Investing in furniture: is an expensive bed worth the money?

sealy posturepedic bed nz

I always thought that buying a house would be my catalyst for buying grownup furnishings. Quality kitchenware, a lounge set that cost more than $10 … and a new bed. (Everything else – the aesthetic stuff – I could take or leave.)

See, our old bed was actually a secondhand bed. I bought it back in 2006, when I thought I would only need it for a few months. The plan was to move into the student dorms when I started uni in 2007, which would be fully furnished. But then I changed my mind, stayed in the suburbs, and kept that old bed. Fast forward to the current day, and I’ve had that bed for seven years … and I’m not sure how old it was before that. (For what it’s worth, it’s a Sealy, which is about as good as it gets brand-wise.)

After six months in a garage, that old bed wasn’t really in the best shape. Rather than waiting until we buy a house, it seemed like a good time to replace it. Plus, my mother had given me $2000 just before we left (ostensibly a wedding present – she told me to spend it on a new bed).

Now, there are plenty of beds going for about $600/700. I’ve even seen bedroom packages for the same price, with dresser included. Heck, I actually saw a queen size bed advertised for the tiny sum of $250. But at some point, frugal becomes cheap (we didnโ€™t go to check out that one as the retailer was really far away and T was skeptical that a $250 bed could possibly be any good).

We ended up buying a new queen size Sealy. The damage: $1000 (ouch) down from an original price of $1700 (yay!). Expensive bedroom furniture, TICK.

Personally, I can sleep on anything. I mean, I don’t love sleeping on the gap between two mattresses (which I had to do far too often in Europe, where a double bed is usually code for two singles pushed together), but I cope. I can sleep on couches, floors, hard beds, soft beds, in cars, on trains … you name it.

On the other hand, T likes a firm mattress, and has chronic back pain, though it’s eased a lot since he stopped working hardcore trade jobs. Our nightly ritual usually consists of him muttering about how he can’t find a comfortable position and eventually sinking into a fitful sleep, while I halfheartedly scratch his back for a few minutes before being overtaken by a wave of glorious unconsciousness.

If it wasn’t for him, I would probably have gone way cheaper. WAY cheaper. But his comfort is important, and a bed is not a purchase to be made lightly. Also, our new mattress is so darn cute – though I don’t get the point of putting fun prints on mattresses, since you’re never going to see them! There’s that fleeting moment when you change the sheets, but I’m generally concerned with getting that tedious task over as quickly as possible more than anything else.

ETA in 2016: Okay, so glad we splurged back then. I GET IT NOW. Expensive mattresses are totally worth it. Or I’m getting old. Or both.

What’s the most expensive item of furniture you’ve ever purchased?

23 thoughts on “Investing in furniture: is an expensive bed worth the money?

  • Reply Revanche December 20, 2013 at 09:03

    Definitely the bed as well. I’m the problem, here, with bad everything so PiC insisted that it was necessary. It’s not obvious at first how much it helps but it really does make a difference. More than I would expected! Surprisingly, PiC found a secondhand matching set of frame and mattress in like-new condition for only a few hundred dollars months later. Figures, it IS possible ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply save. spend. splurge. December 20, 2013 at 09:06

    BF has a serious back problem too. He finds a firm mattress (Japanese futon on the floor) works best along with yoga daily.

  • Reply Raquel December 20, 2013 at 10:37

    We recently bought a second-hand Dyson vacuum (refurbished), after a year and half of frustration with a $60 vacuum from the Warehouse. As both my partner and I work part-time + freelance, it was a big investment for us, but I’m really glad. I actually love vacuuming now.

    Our bed came to us after a couple broke up and needed to get rid of their things. It was a bargain at $200 as it’s a lovely natural latex. We also splurged out on a silk/cotton blend duvet cover while in India, and my partner got some tailored suits made too.

    Generally, we’re moving towards investing in better things when either of us gets a big freelance project.

  • Reply Kara December 20, 2013 at 12:50

    I think our mattresses where the most expensive purchase we’ve made, even more than the living room furniture set we bought (They were cheap, and it shows). Sleep is important, so we wanted to get the comfiest bed we could afford.

    Now we just need to invest in some actual bedroom furniture, something we haven’t owned in 3 years.

  • Reply Alicia @ Financial Diffraction December 20, 2013 at 13:23

    A mattress is something I would definitely spend good money on. We spend about a third of our life on it. I’ve had mine for about 13 years – it’s still super comfy, but at some point somewhat soon I will probably replace it.

  • Reply Michelle December 20, 2013 at 15:50

    I busted out laughing when I read the following line ” Our nightly ritual usually consists of him muttering about how he canโ€™t find a comfortable position and eventually sinking into a fitful sleep, while I halfheartedly scratch his back for a few minutes before being overtaken by a wave of glorious unconsciousness.” I bought my mattress at a discount dealer-think overstock that someone bought at discount, then was selling. I LOVE my bed and it is super comfortable.

  • Reply Jess December 20, 2013 at 18:29

    My full-size mattress cost about $240+ tax at Ikea and I am very happy with it. It’s very firm and suits my needs fine. I’ve had it about a year and expect it to last several more.

    • Reply eemusings December 21, 2013 at 09:25

      What the heck is a full size mattress? King?

      God I wish we had Ikea.

      We tried out every single mattress in the $500ish range and only ONE of them came remotely close to firm enough for T, so I am reasonably confident the $240 one would’ve fallen short. He is built like the Hulk, so ‘firm’ in his books – what’s required to support him – is pretty tough. If he would flop down on our old mattress, the entire thing would literally move/slide and even kinda bounce a little bit at the edges.

      • Reply Stephany December 22, 2013 at 02:24

        A full-size is between a twin and a queen. Bigger than a twin, but not bigger than a queen.

      • Reply Jess December 23, 2013 at 07:42

        A US “full size” looks like it’s about the same as the NZ “double” according to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_size#New_Zealand_sizes

        I’m single so don’t need a queen or king, when not sleeping with someone every night. I would definitely want a US king sized bed if I moved in with someone full time, though!

        My $240 Ikea mattress was the firmest inner spring one they had at Ikea. I’ve had some pretty large guys (6’5″ & very solid) sleep on it fairly comfortably (so they said) and I’m not really a small person, myself. Your description of your old mattress sounds pretty terrible—good riddance! Haha.

  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies December 21, 2013 at 01:02

    We got our mattress new/used in 2005 and it’s been amazing. At the time its MSRP was something ridiculous like $2500 and I bought it for $200.

    The most expensive furniture we’ve ever purchased is probably our couch set – it’s a couch and a fat chair and we paid about $800 for both of them. They’re pretty comfy, but they’re not forever furniture.

  • Reply SP December 21, 2013 at 05:14

    Love this – we have started to “invest” in higher quality stuff. My bed was my first post-graduation purchase (gift from parents) and it served us well. Plus, a bed is something you can move anywhere, and it really doesn’t matter what the space of the bedroom is like. Couches are harder to invest in, because of varying sizes of living areas.


    The most expensive piece of furnitureโ€ฆ I couldn’t say for sure. I haven’t bought furniture in a long time. Our bedroom set was the most recent, but it was $600 (??) for a dresser and 2 nightstands, floor models. My mattress was probably $800 or so. Maybe $600? I have no idea.

    But we are looking at sofa beds, and the best ones run about $2000.

  • Reply Debt BLAG December 21, 2013 at 08:32

    Nice furniture is very fun to have and it’s something I could use every day. Maybe one day I’ll invest in some

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie December 21, 2013 at 10:32

    Also a bed. Twice! Our second bed purchase was fancy organic latex. Our guest bed though was one of the cheapies… I think $300 for the whole thing or something like that. We didn’t have money but DH’s parents were about to visit and we bought the bed before we bought a w/d set. For something that’s used maybe 10 days a year, it’s doing fine in year 7.

  • Reply Linda December 21, 2013 at 16:32

    Another person here who has spent a lot on our bed. B has a not so great back and was getting aches after sleeping on my bed, so I used a good chunk of a bonus I got one year and bought a Tempurpedic. I love my bed. It is the comfiest place in the house. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply The Asian Pear December 21, 2013 at 17:29

    A good bed is really worth it. Springs in mattresses can wear out causing back pain. I had sore back pain for the LONGEST TIME. As soon as I bought a new bed that was firm and supportive, I had NO MORE BACK PAIN. So I totally understand where T is coming from. As for me, I don’t think I’ve ever bought furniture… I kinda “bulk-bought” stuff from my friend who was moving from Toronto to Vancouver but it was like $200 for everything from barstools to TV stands to the actual TV.

  • Reply Stephany December 22, 2013 at 02:29

    I would say a good mattress is definitely worth the investment. Plus, they should last for 10 years. Right? Am I making this stat up? I could be. Ha. Sometime in the next few years, I want to invest in a better bed frame + mattress. I have a bed frame I got from IKEA and it works fine but it just doesn’t feel very stable. I’m afraid it will fall completely apart if I move it, ha. I’d like to go to an actual furniture store and get a better quality bed frame + quality mattress. But that would probably be at least $1500-$2000 so something to put on the back burner for now.

    I think the most money I’ve spent is on my sectional. It was around $800, but my mom and I split the cost. Though I am going to have to go furniture shopping when I move out in November, but I’m going cheap. Craigslist for me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Reply eemusings December 23, 2013 at 11:27

      Yeah, 10 years plus I think is the rule! Yay for moving out ๐Ÿ™‚ Craiglist is definitely the way to go! We actually bought an iPhone off Craigslist in SF.

  • Reply femmefrugality December 22, 2013 at 17:00

    Ahhhh we need a new mattress so bad. Our backs are killing us. I think everything we own is second hand except the bed (which he had when we met,) and the cribs we bought when our kids were born. Spent about $250 on those. And those are the most expensive things. I always thought I’d grow up and have a coordinated interior design thing going on with my house and furniture. Then I realized how expensive furniture is and that I just didn’t care.

  • Reply Dariece @GoatsOnTheRoad December 22, 2013 at 19:05

    Before we decided to store our belongings and travel, we had a really nice bed set for about $1500, end tables, couches, etc. All of which I thought were pretty nice. A comfy bed is very important for sure! Unlike our mattress in China, which was about an inch thick, felt like it was stuffed with hay and sooo uncomfortable!

    Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Jon@2-copper-coins.com December 24, 2013 at 12:54

    My wife and I have started to take this view with our major purchases. We are choosing to purchase quality long lasting items rather than short term solution items. As our furniture from our college days gets slowly phased out (we just purchased a really nice bed) we are thinking of our purchases as investments “what are we going to get out of this item.” In our quest for frugality, we realize there are times where you just have to loosen the purse strings.

  • Reply Deia @ Nomad Wallet December 26, 2013 at 19:13

    I’ve never had a “forever home”, so I’ve only ever bought cheap Ikea mattresses, which work well enough. ๐Ÿ˜€ Back when we owned our apartment, I had fun hunting for quality second-hand furniture (solid wood, none of the particleboard crap that new furniture is usually made of). And I got totally obsessed with Apartment Therapy. Enjoy having a more permanent home!

  • Reply Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter December 31, 2013 at 02:59

    Our bed is the most expensive furniture we’ve purchased. We got it for ~$1200 down from $2200, on sale. It is a Sealy too, I believe. I’m one of those people that can hardly sleep ever, let alone on anything – so we had to be picky.

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