A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Your Coziest Bed Ever

Pexels | Burst

You know we spend a third of our lives sleeping, but it still astonishes me how much people are not willing to invest in their bed. I'm not just talking about sheets or the mattress — I'm talking the whole package, from the bed frame to every last feather in your pillows. I've always been obsessed with my bed. I choose hotels based on how comfortable their beds are and I may have even recently started a fight with my mom over the quality of her guest bed linens. Call me a bed snob, but I'm pretty much the coziest person at night, and I think everyone else should be, too.

It's time you put money into your bed so you can have even better nights of sleep, fewer sleep interruptions, and thus, better days (I'm telling you, this is in an investment in you), and to that end, I'm outlining each important piece that your coziest bed ever needs, no matter your preferences.

The Bed Frame
Unsplash | Lilibeth

The Bed Frame

This is your foundation, but just because it's your foundation doesn't mean you have to spend a ton on it (here are a bunch of options starting at $90). You do need to know what kind of mattress you have, because that dictates what sort of bed frame you need. Memory foam and inner spring (the traditional kind) mattresses can both work on a platform bed (the Floyd Bed is a stylish, affordable platform bed at $650 for a full/queen), while inner spring mattresses require a box spring on a bed frame without slats or a platform. That comes down to style preference, but I believe a platform bed actually makes for a more comfortable night's sleep since they're so firm and supportive.

However, bed style may not be the only factor that sways your decision; not using a box spring may void your mattress warranty.

The Mattress

The Mattress

OK, be honest: how old is your mattress? If the answer is "I don't know" then . . . uh-oh. If you know it's older than five years, then answer Consumer Reports' four questions for determining whether it's time you buy a new mattress. Even if it's not that old, if your current mattress isn't offering you the right kind of support, you can be sabotaging your sleep. An old or unsupportive mattress can cause all kinds of ill effects, like hurting your back and exacerbating skin or breathing issues. And don't try to "fix" a bad mattress by adding a mattress topper or new pillows; you'll still feel that mattress like the princess and the pea. Once you decide it's time to buy a new mattress, great! You're about to invest in the single most important element of your bed.

Mattress comfort is extremely subjective, so it's impossible to point to any one mattress as the perfect one for everyone. There's a reason it's still a good idea to go to an actual mattress store and lie down on their offerings because only you can know what you like. But given that that's an expensive, old-school way of doing things, you may be looking at a mattress from a direct-to-consumer company like Casper that sends it right to you (and most offer generous trial periods in case it's not your perfect fit). Casper actually does have showrooms in certain cities now, but they're not the only company when it comes to memory foam mattresses in a box.

The Leesa mattress ($949 for a queen) is a POPSUGAR favorite, and if you're on a budget, I can personally recommend the Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress ($289 for a queen).

One note: memory foam mattresses tend to retain heat and have a chemical smell, but both can be managed by temperature control in your room, the right sheets (get ready for that next), and by letting your new memory foam mattress air out for 24 hours.

The Sheets
Unsplash | Danny G

The Sheets

I know I've said the bed is your foundation, and the mattress is the single most important element of the bed, but the sheets are high up there too. Again, like mattresses, sheet preference is subjective, but there are some basic rules to follow, no matter what you like.

  • Always go for 100 percent natural fibers. That means cotton, linen, satin, bamboo, etc. It sounds obvious, but some sheets are polyester or polyester blends, and they don't breathe like cotton, stain easily, and can pill. For comfort factor alone, avoid sheets with polyester or any other man-made fabric.
  • Thread count doesn't really matter. Don't tell Tom Haverford, but high thread count equaling better sheets is a myth. The fabric and the weave is far more important.
  • Avoid special treatments. Any time a sheet promises some flashy feature like wrinkle resistance, it usually means it's been treated with chemicals. (P.S. Do you really need wrinkle-free sheets? Just make your bed.

So which sheets to choose? I'm a diehard linen sheet fan and will always recommend these, which get softer and softer with every wash, and keep you cool on Summer nights and warm on cold Winter ones. They're not everyone's cup of tea, though, and I occasionally like the feel of a crisp cotton sheet. If you like getting into bed and feeling that cold sheet sensation on your legs, look for percale cotton sheets. If it's Winter and you want a seriously cozy feel, you can also go for flannel sheets (if you're not a nighttime sweat-monster like myself).

You also don't have to splurge on sheets if you're trying to save somewhere. On the lower end, Target has some great options (just follow the above rules), Pottery Barn has excellent mid-range sheets, and if you're splurging, then look for a brand like Frette. And then please invite me over for a sleepover.

The Pillows
Unsplash | Priscilla Du Preez

The Pillows

Pillows are another bed element you really need to be vigilant about replacing if you want to have your best nights of sleep, because inadequate support or allergens can really wreck your night. You should replace pillows every couple of years and regularly wash them, because after two years, one-third of your pillow's weight contains dead skin, bugs, dust mites, and their droppings. It's hard to get cozy when you remember that, so keep 'em clean.

Also, softer isn't necessarily better when it comes to pillows. The most important factor in pillow selection is that you have the right kind of support. Some people love feather pillows, but I personally lean toward foam pillows for firm neck support. If you keep waking up with a sore one, and you know it's not your mattress, experiment with different kinds of pillows.

The Mattress Pad
The Company Store

The Mattress Pad

Even if you've splurged on a great mattress, if you're truly trying to make the coziest bed ever, you need a mattress topper. (Plus, few mattresses feel that great with only a sheet directly on them). Again, the goal here is to make a supercomfy bed, not fix a bad mattress, so your mattress topper's main job is just adding luxury and a cradle for your deserving, tired bones. The quickest way to the world's coziest bed is a feather bed — it's like sleeping on a cloud. Make sure the one you want to buy has a sturdy casing so feathers don't poke through.

If you're allergic to down or feather beds aren't your thing or are out of the budget, memory foam toppers and old-school egg crates can also add to your bed's comfort level. You dictate your preference of material, but don't skip a topper if you're looking for maximum hygge.

The Duvet
Unsplash | Annie Spratt

The Duvet

Ah, the final element. The cherry on top, if you will. I'm all for different preferences, but unless you have an allergy to down, the down comforter is the holy grail of mattress coverings. The right down comforter will do the most to envelope you in a world of snug, and you can use them year-round depending on the weight of the comforter you buy (look for an all-season comforter if you want to use it year-round).

While you don't have to blow your budget on every bed element, a duvet cover is a worthy splurge. If you don't go for a quality down cover, you may end up with one that has shifting feathers (leaving you cold in spots at night), or feathers that poke through (not a feeling that keeps you dreaming). Duvet covers are optional, but I believe they make your bed feel even more luxurious, and it's a lot easier to clean them than an entire comforter.

Still not convinced to go the down route? The Buffy comforter ($160 for a full/queen) is made with eucalyptus fibers instead and keeps you nice and cool at night. Either way, you're about to embark on your most epic journey of coziness. Sweet dreams.