Some of the most important purchases we make in life are made even more difficult by how infrequently we are faced with them. Compare the purchase of a home to picking up groceries. Obviously, buying food is important to the point that we die if we don't eat, but we also shop for groceries almost daily. Shelter is another necessity in life, but when it comes to buying a home, most people only ever do it once or twice. Since we have so few chances to gain experience buying homes and identifying what we do and do not want in one, it makes research and preparation that much more important. After all, realizing you don't like your home after buying it is a bit more problematic than the same happening with a can of sardines.
While extreme, groceries and houses illustrate the importance of making well-informed decisions on major, infrequent purchases. This is why it is so strange that as a purchase directly impacting our energy, health, and happiness, mattresses are consistently overlooked. Despite their importance, people often purchase beds with minimal research, buying what they think they want, without taking the time to find out what they don't know they need. And before picking a frame or sheets, the first major decision you need to make is the size of your new mattress.
Realistically figuring how much space you can set aside in your bedroom is the first step in selecting mattress size. You may have always wanted a king-size mattress, but depending on your living situation, it may not be practical. In a smaller bedroom measuring 10 by 12 feet, a king-size bed would eat up more than a third of the room's floor space. This is only the amount of space taken up by the mattress; it doesn't take into account the additional space used by a frame, night stand, or the distance the bed is set away from the wall. With these factored in, it's possible a king could reduce floor space by 40 percent or more in a room that size. Conversely, if your bedroom is cavernous, you may want the extra size of a king-size bed, if only to help fill space.
It's also necessary to take into account the hallways and doors that lead to the bedroom. These may make it difficult to maneuver a mattress into the room, even if the room itself has plenty of space. If you have adequate space for a large mattress, but difficult-to-navigate hallways leading to the bedroom, foam mattresses offer physical flexibility, and many companies make them easier to handle by shipping them in a condensed, vacuum-packed box.
The second thing to keep in mind when considering bed size is a long-term perspective. A quality mattress typically has a seven year life span, give or take a few based on how much it is used. Because of this, buying a new bed for what you want now may not make sense for the life you will lead in the near-future. One of the best examples of this is when a couple transitions from separate residences to living together.
The jump in size from a twin bed to a full can seem like the difference between an RC airplane and a fighter jet. However, full mattresses are 54 inches in width, which becomes only 27 inches of personal space when shared. A twin mattress for perspective, considered too small by many people for just one person, is 39 inches wide. For people planning to share a bed, a mattress any smaller than a queen is not usually suggested. On the opposite end of the spectrum, large mattresses become a burden when it's time to move for people who know they won't be living in an area long-term, college seniors for example.
The final thing to keep in mind about the right bed size is your sleeping style. If you move around in bed, larger bed sizes like a queen or king may be more comfortable. Or if you're still as stone at night, full or even twin sizes may be adequate and save you some dollars too.
As is true for many things in life, what you put into something is reflected in what you get out. When you finally decide it's time to get a new bed, taking some time to research your mattress will result in you being much happier with your purchase.