Dear PoPville – Where to buy a mattress in DC?

“Dear PoPville,

I’m moving out of a mostly-furnished house to an unfurnished one and need something to sleep on. Can your readers recommend where to buy a decent, not insanely expensive mattress and box spring in DC? (I have a wooden bed frame I’d like to keep, so I’m not looking at futons- though I will be sleeping on an air mattress until I figure this out.) I’m too leery of bed bugs to go the CL/freecycle route, and I mostly hear bad stuff about mattress stores (like Sleepy’s, etc.). How do people feel about the cheaper options at Ikea – doable? Any other good options out there?”

Along the same lines, I’ve always wondered if it is worth waiting for those advertised sales like “this weekend only” that I often see around President Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day etc.?

46 Comment

  • Ikea is totally doable, especially if you are willing to spend like $400.

  • We got our last one at Macy’s. If you catch the right salesperson, they will negotiate the price and delivery costs.

    After comparing it was the best deal and the delivery guys were great. The mattress (a king) wouldn’t fit up the stairs in our rowhouse, so they hoisted it up to the second floor balcony and through the door to the bedroom without complaining.

    • Yes, beware of these old rowhouses! My mattress set was from Macy’s as well (very nice set) but the queen sized boxspring just would not fit up the stairwell. I think people had full sized beds, at the most, back in the day. If you don’t have a convenient balcony door to hoist a boxspring up to, get just a mattress (they will bend and flex to fit up the stairs). I turned my boxspring into a cat perch and bought one of these for my bedroom:

      It’s actually quite comfortable, but the price has gone up quite a bit – shop around.

      As for actually purchasing: Macys, Costco, Ikea. Try them out in the showroom before you plunk down your cash and think about spending a little more for a good set. To my mind, a comfortable bed is one of the things you shouldn’t be cheap about (if not for you, for your SO or potential SOs)! I’ve also heard good things about beds from the W Hotel Store ( but those are harder to try beforehand.

    • Be sure to get a “split” box spring (foldeable or 2 pieces) for any queens or kings, because yes, many old DC rowhouses and brownstone-ish home stairwells aren’t big enough to accept them.

  • I’m in the same boat. I have a cheap Ikea “pad”-style mattress (i.e. no springs) on wooden slats, and it’s remarkably uncomfortable. It just wore in from two years of, uh, sleeping on it I guess. Trying to buy a real one.

    On a related note, what do people tip mattress delivery men? I’m assuming it varies based on how difficult the carry is, etc.

  • Sears worked for me. They’ll deliver as well.

    Beware that a queen box spring may not fit up a lot of row home staircases. I found that out the hard way. I should have gotten the split box spring.

  • I also have an ikea mattress with slats that I have owned for a couple of years. I did not buy the cheapest they had – but it was still one of the more affordable options. I think the Mattress was a Fidjetun and the slats were also a bit more expensive than the cheapest model (they curve and are in general better built than the base model).

    Anyways, point is – I find it really comfortable and the bed has gotten great use with no signs of wear over the last few years. I think it’s a good way to go.

  • We went around to local stores and found the mattress we liked. We bought ours from – – which has physical stores in NC. Best price we found on Simmons mattresses and the delivery was quick and easy.

    • second for SDmattress

      if you find a simmons you like in a store they’ll work with on the the phone to get their comparable model (different retailers carry differnt models as to avoid comarison shopping and price matchign) for much much less money. service and delivery were great. can’t reccomend them enough.

  • If you are okay without testing it out first then Overstock has great deals on mattresses. I did a ton of research and got our queen size for about 380.

    It replaced an IKEA mattress which was okay but not great.

    • +1

      I love the mattress I bought on a year ago. Much cheaper than the same mattress in other stores and the shipping was quick and less than $3!

  • +1 for Macy’s. By the time you get all the way out to IKEA, you’re going to end up spending as much (if not more) for something of arguably less quality, plus you have to deal with getting out there and navigating the store, and (probably) bringing the mattress back yourself.

  • I used to have an IKEA mattress…it was OK, but nothing I’d want for longer than a couple of years. I got my last mattress from the Mattress Discounters at DCUSA (pictured above) during one of their sales. It’s very comfortable. They also deliver (for a reasonable charge), even on Saturdays.

  • There’s a free one floating in Piney Branch – the stretch between Arkansas and Beach Drive, almost directly across from 17th St. It might smell a bit though.

  • I got a great mattress at Costco – it was the Costco version of a Tempurpedic. I ordered it online and had it delivered. It shows up compressed in a box so it’s easy (although heavy) to get it wherever you need it to be.

  • There is a mattress place on PA Ave. SE where the McDonalds used to be.

    • Mattress Discounters. I went there when I was shopping for a box spring last month and their prices were the lowest I found anywhere (on par with IKEA but closer to home). IKEA’s delivery was cheaper though so I went with them.

  • Macy’s is really the way to go, great specials. Mattress Discounters is a total rip-off. Reminds me of an American Dad episode where Stan said “I don’t negotiate with terrorists”, to which Roger replied “Have you ever bought a mattress?”

    • Yes, Mattress Discounters always had the worst prices. Funny since the environment feels so cheap, like a used car dealership.

      • Mattress Discounters is fine if you’re willing to play hardball and negotiate. I bought a king from there and ended up paying a little less than I would’ve at Macy’s, Sears, etc., but that was only after I had managed to get them to come down over 40% from the price we started at.

  • Costco, hands down. Unless you’re really finicky about the type of mattress (super soft, really firm, etc.), you’re not going to get a better deal on a quality mattress. Find a friend who’s a member and just go to the store. They have twin, full, and queen (at least) in stock at all times, plus the memory foam ones. If you want to compare IKEA (also recommended above, but not by me) and Costco, you can do so on the Baltimore Ave exit off the Beltway, up by College Park/Beltsville.

  • Google for discount codes to the W Hotels and order one of their mattresses- a Simmons Beautyrest, but much cheaper than a comparable one in stores like Macy’s, Mattress Discounter, etc. You can often find a “friends and family” discount code for 30-40% off, and they deliver for free or practically nothing. We only buy beds from them now, as do all of our friends, and anyone who sleeps in one says its the most comfortable bed they’ve slept in. I think the prices have ticked up a bit since we last bought one, but you can still get a top quality King in the $700s with the discount.

  • Be sure to get a “split” box spring (foldeable or 2 pieces) for any queens or kings, because many old DC rowhouses and brownstone-ish home stairwells aren’t big enough to accept them, unless you haul them up through an open second or third floor window

  • LW here- thank you everyone for the great tips!! I hadn’t even considered Macy’s and had no idea foldable box springs suggested. Pet JT’s question, what do you guys recommend tipping for delivery?

    • check out the Macy’s at the Ballston mall. They have have a Macy’s furniture store there. There’s not a lot of negotiation room for top of the line mattresses. Brands like Tempur-pedic and Stearns and Foster latex memory foam beds are expensive. You pay for the a quality product.

      Keep in mind you’ll spend a lot of time in this bed. Buy the best bed you can afford. Some stores will not allow you to return a mattress; others will charge you a restocking fee or not give you 100% credit.

      This is coming from someone who worked in the bedding sales industry. No, I wasn’t not a mattress sales person.

    • tip $20. that’s two $10 bills; one for each guy.

  • I haven’t hear of foldable box springs either– where do you get them? Sounds like they’d be easier to transport as well.

  • I bought the W hotel mattress when I first moved out of college, it deformed in a little over a year with a dent in the middle. Then I bought the Sleep Science bed from Costco which sagged after 8 months. I finally bought a $200 memory foam ikea mattress, thinking that I was going to sleep on it for a couple of months before I move and get the mattress from Room and Board (which has gotten really great reviews, and I have tested twice and loved), but the ikea mattress has been so great that I think I’m just going to get a more expensive ikea mattress once I move.

    So my vote is for ikea

    • We have two IKEA mattresses, and we are going to buy another as a replacement for the older one, which has served us well for 10 years. If you like a very firm mattress, IKEA seems to do the trick.

  • We recently replaced our mattress with one from Amazon (free shipping with Prime membership). $350 got us a great memory foam mattress delivered to our front door.

  • Allison

    You can’t buy just a mattress at Ikea– you have to buy the whole bed.

  • I did not have good luck with Mattress Discounters. After a year and half, the springs broke and I called MD since it was still under warranty. They did offer to replace it, but I’d have to pay another $100 for delivery. Also, I know someone else who ended up with a taco for a bed from MD>

  • Whenever I need a mattress, I watch for sales at Macy’s. If you hit them at the right time, they practically give them away. I have an old row house with a tight staircase, and I’ve always been able get a queen box spring up. Our bed now is a king, which is actually easier because the box spring comes in two pieces, and the mattress is flexible.

  • SofaKing………good!

  • I went to mattress warehouse in Tenleytown. They have a house brand that they give great discounts on and the salesmen were a lot friendlier than the people at mattress discounters in DC USA. Delivery and set up were really quick, too.

    • I second Mattress Warehouse. I bought a mattress there as an impoverished grad student. The salesman asked up front how much we wanted to spend, and when we said “not very much” he pleasantly walked us to the cheap (yet perfectly acceptable) section. I think he even threw in free delivery. We spent about $300 I think.

      The Mattress Discounters guy on Capitol Hill seemed to think we weren’t worth his time.

  • I got a great spring mattress from Ikea for $200. Totally worth it, and if you’re getting other things the delivery charge is reasonable.

  • i recommend the place out rhode island avenue, i think it is called capitol discounters or something, i got a great deal on a sealy pillowtop. like $300 or something much less than any of the well known places like mattress discounters.

  • I’m always suspicious when I pass the generic discount mattress stores on Georgia Ave headed to Silver Spring. I think about the 60 Minutes and Dateline specials where they ripped open “new” mattresses sold at discount stores and found all kinds of stains and indications that they mattress had been ‘well used’ by previous owners and then recovered and resold. It’s pretty gross and makes me too paranoid to take a chance buying from any store that’s not a large chain.

  • Memory foam gives the most bang for the buck. If you can figure out what foam weight you want, buying on the internet can save real bucks. There is really nothing to wear out in a foam mattress. Light ones can be extremely soft, and heavy ones can be extremely firm, so you need to be sure of what you want before you order.

    Google, if asked nicely, will be your friend when it comes to figuring out the whole foam density thing.

    • I looked at memory foam a couple of years ago and couldn’t get over the smell – are there new ones that don’t smell like chemicals?

      • the smell wears off after a while, it just needs to air out.

        • air out= off gas. the production of foam releases toxins. the off gassing process takes longer than the time it takes to manufacture, ship, sell, get it into your house.

          like that “new car smell”.

  • Bought a pillow-top mattress/boxspring at Mattress Discounters in 2002 — still in great shape. Both guests and, um, “guests” (wink) have commented how comfy they are. But no, they probably weren’t the best price.

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