Where would we be without our beds? Probably the most important piece of furniture in the home, we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping on them. Unfortunately, far too many of us rush the buying process when it comes time to get a new one. We look for cheap units and do not test them out before we buy. But there is a reason to why the average mattress store has plenty of floor models; they want people to test them out! With that in mind, here is what you should consider when you go bed shopping.

Size

There are four standard bed sizes: twin, full, queen, and king. The California king is a slightly larger size that is often sold as a specialty model. Finding the right size sleeping surface is easy. If you are an average size single adult, a full mattress should suffice. Couples almost always need a queen or king-size model. Twin versions, on the other hand, were designed for children.

It is also important to note that while most manufacturers use the same standard measurements, some alter them by a couple of inches. This can make a big difference, especially if the sleeping surface is to be shared. That is why couples should always visit the mattress store together and try out each possible option before they buy.

Materials

Half a century ago, there were only two choices when it came to quality beds – inner spring or inner spring. But today, there are models filled with foam, air, water, latex, and gel. Which material is best really does depend on who you ask. Inner-spring models remain the most popular, but foam sleep systems have gained a loyal following of late. Why?

Since most Americans have never slept on one, foam beds are the top attraction at the mattress store. These models are made of a special material called viscoelastic memory foam that actually molds to the shape of the user's body, giving them a firmer, more secure fit. Although it may very well be a miracle of modern science, some experts say memory foam is simply too soft for a sleeping surface and does not provide proper support. Spring versions, on the other hand, are available in a much wider range of styles.

Warranty

Any piece of quality furniture for the home should include a comprehensive warranty. Mattresses are no exception! Although the industry standard is a 10-year warranty, some top manufacturers offer 20, even 30-year warranties. Do you really need that much coverage? Perhaps not. But as a general rule, the longer the warranty, the more durable the bed will be. By comparison, a much shorter warranty may be an indication the bed was not properly tested before it was brought to market.

Use these simple tips to help you find the bed of your dreams on your next visit to the mattress store.