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Serta or Sealy - Which Mattress Is Best & Will It Pass The Bounce Test?

Updated on September 11, 2015

What's In A Bed?

This answer was supposed to be about buying a mattress, however, I find I am now in the position of having to buy a whole new bed - as well, as finding a whole new place to live to put it in. I'm afraid given the current state of things in my no-longer union, there will be very little bouncing on whatever new mattress I buy.

I've decided to buy a futon instead of a couch, so when I do have overnight guests, wherever I happen to be, I can offer them the bedroom and camp out on the futon. So, you see, my new bed 'et al' will have to do double duty - not solely 'good enough for me', it will have to be good enough for company.

As for my new mattress passing the "bounce test," I live in hope that it will not remain virgin too long - I never imagined myself cast in the mold of Elizabeth I.

...but back to the original question.

Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mattress
Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Mattress
Everything From Brass To Bunks...
Everything From Brass To Bunks...
Traditional Elegance
Traditional Elegance
Modern Murphy bed
Modern Murphy bed
Elegant, Modern Canopy Bed
Elegant, Modern Canopy Bed

A Bed By Any Other Name...

Call it what you will, four-poster, Murphy, canopy, almost any bed beats sleeping on the floor, which is exactly where I have been camping out for the last, almost two months.

...not good for the back, not good for the front, either, and certainly not good for the disposition.

I have always been fond of four-poster beds. They look so elegant. The only problem I can foresee is that I have no idea of the size of the room in which I will eventually place my purchase. Practicality dictates a more modest choice at this time.

While I was still in home-renovation mode, we had often kicked around the idea of a built-in Murphy bed in at least one of the guest bedrooms. The real benefit of the Murphy bed is that it folds completely away - up into the wall - when not in use. To my way of thinking, it would not only afford more floor area when it was not in use, but it would allow the room to be used for things other than sleeping. Less cumbersome than a hide-a-bed, though certainly more expensive, the Murphy bed is an elegant solution to the space crunch.

A canopy bed is incredibly romantic. They can range from the traditional, soft draperies to plain muslin. The more modern styles are a far cry from gathered tulle or loosely draped mosquito netting, but they express elegance in clean, simple shapes and lines.

Row Upon Row - How To Choose?
Row Upon Row - How To Choose?
Traditional Coil-Springs
Traditional Coil-Springs
Solid Construction Details
Solid Construction Details
New Age Comfort - Memory Foam
New Age Comfort - Memory Foam

Style is not everything, though, and not all beds are created equal, as any manufacturer will be happy to point out.

Again, the uwary customer is presented with a bewildering array of construction materials, each with its own particular benefits and challenges; its own set of fans and detractors.

Those of you old enough to have been voting for a while will probably remember the "bounce test" - a TV ad that showed a bowling ball being dropped onto a bed without knocking over either the bowling pins nor disturbing the rather svelte model lying on the other side of the bed, in all her elegantly negligee-ed splendor. The ad then went on to promote the mattress for it's marvelous revolutionary design - something to do with the coils, as I remember.

But having a good foundation for sleep is very important -

A good spring mattress and box spring are solid, traditional fare. They come with a variety of toppers, from different desities of foam to a combination of man-made and natural fibres that promise comfort and durability.

I find the foam topper too hot. My personal favorite is a blend of bamboo fibres mixed with cotton and either silk or cashmere. This combination is highly absorbent but breathable, wicking away moisture, but allowing the topper to breathe, thus shedding its burden of heat and moisture.

Another ever-popular choice for a mattress is the waterbed. Today's version is a far cry from the un-baffled bladder of the 70s. Now, the bladder is securely encased in several layers of protective materials that not only allow the warmth of the bed to penetrate to the sleeper (always my favorite feature of the waterbed - the warmth), they cushion the bladder from shocks and punctures. As well, a baffled waterbed is far less likely to slosh you around and confuse your inner ear with that slight feeling of sea sickness.

The latest entrant on the matress market is memory foam. At first used more for the novelty effect of conforming instantly to the body, memory foam is fast becoming the number one choice of materials. Foam is also less expensive, so placing a better quality of product within the budget of more consumers.

La Princessa
La Princessa
Formal Luxury
Formal Luxury

To Bed, Or Not To Bed...

Not only is there a bewildering array of materials and styles for mattresses, but the selection of bedding and decor available could boggle the mind of even the most accomplished and budget-conscious shopper.

I always have a terrible time choosing a single color scheme. There are so many lovely shades and fabrics, it's hard to limit my choice to one palette.

My son's wife maintains one can never have too many shoes. My son disagrees. He states categorically that she channels Imelda Marcos whenever they are anywhere near a shoe store, but that's the topic for another hub.

Suffice it to say, I agree in principle, and this applies to bedding as well. One should be able to change seasonally, at the very least. I find that being able to switch out the accessories periodically, rather than re-do everything from the ground up, helps to stretch my budget.

One can always start with either warm or cool neutrals, enhanced by jewel-toned accessories. These can be swapped out for some saucy seasonal prints. This will certainly spice up the look and update the seasonal charm without requiring the wholesale change of your basic decor.

Dog House
Dog House
Cat's Cradle
Cat's Cradle

In The Dog House?

Of course, any consideration given to the perfect mattress must also include a quick look at contemporary trends in sleeping accomodations for the family pet. It would seem, from the proliferation of sites dedicated to our furry friends, we are far more inclined to pamper them than ourselves.

A case in point: this Christmas past, we had occasion to travel out of town for a family gathering in the Yukon. As you might well believe, we did our due diligence in choosing a kennel for the small dog, a miniature daschund, and for the very opinionated ruler of the roost, Her Majesty, the cat.

The dog's lodgings proved to be a bit problematic, but the cattery where Mistress Meow spent her holiday was certainly deluxe, and nothing like the tiny 'space ship' pictured to the right.

She had her own fully carpeted room complete with long windows on either side so she could see the other cats if she chose, a window with a deep ledge for bird-watching and sun-snoozing, and, best of all, her own, personal, forced-air heating vent. The catbed provided was luxuriously upholstered in thick foam and covered with a lovely deep-plush velour. She was in kitty heaven.

The next time the wee weiner has to go into a kennel, we shall arrange for him to stay in the cat's luxury hotel.

Sweet Dreams of Success
Sweet Dreams of Success

Serta Sheep

...And So, To Sleep

"To sleep, perchance to dream..."

With all this information at my fingertips, all that remains is to gird up my loins and head into the fray. I must admit to feeling some trepidation. I know what my back requires, and how far my pocketbook will stretch. I can only hope there will be a happy medium where both can meet.

As well, I rather overburdened the exchecquer during the white sales in January, and we are only just recovering from that.

Oh, well, faint heart ne'er won fair lady, and if I would have my guests drift comfortably into the arms of Morpheus, I cannot stint on quality. The real trick will be finding that perfect balance between cost and value.

Onward ! Excelsior!

Here's Lookin' At You, Kid...
Here's Lookin' At You, Kid...

How A Sealy Mattress is Made

...and now, gentle readers, I can only end with (forgive me) a toast to the mattress makers, furniture designers and bedding maevens who have gifted us with so many wonderful choices... and, please, this Victoria Day weekend, spare a thought for me as I trudge from store to store, fighting my way through the throngs at all the sales, searching for 'the perfect mattress'.

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    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      As always RedElf, and excellent hub. Great information and choices...and speaking of toast...I think I'll take your advice :D...

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Futons are great, but they can be hard - even the foam ones.. If you do go that route Ikea has some great foam mattress toppers you can put on that make it more comfy, unless you don't want the company to stay more than 1 night, then forgo the topper and add marbles. Great hub.. I hate buying mattresses.. Kinda like shoes, you think they be comfy and they seemed so in the store, till you actually had to wear them for a special event, then owwww. And some store that offer, try for 30 days things, where do the returned ones go and did I just get one? Ewwww.

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks, Enelle, always a pleasure to have you stop by.

      Candie V, thanks for the heads-up on futons. I have been told they are 'very comfy' so it's good to hear about the topper - I shall add that to teh shopping list...and thanks so much for popping in.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

      I hope you get your bounce back soon ;)

      Nicely laid out hub.

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Ahhh, Paper Moon, only time will tell, but we live in hope. Thanks so much.

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