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What to Know Before Purchasing a Mattress

table near bed

What if you could get better sleep every night? Would you be healthier, more energized, more relaxed, and more productive? Sleep experts say yes! Problem: you’re not getting quality sleep and the bed is just not comfortable. Answer: you need a good mattress, and one that caters to you.

77,000 years ago, our ancestors slept on grass and leaves; but now we’re faced with a multitude of options: firm, plush, twin, king, memory foam, innerspring…and then there’s the question of mattress accessories — to box spring or not to box spring?

Before you head out into the great wide world of mattress shopping, read this post about how to choose the right mattress for your health and comfort — and how to make sure you get the best quality mattress for the best price available.

Know your mattress options

There are many different types of mattresses on the market, but the most common types are innerspring, memory foam, and hybrid. Each offers its own pros and cons, but remember that the right mattress for you isn’t necessarily the latest and greatest model that all the experts are hailing. It really all comes down to your personal preferences, priorities, and sleep comfort needs.


The classic mattress! Innerspring mattresses have been around since the 19th century. They have metal support coils inside that help balance body weight and provide that “springy” bounce that most of us are familiar with.

Typically the inside of the mattress uses coils with more flex and the perimeter of the mattress will use heavier gauge coils for more rigidity, thus providing a better edge support. Innersprings are surrounded and cushioned by other softer materials, such as foam; for added comfort and support. Keep in mind while shopping, higher coil counts gives you better support and longevity of your mattress.

There are 2 types of innerspring mattresses:

  • Coil Spring Sets (traditionally known as a bonnell coil). These coils are tied in together in sets or rows. So when weight is applied, that whole row will compress and flex.
  • Individual Coil or Individual Pocketed Coils. These are individual coils that are encased in a strong material which binds the other coil groupings together. Simply put, when weight is applied only those individual coils are compressing or flexing. Which is more ideal for helping with pressure point issues, motion separation, and  settling of hips and shoulders. 

Memory Foam

Memory foam is designed to help distribute your body weight, provide ergonomic support, and promote good sleep posture. Memory foam is great for sore joints or muscles, but some people find the material too hot to sleep on in warm weather. If that sounds like you, consider cooling gel memory foam! Memory foam mattresses are usually made by layering 3-5 layers of foam.

These layers are stacked and adhered vertically from the bottom up; starting with the: high density foam (foundation layer), plush or firm foam (spring/support layer), and the top contour layer which gives you comfortability. 


Just like it sounds, a hybrid mattress is a combination of two support systems. These support systems are an individual pocketed coil innerspring with multiple layers of foam and memory foam overlay. It gives you the best of both worlds!

Test your mattress before you buy it

Online shopping has revolutionized the way we buy things, but mattresses are one item that is best purchased in person. That’s because it’s not possible to know if a mattress is really comfortable for you until you lay on it. For starters, firmness labels aren’t consistent across manufacturers. One brand’s “extra firm” may be another brand’s “medium firm.”

When you go shopping, give any mattress you’re considering a thorough test by lying on it for 10-15 minutes in your normal sleeping position. Take your time and don’t rush your decision. There’s nothing wrong with going home to think things over and coming back later.

Choose the right size

If you already have a bed frame, it might seem easiest to simply find a mattress to fit. But if you’re mattress shopping now, this is a great opportunity to reassess your needs and consider if you’d be happier with a different size. 

For example, many couples opt for a full-size bed (a.k.a. “double bed”) without really thinking about it, but a full-size bed only gives each person about as much width as a crib! Most couples are more comfortable in a queen than a full. On the other hand, people with small bedrooms might appreciate the extra floor space that a smaller bed frees up.

Think about your current setup and consider what could be improved before you invest in a new mattress. In the meantime, here’s a quick list of standard mattress sizes:

  • Crib: 27″ x 52″
  • Twin: 38″ x 74″
  • Twin XL: 38″ x 80″
  • Full: 53″ x 74″
  • Queen: 60″ x 80″
  • King: 76″ x 80″
  • California King: 72″ x 84″

Where will your new mattress go? Do you need a box spring?

Many people choose to skip the box spring, and it’s definitely possible to set up a bed without one as long as you have the right type of bed frame. But a box spring can be a great way to maximize support and comfort while also adding some height (which can make getting out of bed easier if you have a low bed frame). Plus, a box spring helps get rid of those annoying creaks that disturb your sleep when you turn over at night. 

Some people don’t want to invest in a box spring because of the extra cost, but when you buy your mattress and box spring from a discount furniture store, you get both for a very low price. The most comfortable bed of your life suddenly becomes affordable!

The same goes for an adjustable mattress base (sometimes called an adjustable bed), which is an even more luxurious alternative to a regular box spring. It lets you raise your feet, head, or both whenever you like to create the most comfortable position for you when you sleep, read, watch TV, or eat breakfast in bed!

Most people spend too much on a mattress

Most people end up paying retail or over-inflated prices simply because they aren’t aware that better deals are available. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great mattress! At discount furniture stores, everything is always on sale.

If you live in the Portland area, we know you’ll love our amazing collection. The mattresses at our furniture & mattress discount store are high quality and brand new. We have the most popular mattress brands and styles for way lower prices than you’ll find at a regular furniture store.

About Furniture Plus

Thinking of stopping by to see our mattress selection? Here’s a little bit about what you can expect:

  • We’re open every day of the week.
  • Our team does not run on commission. Our store is a no-pressure environment, where your needs come first.
  • We are a locally-owned and operated business focused on offering a wide variety of long-lasting, quality brands made in the USA.
  • Our mattresses come with the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • If you’re looking for a particular mattress style or size that we don’t have in store, we can custom order it for you!

You can find us in Portland’s Gateway District at 10246 NE Halsey St, Portland, OR 97220.