Adventures In Buying An Organic Latex Mattress

Ok, we’ll let you in on a small semi-gross secret. Our master bedroom mattress was way way old. Hugh Hefner old. And it was a hand-me-down. In fact, John’s sister graciously donated it to us when we moved to Richmond three years ago (after decades of use with it herself). They say mattresses get stiffer with age and we can definitely vouch for that fact. Ours was as tough as a brick and about as comfortable as one too. But it certainly did the job over the past three years and we weren’t in any place to purchase a new one off the bat as we embarked on our extreme home makeover one room at a time. Paint, primer, other furnishings and accessories- even a kitchen remodel- came first. And every night we retreated to bed sore and tired and woke up more achy than the night before. Here are John and Burger demonstrating how not fun our old mattress was. Look at those sad faces.

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But three glorious years later, the time finally came for us to bid a sweet we-won’t-miss-you-at-all farewell to our ancient mattress and welcome a new sleeping companion into our lives. Now we won’t go to bed with just anything these days, my obsession with all things eco made me yearn for a pure and organic mattress free of fireproofing chemicals and made from 100% natural materials that are just as good for the planet as they are for people.

After hours of googling I found a great little organic mattress comparison site, which led me straight to the arms of our new bedroom companion: the Organic Serenity Natural Dunlop Latex Mattress By Savvy Rest. It was the top ranked mattress and it was actually the most affordable one as well (other than the much lower rated and thinner one at the bottom of the page).

At $1999 for a queen mattress, it’s hardly a drop in the bucket. In fact it’s pricier than every piece of furniture in the entire house. But when you think about how much time you spend on a mattress, and how this baby is warrantied for a full 20 years, it really breaks down to pennies a day and the added fact that it’s so good for the planet and our bodies really was a selling point for us- even if it upped the price a bit. So after a few months of saving (we literally had a “mattress fund” in our savings account) our new bedmate arrived in three different boxes. And yes I did that squealing and clapping thing that I do when I’m excited.

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Possibly one of the most amazing features of the Organic Serenity Mattress is that you get to customize the firmness. It’s made up of three three-inch layers of natural latex encased in a certified organic cotton & wool cover so each layer came in its own box (another added bonus is that it shipped from nearby Chrlottesvile, Virginia so it didn’t have to travel many miles to our door- hooray for buying “local”). Here’s one of the layers along with the organic cotton and wool cover:

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The fun began about a week earlier when we got to personally select each layer’s density online during the ordering process (choosing between soft, medium, or firm) so we could create the perfect customized mattress just for us. You can even split each layer up the middle so if John liked a soft mattress and I liked a hard one, we could have chosen different latex densities on either side of the mattress for an individualized result. Since we both like a moderately firm mattress (not brick-firm like our former one, just not too soft since we’re back and belly sleepers) we chatted with one of the phone consultants and ended up going with one layer of “medium” followed by a second layer of “medium” and a layer of “soft.” And needless to say when those three layers arrived in their own boxes we couldn’t wait to put everything together. You know we like DIY projects around here! First we cleared out our old mattress (which we Freecycled by the way):

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Then we followed the so-simple-Burger-could-do-it directions that came in one of the boxes. First we laid out the bottom part of the organic cotton & wool cover:

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Then we took out the layer of natural latex marked “bottom, medium” and stuck it into the cover, wiggling it around like we were shaking out a rug until it was centered and even across the bottom of the cover. Even with just one 3″ layer of hole-riddled latex our bed was eons more comfortable than our old inner spring antique.

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Then we placed the “middle, medium” layer of latex on top of the “bottom, medium” one and followed that with the “top, soft” layer, which you can see John adjusting below:

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Once each layer was stacked evenly and aligned in the cover, it was time to bring in the top of the cover and zip it around all three pieces of latex to hold them in place for the long haul (20+ years according to the warranty).

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John worked his way around the whole mattress, zipping as he went, and before we knew it we had a fully functioning new mattress to call home. And since each layer is 3″ thick plus there’s the quilted organic wool & cotton cover, our new mattress is a decadent 11″ thick (as opposed to our crochety old 6″ inner spring variety). Words can’t express how much we love our 2 year anniversary present to each other (cotton’s supposed to be the 2-year anniversary theme, and by golly the cover is actually pure organic cotton!). Look how good life is when you have a new mattress. You start posing like they do in those commercials with the wine glass on the bed:

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So that’s the story of aching backs, researching, ordering, and assembling which resulted in sleeping like babies ever since (no more pinned featherbed required). Our actual anniversary isn’t until July 7th but we sure are glad we saved our pennies for something that we’ll appreciate for years (and years) to come. And speaking of the passage of time, look who was still hanging out on our new mattress hours after we assembled it and retreated to the den to watch some tube. Yup, Burger was sold from day one.

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How about you guys. Are any of you in need of a new mattress or another household staple like a couch? Any wedding anniversaries coming up with cotton (or something else) on the agenda? Do tell.

Psst- Looking for an update on how we like our mattress? Check out this follow-up post where we detail how we feel about our big mattress switcheroo after a good amount of use.

Comments

  1. Jamie says

    LOL!!! That first picture of Burger with John is hilarious – he looks so distraught and ashamed of the mattress. LOL. I’ve been checking out this exact same mattress to replace our current Sleep Number bed (which I despise!), so you’ll have to give us a status update after you’ve slept on it a few weeks.

  2. Angela says

    I love it. The hubby and I are in the market for a new mattress too and with all the options available nowadays it can be daunting. I will certainly be looking into organic.

    It’s actually our 2 year anniversary on Monday. We don’t go crazy for presents but sticking with the cotton theme I got him a sweatshirt from our alma mater. For our 1 year anniversay (paper) the deed to our house was our present to each other.

  3. says

    Sounds yummy! I just went through a similar deal a month ago. I had an old hand-me-down full size mattress that was ROCK.HARD. and sucked it up and dropped the $700 (not nearly as much as you guys, but you know) on a new Sealy Pillow-top queen size mattress. It is the definition of Heaven. Atleast to me. Before I didn’t want to get out of bed because I hadn’t gotten a good nights sleep, now I want to stay in it because it’s so comfortable!

    Congrats on the new bed and the upcoming anniversary!! :)

  4. Jess says

    Ohhhhh, I’m so jealous! My husband and I bought a new mattress just over two years ago, and we already need a new one! It’s awful! We can’t flip it, so we have indents on both sides of the bed where we lay… No good. I’m a belly sleeper, so I sleep with this super awkward arch in my back every night.

    I love the idea of an organic mattress. I never would have thought about this had I not seen it here! So THANKS!! I can’t wait for him to get home to show him! two questions, though- How supportive is it and is it comparable to, say, a Temperpedic bed?

    Thanks a bunch!
    Jess

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey everyone,

      So glad you’re curious about our new bed. We can’t wait to do a follow up post about it after sleeping on it for a month or so. We’ve actually already been using it for over a week (it takes us a while to upload pics and write posts) and we’ve loved it so far. As for Jess’s question about how supportive it is, it’s completely customizable so while ours is pretty firm (due to the layer of “firm” and “medium” that we selected for two of the three layers) someone who wants something softer can do three layers of “soft” for a more sink-in effect. Plus you can even switch out layers if you want to customize the bed further when it arrives (there’s a shipping fee for that, but it would be well worth the perfect mattress that lasts 20 years and is eco friendly and organic to boot. Best sleep we’ve ever had!!!

      xo,
      s

  5. Kate says

    Hooray for a new mattress!

    My husband and I used to have an old couch with a smurf blue slip cover that never stayed in place. The couch was actually pretty comfy, but you couldn’t sit on it without messing up the slip cover, so it always looked like a huge sloppy mess. I think I tucked that thing in about 6 times a day. We finally upgraded to a new leather couch, which we both love. No more slip cover!

  6. Abby says

    Love it! If we hadn’t just gotten a new mattress last year, we’d be all over it.

    I’m pining for new sofas. Our couch and loveseat are my Value City Furniture/college furniture pieces. I got them in light beige, but one husband and two dogs later, it looks awful. I want to get a new one in a slightly darker tan to hide messes. Now, I just have to convince the hubs that we NEED a new set.

  7. says

    I have a pillow topped mattress that I love but when it is time to replace it I want to get something organic. I hope you do a follow-up post after sleeping on it for a few months to see how it holds up.

  8. says

    Funny! I posted about our 2nd (dating, not married YET) anniversary a couple days ago. And showed a picture of us laying on our bedroom floor!

    That mattress looks great. We got a viscolastic mattress from Eric’s parents when we moved in together. They bought it for the guest bedroom at their beach house and then decided it was just too big (after literally one night of use) so… free (very expensive) mattress for us. Now. I hate it. I LOVE super hard brick-like beds. And this one is, I guess, medium-soft. But I think I’ll have to live with it, since it was free, new and great quality… right?

  9. Chelsea says

    When I married my husband I also married his temperpedic matress. We are both athletes so they are supposed to be good for us, but the matress is so hard you cant even jump on the thing. It also wieghs a thousand and half pounds so I cant move it by myself or barely lift a corner up. I added a feather bed to the top to make it feel a little better. But with all that complaining aside, its a new couch we need. I wont go into much detail there except even a slip cover cant help this thing!

  10. says

    I hope your mattress works out for you. It’s amazing the difference a new mattress can make. We had a hand me down mattress too that looked very similar to your old one when we got married. We bought a new one soon after, but it had to be replaced just 4 years later because it was sinking in the areas we slept. Now we have a Sleep Number, I looooove it, hubby not so much, but it works for now.

    We considered a latex one, but the ones we found around us didn’t get very good reviews as far as holding up and avoiding “canoeing” where the bed leaves indentations where you sleep. I hadn’t seen the one you got though, it looks nicer. That’s neat that you could customize the firmness. Sweet Dreams!

  11. says

    my husband and I just celebrated two years in may and the in-laws gift to us was a new mattress! are you guys disappointed you missed the awkwardness of testing out mattresses in a store? ha! laying down on a bare mattress while talking to a sales guy is a bit weird.

    love that you went organic though- we might consider it when we (hopefully!) upgrade to a king in the next house.

  12. says

    How appropriate that you do a bedroom related post today when your bedroom is also on ikeahacker.

    I’ve owned the SULTAN ERFJORD from IKEA for about 2 years now and love, love, love it. It’s their top of the line latex mattress with a queen running $999. The best part is that it is 85% natural latex and the rest of the materials are also pretty darn eco-friendly (silk, eco-cotton and wool).

  13. says

    Oooh, how nice. G and I really need to get a new mattress at some point, but are waiting until we buy a new bed.

    Our 2 year anniversary was in May, and for anniversaries we buy things for us rather than buying gifts for each other. This year we have plans to buy some new sheets and towels (I know, how exciting, but we want some more decadent ones) once we move to the coast.

  14. says

    Happy (almost) anniversary! We celebrated our 2nd on Tuesday. My parents bought us a beautiful vintage tablecloth to go with the cotton theme. It looks too cute! Like everyone else, I can’t wait to hear how your new mattress holds up. I’m very allergic to dust mites, and I’ve heard that a wool mattress cover really helps keep them away.