Today, I am sleepy. Let’s talk about beds! (Was that the smoothest segue you ever did see? Truly, I am a master at this stuff.)
Your extremely comprehensive and helpful entry on bedding brought to mind something I will be in the market for sometime soon: a new bed for my son.
He is three and in a toddler bed. He doesn’t grow for some reason, so we haven’t been in a big hurry to upgrade the bed, but we figure that he’ll need a twin by high school or his friends may tease him. We’d planned on going to Ikea, where they seem to have absolutely everything and don’t charge the totally outrageous prices of our dangerous baby/kids’ furniture “boutique warehouse” down the street. If you have any other ideas please share!
After reading this I am a tad more concerned that perhaps Bec has an infant-sized 3-year-old than I am about where the poor child is going to be sleeping, but I shall forge ahead on the assumption that she’s handling that.
Beds. Ahhhhhh, beds. Some of my very favorite things happen in beds. (Sleeping, people. Also? Napping. Shame on you.)
There are a few different things we need to talk about, here:
- What is important in a mattress?
- What is important in a bedframe?
- How long do you expect to use this bed?
- What purpose should it serve? (And by this, I mean does it need to be anything other than your son’s primary sleeping location?)
Once you know the answers to these four questions, you know how to proceed.
What is important in a mattress? Theoretically, we spend a third of our lives sleeping. It is a matter of good health, I would argue, to have a decent mattress. It’s not something you want to save some money on at the expense of quality.
That said, mattresses are perhaps even more convoluted when it comes to pricing than diamonds. Not only are there a million choices, you run into things like “This here Well Known Brand Mattress is on sale now because the new ones have a different color cover.” Um… what? Seriously? If you walk into a store and allow yourself to be dazzled by the Big! Sale! Now! tactics, you’re sunk.
So, know what you want, more or less, before you shop. Do some research before you shop. Learn about innerspring vs. foam and what the coil count means and all of that stuff. Yes, little kids are, well, little, and they can much more easily sleep on a lower-quality mattress without discomfort or injury, because they don’t weigh very much. That’s true. But your little boy is going to grow, and unless you are setting out with the intention to buy cheap now and replace later (which is an option—don’t get me wrong—but means more money spent overall), you want a quality mattress.
A quality mattress at a reasonable price is best purchased either at a factory-direct kind of place that specializes in mattresses (that does NOT mean Mattress Discounters or other sale! sale! sale! purveyors), or at a furniture store that doesn’t play price games. Here in New England, for example, we have Jordan’s Furniture. They don’t have sales. Ever. They have fair prices every day. I have bought a number of pieces from them, because although I can’t walk in there and get the lowest price possible, I get the best price on a quality product. Even though their commercials are really annoying.
What is important in a bedframe? Again, is this the bed Junior will use until he leaves home? That’s the most cost-effective approach, but maybe you really want a piece of “kid” furniture. That’s certainly your option if you don’t mind buying twice. If your goal is to buy The Bed he’ll use, get something that isn’t going to be embarrassing and childish when he’s in high school.
Here I pause to submit the following: No one needs a bed frame. A bed frame is a decorative piece of furniture. If money is tight, and you’re considering spending less on a mattress and/or boxspring so you have more money for a frame? Skip buying the actual bed. Get a good mattress set. (Furthermore, lots of people transition toddlers to a mattress set on the floor to deal with the whole falling-out-of-bed issue. Might not be a bad idea to start with that.)
If you do decide to invest in a bed, buying it from a store you trust, that doesn’t play price games, is probably your best bet. On the other hand, there are bargains to be had if you’re willing to buy something off of Overstock or elsewhere online and put it together yourself. (Overstock is great for furniture because the shipping is only $2.95; lots of other great internet deals on large pieces are killed by the shipping.) You have to decide how important it is to you to see it first, etc. This is one of this “your mileage may vary” things. And it’s more a matter of aesthetics than anything else.
How long do you expect to use this bed? We touched on this briefly, already. Spending a little bit more money now means not having to buy a new mattress or replace a Peter Rabbit headboard down the line. On the other hand, if you have a little Destructo on your hands, you may want to think twice about buying a nice bedframe at this point. I’ve done it both ways: my daughter has a plastic monstrosity that will need to be replaced in a few years, and my son has a Really Nice captain’s bed. There is no right or wrong, just what works for you.
What purpose should it serve? Will this be his bed and nothing more? Or might you want to use his room for guests on occasion? If you don’t have a separate guest room, you may decide it makes sense to buy a full or queen sized bed rather than a twin, because the bed will be doing double-duty, as it were.
Keep in mind that bigger beds take more expensive bedding. Don’t go bigger just for the heck of it, if cost is an issue.
And don’t get me started on all the little kids who seem to have queen-sized beds as a matter of course, these days. I’ll start muttering things like “I slept in a twin bed until I was twenty” and “Heck, I don’t even have a queen bed NOW” and before you know it, I’ll be yelling for you darn kids to get out of my yard. So.