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How to buy a bed

You'll need it for 29,200 hours, so get it right

How to buy a bed

Our wise old grandad imparted many pearls of wisdom upon our tender ears. Unfortunately, we were too engrossed in the marvels of Teletext or the beauty of Daisy Duke to take them all in. Silly us.

However, one aphorism did stick with us. ‘Always buy a good pair of shoes and a good bed,’ he’d implore. ‘Because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other.’ We told you he was wise.

But how do you know what constitutes a good bed? What should we be looking out for? How many times did the Batmobile catch a flat? We’re clueless, but thankfully we know a man who’s not. Luke Louka, sales director, at ace bed specialists Warren Evans to be precise.

Be prepared

"Measure the space where the bed is going to go before you leave your house. Showrooms are so big it’s easy to lose your sense of scale. You also need to think about what other furniture will be in your bedroom – take everything into consideration, from the cabinets and bedside tables to the exercise bike in the corner of the room. Essentially you need the biggest bed possible, not just because they’re the most luxurious, but because you will get the best night’s sleep.

"Other things to consider are how much natural light the bedroom gets - this can help determine colour choices – and how high the ceilings are: this is a factor when it comes to choosing the size of the headboard. Small rooms require lighter finishes and lower, space saving frames as this creates a sense of space. The flipside is that space saving beds in large rooms can get lost; it doesn’t create a feature, and this is something that you have to remember, a bed is a piece of furniture as well as a practical instrument."

The frame

"A great bed needs two essential ingredients: a quality mattress, but firstly, a strong and attractive frame. The attractive aspect is self-explanatory, but people often forget or disregard the strength criteria. The frame needs to be well constructed, otherwise you won’t get a good night’s sleep. You’d be surprised at how many poor beds there are out there. One way of checking is to look at the construction of the bed; if they use mortise and tenon joints, that it is an indication of its strength and durability. Physically shake the headboard when you’re in the showroom. If it rattles, squeaks or there’s movement of any kind then that is not a good sign."

Lie on the bed

"It’s hugely important to lie on the bed. You need to feel confident with the support of the frame. You really need to take your time when buying a bed. It’s imperative you make a considered purchase. So make sure you’re relaxed and in a non-pressurised environment. Don’t be embarrassed about sitting or lying on the bed. This purchase should last up to ten years, so it’s important you make the right choice.

"The other thing you should be looking for in a frame is a slatted base. Nice wide slats gives solid construction to the bed and allows the mattress to breathe, which, in turn, helps avoid moisture build up, can repel dust mites and keeps you cool. Space between the slats increases the comfort of the bed."

The mattress

"Buying a bed is a two-stage process: firstly, you buy the frame and then you add the mattress. The first and most important thing to take into consideration when buying a mattress is not to be fooled by the inordinate amount of jargon that accompanies the selling of mattresses. Lots of manufacturers try and sell mattresses on the number of springs contained within. The real key is the quality of the springs and the quality of the fillers which surround the springs.

"Body weight is important when buying the mattress. As a general rule the lighter you are the softer mattress you need. If you’re heavier, a firmer mattress is recommended. Testing the mattress before you buy is imperative. I know it can be embarrassing in the showroom, but you have to lie on the mattress – adopt your most comfortable sleeping position. A good test is to lie flat on your back and stick your hand underneath the small of your back. If you can get your hand in too easily the mattress is too firm. If it’s a tighter fit then that is a better mattress for you because the mattress has followed the pressure points that you’re lying on. The mattress has filled the space properly.

"The depth of the mattress is a good indicator of the quality. Anything fewer than six inches may not be as supportive. The springs wouldn’t be able to take a lot of punishment and the fillers would disintegrate. On the other hand, anything over ten inches could have been artificially filled. A good depth is seven to ten inches."


"I’d recommend flipping the mattress at least once a month and turning it round. This gives the fillers a chance to buff up again and refresh themselves. If you buy the correct frame and mattress and look after everything correctly you should be able to get a good ten years out of the bed."

Pictures: Getty Images


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