How to Choose a Bed & Mattress

Given that we spend a third of our lives asleep, not to mention the most restful moments of the night and day, in bed, it is important to know what to look for when purchasing a new one. Our luxury, modern Bed Buying Guide is designed to help you feel confident in your choice.

“A bed must be chosen with care, and it’s pointless going out to buy a new one without having done some elementary homework.”

Sir Terence Conran, The House Book, 1974

Do I need a new bed?

We recommend that an adult should have a new bed every seven or eight years. If you are sleeping less well than you used to, regularly noticing back or neck pain on waking, or find yourself rolling into the centre of the mattress, your mattress is almost certainly approaching its use-by date. Look at your frame as well. If you see warped or broken slats or an uneven base, the frame most likely will need replacing too. Do be especially mindful of purchasing a new mattress for a very old base, as this can damage the mattress.

What size bed do I need?

The primary factor in choosing a new bed will be the size. Generally, bigger is better where beds are concerned, so get out your measuring tape and find out the size of the bed your bedroom will allow. Once you have these dimensions, you’ll be able to decide on bed and mattress size. We recommend you leave at least 75cm around the edge of the bed frame for access.

If you already have a reliable frame in place, check with the manufacturer regarding the mattress size. The mattress should fit snugly inside the frame. If you are purchasing a new bed from The Conran Shop, please check in the details section of the website to give you information regarding the correct mattress size.

In some cases, you will need to have a mattress made specifically for your frame. If in doubt, please contact our Customer Service team who will be able to advise you on what to do next.

Did you know?

A British winter would be unimaginable without a warm duvet. And yet, this fantastic innovation in bedding was absent in the UK until the early 1960s, when none other than Sir Terence Conran began selling Britain’s first duvets in his London King’s Road shop.

The Conran Shop's exclusive sleep collection comprises single, double, king and super king duvets in two distinct and seasonally appropriate densities, standard and firm pillows, and pure linen and stonewashed cotton bedding to add the ultimate finishing touch to any of our mattresses and beds.

Our deluxe 13.5-tog winter duvet is perfect for the chilliest climes, while the 9-tog lightweight summer edition is invaluable for sleeping through restless spring-summer nights. Each luxurious duvet boasts neat octagonal chambers sewn into 100% super cambric cotton casing and is packed full of eco-friendly and ethically sourced goose down from quality-assured farms tucked away in the Austrian mountains.

Meanwhile, each hand-selected piece of bedding is woven in Europe from high-quality 100% linen or flax-fibre yarn, for a naturally breathable finish that stays cool and crisp in summer and warming in winter. Each pillowcase, duvet cover and sheet is washed in soft water once complete to award it a supremely tactile finish that grows softer with every wash, allowing for unparalleled comfort all year round.

Making a Mattress

No bed is complete without a top-quality mattress. Our collection is painstakingly hand-finished in England using time-honoured techniques by Harrison Spinks’ talented craftspeople. The only bed manufacturer in the world with its own farm, its scientific innovation ensures that each model is completely state-of-the-art. Each mattress is constructed, woven and blended from locally sourced Yorkshire wool.

Available in medium and firm tensions, our mattresses are filled with pesticide-free natural hemp, silk-like mohair and Egyptian cotton padding. Expertly engineered to promote an outstanding night's sleep,  each mattress is enriched with innovative layers of four, eleven or sixteen thousand ultra-fine wire micro-springs which sit above the typical core spring unit – ensuring more comfort than any other mattresses of their kind.

Mattress Tension

Mattress tension provides support for your body weight, alignment for your spine and comfort when sleeping, and as such it must not be overlooked. The first job of a good bed is to support the body’s natural posture during sleep, taking over as muscles relax. Without proper support, you may wake up with aches and pains. With the right tension, your spine is straight and your whole body is evenly supported as you sleep. Too soft, and your spine will buckle, putting pressure on your hips. Too firm, and the pressure will be felt around the shoulders and knees.

There is no single best contemporary mattress tension that suits everyone. It will depend on your body type, and on how you sleep. In order to ensure your mattress tension is right for you, the best thing to do is come to one of our Stores and give it a try.

Mattress Care Guide

Each of our mattresses is accompanied by its very own care guide, which we recommend you read. However, some general care tips include:

  • Never bend or roll a mattress. If you are moving house, ensure that it remains flat and supported throughout the process.
  • Allow your mattress to air out regularly. It is easiest to do this on wash day. Allow the mattress to remain uncovered for a few hours in between changing your bedding. We recommend four hours a week.
  • A washable mattress protector will help maintain the freshness of your mattress, although do avoid using plastic anywhere on the bed as this will affect the mattress’s breathability.
  • Pocket sprung mattresses should be turned and rotated weekly in the first three months, and then monthly thereafter. This will prolong the life of your mattress and help fillings settle.
  • Cleaning should be kept to the occasional wipe-down with a soft cloth. Never vacuum a mattress as it can disrupt the filling.

Mattresses Glossary

In terms of quality, The Conran Shop has already taken care of a good part of the decision-making process for you, through our exclusive partnership with North Yorkshire farm Harrison Spinks, a fifth-generation UK family business that has been hand-crafting beds since 1840. They use locally grown natural fibre crops and their own wool, guaranteeing you a chemical-free, sustainable and environmentally friendly sleep.

British Wool

Resilient, hypoallergenic, temperature-regulating, and fully sustainable.

Cutting & Sewing

This process completes the borders and panelling, securing the mattresses edges.

Egyptian Cotton 

Woven on our supplier’s looms, this is a wonderful fabric for breathability.

Hemp and Flax 

Naturally grown and pesticide-free, these fibres are more absorbent and naturally more resistant than cotton, laying the foundations for a fresh and hygienic bed.


Adds a natural spring to the mattress, breathable, highly resilient, and does not absorb moisture.


All of our mattresses use micro-spring, a more advanced and luxurious version of the traditional pocket spring technology. The springs are individually wrapped in their own pocket of fabric and move independently. This ensures they adjust to your body’s contours and that you won’t be disturbed by your partner’s movements in the night.


Durable and resilient yet beautifully soft and luxurious; also naturally flame-retardant.

Side Stitching

Side panels are hand-stitched to its pocket springs, giving enhanced support around the edges. This is a labour-intensive process, with one row of stitching taking an hour.


The natural fibres are carefully teased out and separated by hand to ensure that they are even and uniformly textured, before being layered into the mattress. Taking approximately 95 minutes for a king-size bed layer, the intricate and laborious process is key to temperature regulation.

Tufting & Finishing

Strong tufts ensure that the filling stays in place. They are driven all the way through the mattress and give the mattress its quilted surface.

“If a bed in daily use is to last a decade, you should be prepared to spend every penny you can afford. As with most other furniture, there are few bargains to be had.”

Sir Terence Conran, The House Book, 1974