Home Improvement Magazine

Everything You Need to Know About a Plush Mattress

By Richard Morse @insidebedroom

Nobody can ever say that they can let you know everything you need to know about a plush mattress. There are too many variables with plush mattresses, the first being the definition of 'plush.' What I consider to be 'plush' may not be the same as your conception of what the word means.

What we are discussing here is the general definition of what most people believe to be a 'plush mattress'. Here is where concepts get involved. Look up the definition of 'plush' online and you get elegant, lavish, deluxe, opulent, sumptuous, ritzy and palatial. None of these definitions can generally be applied to a plush mattress.

In mattress speak, 'plush' means soft as opposed to hard or normal! A plush mattress provides you with more 'give' when you lie on it - i.e. softer than normal. It also offers surface comfort: so it is a soft mattress with a comfortable surface to sleep on. Most mattress manufacturers use the word 'plush' to mean soft. So what do you need to know about plush mattresses other than just what the term means? Here goes:

Things you Need to Know About Plush Matresses

Plush vs. Firm Mattresses

If we grade the surface comfort of a mattress from 1-10, with 1 being the softest and 10 the hardest, then a plush surface would be in the region of 2-3. It is not a measure of support, but of surface comfort. A plush mattress can still offer good support. That's because the soft sleeping surface may be lying on top of an innerspring or firm foam core in the region of 7-8.

Any mattress, soft or hard, can be more suitable than others for people with specific sleeping habits. Here are some cases where a plush mattress may be more suitable for you than a harder sleeping surface.

Side Sleepers: A plush mattress feels soft to lie on without it making you feel that you are sinking too far into it. If you prefer to sleep on your side then a plush mattress may be the ideal type of mattress for you. That's because it enables the pressure points of your body to sink slightly into the mattress. These are your shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and elbows.

They sink in to an extent, and then they are supported along with the main bulk of your body by the harder core. Because of the plush top, your pressure points are not bearing the full weight of your body as they would be were you lying on a hard foam mattress.

Back Sleepers: If you are a back sleeper then you need more overall support than a side sleeper. Some back sleepers like a softer surface than others. It needs to be firm enough not to allow your mid-section to sink into it, but not so firm that you feel uncomfortable in your buttocks and shoulders. Others prefer a softer surface over a firm one, in which case a pillow top mattress may be preferred to a plush mattress.

Front Sleepers: Belly and stomach all sleep on their front. If that is you, then you are likely best to sleep on a harder mattress. You may need a degree of softness, although a plush mattress would not be best for you. Many front sleepers use a firm mattress with a pillow top.

Pillow Top and Plush Mattresses

A pillow top is a mattress with a layer of pillowing on top. The soft padding takes pressure off your buttocks and shoulders, while still supporting your spine. They also offer a level of comfort for belly sleepers for whom a true plush mattress might be too soft. Pillow top mattresses are often described as plush, and many back sleepers find them ideal.

You can also find plush mattresses with a pillow top attached. Some people like these 'sleeping on air' mattresses, though others find them too soft. A plush mattress is generally unsuitable for front sleepers who need a harder mattress with good support.

The term 'plush' is often used in conjunction with other terms. For example, 'ultra plush', 'pillow top plush' and 'Eurotop plush. You also sometimes see the term 'plush firm' - what on earth is that? Here are some definitions for such terms, although there are no standards for them.

Ultra Plush: This term generally describes a very soft mattress. Your body sinks into it until it ultimately finds support. They are frequently made using memory foam, so your body shape molds into it for either all-over support or practically no support at all depending on your weight. They can come with a pillow top to slightly reduce the general sinking sensation. These mattresses are sometimes also referred to as being 'extra plush' and 'super plush'

Plush Firm: But how about Plush Firm'? As we have explained, when used in relation to mattresses, the term 'plush' fundamentally means 'soft'. So how can mattress be plush and firm? You will occasionally come across a mattress where the terms 'plush' and 'firm' are used in connection with the same mattress. Generally, this term will relate to a firm mattress with a soft top.

A plush firm mattress may have a firm latex base and a pillow top. The term 'plush' is variable in its meaning, so the terms 'plush' and firm' are also variable when used to describe mattresses. However, if you keep in mind that the term plush is often used to mean soft, then it can make sense. You have a soft top to a harder foam mattress.

Need and Prefer: There is a Difference

It makes sense that many people need a firm base to their mattress, and others prefer a firm base to their mattress. A plush top, such as a good pillow top or Eurotop may be ideal for such people. A Eurotop mattress is very similar to a pillow top mattress, except the extra layer of padding lines up with the edges of the mattress. A pillow top is like a quilt top that is sewn onto the mattress.

However, there is a difference between need and prefer when discussing mattresses. In some cases, your need comes first, particularly if you have an orthopedic condition. Such conditions often mean that you must have a hard bed - or an orthopedic mattress. You may prefer a plush mattress, but you are best to follow the advice.

So let's sum up:

When choosing a mattress, most people have two major factors in mind (apart from aesthetic looks). These are comfort and support. There are a few other factors involved in their decision: their sleeping position, whether they prefer innersprings or foam, and if they like the idea of a memory foam mattress.

The mattress they ultimately choose should be that which is most suitable to them. A plush mattress is only of benefit if you need a soft sleeping surface to help you sleep. If you find that the mattress you are using is giving you pain in your hips or shoulder, it could be that you need a softer mattress.

A plush mattress can distribute your body weight more evenly due to the more even support it provides. A harder mattress might be distributing your body weight badly - putting it all onto your pressure points: your shoulders, hips and even your knees. You may need a softer mattress. You may need a plush mattress.

Mattress Comfort: Pillow Top and Plush Mattresses

What all of the above information is saying is that the comfort of the mattress you sleep on relates to two factors: the sleeping surface and the support layer. You can sleep on a lovely soft mattress, but without support you would sink right into it overnight. This may result in serious back and other skeletal and muscular issues. For that reason, mattresses are normally constructed with a firm support, and above it a softer comfort layer.

The sleeping surface can be just a few inches thick. A pillow top can be 1" - 2" thick to provide a degree of comfort on top of an 8" - 10" firm foam mattress. There are several different foams available and a variety of ways in which they can be combined to construct a mattress.

Pillow Top and Plush Mattresses

Pillow Top:

Pillow top has most give. A pillow top (or pillowtop) mattress is not quite as soft as a regular pillow you lay your head on in bed. However, it is pretty soft and too soft for the entire mattress. That's why it is referred to as pillow 'top'. It is usually just 1" - 2" thick, though some are more. Anything over 2" - 3" is a component of the mattress and not a 'top' as such.

A pillow top can be used over a firm foam or innerspring core or base to reduce its uncomfortable hardness. A pillow top does not make a mattress plush.

Plush Mattress:

A plush mattress has a soft top sleeping surface for extra comfort. When you lie on it you feel it soft, and you tend to sink into it. Not necessarily a lot, but many people associate a plush mattress with 'sleeping on air'. It provides a level of 'give' that those who are familiar with it know what to expect. It conforms to your body, particularly if it is including memory foam.

A plush mattress is something between a pillow top and a firm mattress. It offers the support of the one, and the comfort of the other - with more tendency toward the comfort aspect. You won't find much difference in cost between a plush mattress and a firm or pillow top mattress. You can use a plush mattress on any base - whether box spring or solid.

Choose the Best Mattress for Your Needs

Finally, if you are considering purchasing a plush mattress, make sure that:

  • You understand what a plush mattress is
  • You get professional advice if you have a medical condition
  • You check out all the plush mattress options available to you

It is very important that you choose the best mattress for your needs. These needs might not be what feels most comfortable, but what is best for you. Spinal support is important, and if you have lower back pain, shoulder pain or pain in your hips, then your bed can help alleviate this. Don't always listen to others. The right mattress for them may not be the best for you.

The above information provides everything you need to know about a plush mattress. It's not necessarily everything there is to know, but with the above knowledge, you will be able to choose the best mattress to meet your needs. A plush mattress is very comfortable, particularly if it also provides the support you need.

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