Take Measurements Beforehand
Before heading to the store, whip out your tape measure and write down the dimensions of your mattress. Rely on these measurements when perusing your options, keeping in mind that a comfortable bedroom should have at least three feet of space on two sides of the mattress. Don’t forget to measure your home’s doorways and hallways as well—you don’t want your new mattress getting stuck in the hall!
Related: 9 Ways You’re Ruining Your Mattress
Do Your Research
You’ll find that mattresses come in a wide variety of styles: soft, firm, orthopedic, pillow-top, box spring, innerspring, foam, hybrid, and more. To narrow down your options and prevent feeling overwhelmed, research the pros and cons of each option before you visit a store.
Test Out the Mattresses
As you’ll be spending many hours each night on your mattress, choose one that's comfortable. Lie down for at least 10 or 15 minutes on each mattress you’re considering. Spend most of that time in your typical sleeping position, whether it’s on your side, your stomach, or your back. Eliminate from consideration any mattress that makes you feel uncomfortable or sore.
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Don't Hesitate to Bargain
The mattress industry is notorious for big markups, especially at smaller shops. Come armed with online research, and don’t hesitate to haggle for a deal. Although many big mattress chains list the lowest price point possible nowadays, there’s nothing stopping you from bargaining.
Secure a Trial Period
Even if your mattress seems perfect in the store, there’s no guarantee you’ll feel the same way after sleeping on it all night long. Ask the mattress store if you can have a 30-day trial period. Then, if you dislike the mattress after a few weeks of testing, you may be able to return it to the store at no additional cost. (Be sure to ask up front about restocking or exchange fees.) Some companies and manufacturers also offer comfort guarantees, which allow you to return or exchange a mattress within a designated time frame. But again, ask about fees.
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Understand the Warranty
Ensure that your mattress has a decent warranty; many are at least 10 years long. Also take care to understand what, exactly, the warranty includes. Most warranties cover only damages that result from manufacturing errors, which homeowners typically notice within a few months of purchase.
Consider Making a Splurge
Remember that you spend around a third of your life in bed, and that the quality of your sleep is a huge factor in your overall well-being. An outlay of $2,000 may seem huge, but it will get you a very high quality mattress. Plus, if you calculate the cost over time, you’ll find that a $2,000 mattress comes to about $15 per month if you keep the mattress for 10 years—a reasonable lifespan for a well-made box-spring variety.
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Purchase a Mattress Protector
Always use a quality mattress protector to extend the life of your bed and protect against surface damage. This is especially important because return policies and warranties may be voided if the mattress comes back stained.
Examine Your Bed Frame
Even the highest quality mattress won’t be comfortable if it’s set on a wobbly frame. Before buying a new mattress, make sure your bed frame is properly assembled and built to last. And be sure to always use a bed frame. Simply laying the mattress on the floor may shorten its lifespan.
Related: 14 Easy Ways to Make Your Own Headboard
Do the Delivery Right
Plan to be home for the delivery of a new mattress, and inspect your purchase carefully before the driver leaves. Don’t accept the mattress if it’s damaged or discolored in any way, and keep all labels and paperwork for potential future warranty claims.
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