If you only have the money to buy one piece of furniture, you'll
likely choose to get a mattress. You can balance dinner on your lap or
eat it at the kitchen sink. You can lounge on the floor in front of the
TV and forgo a couch. But the time you most need to be comfortable is
when you're trying to fall asleep.
Unless you've got an expansive budget, though, you'll find that
getting a place to sleep isn't so easy. Here's your guide to your best
options. We've outlined both the plusses and negatives to help make your
Using your bed from home
Upside: It's free and you know what you're getting.
Downside: Unless you were lucky enough to have a full mattress,
you'll feel a little sheepish when you invite that special someone for a
sleepover. Also, your parents may not let you have it, and, if you live
far away, the cost of getting it to your current location may not be
Price: Free to around $600 to ship it.
Getting just a mattress and sleeping on the floor
Upside: If you know someone who's moving or upgrading, you can
get a mattress for whatever it takes to get some friends to help you
move it. Obtaining one from someone you know means it's less likely to
have bugs or other surprises. You'll save money by not getting a
frame—technically, this arrangement is identical to having a
Downside: For many people, sleeping on the floor can cause an
achy back (though we've heard that the problem is really that you just
don't have the right mattress—try one made out of foam).
Price: Free to at least $230 for a new full mattress with
Upside: A bed is a pain to move, so there are a lot of good deals
out there. You'll get a real adult bed without paying top dollar.
Downside: You'll have to inspect the mattress carefully to make
sure there are no bedbugs, and some people get creeped out by just
thinking about what's been done on that mattress before they bought it.
Also, unless you find a very kind seller who owns a truck, you'll have
to make arrangements to move it yourself. This can add to the price
significantly if you have to pay someone to help.
Price: Free if you're lucky enough to find something on the street,
otherwise at least $30 for a basic bed to $2100 for something swanky.
Upside: You won't have to worry about the quality, and sometimes
companies will include delivery and assembly.
Downside: You'll pay for the convenience.
Price: $200 for a basic futon to thousands if you require the very
best. Don't be afraid to bargain just because you're in a shop.
- If you buy a futon, buy a mattress that's at least six inches
thick. Flip and rotate the mattress once a month to keep it in the best
- If you buy a cheaper mattress, a foam mattress pad can do wonders
for your comfort (though you'll feel like you're back in your dorm
room). As a bonus, it will keep the mattress in pristine condition and
increase the resale value.
- Don't be too quick to go for the cheapest option—if you decide
you can't bear it you'll end up spending more than you otherwise would
when you get a replacement. Even if you know you'll have to get rid of
the bed in a few years, the better it is the higher the resale
Elsewhere on the Web
How to: Make a Captain's Bed on the Cheap
Cheap Bed Substitute
Home Cheap Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to Cheap Decorating
First Home with Style