This Is The Difference Between A Bed And Mattress

bed and mattress

Learn the differences between a bed and a mattress like a pro! Learn what they are, their purpose and why they make a lovely couple.

A bed is technically a piece of furniture. A bed is made with materials such as wood, fabric, and metal. A mattress is a rectangular pad that supports the body during sleep. A mattress is made from memory foam, pocket springs or a hybrid with foam and coils. 

If you are brushing up on your terminology, well done! We explain everything that you need to know to successfully pick out the differences between a mattress and a bed.


This Is What Sets A Bed And Mattress Apart

At first, it might seem a little confusing. We all call our sleeping spots “the bed” – and there is a mattress. So, what exactly is the difference? While it is true that we refer to the whole set as a “bed,” it is technically not correct.

When correctly used, the term “bed” refers to a piece of furniture. As in, without the mattress. A bed normally consists of a solid frame along with the base and feet. It can be carved from wood, dressed in fabric or even wrought from iron for a rustic look. 

The mattress is something that you probably already know. But let’s cover its definition anyway! That is right. A mattress is that plush rectangle that you sleep on at night. The most common types include memory foam, pocket sprung mattresses or a blend of the two (these are called hybrids). 

If you are intrigued by the idea of a mattress that has both memory foam and pocket springs, we have done the research for you. Here are the best hybrid mattresses on the market today.


bed and mattress together

A Bed And A Mattress Belong Together

Indeed, they make the perfect nighttime set! A bed without a mattress is pretty useless and uncomfortable to sleep on. While a mattress can be used on the floor, adding a bed has the following benefits:

  • The mattress will last longer because it receives the proper support.
  • The mattress could also feel better when you rest on it.
  • The mattress will be at a comfortable height for you to get in and out of bed.
  • Since the mattress is not in contact with the floor, it will avoid moisture build-up and mould problems.
  • The mattress will stay cleaner for longer. (Grab our tips on how to clean a mattress).

Do All Beds Come With Mattresses?

When you go out bed-hunting you will quickly notice two things. Mattresses are either sold alone or with a bed. So, the answer here is no. Not all beds come with a mattress. But when they do, the product is usually described as a “bed set.” This will include only the bed and the mattress – and not pillows or sheets as some might hope!


How Do I Match A Bed And A Mattress?

First Identify Your Needs

What are you looking for? Do you want a lovely wooden bed or a more rustic, iron-wrought bed? What type of mattress do you want; foam, coils or a blend of both? It is important to know what you want before trying to match anything. Why? Because it will determine what brands you will turn to once you narrow your search a little more.

Measure Your Bed

If you are happy with your bed and just want a new mattress, take out that measuring tape. Luckily, bed and mattress manufacturers work within certain size classes. This means that no matter what size your bed is, there will be a mattress to match. But just to make sure, measure the length and width to get the mattress size.

Here are the most common mattress sizes.

  • Cot – 60 x 120 cm. (Here are the safest and best cot mattresses).
  • Toddler – 70 x 140 cm.
  • Small single – 75 x 190 cm.
  • Single – 90 x 190 cm.
  • Small double – 120 x 190 cm.
  • Double – 135 x 190 cm.
  • King – 150 x 200 cm.
  • Super king – 180 x 200 cm.

You can learn about these and even larger mattress sizes in our mattress size guide.

bunk bed double bed

Can I Add Any Mattress To Any Bed?

Not always. Some bed frames are badly made, especially those with slats. When the slats are too loose or far apart, then the mattress will get damaged to the point where its lifespan is dramatically reduced. Some mattress warranties are also not valid if the bed has slats that are not spaced according to the mattress maker’s preferences. 

That being said, a correctly-spaced slatted bed is one of the best options for a mattress. Slats allow air circulation, which is so important on those hot nights and to fight moisture and mould. Some slats are adjustable, allowing sleepers to get a more personalized sleeping surface. 

If you do not want the hassle of wondering about what base could damage your mattress, then perhaps you should invest in a bed set. These pairs are specifically designed to work together without problems and to provide plenty of years of comfortable sleep. 


What Are The Signs Of A Bad Bed?

The price is a good indicator. An exceptionally cheap bed is doomed for a short existence. A quality bed can last a lifetime but because it is masterfully designed and crafted, it will cost a lot. But even expensive beds can have flaws. A bed should never make noises, sway or feel uncomfortable.

What Are The Signs Of A Bad Mattress?

Unfortunately, because the demand for mattresses remains high, some brands are mass-producing mattresses with a focus on profit and not quality. Therefore, it is essential to know the signs of a bad mattress before you make that purchase. 

A bad mattress will have no guarantee. That is usually a dead giveaway. But other signs also include discomfort (check authentic reviews for any discomfort experienced by other customers), a low price, a thin appearance, and no industry awards.  Here are all the best tips that will show you how to choose a mattress.

a thin mattress

Always Invest In A Quality Bed Or Mattress

Doing so might be costly but when you purchase from a trusted brand and the mattress or bed is covered with a warranty, then you do not have to buy another one for a long time. Possibly for decades. This saves you a lot of money in the long run. Some things cannot be bought sub-standard and a mattress and bed are among them. 

Here are the best Dormeo mattress reviews.


A Quick Summary On The Difference Between A Bed And A Mattress

  • A bed is a piece of furniture that is normally crafted from wood, fabric or metal. 
  • The mattress is the padded rectangle that a person sleeps on.
  • Together, a mattress and a bed are correctly known as a “bed set.”
  • Some beds can damage a mattress but the right one can extend the lifetime of a mattress for a decade or more.
  • It is essential to know the signs of a bad bed or mattress before you purchase anything. 
  • Investing in a quality bed or mattress saves more money in the long run.

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About the Author Tom

My journey into the world of sleep came about through living in several properties over my lifetime and always seeming to have the worst luck with neighbors. All but one have been extremely noisy and very inconsiderate. What this made me realize early on, was that the little sleep my neighbors allowed me to get needed to be of great quality. So I started to learn all about sleep, and what helps people get the best quality sleep possible.