Choosing the right bed is a bit like choosing the right spouse or partner. It needs to accomplish a multitude of tasks - providing not only good support and comfort in times of need, but as the largest piece of furniture in a bedroom, it should also be visually enticing and well-presented.
The number of stores at Horizon Plaza offering custom-made beds and bedding is testament to this fact.
"Given the huge number of mattresses on the market - all made with different materials and with varying comfort and support benefits - choosing the right mattress can be a daunting task," says Okooko general manager Dondy Poernomo. "Your body type, favoured sleep position and any neck or back problems should all guide your purchase."
It took 20 years to research and develop Okooko's Bodyfit Sleep System. The bed frame consists of flexible slats configured to support each user's special body characteristics - one side can be firm and the other soft.
The New Zealand company uses native timber for its bed frames, including some recycled from old buildings. Each customer can obtain Okooko's personalised recommendations by logging on to its website and filling out a Bodyfit Prescription. Questions are asked about body type, favoured sleeping positions and any chronic pain to determine the best fit. Poernomo says the questionnaire has an 80 per cent accuracy rate.
Moira Roberts from Kokoon Beds and Bedding says it is important to spend as much time as possible testing mattresses.
Kokoon can custom-make latex and spring-coil mattresses to any size or shape. This is convenient for those with oddly shaped bedrooms. "We've produced round mattresses, mattresses with a tapered end, mattresses with rounded corners and other irregular shapes to fit different parts of boats," Roberts says.
Okooko's spring mattresses are designed so that independent spring units are housed in their own set of pockets. Each high-tensile, precompressed and tempered spring is encased in a fibre pocket and operates independently. This enables each spring to respond individually to pressure from different parts of the body, while eliminating partner disturbance.
Okooko also makes 100 per cent natural latex mattresses that provide gentle orthopaedic support for the entire body, helping maintain the correct spinal alignment and musculoskeletal support. Poernomo says this reduces stress on pressure points and prevents restricted capillary blood flow - the main cause of muscle aches and general restless sleep.
Dormirest managing director Kenneth Tjon says more consumers are becoming aware that natural fibres are important in choosing a bed.
Dormirest beds are made with natural fibres such as horsetail hair, camel wool and organic cotton, plus triple-hardened steel springs. While the camel wool keeps body temperature in balance, the combination of wool, cotton and horsetail hair helps moisture evaporate.
Tjon notes the cost of custom-made beds with natural fibres has been prohibitive up until now.
"The main reason many consumers are reluctant to choose a natural bed over a mainstream one is the price," he says. "For a well-made, European-brand bed, the price ranges from HK$150,000 to
HK$1 million. Dormirest imports natural fibres from the same
sources as the European brands. Assembly is done in the mainland. This gives Dormirest the ability to retail high-end natural beds for a fraction of the price of the European brands." Dormirest beds range from HK$45,000 to HK$120,000.
Aside from comfort requirements and practical considerations of good mattress support and the right bed height, there is also the style of linen to consider.
Lighter tones are generally more conducive to sleep and therefore more popular, Roberts says. "We have come across customers asking for the 'hotel' look. My advice is unless you are sure about the blanket all-white look, there is no harm in being more daring when choosing the colour of your linen."
When dressing a bed, Roberts says it is important to get the proportions right.
"A super-king bed may require king-size pillows and super-king quilt. If you have a sleeping
partner, it's not a bad idea to
upsize your quilt so you have
plenty to tuck around you. It's
also a good idea to take one size bigger for kids.
"Start with a basic colour, then introduce others gently by adding accent pillows, a matching runner, or throw or bedcover. The idea is to balance the top and bottom end of the bed."