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A pillowtop mattress (U.S. size "queen")

A pillowtop mattress (U.S. size “queen”) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been in the market for a new mattress for at least a year.  At first, I thought the sore shoulders and hips I experienced every morning were age-related.  (That’s what I’m told  all the time now.  Everything is just my body getting older.)  I came to realize, though, that the mattress was sagging obviously (ha! age-related!  The bed was 11 years old) and genuinely uncomfortable.   I paid attention to blogs and articles on the various bed options:  mattress and foundation; memory foam; mattress and slats or platform; innerspring versus individually wrapped coils.  I still have no idea what coil count means, but it’s mentioned on a lot of mattress signage.  (Most mattress buying advice said to ignore coil counts, but it’s everywhere in the stores.)


Then my spouse moved out and I wanted to replace the mattress for, ahem, other reasons.


I researched in earnest now.  I was discouraged by the price of beds and the number of articles claiming you get what you pay for.  I also felt guilty spending any money at all on something like a new bed.  It seemed like a luxury in the face of my kids’ college tuition, books, piano lessons, food, clothes, the mortgage, and on and on.  But I practically needed a chiropractor to get out of bed in the morning, so research I did.


Kid #3 needed a new bed first and back in mid-April, I took her out bed shopping.  She rolled around on every bed on display.  I tried a few.  It was Goldilocks and an old broad trying to find one that was just right.  Kid #3 liked one that was within our budget (thank God).  I liked one that was over $4,000.


“It’s handmade,” pitched the salesman.  “Each coil is individually wrapped and tied by a craftsman.”


“Huh,” I answered, stunned speechless by the price and the mental picture of someone training to become a hand-wrapped bed coil artisan.


“We have a special arrangement to get these for such a low price.  You’d pay up to $50,000 at other specialty stores.”


“Are you high?  Who pays $50,000 for a mattress?”


We left without purchasing the $4,000 bed.  I kept researching, discouraged.  I found a few more mattress places in our general vicinity, some had prices online, and one even had coupons for percentage discounts and free delivery and haul away.  Bingo!  Coupons!


I printed the coupons and headed over to the store Wednesday morning.  The place was enormous; it was a mattress Costco.  Beds as far as the eye could see.  And despite all my research, I had no clear idea what I wanted, beyond “not $4,000.”  There was nothing to do but start lying down.  It was easy to determine what I didn’t like (the really firm beds), but quite another story to narrow down the plush from the pillowtop from the plush pillowtop from the soft.  Good grief.


Thankfully, the salesperson took pity and tried to explain the differences.  She directed me to three beds and I decided which one I liked best, then she had me try a bunch that were similar to the $2,700 Stearns and Foster that I liked.  In short order, she introduced me to a bed I loved:  not too hard, not too soft, not too expensive.  I was sold.


But beds have changed, ya’ll.  After settling on a mattress, I had to pick between a standard and a low profile foundation.  Out came the measuring tape.  At this point I realized the new mattress was a lot taller than my old mattress and there was no way my current sheets would stretch deep enough.  Which also meant that all my other bedding would be too short on the sides.  And did I really want to be that high?  I choose the low profile foundation, paid, and arranged for (free!) delivery.

Mattress springs

Mattress springs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once home I measured and determined that I would, indeed, have to replace at least some of the bedding.  Great, my new bed is a money pit.  By my calculations, the tall pillowtop queen sized mattress I bought will require a king-sized comforter and the low profile foundation is too short for a bed skirt.  To make this long story a little shorter, I decided I’d use one of the old fitted sheets to cover the foundation (which will remain wrapped in plastic — off-gassing be damned — to protect it from cat claws); I bought a set of deep-pocket queen sheets on sale and a king-sized coverlet on clearance at Kohl’s using a coupon and Kohl’s cash.  The old blankets will just have to work since they’ll be covered by the new coverlet.


The new bed was delivered Friday morning.  The cats were sad to see the old bed go:  they’d clawed the flimsy black material on the foundation open and made a hiding place in the boxsprings.  Too bad, cats.  The delivery guys were fast and efficient; they had everything swapped out in less than 10 minutes.  As soon as they were gone, kid #3 was rolling around on the new bed, proclaiming it “almost as soft as the $4,000 one.”


I wrestled the mattress pad and fitted sheet on, got the bed made, and wondered if that process counted as a strength-training workout.  What a PITA to get the sheets tucked in and make hospital corners (like my mom taught me) on a 15-inch deep mattress.  That sucker is heavy.


When I finally stretched out to go to sleep, I gave an involuntary moan.  It’s so comfortable.  I felt the tension melt away.  I slept deeply…until about 3 am when one of the cats decided to bat every pencil on the desk until it fell to the floor.  Bat-bat-bat-bat-plunk.  Bat-bat-bat-bat-plunk.  Over and over.  I rolled over after the last plunk and slept for another hour, when the neighbors had a screaming match with their teenage daughter who had just rolled in.  (I’d lose my s@%t, too, if my kid stayed out until 4 am).  Ok, the new mattress can’t guarantee an uninterrupted night’s sleep.  But when I did sleep, it was restful and I woke up without the joint pain and stiffness I’ve had for months.


Mission accomplished.






If you’re shopping for a new mattress, here are two articles I found helpful:


            Consumer Reports


            Get Rich Slowly (the comment section is especially helpful)