Bed shopping and also software for room arranging
December 30, 2003 4:44 PM   Subscribe

Looking to buy a new bed... and software to help me rearrange my house. [MI]

Two parter here, folks.

I've had the same slat-type futon for what seems like a lifetime. I'm wanting to get something more... adult-looking, I guess you could say. However, I'd rather not get something ho hum or Ikea-ish. I've also never bought a real bed before (mattress/box spring, etc.). What should I look for? Watch out for? Do I even need a box spring. Are the non-slat futons any good (I like the "it's a couch/no, it's a bed!" aspect of futons, just not the appearance).

Can anyone recommend any Toronto shops that would have unique beds (preferably ones with a web site I can browse) or good mattresses? How about non-Toronto shops that will ship a kickass bed?

Second, is there any OS X software that will let me punch in the dimensions of my furniture and rooms and allow me to rearrange things and see how they look before i really rearrange things?
posted by dobbs to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you thought about getting a water bed? It's a little bit more work to set up initially, but certainly worth it on a cold winter's night. More solid (adult?) looking than a futon, too.

'Fraid I don't have any advice on where to get one, though.
posted by pheideaux at 6:45 PM on December 30, 2003

Has waterbed technology changed substantially in the past ten years? The last time I found myself atop a waterbed, my opinion was that it was good for some things and awful for others -- not really the sort of versatility that makes for a good investment in a bed, in my opinion. (Even then I'd probably avoid them, being a cat owner!)

I know some folks who swear by their NASA bed, which they paid quite a premium for, but I found it uncomfortable when I tried it. It felt like I was upside down, with my feet too high and head too low.

They did, however, pick up a very attractive unslatted platform for it, which would work quite nicely for a futon. Don't give up on futons too easily! While they're most often associated with the cheap folding frames from your college days, I'd say two of the three best beds I've ever been in were futons.
posted by majick at 7:09 PM on December 30, 2003

I absolutely love my waterbed. Queen-size no-wave ultra-dampened. Once I got the water level right, it's been the most wonderful sleep experience.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:17 PM on December 30, 2003

dobbs, if you don't mind spending a fair chunk of cash, try out a Tempur-Pedic. There are two places in T.O. that I know of where you can just walk in and try one, without a high-pressure sales pitch. I forget both of their names. One is in the basement of the Manulife Centre, near where it connects to the Holt Renfrew Centre (you'll see a Herman Miller chair in the window). The other is on Bloor West, between Runnymede and Jane, on the south side - it has a lot of German bedding in the window.

That having been said, I've slept on decent Sealy and Serta mattresses in the past, but I really like my top-of-line Ikea mattress, with wool topper, sans boxspring. (I've never met anyone who can justify the existence of boxsprings.) At all costs, avoid Sleep Country Canada - they make you pay for the pretty fabric that surrounds the mattress.

Oh - you can also buy a memory foam (i.e., Tempur Pedic) pad to go on top of a standard mattress at the Bay.
posted by stonerose at 8:08 PM on December 30, 2003

You can get a mattress without box springs, but I've found (for me) that it really only works if you're planning on getting a solid platform bed (and I believe certain mattresses are specifically made for platform beds). If you're using a regular bedframe, I've always found it's necessary to have something to support the mattress -- hence the box spring -- otherwise it will start sagging through the slats. (Sleeping on a mattress by itself on the floor is also an option, but that supposedly makes it lumpier faster.)

I have to admit I'm very much a princess-and-the-pea sort of gal when it comes to beds, so I swear by my Simmons Beautyrest pillow-top mattress and box spring set -- I got it three years ago and it's by far the best thing I have ever slept on. It's quite thick, with a substantial pillow top built right in -- firm enough to support my bad back, and soft enough to cushion my bothersome shoulder and hip joints. I don't know exactly how pricey it was (it was a "congratulations on the divorce!" present from my parents) but I'd guess the set was at least US$1000-1200.
posted by scody at 8:43 PM on December 30, 2003

Design Within Reach has some nice platformy beds, but they aren't cheap. They also sell a memory-foam-style mattress.

I think the need for a box spring is largely dictated by the bedframe. As long as you have a nice mattress, most good/modern frames won't require box springs as well.

Also, at least in the States, most "mattress showroom" type stores have quite a bit of bargaining room built into the floor price of the mattresses. The salesmen are usually fairly obnoxious, as well.
posted by sad_otter at 8:44 PM on December 30, 2003

I'm loving my Tempurpedic. But make sure you get the right size pillow (if you get the matching pillows).

Scody's right, you need a full-support platform if you get a traditional mattress without a boxspring -- or for a Tempurpedic, for that matter.
posted by me3dia at 8:48 PM on December 30, 2003

Get the best mattress you can afford; trust me, it's worth it. Several years after we bought it my wife and I still lie down on our Stearns & Foster and congratulate ourselves on having gotten it: it doesn't sag, gives great support, and doesn't bounce and wake the other person up when you get out of bed. Go to a store and try everything on display, and take enough time to make sure you're getting one that feels right. (And yes, you do need a box spring.)
posted by languagehat at 9:26 PM on December 30, 2003

I've found that one of the best things to do is go to some of those obnoxious mattress stores, try out as many mattresses as you can (bring a friend with you to test out the movement factor), note the specific ones you like, and then call 1-800-MATTRES (leave off the last S for savings), or visit the website. You can usually get a much better deal that way. You might even be able to go back to the obnoxious mattress store and use that lower price to try to bargain with. No guarantees on that one though. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that the models won't have the same names. They're basically the same mattress, but they're named differently for different vendors. On the plus side, most of the time you're able to get same day or next day delivery. Once you find the mattress of your dreams, you want to start sleeping on it immediately.
posted by MsVader at 10:01 PM on December 30, 2003

I can't remember what kind of bed I have, but I agree with languagehat -- around summer of 2000 I gave up on beds that hurt my back or gave me a rough time sleeping. I scoured every mattress store in a 20 mile radius and ended up plunking $1800 on the one that felt the best and it's still holding up today. In fact, since I've gotten the bed, I've had a rough time finding a hotel with a comparable quality bed, sometimes resulting in some not-so-relaxing vacations.

But if you want to enjoy life, save up some cash and splurge on your mattress. Your body will thank you.
posted by mathowie at 10:33 PM on December 30, 2003

The Stearns & Foster comes with the philg seal of approval, but the models I tried weren't very comfortable. I found them to be a bit hard and wobbly.

I bought one of the S companies' (Sealy or Simmons or Serta or Something) movement-isolating beds, and while it was fantastic about not wobbling, I sent it back at the end of the trial period. It was a good mattress for everything but sleeping, and I was waking up sore and bruised from the hardness.

I've got something else now, some model of Simmons or other, but like my last bed it's started to give up the ghost after about three years. At this point I'm not really convinced there is such a thing as a good mattress, and I'm considering going back to futons. At least they're cheap enough to replace every couple of years should they get lumpy, and they definitely don't wobble.
posted by majick at 11:21 PM on December 30, 2003

Not that it will convert into a couch, but a platform bed could be a good solution for you. You can get a wide variety, depending on your decor, and if you are at all handy, you could actually build one yourself.

You could even build it with casters, paint it the color you want, and use your existing futon mattress you've got.

They are also handy if you get one that has a lot of storage space. (It's a bed. No, it's a dresser.)
posted by benjh at 3:57 AM on December 31, 2003

Scody has captured the essence of sleeping in two words:Pillow Top. This divine and inspired creation, this bosom that mother earth envelopes us in each night, this mantra that we utter each time we find ourselves in places without adequate sleep facilities . . . this is worth investigating.

That being said, the Pillow Top is not the place for,uh, traction. You won't sink into the middle of the bed, but you might have to get creative.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 5:57 AM on December 31, 2003

Re: finding room layout software, my husband can make angels dance on the head of a pin in 3-D using CAD programs, so I assumed he'd be using these skills to help us figure out the optimal layout for a roomful of new furniture for the master bedroom.

Nope. When it came time to select the furniture, and we'd found a set we thought might suit us, he simply noted down all relevant dimensions (footprint, including widest protuberances, such as the footboard curve on a sleigh bed), cut & taped together sheets of newspaper to match all pieces under consideration, and spent about ten minutes shifting these templates around on the floor of the room. We quickly figured out from this how many pieces of the set would reasonably fit, which configuration was likely to work best for traffic flow, etc. And when the plan was done, we took a digital picture and put the work materials right into the recycle bin.

Maybe everybody does this, and it's a "duh" thing, but hey, worked for us.
posted by clever sheep at 7:40 AM on December 31, 2003

Of course, dobbs, this assumes you've emptied a particular room, and can play with the templates at will. This may or may not work for you. But personally, I'm finding it easier to overhaul one room at a time, even though our whole house needs a makeover too. Doing it in chunks makes it a (very) little less overwhelming--so long as you remember that certain decisions (such as base and window moulding) can and should have far-reaching consequences if you're looking for a unified end state.
posted by clever sheep at 7:47 AM on December 31, 2003

Even if you can't do the full-scale mock-ups like clever sheep, you could just hand-draw the room to a small scale, and then make paper cut-outs of all the furniture you want to put in the room at the same scale and just move them around until you're satisfied. I use CAD for work (architect), and doing it like that for a room or two would actually be faster than trying to mess with the computer.

If you're going to go about doing this for your whole house, it might be nice to actually do the computer thing, if only to just have an electronic plan of your house. Most CAD programs will offer you many more features than you'll ever use for this kind of thing, at substantial cost. AutoCAD LT, the stripped-down version of AutoCAD will set you back a couple hundred dollars. I'm unfamiliar with any drawing programs for mac.
posted by LionIndex at 8:05 AM on December 31, 2003

I have a king-sized IKEA Hemnes platform bed, which looks great. I got the mattress from them for another few hundred, but I haven't had it long enough to be able to tell you how it'll last.

The Hemnes was by far the cheapest good-looking (and real wood) platform bed I found.
posted by callmejay at 8:31 AM on December 31, 2003

Just another vote for ponying up the big mattress bucks. My SO bought a wonderful mattress just before we moved in together (thank you, dear) for some outrageous amount of money and like mr. and mrs. languagehat, we often lie down at night and just sigh with wonderful contentment, and like matthowie, we find our own bed so comfortable we have trouble sleeping on other, inferior mattresses. It's held up fantastically for almost three years now, and that's being supported by the cheapest POS bed frame known to humankind. (Had to make up for the expense of mattress somewhere, alas.)

I hope some one positively answers the furniture arrangement software question. I'm hopeless at seeing new possibilities in furniture arrangement, but I don't really like the way we have any of the rooms in our house arranged.
posted by jennyb at 10:46 AM on December 31, 2003

My bed has been my most expensive piece of furniture to date: the only thing used 8+ hours a day.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:05 AM on December 31, 2003

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for the suggestions/links. I'm shopping the end of January (when roomie moves out and I have mucho room) and will take everything into consideration.
posted by dobbs at 12:02 PM on December 31, 2003

I'm shopping the end of January

Which brings up another issue: find out when stores near you have mattress sales and try to take advantage of them. My wife and I happened to hit Macy's in the middle of such a sale, and were thus enabled to buy a pricier mattress than we would otherwise have been able to afford.
posted by languagehat at 12:15 PM on December 31, 2003

« Older Confronting neighbors about their dog's incessant...   |   Pea Coat Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.