How to find the ideal mattress: First, snooze for research purposes

So you've got your bed linen sorted (if not, then check out the beautiful Belledorm range at ACHICA today). But, have you ever wondered how your bed is actually made? Or, if you’re looking to buy a new mattress what best features should you look for? To find out how the experts do it, I took a trip to the Vi-Spring factory to see the beds being made. Creator of fine luxury handmade beds, Vi-Spring was recently voted best mattress brand by Which? As well as seeing how the mattresses are made, I took a little power nap while I was there too - for research purposes of course. When you're buying a new bed, don't be afraid to lay on the beds, take a moment to get used to them and wriggle around a bit to see if it's right for you - after all, we spend a third of our lives sleeping...

Perfect pocket springs

One of the secrets to achieving real comfort in a bed is the spring count and tension. Each spring, sewn into its own individual pocket of pure cotton calico, moves freely to fit the exact profile of the body

This means the pocket sprung mattress is immediately responsive to every movement throughout the night, providing the correct level of support to the spine.

The thickness of the steel springs used to create a sprung mattress and divan will determine the tension of the bed; whether soft, medium or firm.

The pocketed springs are arranged in a honeycomb layout and fitted inside a ‘nesting box’ to create the tailor made size requested. Honeycomb nesting increases space for the number of springs in the bed, creates an even sleeping surface and prevents the soft fillings being pushed down into gaps.

Bespoke mattresses can be made combining two different tensions; soft and medium or medium and firm to suit a couples different sizes and comfort preference.

Hand side stitching

Carried out by expert upholsterers this is a highly labour intensive technique and gives a mattress strength and durability. Great care is taken, using traditional long needles and twine to secure the spring to the border both top and bottom, correctly tensioning the units.  Border rods hold the spring unit in shape during this process and then removed before the mattress is upholstered.

It’s the single most time-consuming element in the bed making process and can take as long as eight hours for just one mattress. I can confirm there is a lot of coffee being drunk in that Vi Spring factory!

Natural fillings

For a bed to stand the test of time, it should be wholly natural. Whereas some synthetic beds can make sleepers uncomfortably hot, a bed made only from natural fibers keeps you cool in summer and snug in winter. Natural fibres are breathable and so absorb moisture away from the body, releasing it into the air for a clean, fresh and hypo-allergenic sleeping surface. Look for Wool, pure cotton, linen mixes, silk, mohair and cashmere fillings for a great night’s sleep.

The top cover on a Vi-Spring bed is known as ticking, and it’s woven from viscose, a natural breathing material derived from wood pulp; this fabric is strong and durable, yet luxurious. Before being placed over the fillings the mattress side panels are hemmed and the mattress is closed using a specially adapted sewing machine.

Round woollen tufts add the distinctive domed look to each mattress. A long needle is used to pass a tape through the springs and upholstery. This is secured with tufts on each side of the mattress, holding the fillings in place.

The divan base

The comfort of a mattress is greatly enhanced by a sprung base or divan, which provides the flexible, responsive platform for the mattress, lacking in a slatted base. Superior divans also use quality nested calico pocket springs. The solid timber frame of the divan is insulated and the corners are carefully built around the spring for added strength and smooth lines.

The final touches

From dramatic, oversized curves to subtle, angular designs, the headboard completes the look of a mattress and divan set. Both headboard and divan can be covered in the customer’s choice of fabric, in a variety of colours, prints and textures to suit any design scheme. So you can move your bed around freely when required, the divan base can be mounted on castors or while solid wooden legs or bun feet. Drawers can be added for extra storage space to house all that lovely new bed linen you’ll want to use…

Check out more beds from Vi-Spring here

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor