If you’re wondering how to choose a mattress, you’ve come to the right place. The Furniture Home mattress buying guide describes all the types of mattresses available, points you to the best mattress for your sleeping position and even answers important questions when buying a mattress. Read on to learn more about mattresses.


Looking for a new mattress? With so many mattress types, fillings, support levels, comfort offerings and sizes, it can be hard to know where to begin. Start by asking yourself a few key questions.

What are you looking for?

Thinking carefully about why you need a new mattress can help you focus on the options that are important to you, especially if your current mattress isn’t giving what you need for a good night’s sleep.

A great night’s sleep

If an uncomfortable mattress is keeping you awake at night, it may be time for a new one. Most mattresses have a lifespan of between seven and 10 years - after that, they tend to develop lumps or sag in places. Plus, our sleep needs often change as we get older and become more sensitive to pressure or develop new aches and pains.

A more supportive mattress

A mattress should evenly distribute your weight, providing adequate support at the body’s pressure points. These are the parts of the body which take on more pressure when you lie down, like the shoulders, hips and knees. A mattress with the right level of support will contour to your body’s natural curves, pushing back against these pressure points to relieve pain.

A more comfortable mattress

Comfort is a very individual thing. The mattress that you find perfectly comfortable might be too soft or too firm for the next person. Mattress comfort is measured in terms of mattress tension on a scale that runs from soft to extra firm. It’s best to visit a store and try several different mattresses to see which comfort level is right for you.

A mattress for back pain

Conventional wisdom says that people who suffer from back pain need a firm mattress. That's why some firm or very firm mattresses are also known as orthopaedic mattresses. In reality, finding the best mattress for back pain is less about choosing the firmest mattress and more about finding a mattress that offers your body optimum support.

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Continue reading for more on about what type of sleeper are you?


Knowing what type of sleeper you are makes it easier to find the best mattress to keep your spine in a neutral position that follows its natural curves, and with your head and neck, rib cage and pelvis in alignment.


If you sleep on your side, you might need a softer mattress that allows your shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress which helps keep your spine aligned. Mattress choice also depends on your weight. A lighter-weight side sleeper might need a more-soft mattress, while a heavier side sleeper would likely do better with a less-soft mattress.

Best mattresses for side sleepers: 
Latex mattressesmemory foam mattresses.


If you sleep on your front, you might need a firmer mattress. Firmer mattresses prevent your hips from sinking in too deep, which can create pressure on your lower back. This is generally true regardless of the weight of the sleeper.

Best mattresses for front sleepers: 
Pocket sprung mattresses.


If you sleep on your back, you might need a medium mattress. Medium mattresses push into your lower back, eliminating the gaps between your back and the mattress which can cause discomfort. Mattress choice also depends on the weight of the sleeper. 

Best mattresses for back sleepers: 
Combination pocket spring and memory foam mattresses, pillow top mattresses.


As well as different sizes, fillings and features, mattresses come in a wide range of price points. Be sure to shop around and explore different brands. That way you’re bound to find the perfect mattress – whatever your budget.


A limited mattress budget doesn't necessarily limit your mattress-buying options – or their quality. Many of our favourite British bed brands consistently create wonderfully comfortable, high-quality mattresses at great-value prices.


A generous mattress budget opens the door to some of The Furniture Home most famous luxury brands. These mattresses often have very high pocket spring counts for more responsive support, or the latest memory foam mattress technologies for cooler and more comfortable sleep.


Of course, there’s more to a comfortable bed than a new mattress. Makes yours even more inviting by adding those all-important extras like pillows, a mattress protector and a mattress topper.


Pillows come in different firmness levels and offer a choice of fillings including down, microfibre and memory foam. Deciding on the right pillow often depends on the type of sleeper you are. People who sleep on their front may prefer a softer or flatter pillow, back sleepers should choose a medium thickness pillow and side sleepers usually benefit from a firmer, more supportive pillow.


If your mattress is too firm, a mattress topper is a good way of adding an extra layer of softness without investing in a whole new mattress. Like mattresses, mattress toppers come in a range of comfort levels and can be made from memory foam, layered with manmade or natural fibres, and even incorporate mini pocket springs for customised comfort.


We recommend that you always use a mattress protector, especially on a new mattress. Mattress protectors help keep your mattress clean, fresh and hygienic for longer, and also serve as an effective barrier against dust mites and allergens. Mattress protectors are usually waterproof which means they guard against the damaging effects of spills and stains.

Types Of Mattresses

Open Coil Mattress

Open coil mattresses have coiled springs that are connected by wires. This means that the springs move together as one unit, so if one person has a restless night, the other might wake up too. An affordable option, open coil mattresses have layers of fillings to fill the gaps between the springs and are generally firmer in feel than pocket spring mattresses.

Pocket Sprung Mattress

Pocket spring mattresses have coiled springs, usually made of steel, nested in fabric pockets secured together in a honeycomb-like structure. Pocketed springs respond individually to body weight to provide support exactly where you need it. Available in a range of mattress comfort levels, the best pocket sprung mattresses have layers of fillings above the spring unit for surface softness.

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam is a special type of foam that’s heat sensitive, so it contours to your body shape and weight to relieve pressure. The best foam mattresses feature a variety of memory foam densities and depths and offer different comfort feels. As many people get too warm when they sleep on a memory foam bed, some manufacturers have developed cooler types of memory foam.

Hybrid Foam Mattress

Hybrid or combination mattresses combine a spring unit with one or more layers of foam, memory foam, gel foam or latex for extra softness. The idea is that you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds – superior pocket spring support from the spring unit plus body-cushioning softness. Hybrid mattresses are a good choice if you prefer a supportive mattress with a softer feel.

Latex Memory Foam

Free of allergens, very environmentally friendly and inherently elastic, latex is a natural material that comes from the sap of rubber trees. It’s also very durable, so you can expect a latex mattress to last for years. In terms of sleeping comfort, latex’s natural springiness means that it provides great pressure-point support and helps distribute weight more evenly across the mattress surface.

Rolled Up Mattress

Rolled mattress can be pocket sprung, memory foam or combination of both. Rolled up or in a box, they’re easy pick up and transport home – so useful if you need a new mattress in a hurry. Once unrolled, roll up mattresses should be left for about two hours in order to fully expand. Even though these mattresses are called “roll up mattresses” it’s impossible to re-roll them once unrolled.


Mattress firmness refers to how a mattress feels when you lie on it and is also affected by your bed base. On a bed frame with a sprung slatted base, a medium mattress will feel a little softer than on a traditional platform top divan base.

A soft mattress might be right for you if you:

Weigh under 70 kg (11 stone)
Sleep on your side
Change sleeping positions during the night

Soft mattresses mould to the sleeper’s body shape and weight. As they have plenty of give, they’re really only suitable for smaller people who won’t sink down too much, as this can cause back problems.

A medium mattress might be right for you if you:

Sleep on your back
Weigh between 70 kg (11 stone) and 114 kg (17 stone 13 pounds)
Need extra lower back support

Medium mattresses provide the right level of support for most people of average weight and build, and can be a good compromise for a couple who have different mattress needs.

A firm mattress might be right for you if you:

Sleep on your front
Weigh over 114 kg (17 stone 13 pounds)
Suffer from back pain

Firm mattresses can help keep the spine in a stable position and, for some people, may help prevent or reduce lower back pain.

An extra firm mattress might be right for you if you:

Weigh over 127 kg (20 stone)
Suffer from back pain

Extra firm mattresses are sometimes known as orthopaedic mattresses as they are specifically designed to keep the spine in a stable position.


Different mattresses come with different features. Some features signify a high-end or exceptional quality mattress while others are designed to increase sleeping comfort. Generally speaking, the more extra features a mattress has, the more expensive it is likely to be.


A pillow top is the extra surface padding that some mattresses have. This padding is not built into the mattress but is a pillow-like layer that’s secured to the top of the mattress. Pillow tops can be made of layered fillings, natural fibres, foam or latex. Some pillow tops even incorporate layers of tiny pocket springs.


Tufting is the traditional way of making sure that all the upholstery and fillings in a mattress stay aligned. Tufting pulls all the layers together and secures them top and bottom with a button-like “tuft”. Tufting also ensures that the mattress surface stays even and symmetrical for enhanced comfort.


The fillings that give a mattress structure and make it more comfortable can be made of a variety of natural fibres including wool, cotton, cashmere, mohair and silk. Different fillings have different advantages such as strength, moisture-wicking or cooling effects. Many manufacturers use sustainable or locally-produced fillings to limit their environmental impact.


Hand side stitching was developed to attach the side panel of a mattress to the spring system within. It provides additional edge support to a mattress and can only be done by hand as it’s a highly specialised process. Some mattresses have machine side stitching – this type of mattress stitching is purely decorative.


Mattresses have handles so that you can adjust them on a bed frame if the mattress becomes misaligned. While they also make turning or rotating a mattress easier, they should not be used to carry a mattress as they are not designed to bear significant weight.


Turnable mattresses are designed to be turned over on a regular basis. Having two sides to a mattress means that you can avoid excessive wear and tear in certain spots and so extend its life. Turning a mattress over is different from rotating it. Rotating means spinning the mattress 180 degrees so the head end becomes the foot end.


Some mattresses, especially those constructed from castellated foam, have built in air channels that provide ventilation. This another way of helping to keep you cool and comfortable at night as overheating often results in a disturbed night’s sleep.


The right mattress size for you is determined by two factors – who’s sleeping on it and the size of the room where it will live. Take a look at our mattress size guide to learn more.


A UK standard small single mattress is 75cm wide and 190cm long (2’ 6” wide and 6’3” long).

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Why choose a small single mattress: If your bedroom is on the small side, a small single bed could be the perfect fit. Just a few centimetres narrower than a standard single bed, small singles are perfect for children and will even sleep smaller adults.

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A UK standard single mattress is 90cm wide and 190cm long (3’ wide and 6’3” long).

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Why choose a single mattress: Single beds are a good choice for children's bedrooms, offering plenty of sleep space while still saving on floor space. If you have the occasional overnight visitor, a single bed in a small room makes a great guest space.

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A UK standard small double mattress is 120cm wide and 190cm long (4’ wide and 6’3” long).

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Why choose a small double mattress: If space allows, a small double mattress can be more comfortable for one person than a single bed. And, at a pinch, small double bed mattresses can accommodate a couple so they’re also a good option for a guest room.

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A UK standard double mattress is 135cm wide and 190Cm long (4’6” wide and 6’3” long).

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Why choose a double mattress: The standard bed and mattress size for two people, double beds are a good choice for average size people. They're small enough to work well in a typical bedroom and large enough to give each sleeper a comfortable amount of space.

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A UK standard king mattress is 150cm wide and 190cm long (5’ wide and 6’6” long).

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Why choose a king mattress: If you and your partner like plenty of room to stretch out, or if one of you is a particularly restless sleeper, a king size mattress or bed is probably the best choice for you. King size beds are both longer and wider than double beds.

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A UK Standard super king mattress is 180cm wide and 190cm long (6’ wide and 6’6” long).

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Why choose a super king mattress: If your bedroom is big enough, opt for the biggest bed available – the super-wide, super-long super king size bed. You and your partner will enjoy having all that extra space and will probably sleep much better for it.

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How do I know what mattress firmness I need?

Mattress firmness is really a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer a softer mattress, others find a firm mattress more comfortable. More important is ensuring that your mattress provides enough support for you, and this depends on the type of sleeper you are – front, side or back – and your body size and weight. Visit The Furniture Home mattress page to find the right mattress for you.

Can I return a mattress if I don’t like it?

At The Furniture Home we want you to be completely happy with everything you buy from us. However due to hygiene reasons, once a mattress has been opened from its original packaging, we are unable to take returns. See our returns policy for more information.

Is a small double mattress big enough for two?

Yes, it really is. A small double mattress is only 15 cm (about 6”) narrower than a regular double mattress. It’s a little more cosy than a standard double bed but will save a useful amount of space in a smaller bedroom, especially if you choose a base of the same size – a divan base rather than a bigger sleigh-style bed frame, for example. Of course, if you and your partner are taller or heavier than average, you might be more comfortable in a larger bed.

Is memory foam better for people who favour certain sleeping position?

Memory foam can be a good option for front, back and side sleepers as long as the foam provides enough support. What you’re looking for with a memory foam mattress is a cushioning feeling rather than a sinking into feeling as this may indicate insufficient pressure point support.

Which is best – a pocket spring mattress or a memory foam mattress?

There’s no right answer here – they’re both great for different reasons and for different people. Pocket spring mattresses have more of a bouncy feel that some people like. If you press down on a pocket spring mattress, you’ll feel some resistance or “push back”. This translates to a springy feel when you lie down. Memory foam mattresses allow you to sink in a little more. Press down on a memory foam mattress, and you’ll see that the foam contours around your hand. This translates to a body-cushioning feel when you lie down. The best idea is to try both and decide for yourself.

Is a £2000 mattress really worth the money?

You can’t put a price on a good night’s rest, and if a £2000 mattress gives you eight hours of undisturbed sleep, then it’s probably worth it. For £2000 you’re likely looking at a handcrafted luxury mattress with a high pocket spring count, perhaps natural or organic fillings, and a degree of specialist workmanship. That being said, you don’t have to spend £2000 on a mattress to sleep well. Many of our more affordable mattress brands consistently produce exceptional quality mattresses that incorporate advanced sleep-enhancing technologies.

Why does spring count matter?

The springs in pocket spring mattresses are designed to respond individually to your body’s weight and movement, providing support where you need it most. The more pocket springs a mattress has, the more customised the level of comfort will be. Some mattresses even have an upper layer of very small micro pockets springs for optimum responsiveness.

I have allergies. What kind of mattress is best for me?

Seek out hypoallergenic mattresses which often have an allergen-banishing finish. Memory foam can be a good option too. Latex mattresses are resistant to dust mites, mould and mildew and are one of the best naturally hypoallergenic mattress materials around.

Still have a question?

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