How to Buy a Bed

by theartofbespoke in Designer style at home

We all need one, but few of us know much about buying a decent bed. Here, Vi-Spring’s Peter Tasker offers up some tips.

‘Gym memberships, lipsticks, magazines, cappuccinos… None of these things last. You can put the money you’d spend on those to one side and instead buy something that will last a lifetime.’


When I put it to Peter Tasker, Vi-Spring’s marketing manager, that the vast majority of us know nothing about buying beds, he agrees. ‘Most people don’t have much of a clue about it,’ he says. ‘Beds aren’t something we buy often and they’re not regarded as being particularly glam or sexy purchases.’


Which is strange when you consider how much of our lives we spend in them – anything up to a third. Hence the old saying: ‘Never scrimp on your boots or your bed – they’re where you spend most of your time.’

Certainly Tasker isn’t one for penny-pinching when it comes to where you lay your head. ‘These days you can buy a bed for around £400 to £500,’ he says. ‘Around a fifth of people are sleeping on Ikea mattresses. They don’t want to spend money on a bed – something that’s crucial to our health and wellbeing.’

And while he concedes that not everyone can afford to spend thousands on one, there are, he says, ways of dealing with the cost. ‘We work with a sleep expert who has lots of ideas on how to save money for a bed,’ he says. ‘Gym memberships, lipsticks, magazines, cappuccinos… None of these things last. You can put the money you’d spend on those to one side and instead buy something that will last a lifetime.’

Meanwhile if you’re ready to make the splurge, he has several tips for ensuring you get the best bed for your buck. Firstly, it helps to know the different types available. There are three main kinds. ‘The first is foam – memory foam or latex like Dunlopillo,’ says Tasker. ‘Then you’ve got coil spring, where the wire is knitted together. This is very mass produced, but much cheaper than the ultimate, which is pocket sprung.’

Whichever one you choose will have a significant effect on how you’ll sleep. ‘Pocket sprung provides the best night’s sleep as you’ve got the support,’ says Tasker. ‘The whole thing breathes, meaning that it’s comfortably cool in summer and warm in winter.’ The cheaper coils don’t offer the same feel or support and there’s often movement in the wrong places. But it can get complicated, he admits. ‘Manufacturers like to mix and match,’ he says. ‘Often you’ll find a spring-based bed with a memory-foam layer.’

And the old myth that a harder mattress is better for you is exactly that – a myth. ‘It’s absolutely not the case that a harder mattress is better for you,’ says Tasker. ‘This piece of marketing has been very successfully propagated. I blame the Victorians and their belief that if something’s hurting you, it must be doing you good. If you sleep on too hard a bed, you won’t have a proper night’s sleep – it’s as simple as that.’

What you really need is support, and the best way to see if you’ve got that is to lie on the bed and test it properly. ‘Being English, we’re very reticent about climbing onto beds in the shop, but it’s the only way you can tell if it’s going to offer good support,’ he says. One way to test whether you’ve got the right degree of firmness is to lie on the bed and place your hand under the small of your back. ‘If it’s too firm you’ll have a gap,’ says Tasker. ‘And if it’s too soft, you’ll not be able to get your hand in.’

Other factors will affect the comfort of your bed – such as whether it has built-in storage. Wanting cupboard space in the divan is, apparently, a very British thing. ‘We’re making inroads into Asia where they’d never contemplate storage,’ he says. ‘From a feng shui point of view, you don’t want to be sleeping on your own junk.’

But the good news is that a quality bed will last, making it extremely good value for money. ‘The National Bed Federation says that people should be replacing their bed every seven years,’ says Tasker. ‘Yes, if you’re spending £400. But with a Vi-Spring you’ll get much more than 10 years. It’s not unheard of for people to have them for 40 years. That’s why we offer a lifetime guarantee.’

See more Vi-Spring beds on their website

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