could walk around it. If you want to be able to walk around three sides of the bed, then a queen sized mattress should only be used in a bedroom that is at least 10 feet by 14 feet.
Given the additional length of a California queen bed, it is a tight squeeze in a 12 foot by 10 foot room unless it is pushed into the corner. Ideally, it will be in a room that’s 12 feet by 14 feet to give you walking room and space for other furniture. For comparison, the average apartment bedroom is 132 square feet.
King Size Bed:
A king sized mattress is really only practical in a large, master bedroom. Think a 10 foot by 12 foot room or larger. If you need space to walk around on three sides of the 6 foot by 7 foot bed and for other furniture in the room, you need a 12 foot by 12 foot room at minimum and ideally a 13 foot by 13 foot bedroom.
A California king won’t fit in a room smaller than 12 foot by 12 foot. If you want room to walk around the bed, a 14 foot by 12 foot room is ideal. Note that you need that larger room to make up for the extra-long bed.
Fortunately, the average bedroom in a single family home is 219 square feet. These rooms tend to be 14 feet by 15 feet, 15 feet by 15 feet or 15 feet by 16 feet. Large master bedrooms are 18 feet by 20 feet up to 20 feet by 20 feet. However, few master bedrooms are more than 250 square feet in total. They’ll expand the master closet or master bathroom instead of making the master bedroom even bigger. Or they’ll separate the seating area or office niche from the de facto bedroom space.
What if you have a headboard? Headboards are typically as wide as the mattress, though they may be two to four inches wider. Headboards will add two inches to each end of the bed. So add at least four inches to the length of the bed when you will have a headboard on the bed frame supporting and surrounding the mattress. This will help ensure that you don’t overcrowd the room.
When you’re deciding what to keep, take related bed furniture into account. For example, bedside tables tend to be two feet by three feet. That’s large enough to hold a lamp and have a small surface for holding a glass of water, a pair of glasses or other bedside items.
A larger table may be two and a half feet by four feet. And what else needs to fit in the bedroom? For example, older homes without closets may force you to install a wardrobe. The ideal location for the bed will depend on window and door locations, too.
Step 4: Determine What You Have and What You Want to Keep
Do you like your current bed platform? Then there is no reason to replace it, though you’ll want to choose a bed that’s compatible with it. Do you want to replace your current wooden slat bed or sagging box spring? Add it to the list of things you’ll need to buy. That will eat into your budget, determining how much is left to spend on a new mattress. Or you could buy a bed that doesn’t need a box spring, eliminating the need to buy a platform.
If you’re getting rid of a mattress and box spring, whether due to wear and tear or insect infestation, consider what you’re going to replace it with. Memory foam beds need support of some kind, whether it is a bunky board, bed platform or bed frame with bed slats. A hybrid bed may say it doesn’t need support, but you may still want to put it on top of your bed frame to lift it off the ground and make it easy to get in or out of. The bed frame could also improve air circulation around the bed for give you access to more storage.
Don’t get rid of your bed or associated furniture until your new bed has arrived. You might find you need your old bed frame or bed platform, if the mattress is lower than you expected. If you’re going to replace everything such as after a flood, buy all of the related furniture at the same time to make sure it fits.
Step 5: Set a Rough Budget
Before you start shopping for a new bed, set a rough budget. How much can you afford to spend on your new bed? Remember that the bed purchase may include delivery fees, removal fees for an old mattress, and sales tax. If you have a maximum amount you can spend, multiply it by 0.7. This gives you literal safety margin, so that you’ll have enough money to pay for the bed if the final price is 15 percent higher after all fees and taxes are taken into account.
Step 6: Identify Any Deal Breakers
Are you allergic to latex? That will obviously rule out a natural latex mattress. However, it could rule out other memory foam beds and hybrid mattresses. For example, there are memory foam mattresses that contain a layer of latex or mix latex in with the artificial memory foam. Don’t even buy a bed with a latex layer in the middle, because the breakdown of the foam over time will put latex particles in the air or in contact with your skin. Now you risk having an allergic reaction in your sleep.
Do you have the sound of squeaking mattresses? This will strike most innerspring mattresses off the list. Note that you can have an innerspring mattress with limited motion transfer, so don’t rule this affordable class of mattresses out because one person tossing and turning bothers the other.
You may have issues with overheating in memory foam beds. You could try to find a memory foam bed with good ventilation. For example, it may have air channels in the mattress itself or have cooling gel laced through the memory foam itself. Or you may choose not to get a memory foam bed, opting for an inflatable or box spring bed instead.
Step 7: Start Researching Beds
You’ve identified the size and type of bed you want. Now you need to see what the market has to offer. Create a list of potential beds. This may be a long one. You will winnow that list down in later steps. Which beds are the right general size and within your price range? You can strike those with poor scores off the list immediately. Avoid beds that are brand new. The latest year model of a bed is rarely better than last year’s version, though they’ll charge you more for it.
Don’t prioritize beds at this point based on warranties and promises. There are companies that don’t honor the promise to take it back after 50 or 100 nights. Or they put up so many restrictions that you’ll be disappointed if you assume you can test-drive it or test-sleep it for a month to make sure you’re happy with it.
Step 8: Read the Customer Reviews
Read customer reviews on the site where you’re considering buying the bed. Pay attention to the content of negative reviews in addition to their quantity. Are people upset with the bedding manufacturer because the seams come undone in a few months? Or are people upset with the retailer for slow delivery or delivering items in beat up boxes?
Don’t bother reading reviews saying it looked great out of the box. Instead, look for reviews about how the bed performs shortly after they bought it and after an extended period of time. Does the memory foam fail to fully inflate, or does it wear down quickly after several months of use? Pay special attention to reviews that were downgraded after several months of use.
You may learn that the springs poke through the memory foam after a few months, or the bedding contains little plastic pieces that come out after the stitching wears out. Avoid mattresses where people had to add mattress toppers to get enough pressure relief or the promised degree of support.
You should read customer reviews on other sites. This ensures that you get the whole story, in case the vendor is purging negative reviews on a major retail site. It also gives you a better understanding of the retailer’s customer service. If the same mattress gets repeated negative reviews of failing to fully inflate, you can’t blame shipping and handling. It is the company that stores and ships the bed that may be to blame for a bed full of bugs or mold. If that’s the case, you can buy the mattress you like from a retailer that protects it until it reaches your door.
Read customer reviews discussing the real thickness of the mattress and its actual firmness. Compare this to general rules of thumb about how thick and supportive a mattress for you will need to be. Don’t worry – we’re going to share these general rules of thumb to use when searching for the best mattress for you.
A Rough Rule of Thumb on Mattress Thicknesses
While you might find a well-engineered mattress that’s eight inches thick and capable of supporting a side-sleeper, this is difficult to do because they’re so rare. You can actually gauge the best mattress thickness for you based on your body type and sleeping style.
If you weigh less than 130 pounds, an 8 to 10 inch thick mattress is typically fine. You don’t weigh so much that you sink in too deeply into softer mattresses. A lower bed is generally better, too, for lighter and shorter individuals. This is the only user category barring those for children that can be comfortable on a six inch thick futon mattress. And even then, futon mattresses can be difficult to sleep on once the mattress wears out.
If you weight 130 to 230 pounds, you’ll need a mattress that is at least 8 inches thick. A mattress that is 10 to 12 inches thick is even better. That thickness prevents you from sinking down to the bed foundation. However, heavier side sleepers need to look for beds with advanced support regardless of its thickness. If you don’t get a firm, supportive bed, you’re going to sink in so far that you can’t easily get out.
Individuals who weight more than 230 pounds need a mattress that is at least 11 inches thick. A mattress that is 12 to 14 inches thick may be more appropriate. This is one reason why we recommend trying out the bed instead of relying on a combination of firmness ratings and “great for side sleeper” descriptions. After all, the manufacturer’s description may not list the firmness rating correctly. Or their definition of firm is moderately firm to you.
So How Firm Does the Mattress Need to Be?
If the mattress is too firm, you’ll be uncomfortable. If you’re a side sleeper or have joint problems, a bed that is too firm will cause pain at the pressure points. A bed that is too soft is a different problem. It is painful to sink down into a bed to the point that your spine forms a U-shape. That will cause back pain in its own right. A bed that is somewhat too soft can make it awkward to get in and out of bed or alter your sleeping position.
For Back Sleepers:
In general, back sleepers need a firmer mattress. If you have back pain, a medium-firm mattress is generally good. Note that an orthopedic bed is an extra-firm bed by definition. Beds made for those with joint problems may have a thin layer of memory foam on top of the extra-firm core.
For Stomach Sleepers :
If you sleep on your stomach, you want a firmer mattress that will help your body retain its natural sleeping position. That means not sinking into a soft mattress. This is why stomach sleepers should get a moderately firm to firm mattress. But you need to read product reviews to determine how well the actual firmness of the mattress fits your particular sleeping style.
For Side Sleepers :
Side sleepers will need a bed that lets them sink partially down into the bed while providing enough support to keep their spine straight. The lighter you are, the softer the bed can be and still achieve this objective. But you can’t trust the ratings that companies put on the mattress description.
It isn’t uncommon for a company to list a soft mattress as moderately firm or a medium mattress to be far softer than you expect. Yet you need a mattress that’s somewhat soft where your shoulders, hips, and knees come into contact with it because these are literal pressure points. You’re putting all of your weight on your side. That’s why you should prioritize testing out your final few potential choices.
For Sharing Bed :
What if there are two or more people sharing the bed? There are a variety of options. One is a dual zone bed, allowing each person to inflate the bed to their ideal level of firmness. Another option is buying a bed that compromises on the level of firmness each person wants, though this can cause problems for each. Hopefully, you’re both comfortable with the same firmness level.
For Combo Sleepers:
What if you’re a combo sleeper? This means you’re equally comfortable sleeping in different positions. Choose a mattress that balances contour and support, if you’re regularly sleeping on your side. If you alternate between sleeping on your stomach and your back, you can go with a medium-firm mattress as long as that’s not too firm for you.
Elevated Position :
What should you do if you need to sleep in an elevated position? There are mattresses that can accommodate adjustable bed frames. They may be memory foam mattresses. They may be ultra-flexible box spring mattresses. Or they may be a box spring mattress broken into segments like a board with joints. Only flexible memory foam mattresses will be equally suitable for flat bed frames and adjustable ones, but not every memory foam mattress will survive having half of it raised and lowered.
Strike mattresses off your list as you find issues with the model. The goal here is to get to three or four options, so that you can get down to the perfect mattress for you.
Step 9: Try It Out
This isn’t always an option. A classic example would be the bed in a box products that ship a mattress to your front door. But if you can try out the bed, do so. The challenge here is business courtesy. Entering a bed store to lie down on twenty mattresses only to buy it online is a waste of the salespeople’s time.
It may sound strange, but ask your social circle for personal reviews. What do they think of the bed? And how do they sleep at night? You may get feedback that you won’t find online from a lack of edge support when sitting on the side to excessive noise when someone is tossing and turning in bed. However, it is a dear friend who will let you try out a mattress unless they’re so unhappy with it that they’ll consider selling it to you.
Step 10: Pick One.
Firstly , If you lay down on the mattress and hate it, strike it off your list. Secondly , If you examine it in the store and hate the smell, drop it.Lastly, If you like the way it feels, you can consider buying it. Ideally, you’ll find one perfect mattress that fits your body. Once you’ve decided, you can order it. Then all you have to do is wait.
There is no one perfect mattress for everyone. That is why you need to go through the series of steps we’ve outlined here to find the perfect mattress for you.I hope now you are very much knowledgeable about how to choose a mattress.