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Everyone is unique. From the little things to the big things, how many sugars you like in your coffee, if you like or hate marmite, taste in clothes, your finger prints and teeth – no two people are the same and we all like different things based on our own tastes and bodies. What we like in a bed and a mattress are no exception to this. Hard, soft, sprung, foam or even water for the more adventurous, we all have different needs when it comes to getting a comfortable sleep. So when it comes to selecting the best foldaway bed or folding mattress for you, there are a few things to consider, and the journey starts with first knowing what types of mattress are out there.
Pocket spring mattresses
In pocket sprung mattresses, the springs are sewn individually into fabric pockets and conform to the shape of your body. They are a bit more luxurious than open coil mattresses, with up to 3,000 springs housed in their own fabric pockets. While a pocket sprung mattress won't mould to your shape in the same way that a memory foam mattresses does, it can still offer a considerable amount of support. They also tend to dissipate heat better than a memory foam mattress, which could be an important consideration for those that tend to find temperature regulation a major factor at night.
- The springs move independently to each other, which can offer a great deal of support for your body.
- They can also come in a variety of tensions to cater for all tastes.
- It has been proven through various tests, that a pocket sprung mattress reduces body strain in comparison to a conventional mattresses
A Combination mattress, is essentially a combination of two different types of mattress, a hybrid if you will. Usually there is a pocket sprung base with either a layer of memory foam, latex or gel on top. This combination style enhances comfort and pressure relief, particularly with a pocket sprung and memory foam combination where you get the responsiveness of the pocket springs and the support of the memory foam.
- You can benefit from the positive attributes of both types of mattress in the combination.
- There's also no need to turn the mattress.
Tempur memory foam
You can thank the brainy people at NASA for the invention of Memory Foam. In the 1970's, while investigating the possibility for new lightweight, extremely strong and heat resistant materials, NASA first produced this type of foam, more technically known as temperature-sensitive viscoelastic material, for use in their space program. It was not however, until the 1990's that domestic users started to gain advantage of this product.
A memory foam mattress can be quite expensive, though the price has reduced over the last few years as the technology becomes cheaper to produce the material. In addition to a full memory foam mattress you can also get a memory foam mattress topper, which is essentially a thin layer, usually 3-4 inches thick that lays on top of your mattress. These are significantly cheaper to purchase than a full memory foam mattress.
- Great for allergy sufferers as very hypoallergenic.
- Moulds to the shape of your body, providing great support.
- Warmer than a conventional mattress which can be either a pro or a con depending on preference.
Open Coil/ Open Sprung Mattress
Open coil mattresses, also known as continuous coil are made of single springs fixed together by one coiled wire. In most if not all cases, they also have a rod or frame of wire that borders the springs and helps the mattress maintain a firm edge and shape.
- Great value for money, they are lighter than other mattresses, so easier to turn, and can be turned in all directions, which extends the life of the mattress.
A waterbed, is as you would probably expect from the name, a bed filled with water. More commonly you will find water mattresses, or flotation mattresses as these are easy to manufacture and usually cheaper.
Waterbeds were commonly used back in the 19th Century for medical therapies, and appeared in several reports that confirm this. The modern version however, was patented in the 1970’s and invented in San Francisco. While popular in the USA through the 1980s and 90s the fad was less common elsewhere, and in terms of new bed sales, they account for less than 5% of the market.
- The bed can be heated, and the heat lasts longer than that provided in an electric blanket (provided you switch the blanket off when you go to sleep!)
- Very comfortable
- Easy to keep clean and you don’t need to worry about dirt and dead skin penetrating the water mattress.
Latex is not very common in mattresses, mostly due to the cost, but manufacturers claim that they are great for keeping their shape, and much more resilient than other types of mattress.
A latex mattress is made up of a core of springy latex layers which allows the mattress to match the contours of your body incredibly well, gives excellent support and comfort for your back and neck. Due to the nature of the latex material, they are also very hypoallergenic, not allowing dust, dirt and dead skin to penetrate into the material. They can however, be particularly dense and heavy.
- A great hypoallergenic material for a mattress.
- Easy to clean very resilient.
Ok, so we have an idea now of what type of mattresses there are out there on the market, with a few of the pros and cons, so let’s now look at what’s out there when it comes to folding mattresses. After all, for those that are exploring a temporary option for whatever reason, a folding mattress is far easier to store away for the odd occasional use.
Tri-Fold Memory Foam Mattress
Yes, a folding memory foam mattress. This is a great alternative to the standard futon mattress, or standard coil for those that require extra back support. While perhaps a little heavier than a standard mattress, and not as easy to manipulate into storage, they do provide an exceedingly comfortable sleep.
Bamboo Viscose & Polyester
A great option for young kids, this combination is usually found on thin travel mattresses that are required to provide comfort, a waterproof liner and also hypoallergenic qualities for the little ones.
Spring Coil Portable Rollaway
These are great for relatives and guests, long or short stays, where you want a bit of space between the mattress and the floor. The base provides ample support for the mattress, and mattress gives a very comfortable sleep while ensuring you are off the floor allowing air to circulate. They are also very easy to store, removing the need to lumber the mattress and manoeuvre into storage, they simply fold up and wheel wherever you want to store them. A great choice for saving space and providing a occasional or regular, temporary but comfortable bed.
The name speaks for itself. You can get an air mattress in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and you can control the firmness with the volume of air you pump into it. Usually these will be laid on the floor or commonly the base of a tent as these are a popular option with campers. Comfort level will vary depending on a number of variable factors and they are also quite prone to punctures. Great while they last but how long they last is a hit or miss.
Ok, so now we’ve looked at the types of mattress and folding mattress there are out there on the market, the next thing to look at is the types of bed that are out there. It may come as no surprise that there are a vast range of beds available and this range is expanded further by the range of variations of these beds that are also available. So rather than look at them all, we have taken a broad sample, ranging from the standard to the strange.
A box-bed, also known as a closed bed, originated in late medieval Europe. It is a bed raised on legs and enclosed by wood on all sides in furniture that looks like a cupboard. These are entered by either drawing back a curtain, or opening a hinged or sliding door.Originally, there would be a large oak chest in front of the bed called the 'seat of honour,' and this would be used to climb into the bed, as well as for storage for clothing and bedding.
PlatformA platform bed is essentially one that is raised of the ground by a level horizontal frame. These frames usually provide a structure to which rows of wooden slats or lattice form are secured to support the mattress. This platform provides a means for ventilation as well as support for the mattress and removes the need for a box spring base.
A divan is by far the most popular and widely sold bed on the market. There are countless varieties and styles available. The divan is simply put, a base, to which you add a mattress. Some come with slots to add a headboard and most flat pack beds you buy from bed and DIY stores, are either platform or divan.
There are two types of divan base you can buy. The first is a pocket sprung divans that provide that little extra softness. The second and, usually cheaper option is the hard top or platform top divan. While this can provide a firmer sleep, this will greatly depend on the type of mattress you use with the divan. The other advantage of a hard top divan though, is that you can often purchase one with storage drawers built into the base.
A panel bed is made up of flat panes of wood or metal that makes up the headboard and footboard. The panels are designed to include raised grooves or moulds that allow the headboard and footboard to be connected by wooden or metal rails. The more upmarket panel beds are usually wood only, well designed and very robust.
You may best associate a bedstead to the traditional four-poster bed due to their decorative nature, but in reality there is a wide range out there. A bedstead is essentially a bed that is made up of slatted frames rather than a solid base. They also usually have a headboard and legs. They come in a huge range of styles and finishes, and are usually made from materials of exceptional quality.
The most common version of a futon in the UK, what most people will see as the ‘folding couch’. That is, the wooden slatted couch with 2 inch mattress which gained in popularity in the 1990’s. This western-style of futon, differs substantially from the traditional Japanese futon, from where they originate.
A futon mattress is essentially a padded mattress with no springs that can be rolled up or folded in two. However, the ‘futon’ is actually a combination of both the mattress (shikibuton) and the duvet (kakebuton). Futons are incredibly easy to store away, fitting that these would be the export of a country where space, particularly in Tokyo, is a very valuable commodity.
For smaller children, cot beds are convertible cots that can help your little one make the transition from cot to bed.
As the name suggests, storage beds offer a source of space to tidy things away underneath the bed. There are two main styles that offer either storage drawers or an ottoman-style that raises up at the head of the bed.
So there you have it, a selection mattresses, folding mattresses and bed styles for any taste and function. But what is one person’s heaven is another person’s hell so use the information wisely to choose the bed that best suits your tastes and needs.
What we offer
At Hire-it Northolt we offer a variety of folding beds and cots for hire, great for any temporary bed requirements and we deliver too. Why not take a look at our folding beds page and give us a call. If you’re looking for a comfy bed for a visiting guest, or renovating and tired of sleeping on the couch, we would be happy to discuss your needs and we even deliver.