The Best Mattresses I Recommend to My Clients

Searching for a new mattress can be a real pain in the neck, especially if your current mattress has gotten to be part of the reason for pain in your back.  We’ve all seen the commercials for mattresses that claim to offer the best night’s sleep.  They can’t all be the best, so who’s telling the truth?  Since we all have different body types and preferences, there is no one-type-fits-all mattress.  If you’re in the market for a better night’s sleep, understanding the basic differences between mattress types and the features each offers can help you make a decision you won’t lose sleep over.

The two main types of mattresses available are spring models and memory foam models.  Spring models, as the name suggests, support your body on a number of coiled springs.  These springs react to weight being placed on them.  Over time, they can become worn and may develop sags and creaks.  Memory foam mattresses are built of an air-filled foam.  When weight is placed on one section of the mattress, the air is temporarily forced elsewhere, but returns when you change position.  This flexibility leads to less long-term loss of shape and better weight distribution, resulting in greater comfort for most people.  Below, you’ll find a list of how the two compare in some other key categories.

Temperature:  Models with traditional spring coils tend to be a little cooler than the memory foam models.  Many owners of some original memory foam mattresses complained that they got warm enough to make sleeping uncomfortable.  Many current models have implemented newer technology that keeps the foam cooler, so this is less of an issue now.  If you absolutely must have the coolest mattress available, make sure you research how various models handle body temperature.


Allergies:  If allergies are a concern for you, memory foam is generally a better choice than a spring model.  This is because memory foam construction inhibits dust mite reproduction and allows far less dust, dead skin, etc., to sink down into the mattress.  Using an impervious mattress cover or vacuuming the surface of your mattress (without sheets) every now and then is a good idea no matter what type of mattress you have.

Life Span:  Traditional spring mattresses should be replaced about every eight years.  With regular use, eight years is about how long it takes for the springs to wear out enough to make the mattress uncomfortable and less supportive.  Eight years can also result in significant dust mite and body soil buildup if you don’t keep an impervious cover on your mattress.  Memory foam models tend to last longer.  Some have 20+ year warranties.  The foam’s construction holds up better to nightly use, and, as mentioned above, does not support the settling of soil or reproduction of dust mites.

Cost:  As a rule, memory foam mattresses cost quite a bit more than spring models.  Before letting price alone deter you from a memory foam, remember that a memory foam mattress will last at least two and half times longer than a spring model.  Any quality mattress should be considered an investment, with the memory foam models being a longer-term investment.  Look at the price tags in terms of per-year cost.


Body Weight:  Those who are overweight, especially significantly so, tend to do better with memory foam than springs.  Again, this is due to the fact that springs, over time, will lose their bounce under the pressure of the weight placed on them.  If you are significantly overweight, check the weight recommendations for any mattress you consider, as even some memory foam models can develop sags under more weight than they’re rated to handle.

Flipping:  Most spring mattresses should be flipped and rotated regularly to prolong their lives.  Memory foam models generally don’t carry this requirement.

All in all, most memory foam mattresses are widely regarded as more comfortable and longer-lasting than most spring models.  They do tend to cost more, but, again, be sure to look at the cost on a per-year basis.  Also, remember how critical a good night’s sleep is to your overall health and wellbeing, making a good mattress an investment worth serious consideration. Find the best mattresses on Need a mattress for your little one? Check out best crib mattress reviews.

How to Choose Living Room Furniture

If you’ve decided it’s time to spruce up the living room with new furniture, there are a few tips that can help you elevate your living room’s function and form, regardless of the amount of space you have.

In a larger room, an oversized sofa can make a great focal point, or center of attention.  Having a large, comfortable sofa in a rich solid color or fabulous print can make your living room seem ultra-inviting to your guests when you entertain or to you at the end of a long day when all you want to do is stretch out and relax.  Add a second matching sofa facing the first for a great space for conversations.  Opting for easily moveable coordinating armchairs and/or ottomans allows for a living room that can be configured for face-to-face entertaining or a great place for friends to gather for a movie marathon or game day.

Add appropriate side tables, end tables, or coffee tables (or some combination of all three) to provide surfaces for drinks, books, lamps, photos, and any collectibles or knick-knacks you want to keep on display.  All of this contributes to the welcoming atmosphere of your living room.  The largest living rooms might easily accommodate and be made more inviting with multiple seating areas.  You can distinguish multiple areas by the use of furniture colors or area rugs.  Ideally, the furniture in the different areas will be moveable enough to allow you to combine these areas into one large entertaining space for big gatherings.

If you have a smaller living room, you might not be able to fit several large furniture pieces, but it doesn’t mean you have to choose between a great area for conversation and a great area for watching TV.  Again, making your sofa an anchor is a good start, as it will almost certainly be the largest item in the room.  A raised sofa can make a small room look a little bigger.  Going with an oversized or overstuffed sofa might not be the best idea for a really small space, but that doesn’t mean you have to go with the smallest or sleekest model out there.  Adding a matching chair offers more seating, obviously, and can even make the room look more spacious.  Ottomans are also great pieces for smaller rooms.  Many are plenty large enough and comfortable enough to use for seating or as a footstool.  They’re typically light enough that they can be easily moved as needed, and many come with built-in storage, which can be super handy in a smaller space.  A smaller living room might not be able to accommodate as many occasional tables as a large space, but tables shouldn’t be overlooked altogether.  You can find smaller end tables that offer extra storage or behind-the-sofa tables that are super functional without taking up much space.  Having a place for lamps, vases, and the such can be a great way to add splashes of color or shine that can make the room seem bigger, but still cozy and inviting.

Whatever size your room, be sure to include different types and brightnesses of lighting to help you set the mood for whatever type of gathering (or personal quiet time) you’re looking for.

Don’t underestimate the power of pops of color in your living room.  Decorative accent pillows with bold designs, colorful throws, pieces of art, or a boldly-colored accent wall can all help keep a large room from seeming cavernous or make a small room seem larger, ensuring that your living room lives up to its name.

Why Should You Hire an Interior Designer?

Many of us think of interior designers as resources available only for the wealthy with large fancy homes and lots of money.  In reality, though, “regular folks” can definitely benefit from the knowledge, experience, and contacts of an interior designer.  In fact, an interior designer might even be able to save you money compared to doing it yourself.  If you want to spruce up your home ahead of listing it for sale, an interior designer can even help you sell your house more quickly and for more money.

Young female interior designer at office with paint and color swatch

Most of us have at least a very general idea of how we’d like our house to look.  Maybe we even have some very specific ideas.  An interior designer can help us to bring those ideas to life by translating them into plans that make the most of our space and our individual styles.  If you have a favorite piece of furniture or art, an interior designer can make sure that piece is a focal point that has a great supporting cast of other furniture and accessories.

If you have a large room to decorate, it can be hard to find the balance between putting enough “stuff” in the room to keep it from feeling cavernous and having so much stuff that the room  seems cluttered and confusing.  An interior designer understands the best ways to make sure that the largest rooms remain inviting and functional.  On the flip side, a designer can also help you make the best use of a small room by knowing what kind of furniture and accessories can make the room cozy and inviting without seeming crowded.  The right decorating can even make a small room seem much bigger than it actually is.

If you’re planning on selling your home, you know that you need to make sure it appeals to as many buyers as possible.  An interior designer not only knows how to make the best use of the space and lighting in your home, but also understands what appeals to buyers.  Money spent on a designer can definitely be recouped by a quicker sale and/or higher selling price.

In addition to knowing how to make the most of any space and a great understanding of current trends, an interior designer has business contacts and resources not available to most of us.  We could spend hours and hours, days even, visiting every store in town looking for the right pieces and parts, but a designer who knows what we’re looking for (maybe better than we do) will know exactly where to go for perfect furnishings and accessories to make our dream room a reality.  Since most designers have wholesalers among their contacts, this could even save us money.

Interior designers can also save us money by being able to see things we can’t.  Their knowledge makes it easier to plan for and buy a room with more precision that we might be able to pull off.  We think one more lamp would be perfect, but that lamp seems to throw things out of balance, so we buy another one.  But now, we need a different table than the one we thought was perfect, and so on.  Designers can see how things from different sellers will work together in our space, which can save us money by minimizing the chances that we’ll buy something we don’t need and by helping us to buy the right thing in the first place.

All in all, hiring an interior designer can be worth the fee by helping you sell your home quicker, or by keeping you from making buying mistakes if you go it alone.  Add in the time that having an experienced designer can save, and it’s definitely worth some consideration before you put your house on the market or decide that it’s time for a new look for your home.