Blog posts from CertiPUR-US®,  a certification program administered by a nonprofit organization.

7 Questions to Ask Before Buying Upholstered Furniture

Are you in the market for upholstered furniture? Whether you’re furnishing a new home, updating a room, or replacing a single piece, there are many factors to consider before you begin. Here are seven questions to ask to help you start the furniture buying process like a pro! Will it fit? Measure the length and width of your room, including windows, alcoves, doorways, and fireplace hearths. Then create a floor plan on paper with the measurements to scale. Sketch in the dimensions of furniture you like. Finally, recreate your plan on the floor, marking the spaces for each piece with tape (use painter’s tape to be sure it won’t damage the floor). Add any ottomans and end or coffee tables. Does the arrangement work in your room? What’s your style? This is the fun part of furniture shopping. Knowing the style of furniture you like best and that fits in with your décor will help you choose a furniture source that offers the most choices for you. Magazines and design look-books are a good place to start and platforms such as Pinterest and Houzz are also terrific for honing your style. It’s easy to window-shop online today, but visiting [...]

By |2023-03-14T21:36:08-04:00March 14, 2023|

For Valentine’s Day: Couples Sleeping Together on TV

It wasn't too long ago (relatively) that showing a couple together on a mattress on television was taboo. I thought Valentine’s Day would be an appropriate time to explore that history. “The Flintstones,” an animated series in the 1960s about a cave-dwelling prehistoric family, may have been among the first to show a couple, Wilma and Fred, together in bed (albeit a bed made of rock). For live-action couples on TV shows, the “one-foot rule” was said to have existed. You could show a couple in their bedroom, but at least one person had to have one foot on the floor! On “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” there was a nightstand between Laura and Rob’s twin-size beds. The same was true of Lucille Ball and Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy” in the 1950s (and reruns forever)—and they were married in real life! Florence Henderson, playing Carol, the mother (and stepmother) on “The Brady Brunch” (1969–1974), once suggested she and TV husband Peter were the first to sleep in the same bed on-air, but that’s widely disputed. The not-quite-human family in “The Munsters” (1964–1966 and rebooted last year) are often cited, but TV history trivia experts are more likely [...]

By |2023-02-23T10:19:52-05:00February 13, 2023|

2023: CertiPUR-US Celebrates 15th Year

Happy 15th anniversary to the CertiPUR-US® program! Administered by a nonprofit organization, the CertiPUR-US program was established in 2008 to counter substandard foams imported from other countries. In some cases, these substandard foams contained substances that had been banned in the U.S. or were listed by chemical watch groups as potentially harmful. I am proud to have been involved with this organization since its inception when a group of visionary foam manufacturers, working in tandem with environmentalists, academics, chemists, industry associations and consumer groups, developed a testing, analysis and certification program that set rigorous standards for the flexible polyurethane foam used in bedding and upholstered furniture. CertiPUR-US provides consumers with the comfort and confidence of knowing that certified foam meet our rigorous standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited laboratories. Now recognized worldwide, CertiPUR-US certified foams are: Made without ozone depleters Made without PBDEs or the following Tris flame retardants: TCEP, TDBPP, TDCPP or TEPA Made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals Made without formaldehyde Made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million) CertiPUR-US® Technical [...]

By |2023-01-20T09:51:49-05:00January 20, 2023|

The Naughty or Nice List of Furniture and Mattress Companies

Santa’s got his list, and here at CertiPUR-US®, we have a list that matters, too. It’s a list of the companies and brands consumers can count on that use CertiPUR-US® certified foam. The most common question we get from consumers day in and day out goes something like this: “I’m about to buy an [XYZ mattress or XYZ sofa or chair] and their website (or salesperson) says they use certified foam, but I don’t see them on your list.” So, here’s the thing: If they aren’t on our list, they are either naughty or confused. When we established CertiPUR-US, we anticipated that there would be companies that would say their foam was certified when it wasn’t. So, we built in safeguards — because our whole operation is based on consumer service, integrity and transparency. One safeguard is that we keep an up-to-date list of the companies and brands that have registered with us and for whom we have verification that they are using CertiPUR-US certified foam in their mattresses, pillows, bedding accessories and upholstered furniture. We have registered companies using certified foam in dog beds and medical sleep-related products, too! Some unlisted companies may be naughty and falsely claiming [...]

By |2022-12-19T09:51:53-05:00December 19, 2022|

Keep it Zipped: Mattresses and Fiberglass

Consumers continue to ask us about fiberglass in their mattresses. It's an important topic so I am re-issuing this blog post that first appeared about 18 months ago. Foam producers do not use fiberglass to make the types of foam we certify through the CertiPUR-US® program. However, sometimes there may be fiberglass in your mattress cover or in a fabric “sock” that is pulled over the foam core before the cover is put on — in what is referred to as a barrier fabric. These barrier fabrics are designed to meet government flammability standards. This is a perfectly legitimate practice. But it is important the fiberglass stays safely contained inside the mattress. For that reason, do not remove the cover of a mattress without first reading product care instructions carefully, consulting the manufacturer’s website or calling their customer service department. Do not take any chances. Of course, some mattresses are designed with a cover that can be removed without creating a problem, but just because you see a zipper, do not assume the cover is removable. Sometimes the zipper is there only for easy assembly at the factory and not for the consumer to use.  In these cases, unzipping [...]

By |2022-11-21T09:22:59-05:00November 21, 2022|

Fall Is the Perfect Time for an At-Home Furniture Inventory

With the holidays fast approaching, now is a good time to do a room-by-room furniture inventory to find where a little sprucing up would make a big difference. It’s a novel way to experience your home as a guest. Here’s how to start: Grab a notepad and pencil. Walk out of your front door. Now walk back in, pretending you’re a stranger, seeing each room for the first time. Go from room-to-room and do a complete scan -- furniture, walls, windows, floors and ceilings. Take notes! You might come to the conclusion that the time has come to switch out the sofa or add a fresh new accent chair. Furniture shopping can be a huge inspiration. Most furniture stores feature room galleries that help you understand how a designer-inspired seating area works. And many offer complimentary design consultations. Don't get discouraged! Even if you can't redo an entire room, you can make a wish list and that alone is a good start. I’m always amazed at how much pleasure I get from adding a new piece of art, moving furniture around or bringing something from one room to another. Recently, I replaced an worn old sofa in a sitting [...]

By |2022-10-19T13:52:35-04:00October 18, 2022|

Five Things to Know Before Buying an Adjustable Bed

Imagine lying on a mattress, remote control in hand, as you discover a seemingly unlimited array of sleep positions, each designed to cater to a specific need, preference or physical issue. Welcome to the tech-enhanced world of adjustable beds. With steadily improving quality and tons of options, adjustable foundations have moved from trend to mainstream in just a few years — now comprising about 14% of the bedding market in terms of units sold -- and one of its fastest-growing segments.  Today’s adjustable bed bases are both smart-looking and smart, responding to the sleeper’s every whim with the touch of a button or the click of a phone app. Want to watch TV or sit up and read before bed? Need to elevate your swollen feet or provide lumbar support for an aching back? Could your acid reflux or snoring problem benefit from a little “heads up”? Would experiencing “weightlessness” help you drift off to sleep? An adjustable bed can provide endless configurations and support levels. And don’t worry about replicating that perfect combination — your bed’s built-in memory has got your back. Before you run out to shop for an adjustable bed, let’s look at some of the [...]

By |2022-09-08T11:20:27-04:00September 7, 2022|

Sleep Deprivation in College Students Is Serious. You Can Help.

If you’re one of the many parents about to pack their kids off to college, you might be harboring a few concerns. Having done it several times, I can relate to one of these concerns in particular: “Is my kid going to get enough sleep?” It’s a legitimate one:  More than 50% of university students suffer from sleep deprivation and daytime sleepiness. Here are some eye-opening statistics from the article, "Sleeping in College: The Impossible Dream?" by Carolyn Burke for Sleep Advisor: Studies show sleep loss can hurt academic performance just as much as binge-drinking or drug use. A study from the University of Arizona found that nearly 25% of student-athletes reported excessive fatigue. Nearly one-third of female students at Brown University suffered from insomnia. University of Georgia students say sleep loss hurts their academic performance, causing lower grades, missing classwork or skipped classes. According to Sleep Health Journal, first-year students are more likely to suffer bad grades due to poor sleep and are 14% more likely to drop a class for every day of missed sleep compared to other undergraduate students. Sleep debt can cause memory problems, mood regulation issues and poor decision-making, according to the University of [...]

By |2022-09-01T12:53:26-04:00August 11, 2022|

Tips on Buying Pet Beds

I no longer have dogs, but I still have pet beds for my three grand-dogs — two Salukis and a Boxer — who visit often. Dogs like a place of comfort and refuge. That’s why crate training works so well for pups and why pet beds are so important for dogs of all ages. Dogs spend about 12 to 14 hours a day snoozing, and most welcome the warmth, comfort, security and support of a dog bed over a hard floor. Some say a dog bed can even prolong the life of your beloved pet by cushioning joints. A pet bed can be a training tool, too. Asking your dog to go to their “place” is not a punishment but rather a request to kindly relocate during family dinner or when it’s best that dogs are not underfoot. When you travel with your dog, bringing along a pet bed provides a sense of familiarity, making the dog less anxious and more likely to settle down. My grand-dogs sleep with their human parents at home — but not at Grandma’s! Moving their dog beds near my bed at night helps drive home that point. Yes, they put their chins on [...]

By |2023-03-09T12:55:55-05:00July 5, 2022|

Moving This Summer? Ten Steps to Lessen Stress

Millions of Americans are on the move this summer. If you’re among those taking that big leap to a new home, you can minimize moving-day chaos by organizing everything ahead of time and breaking it down into a series of manageable steps. Here is your 10-step game plan to help the experience go smoothly:Map it out. Plan your new layout on paper so that you know that everything fits and where it will go. Get all the measurements of your new home, including placement of doors, windows, staircases and electrical outlets. If your furniture won’t all fit, label what goes and what stays. Give your future floor plan to your movers so they can see what goes where on moving day.Label, label, label. Label every box with all contents and identify the room the box belongs in. Color coding can help immensely after moving day: red-marked boxes in dining room, green in living room, etc.Find a reliable moving company. Moving heavy furniture is exhausting, and accidents can occur that can harm people and belongings. Reputable, professional movers can save you a ton of aggravation, but if that isn’t in your budget, enlist plenty of strong, capable helpers and make sure [...]

By |2022-06-28T14:16:52-04:00June 2, 2022|

The Soft vs. Firm Mattress Debate: Finding Peace in the Split

May is Better Sleep Month — a good time to revisit the age-old soft vs. firm mattress dilemma. According to the Better Sleep Council, fifty-one percent of Americans said they prefer a “firm or very firm” mattress while 49 percent like their mattress “soft or very soft.” This means the average couple has about a 50-50 chance of agreeing on mattress preference. When we talk about firm vs. soft, we are really talking about the top layer’s feel of the bed, not the actual support level. Wherever we may fall on the firm/soft preference spectrum, our goal should be a mattress that allows our spine to maintain its natural curve and aligns with our hips, neck and head without any painful pressure points. Where do you fit in? Firm mattress lovers: Sleep experts say you are likely to be a back or stomach sleeper with an average-to-heavy body type. You prefer a flat, even surface and the spinal support it provides. You may struggle with back pain when you sleep on soft mattresses. Soft mattress lovers: You’re probably a side sleeper with a light frame. You like to sink into extra cushioning because a firm mattress creates uncomfortable pressure [...]

By |2022-05-05T08:08:08-04:00May 5, 2022|

Hot News from High Point: Top 7 Trends in Furniture and Design for 2022

The world-famous High Point Market in North Carolina just wrapped up last week. Host to nearly 100,000 attendees from 100 countries, the show includes 12 million square feet of home furnishing showrooms spread over 180 buildings in High Point’s historic downtown. Former courthouses, movie theaters, post offices, and gas stations are transformed into the year’s most watched furniture fashion runway. Here’s a recap: Comfort reigns. Many of us have learned to love the comforting embrace of home and want our furniture to reflect that. Furniture Today says the 2022 showrooms are featuring lots of sectional sofas, with comfortable updates like cloud-like deep seating, plushly padded arms and feather back cushions. Upholstery fabrics are designed for performance but softer to the touch. Make a statement. To provide interest and contrast, interior designers are including a statement piece. Divans, settees, sofas, upholstered benches and chairs boast unique angles and sculptural designs that can be viewed from all sides — perfect for today’s open-concept rooms and floating furniture layouts. Colors are neutral and soothing. The 2022 palette features gray accented by soft blush tones, along with a range of clean whites, creams, warm neutrals and deep blues and greens. Leather upholstery pieces [...]

By |2022-05-05T07:06:39-04:00April 11, 2022|

Bed Check: It’s National Sleep Awareness Week®

This is National Sleep Awareness Week®! Sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation, this special week is a good time to focus on strategies for getting a better night’s sleep. The best strategy? Build a good night's sleep from the bottom up – with what you are sleeping on! Think of your mattress and foundation as sleep equipment. As in any endeavor, the quality of your equipment matters. Tennis pros invest in just the right racket. Golfers on the PGA Tour care deeply about the clubs they use. I don’t recall a NASCAR driver winning a major race in a clunker! Similarly, what you sleep on can contribute to a good night's sleep. According to the Better Sleep Council, if your mattress is more than seven years old, it’s probably time to consider a new one —or at least try some new mattresses to see if they feel more supportive and comfortable than what you are used to sleeping on. Find mattress-shopping advice here. With so many manufacturers and retailers today offering mattresses containing CertiPUR-US® certified foam, it’s easy to find a mattress (and topper and pillow) that will make you comfortable physically as well as mentally, by giving you [...]

By |2022-08-18T13:31:34-04:00March 17, 2022|

Bedroom Makeover: 10 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

According to a nationwide survey from the Better Sleep Council, one out of every four Americans are dissatisfied with the quality of their sleep. Fortunately, there are key things you can do to set yourself up for success. Experts call it good “sleep hygiene.” We call it a bedroom makeover! If you’re dreaming of a better night’s sleep, here are ten tips that could help. Mattress. The Better Sleep Council suggests evaluating your mattress for comfort and support every seven years to make sure you have the best possible chance at a good night’s rest. Their experts advise that it’s probably time for a new mattress if you wake up with stiffness or pain, if your mattress shows signs of wear and tear, or if you find you sleep better on a hotel mattress or in a friend’s guest room. Foam. Another consideration, look for a mattress made from foam certified by CertiPUR-US. That’s a nonprofit program that uses independent, accredited testing to make sure the polyurethane foam in mattresses (as well as pillows and bedding accessories) is made without chemicals of concern like formaldehyde and Tris flame retardants. If your mattress was made before 2010, it’s unlikely the [...]

By |2022-05-05T07:09:52-04:00February 8, 2022|

Trending for 2022: Biophilic Interior Design

Okay, you don’t have to plant a tree in your living room this year to be trendy! That said, the hot topic of 2022: “biophilic interior design.” Marrying science and design, biophilia is a human-centered, holistic approach to design, based on a simple concept: incorporating more elements of nature in interior environments can yield benefits for our health and well-being. More than any other trend I’ve seen, this one feels like an antidote to the times we live in. As we all reel from the chaos of the past two years, there is a collective acknowledgment that we must tend to our own physical, mental, and emotional needs. Simultaneously, technological developments have increasingly alienated us from the natural world. We now spend an estimated 80-90% of our time indoors (between home and the workplace), often in urban environments far removed from the soul-quenching influence of nature. Enter the concept of biophilia — “the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature,” noted Eric Baldwin in his 2020 article, “Biophilia: Bringing Nature into Interior Design” on the architecture website ArchDaily. He explains how imbuing built spaces with characteristics of the natural world, such as water, greenery, [...]

By |2022-05-05T07:08:21-04:00January 11, 2022|

The History of Beds in Boxes

Almost all U.S. bedding manufacturers offer at least one boxed bed option. While this isn’t surprising now, the idea seemed quite radical nearly twenty years ago, when the first Bed-in-a-Box® prototype was developed. Back in 2004, a machine builder named Bill Bradley in Johnson City, Tennessee, wanted to engineer a queen-size mattress that would compress into a box that companies like FedEx® and UPS® would accept. Bradley had the machinery know-how to make it happen, but he needed to collaborate with a foam producer and reached out to NCFI in nearby Mount Airy, North Carolina, for assistance. Chris Bradley — no relation — of NCFI (one of our current and original U.S. foam producers to certify foams through the CertiPUR-US® program) remembers taking that phone call. “Bill hadn’t had any luck getting other foam producers to bite and it sounded pretty wild and crazy, but I figured I’d drive down to Johnson City and check out what he was doing for myself.” That drive on a longshot to Tennessee turned out to be the beginning of a decades-long productive relationship and the origins of the shipping mattresses in boxes direct to consumer concept that became an industry-wide phenomenon. In [...]

By |2022-05-05T07:10:44-04:00November 18, 2021|

Sizing Up Mattress Sizes Will Surprise You

If buying a new mattress is on your to-do list, you may already know there are plenty of types of mattresses with different “feels” available, but did you realize that you also can get just about any size and shape imaginable? I’ve been involved with the home furnishings industry for decades, but these innovative sizes now on the market surprised me — and even some bedding experts I talked with recently. You’ve no doubt heard of a California King, which is little narrower and longer (72″ x 84″) than a traditional King (76″ x 80″) mattress, but move over, California — other states are wrangling for the throne. Today, there are Wyoming-, Alaska-, and Texas-sized mattresses, so named for their wide-open spaces. At 108″ x 108″, a Texas-size mattress is the width of two Double beds — roomy enough for two adults and a couple of Saint Bernards. Download our mattress size chart to see dimensions. Are you looking for a good night’s sleep somewhere more unconventional than your bedroom? There’s a specialty mattress industry that makes mattresses for just about any vehicle or space you have in mind, including a pop-up camper, 18-wheeler, or sailboat. Cowpokes and equestrians [...]

By |2022-01-17T14:10:25-05:00October 28, 2021|

A Closer Look at the Science and Process Behind Certified Foam 

When you shop for a mattress or upholstered furniture, you are often looking for comfort—not just physical comfort but the comfort and confidence of knowing that the furnishings you bring into your home and spend so much time with are made with materials you can feel good about.  That’s why the CertiPUR-US® foam certification program, administered by a nonprofit organization, was developed: to ensure the foam in mattresses, pillows, toppers, upholstered chairs and sofas—even dog beds, kids' indoor cushions and some medical sleep support products—are made with flexible polyurethane foam that meets rigorous standards for content, emissions and durability.  Here are 10 points that offer a quick glimpse of the science and process behind our certification:  We only use independent accredited laboratories for testing and analyzing foams. Our testing ensures the foams we certify are made without ozone depleters; made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris”) flame retardants; made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals; made without formaldehyde; made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and have low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million). We prohibit foams made with any chemicals that have been identified by [...]

By |2022-05-05T07:11:22-04:00September 9, 2021|

Zen and the Art of Furniture Buying

Are you in the market for a cozy new sofa or chair? Great, but if it’s not currently in stock, you may want to plan on it taking longer than expected. I discovered this when I ordered a new sofa this summer. The fabric was in stock, and the salesperson assured me the order would arrive by late fall. Now it’s looking more like January 2022. Why the long wait? Turns out the delay is caused by a global supply shortage that’s creating bottlenecks across many industries—not only in upholstered furniture, but also boats, automobiles, RVs and much more. Furniture industry suppliers and manufacturers have been scrambling to meet the increased customer demand that started during the COVID-19 pandemic, when homebound consumers turned their focus to improving their interiors. Then, producers ramped up to 120% capacity to deal with the exploding demand.  According to a recent article in USA Today, the resulting backlog has affected the entire supply chain in this industry—all the way down to the furniture retailers, who generally maintain lean inventories and minimal surpluses. The stores are trying their best to keep up with demand, caught in between the struggling producers and frustrated customers.  The media [...]

By |2022-05-05T07:12:59-04:00August 4, 2021|

Home Décor Hack: 5 Ways to Benefit from Furniture Store Design Services

Do you drool over the rooms featured in home design magazines and websites and wish your home could look so put together? One reason those rooms are so fabulous is because they were created by people who really know what they are doing! A professional interior designer can give you confidence in your purchases and help you create a cohesive, styled home that is uniquely yours.  If you’re like me, it’s hard to decide about things like furniture size, styles, colors, fabrics and materials. Designers are trained to overcome the most daunting challenges. And, they are well-versed in floor planning, color theory, design styles, window treatments, paint, finishes, textiles, accessorizing and traffic flow. Coping with unusual room layouts and/or space challenges is part of their everyday job. Here’s my hot tip for you this summer: Many furniture stores offer interior design services, either in-person or online, that you can tap for free or for a small fee that can be deducted from the price of any furniture you purchase later. You can sit down with their staff designer, either at the store or via video conference, and get great advice and gain access to hundreds of options that extend [...]

By |2022-05-05T07:14:09-04:00July 13, 2021|

Keep it Zipped: Mattresses and Fiberglass

Reading this blog could save you a ton of time and aggravation. In just the past year or two, consumers have been asking us a question that has also received increased media attention. It has to do with fiberglass. To be absolutely clear, foam manufacturers do not use fiberglass to make the types of foam we certify through the CertiPUR-US® program. But sometimes there may be fiberglass in your mattress cover or in a fabric “sock” that is pulled over the foam core before the cover is put on — in what is referred to as a barrier fabric. These barrier fabrics are designed to meet government flammability standards. This is a perfectly legitimate practice. But it is important the fiberglass stays safely contained inside the mattress. For that reason, do not remove the cover of a mattress without first reading product care instructions carefully, consulting the manufacturer’s website or calling their customer service department. Do not take any chances. Of course, some mattresses are designed with a cover that can be removed without creating a problem, but just because you see a zipper, do not assume the cover is removable. Sometimes the zipper is there only for easy [...]

By |2022-05-05T07:14:54-04:00June 17, 2021|

May Is Better Sleep Month: New Research Reveals COVID-19’s Influence

2020 was a year that most of us wish we could have slept through — and it looks like we gave it a good try, with more of us buying new beds and bedding, according to a new consumer survey commissioned by the Better Sleep Council (BSC). The BSC has been focusing our attention on the importance of good sleep for decades, establishing Better Sleep Month in May 1985. Since then, it has conducted many consumer surveys, but the BSC’s most recent poll reflected some interesting changes in people’s sleep and mattress preferences stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few particularly notable findings in the survey, which focused on recent mattress buyers and consumers planning to purchase a mattress: We value our sleep more than ever. A majority (75%) agree that a good night’s sleep is important to their health, placing it above regular medical checkups (69%), stress management (65%), a healthy diet (62%) and physical exercise (58%) on the priority scale. A few of us are sleeping better, but ... One in three respondents say that the stresses and turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic have wreaked havoc on their rest, citing concerns about the economy, political [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:05:54-04:00April 29, 2021|

Spring Cleaning Your Mattress: Easier Than You Think

When is the last time you cleaned your mattress? Never, right? You’re not alone! Spring is a good time to start making this an annual tradition. Cleaning a mattress is actually simple, says Kristi Kellogg and Miranda Silva, whose tips appeared in a recent issue of Architectural Digest. You won’t need special products or equipment — just a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment; some cleaning cloths; an enzyme stain remover you can make yourself or buy at most grocery, home improvement or hardware stores; laundry soap; baking soda; and cold water. Here is a breakdown of the steps: Strip the bed. Wash all bedding, pillows and mattress covers (provided the label says they are removable and washable) in warm water.  Do not remove the mattress covering. Even if the mattress cover material has a zipper, this is typically not meant to be removed and can create serious problems if the covering uses fiberglass to meet national mattress flammability standards.  Vacuum the entire surface of the mattress. The upholstery attachment will help you get into the seams. Spot-clean any stains. You can use store-bought enzyme stain remover or make your own using a little dish soap mixed with water [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:04:38-04:00April 5, 2021|

The History of Recliners: They Go Waaay Back

The evolution of recliners has been extraordinary in the past few decades, with designs to suit every décor and space.  The modern recliner can change multiple positions at the push of a button, charge your laptop, warm and massage your aching muscles, and even help you stand up. What’s not to love? The recliner earned its seat of honor following a long and noble path around the globe that dates back thousands of years. From royalty to dentistry, wretched excess to wrenching extraction, this special chair has seen it all. Here’s a salute to the not-so-humble history of the recliner: Peel me a grape. History’s first recliners may have belonged to the ancient Egyptians, whose lavish banquets took lounging to an art form. They wined and dined on daybeds called “klines” with intricately carved legs depicting animals, cushions, armrests, and headboards. During her 44-year reign, Queen Elizabeth I used a “stool” with a tasseled pillow to support her royal feet and spring mechanism that reclined in several positions. Monarchs such as King Philip II of Spain and Charles I of England enjoyed “sleeping chairs” with adjustable backs. Even the well-traveled Napoleon III used a portable, upholstered, reclining camp bed [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:08:21-04:00March 4, 2021|

Thank you, NASA: The Unusual History of Memory Foam

Are you one of the millions of people who sleep on a mattress made with memory foam? This remarkable invention’s origins can be traced to the space program. Here is the surprising story behind memory foam: It took off because of a NASA mission. Memory foam was the brainchild of Charles Yost, a visionary aeronautical engineer in Asheville, N.C., who helped build a recovery system for the Apollo command module in 1962. Four years later, the NASA contractor was given a new mission: to develop airline seats that offer better impact protection in the event of an accident, as well as enhanced passenger comfort on long flights. Yost, who died in 2005 at the age of 71, created a new type of flexible polyurethane foam material that conformed to whatever shape was pressing against it, returning to its original shape when the pressure was removed, providing an even distribution of body weight. Early on, Yost called this tempur foam, while others referred to it as “slow spring back foam.” Technically, it is viscoelastic foam, but widely referred to as memory foam. I can’t write about memory foam without giving a shout-out to one of our CertiPUR-US® participating foam producers [...]

By |2021-02-05T22:01:51-05:00February 4, 2021|

Top 10 Home Décor Trends for 2021

It is unlikely we will ever forget the year 2020 – and its reverberating effects will carry us well into 2021. Many are facing serious financial repercussions – others the heartbreaking loss of loved ones. For those fortunate enough to ride this out by hunkering down, homes have become the hub of all family activity – often including school and work – and a sanctuary to buffer us from an uncertain world. This pivotal year has transformed how we view our living spaces, according to home furnishings and décor experts. Here are a few home décor trends they are forecasting for 2021: Spaces do double-duty. We will continue to need multifunctional spaces that fulfill a variety of purposes. There is an increased focus on creating spaces (nooks!) designed for both relaxation and productivity, without sacrificing aesthetics. Comfort reigns. We’re gravitating toward furnishings that evoke comfort and livability, according to Modsy’s annual trend report on This means overstuffed furniture with softer curves; and textural, grainy, reclaimed woods.  Old feels new. is seeing a resurgence in antiques and repurposed, salvaged, and retro pieces that can be found in flea markets and antique stores. Modern, ‘80s décor also is enjoying [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:09:52-04:00January 4, 2021|

The Truth About Latex Foam in Mattresses

I field a lot of questions about mattress manufacturers’ and retailers' claims that their product is “all-natural” and “chemical-free.” Recently, a customer was confused about flexible polyurethane foam versus latex mattresses. “Is it true that latex is "chemical-free" and more "natural"? she asked. First, let me clarify that we only certify flexible polyurethane foam, which comprises the far greater share of the bedding market. We do not certify latex foam. However, some of our participating foam producers do produce latex, and there are mattresses sold today that are made with both flexible polyurethane foam and latex foam layers. So, we are not anti-latex -- just anti-misleading claims! It has become increasingly difficult for consumers to navigate through the labyrinth of sometimes inaccurate and exaggerated claims that can be a minefield when shopping for a new mattress. It is our policy to adhere to facts and to abide by the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides. These guides set guidelines for advertisers and were designed to prevent marketers from misleading consumers with hyperbolic and/or unsubstantiated claims. Among the claims we caution our participants not to use are terms like “chemical-free,” and “natural." Be wary of marketers that try to trick you [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:09:13-04:00November 30, 2020|

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Daylight Saving Time

Whether you embrace it or brace for it, Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends for 2020 on Sunday, Nov. 1, when we turn our clocks back an hour at 2 a.m. If we look on the bright side, we gain in sleep what we lose in daylight hours--at least for one luxurious day. The springtime shift is more likely to mess us up—read on for more about that. Here are 10 fun facts that shed some light on why we change our clocks and what really happens when we try to fool Mother Nature. It is actually “Daylight Saving Time” (singular), not “Daylight Savings Time” (plural). Credit for DST is erroneously given to Founding Father and inventor Benjamin Franklin from his essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” in The Journal of Paris. The actual originator was British-born New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson in 1895, who wanted to gain extra daylight to collect and study bugs.  There is no international standard for DST, which is observed by about 70 countries, excluding China and Japan. Many countries near the equator do not adjust their clocks. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the system of uniform DST throughout [...]

By |2020-11-02T09:28:07-05:00October 27, 2020|

Survey Says: Top Ten Reasons People Have Trouble Sleeping

In an independent national consumer survey among mattress shoppers commissioned by the CertiPUR-US® program, we asked, “On nights when you have trouble sleeping, what are the biggest factors?” Quite a few of the things people told us that interfere with their sleep are relatively easy to fix. So, here’s the top ten list and beyond – along with some solutions you can put into play tonight to improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. The top 10 factors that interfere with sleep: Too hot or too cold Uncomfortable mattress Aches and pains General life stress worries Watching TV Snoring partner Too much light in room Tossing and turning partner Checking phone/electronics while in bed Noise from sources you can’t control, such as street noise, neighbors, heating system, etc. But beyond the Top 10 list, there are some interesting insights if you group the answers into categories, as well as several action steps you can take to improve sleep: Find the right temperature. Invest in an electric blanket or fan with a remote control, so you can easily turn it on or off from bed during the night. If your temperature needs differ from your partner, get a [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:10:25-04:00September 30, 2020|

Surviving the New Normal at Home

Home is being redefined in 2020. Who would have imagined that home would become where just about everything is, subbing for the office, classroom, gym, restaurant, vacation destination and countless other places that, sadly, we may never view quite the same way again. There is no sugarcoating the fact that many are enduring unbearable personal loss and financial hardship during the pandemic. If you have the good fortune to be healthy and still have a steady income, now is a time to consider donating to one or more of the deserving charities working overtime to fill unprecedented need. Before donating, you may want to research the organization's worthiness on Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that evaluates charities.  Those who do have the means are investing in their home life right now. Housing sales are booming—up a record 24.7% in July despite an otherwise troubled economy, according to the National Association of Realtors. Spending more time at home is prompting many people to look for larger places in which to work remotely. Other market factors, such as a shortage of available housing and low interest rates, are helping to fuel the boom. Those of us staying put are looking for creative [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:07:05-04:00August 26, 2020|

Checklist for Better Sleep: 10 Things You Can Do Tonight

The quality of your sleep affects your day in profound ways—it can inspire or sap creativity, flexibility, energy and mood. It can also make us feel as if we can take on the world or are unable to perform the simplest tasks. If you’re having a “down” day, there’s a good chance you didn’t sleep well the night before. Some things can’t be controlled, which is even more reason to control the things you can. These 10 tips are considered basic sleep hygiene, an odd term defined as “habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis.” Are you practicing these sleep basics? Be consistent. Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, including weekends and vacations. Aim for seven-plus hours. If you’re still lying there after 20 minutes, get up. Worrying about not sleeping can trigger a vicious cycle. Control your environment. Quiet and darkness are critical for sound sleep. Use blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, fans, white noise or whatever works to control external stimuli. Keep the room at a comfortable 65 degrees. Sound chilly? Read about the science of sleep temperature. Power down. Turn off [...]

By |2020-08-03T09:05:37-04:00July 29, 2020|

Practical Advice on Choosing a Dog Bed

Dogs spend about 12–14 hours a day snoozing, and most welcome the warmth, comfort, security and support of a dog bed over a hard floor. Some say a dog bed can even prolong the life of your beloved pet by cushioning joints.  I’m a big believer in proper crate training to housebreak puppies, but post-crate training, dog beds provide a place to feel safe and to relax during the day. This is true even if they share your bed at night—which is not always a good idea for light sleepers or those with allergies—or as a second-best place to sleep if your bed is off limits. When you travel with your dog, bringing along their bed provides a sense of familiarity, making them less anxious and more likely to settle down. My daughter’s two dogs are trained to retreat to their beds when she says “place.” The command is not meant or seen as a punishment, just a request to kindly relocate during family dinner or when it's best that dogs are not underfoot. What shape, size, design and other features of your dog’s bed you choose depends on several factors. Here are a few guidelines:  Size and fit. [...]

By |2020-06-30T12:11:54-04:00June 29, 2020|

8 Tips for Buying a Mattress Online

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the idea of purchasing a mattress online particularly appealing. There’s no denying the convenience factor, but how do you choose a mattress without trying it first? Much like buying a car, it can be daunting to purchase without a test-drive, but these tips will help: Do your homework. Carefully check reviews and consumer safeguards before buying. Look at the 4- or 5-star reviews, often the first to show up on a website, but also read less favorable reviews and look for most recent reviews, too, to see patterns that either give you greater comfort — or raise a red flag. Be sure your purchase is returnable or exchangeable. Many online retailers are savvy about consumers’ concerns and offer money-back trial periods and exchange programs. But take time to read the fine print on the return policy and options. Who pays for shipping — and how does a mattress get packaged for return? Can you reach the company? Make sure there is a phone number or a responsive virtual chat system. It’s a good idea to test customer service with a pre-purchase question. If you cannot connect with customer service when you are [...]

By |2021-08-19T09:12:15-04:00May 28, 2020|

Bravo: Mattress and Furniture Companies Donating Beds, Sewing Face Masks

We all need a little good news right now—like stories of how people and companies are rising to the challenge as we face the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global crisis together. Within our own industry, I’ve been impressed by the generosity and creativity demonstrated by some of our CertiPUR-US® participating companies in mobilizing their manufacturing resources to help meet some of the medical supply challenges. Below are just a few of our heroes—the list is growing. If you are a company tooling up to help, please let us know so we can share your efforts, too. Serta Simmons Bedding, the nation’s largest bedding manufacturer, is donating 10,000 mattresses to New York City hospitals and temporary medical facilities to help meet the need for 140,000 additional hospital beds. It’s also calling on its peers to do the same. Serta Simmons will also use its factories and expansive distribution network to produce up to 20,000 beds per day at the lowest possible cost if needed. The $2 million donation is being facilitated through its relationship with Relief Bed International, a nonprofit that provides beds to impoverished people and disaster victims around the world. Mattress manufacturer Eclipse International is producing an initial batch of [...]

By |2022-01-25T13:04:32-05:00April 2, 2020|

Sheltering in Place? Here’s a Worthy Home Health and Safety Project

Thanks to Covid-19, we are all spending more time at home and more time cleaning. Once you've got your  anti-virus protocols in place, since you're already focused on healthy and safety, why not look at other ways you can protect yourself and your family? To that end, I'd like to introduce the concept of "replacement cycles." These are the predictable lengths of time that you can expect household products to last before they lose their effectiveness or deteriorate. Between waking up and going to bed, we engage in many routines for our personal hygiene, beauty and fitness, as well as household cooking and cleaning —all with the best of intentions.  However, many items we use carry hidden dangers if we don’t swap them out soon enough.  Here’s a room-by-room guide: Whole-House: Smoke Detector Batteries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends changing your smoke detector batteries twice a year, at the same time you change your clocks.  Of course, in the interim, if your smoke detector chirps at you to let you know the battery is dying, you’ll need to replace it before then.  This is so critical.  The CPSC says two thirds of residential fire deaths take [...]

By |2022-02-08T14:25:58-05:00March 18, 2020|