Lessons I Learned Buying A Mattress Online (And Mistakes To Avoid)

This post is in partnership with Nest Bedding, but all the opinions & experiences are my own.
— xo...albie

Albie Knows Lessons I Learned Buying A Mattress Online (And Mistakes To Avoid)

For many, a bedroom refresh usually means some new furnishings and decor, maybe a fresh coat of paint, or finally hanging some window treatments. 

For us, after moving our daughter into her own room, our bedroom refresh started underneath the sheets -- with the mattress!

When we lived in NYC, we had a mattress that a friend gave me when I first moved into my studio. It was a good mattress -- a Serta, I believe -- in that it did the job it was supposed to do. It was a typical spring mattress from "back in the day" before all the bed in the box options we see today. 

What is a bed in a box? 

Simply put, these mattresses are compressed and vacuum-sealed into a box, hence the name. This method makes shipping & delivery way easier than with a standard mattress purchase -- the boxed mattress can easily be 1/3 the size of the actual mattress, although not 1/3 the weight. 

Moving to Washington, we bought our first mattress as a couple -- whoohoo! I let my husband take the lead on this & he insisted we get a memory foam mattress because he wanted something soft. 

Here's the thing about a "soft" mattress -- everyone assumes that's what they want without realizing that soft doesn't equal comfortable. 

We purchased a bed in a box from Lucid and it was definitely soft & really comfortable. But after about 2 months, I realized it was TOO soft for me -- yes, there is such a thing! More than that, I knew from then, despite loving memory foam mattress toppers, memory foam mattresses definitely weren't for me! 

I was once told that comfort helps you fall asleep & support helps you stay asleep. 

I wasn't staying asleep, and more than that, I was waking up sore. I've always known I preferred a firm mattress, but this confirmed that I needed one as well. Unfortunately for us, we didn't purchase the mattress directly from Lucid & our exchange/return threshold had passed with the retailer. 

Two months turned to six, and six turned to twelve. I adjusted and made do, but being that it was memory foam, we encountered another problem -- after countless nights of our daughter climbing out of her bed & into ours, the mattress conformed to having a toddler anchored by two adults, creating a sort of hill where the sides of the bed sloped. 

Moving her into her own room, meant we were finally sleeping alone more often than not, which is when we began to notice the slope; and it was causing both of us back pains. 

Keep in mind, we bought our mattress nearly 2 years ago, when we moved to Washington with no furniture & were sleeping on an air mattress until we gathered ourselves.

I didn't take my own advice -- when it came to this, I didn't pace myself or do my due diligence, so for all I know Lucid had a better option for me at the time & I completely missed it. 

C'est la vie

After lots of research, coupled with what I'd already known about mattresses from my days working at a furniture showroom, I decided that our next mattress needed to be a spring mattress, but more specifically, one with individually wrapped coils. 

What sets the wrapped coils apart from their predecessor -- the innerspring -- is that because they're wrapped in separate "pockets" you're still getting the bounce of spring with more contouring & support. 

It also meant we wouldn't have any motion transfer because the coils aren't intertwined -- my husband could come to bed after work, without waking me up, and I could get up early for a work, without disturbing his slumber. 

Still a fan of getting a bed in the box, I did my due diligence this time -- watching reviews, comparing technology, following social media accounts (LOL...I'm only half kidding with that one). Without a toddler in our bedroom, I wanted to make sure I dug deep to learn as much as I could to make sure next time around I chose the perfect mattress for us --  just us. 

My research brought me to Nest Bedding

I loved knowing that the mattresses were made in the US with organic materials, but what stood out to me most was their commitment to comfort. They're one of the only brands to offer an option to completely exchange a mattress to another firmness at no cost, or upgrade to a different bed entirely. After my last experience, this was a very big deal to me. 

Nest offers a few different mattress types within their different collections. I went with the Alexander Signature Hybrid, which according to Nest, is "quite possibly the most comfortable mattress available on the internet." 

The Alexander Signature Hybrid mattresses are made to order in three different feels -- plush, medium, and luxury firm. 

image source: Nest Bedding

image source: Nest Bedding

image source: Nest Bedding

image source: Nest Bedding

While not the firmest mattress they offer -- that would be the Alexander Signature Series -- it's designed for a firm but not too firm support. This was a perfect sweet spot for what my husband & I needed. 

The hybrid technology was also like we were getting the best of everything we'd want in a mattress, but none of what we didn't -- 

• Pocketed Support Coils
• Gel Infused Memory Foam (just like our previous mattress)
• Copper Infused Memory Foam (for its antimicrobial & cooling properties)

The mattress arrived via FedEx in about a week from when I received the confirmation -- God bless whoever had to carry that box up my 3 flights of stairs!

Getting our bedroom in order with this fresh start is such a huge deal to us because our bedroom is our sanctuary -- there's no tv in there and we seldom bring work in there. 

Once we got rid of our previous mattress -- it was still in great condition so we donated it -- we couldn't wait to jump right into our new mattress.

I was even more geeked to try it after finding out this is the same mattress Ayesha & Stephen Curry have! Talk about being in good company!

Being that this wasn't our first rodeo with a bed in a box, we had a pretty general idea of what to expect & yet NONE of what we expected actually happened:

Albie Knows Lessons I Learned Buying A Mattress Online (And Mistakes To Avoid).gif
  • The mattress decompressed in less than 10 minutes!

We expected easily to have to wait 30 to 60 minutes for it to fully form & yet while putting away the wrapping, it was already completely shaped. If I were to guess, I'd say this is maybe because they're made to order -- it was sitting on a shelf compressed for days, weeks, or months. But I'm just guessing. 

  • There was no off-gassing aka the smell of fumes or toxins that tend to get trapped in the mattress from manufacturing or packaging.

Off-gassing is something that's pretty common with most mattresses -- not just bed in a box mattresses -- simply because of production. I won't pretend to know the exact particulars, but from my experience the more "natural" a mattress, the lower the chance of off-gassing, and that was definitely the case with our Nest. I've heard stories of people have to leave their windows open for DAYS while they air out their mattress, yet we were able to sleep on our Nest less than 3 hours after opening it. 

In about a month or so, I'll update you to tell you how it sleeps, but in the meantime here are some helpful tips for choosing your own bed in a box:

Do your research

image source: Nest Bedding

image source: Nest Bedding

Choosing this mattress, I did A LOT of researching, relying heavily on online reviews, Youtube videos, and social media testimonials, to really guage the differences on all the bed in a box mattresses available (last I saw, there are over 200 bed in a box companies, with over 2 dozen of them being the most popular/well-known).  

If I did even half of this research the first go round -- besides just checking the price -- there's a good chance we wouldn't have been replacing our mattress less than 2 years later! 

Be patient & try before you buy if you can

As I said, we quickly purchased our mattress because we had just moved but to be honest, we could've spent a few more nights on our air mattress if it meant choosing the right mattress for us. 

Instead of being patient, I went along with an impulse decision by my husband (there's a reason I do most of the shopping, lol) that ended up [literally] hurting both of us, because even if our daughter wasn't sleeping in our bed, the mattress was simply not the right amount of support for us. 

And here's the real kicker -- 

With a lot of these bed in a box mattresses, while they're mostly e-commerce retailers, you can find them in a brick & mortar location as well. Nest Bedding, for example, has showrooms across the country including in major cities such as New York, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Denver, and my very own Seattle. 

Nest has even teamed up with some pretty dope AirBnB'ers throughout the country so you can really try the mattresses & pillows (did I mention they carry pillows?) for a couple of nights. 

image source: Nest Bedding

image source: Nest Bedding

Read through their policies

It never crossed my mind with our previous mattress to purchase it directly from them, versus another retailer, but maybe had I did I would've been aware of their exchange, return, and/or warranty policies. With Nest, you're granted a 100 day trial to make sure you really give your mattress a chance -- which you should with ANY mattress you buy. 

I was patient with our last mattress because some things you buy you have to really live with em for a while to determine if it's a good fit. Had I known that their policy was a 30 day window (if purchased through them) I would've thought twice for sure!

Now I sleep easy (see what I did there) knowing that I have a little more than 3 months to really assess how we feel about this mattress. Maybe we need to go firmer. Maybe need to go softer. Maybe it's perfect. But either way, I have time to deliberate!

mattresses are not one size fits all

While not a new lesson, it's one that's definitely drilled into me now! Because to be honest, I never really put much stock into mattress shopping, but now that I am an actual grown-up, this matters! 

When shopping, some key factors to be mindful of are:

  • Comfort: know whether or not you need a mattress or the softer side or on a the firmer side. Pop into your local retailer & start laying on different mattresses, seeing how they feel based on how you sleep

  • Sleeping Position: because guess what -- HOW you sleep also plays a factor! A back sleeper is going to feel differently about a mattress than someone who sleeps on their stomach, so don't just sit on the corner of a mattress to decide "it's the one"

  • Support: totally not synonymous with comfort, but also not mutually exclusive, because how it conforms to your body & sleeping style. Remember this quote:

comfort helps you fall asleep, support helps you stay asleep
— unknown
  • Construction: you might not care what your mattress is made from (you should though) but depending on different health needs, you may actually need a mattress that's all natural, organic, anti-microbial, and anti-allergenic. Dig a little deeper & find out about ALL the layers of your mattress, what their significance is, and how they compare to other options.

There are probably a TON of other factors that I can share with you when choosing your mattress but above all else decide what matters MOST to you. I knew exactly the type of mattress I wanted & what features mattered most to us, and our Alexander Series Hybrid ticked off all of those boxes!

Not having that checklist of must-haves, I could've easily chosen another mattress from their collection, but prioritizing (as I tend to do with all my shopping) my deal breakers made our choice a no-brainer, and so far we are LOVING the choice!

With Labor Day only mere moments away, before you know it we'll be in full holiday season mode aka hosting guests!

If you've had it on your to-do list to update your mattress or the guest bedroom mattress or all of the above, you can $150 off the Alexander Signature Hybrid or the Alexander Organic Hybrid with the coupon code NEST150.


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