The More You Know

You're looking at new furniture and, whether it's a need or a want, you want to make sure what you choose is right for you and your needs, and has the quality you expect. However, new furniture isn't something you buy every day so you're not an expert....yet. Here is a collection of topics that will help you become a better-informed shopper and hopefully make your choice that much easier.

Mattress Coils | Leather Grains and Finishes

Mattress Coils: Not All Coils Are Created Equal

You've laid on several mattresses, tested out the feel of memory foam, gel foam, hybrids and innerspring mattress and have decided that what you're looking for is more traditional feel of an innerspring or the blended goodness of a hybrid. That's great! But now you realize that there are still a lot of options available so how do you tell the difference from one coiled mattress to the next. After all, the coil inside all of them is practically the same, right? Wrong. Let's highlight a few different coils that you might encounter.

Open Coils Coils are the main support of an innerspring mattress. They need to give enough to let you feel softly cradled however much makes you feel comfortable but need to be firm enough to support your body and keep you in alignment as you sleep. In entry level mattresses, your coils will be arranged in rows and then tied or connected together with wire. This ensures that the open, unwrapped coils don't get tangled as they move, but it also means that when you put weight on one, the rest move with it. So when you lay down in one spot on the mattress it is affecting anyone else that is sharing the bed, causing lots of motion transfer and often times more of that sinking feeling as you end up laying in a bowl.

Individually Wrapped Coils Manufacturers have found innovative ways to avoid motion transfer but still maintain the air circulation needed inside your mattress. In these premier mattresses, you'll each coil has been wrapped in a thin, highly breathable fabric, creating its own little pocket. The coils are protected from tangling but do not have to be attached, allowing each coil to move independently and eliminating most motion transfer. An example of these individually wrapped coils are the Response Pro and Response Pro HD Encased Coil Systems by Sealy. In Sealy mattresses with Posturepedic Technology you'll find up to 960 coils in Queen sized. Keep in mind that the higher the coil count, the less motion transfer you will experience.

Coil-In-Coil Some companies, such as Stearns and Foster, offer a coil-in-coil design. This entails a smaller, firmer coil being placed inside a larger, more flexible coil. This provides a dual-stage support where the outer coil compresses easily to give you a little bit of a body hugging experience and once the mattress is compressed down to the inner coil in provides a firmer inner support, ensuring the stability and body alignment that you need. These are a type of individually wrapped coil so they also help fight motion transfer.

Edge Support Coils Coils are used in mattresses for more than just the center of the mattress. Have you noticed that you avoid sleeping near the edge of your bed for fear of the edge compressing and sliding you off? It means that you can't use as much of your mattress and your sleeping space can be cut down by up to a foot on all sides, effectively turning your queen into a twin. What about sitting on the edge of the bed to stand up or put on shoes? A collapsing edge can be a big pain and make everyday tasks much harder. Sealy has fought to combat this in their Performance and Premium mattresses by utilizing what they call the DuraFlex Edge. Instead of having either the large inner coils continue all the way to the edge or a foam edge, the DuraFlex™ Edge is a double row of smaller, tightly packed coils with much less 'give'. This extends your sleeping surface and provides a firmer platform for sitting.

Mini Coils and Nano Coils Coils come in all shapes and sizes. Smaller coils can be put in thin layers, giving the ability to add more layers of support. Mini coils can even be found in the newest Tempurpedic mattress, the Tempur-Flex. This is a hybrid of their most responsive foam yet and a layer of thousands of coils to give you an unmatched support. Mini coils are also used in some Stearns and Foster in their pillowtop layers so you can get that cushy feeling of a pillowtop, with the firmer, yet flexible support that only coils can provide. Stearns and Foster has even gone one step further and, in their Reserve Collection, has added an even smaller layer of coils on top of the mini coils called nano coils. With this much pinpoint support and flexibility every position becomes your favorite one.

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Leather Grains and Finishes: What's The Difference?

Not all leather is created equal and each type has it's advantages and disadvantages. It's important to do your research about what type of leather grains are out there and what appeals to you the most before buying.

Leather Grains

Full Grain: This is the highest quality and often most expensive kind of hide. Nothing is done to the hide to improve it. This hide is usually characterized by some scars and small imperfections. When a cow is bitten by an insect or scratches itself on a fencepost, it can wind up with a scar just like a human. These natural imperfections are the hallmark of a great leather and you'll often find people clambering to get a piece that has specific marks, such as the ranch's brand mark. Because it has not had anything done to it, the leather remains strong and will not wear out over time. Very few hides can be graded as full grain leather and this adds to the expense of this type of leather.

Top Grain: Top grain leather is one step below full grain leather but is a more commonly seen higher end leather grain. This hide has had the layer below the 'top grain' separated so it is not as thick as a full grain hide. After the hide is tanned but before it is colored, it is lightly sanded to remove most of the imperfections. Not all of the scars and imperfections and scars will be removed, however.

Split Grain: This type of hide is the bottom layer removed from the top grain hide. It is sanded and buffed and is usually used on sides and backs of leather furniture, cutting down costs without losing any of the aesthetic appeal. While it is not quite as durable as a top or full grain leather, split grain is still 100% leather and gives you the same benefits that these natural products have to offer.

Leather Finishes

Full Aniline Leathers (Natural, Unprotected): These leathers are colored with transparent dye, allowing you to see the color of the dye and the natural surface grains underneath, as if you were looking through colored lenses.

Semi Analine Leather (Pigmented): This process combines the best aspects of a natural leather and innovative technologies to create a product that is more uniform in appearance and color. It then has a finish applied to the surface that makes the leather more resistant to the effects of heavy use. The pigments and finish applied to the leather do affect the softness and hand feel somewhat. The more pigment and finish that is applied the less soft the leather becomes.

Nubuck, Buckskin or Suede: These leathers are actually full aniline leathers with brushing on the surface, creating a texture similar to velvet. Suede leather is the flesh side layer of the hide. Nubuck is the name of the effect that is done to the grain side, making it incredibly soft. The brushing also makes the leather even more absorbent than its natural state.

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