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Plush Bed vs Firm Bed: What Is The Difference? - PlushBeds

During your search for the perfect mattress, you're likely to come across certain terms that need further explanation. Plushness and firmness in mattresses may be among those terms. Read on to learn about the differences between a plush vs firm bed. It can help you make a wiser buying decision, and get the best night's sleep that you deserve.

Mattress Firmness: Plush or Firm?

The mattress firmness scale directly affects the quality of your sleep. Sleeping on a mattress that’s too hard or soft can cause problems when you fall asleep, or keeping you staying asleep.

Also, a mattress that is too hard or soft can cause back pain and joint pain. Finding a mattress with the right amount of hardness and support is the key to good sleep, which is especially important for anyone who has sleep, spine, or other health problems.

In this article, we'll help you decide whether a plush or firm mattress is the best option. Your decision is influenced by your body weight and desired sleeping position, with some personal preference coming into play.

How to Know Plush and Firm Mattresses

Mattress firmness depends on the width of the comfort layers - the top layers of the bed, and what you will feel underneath when you sleep. Plusher mattresses have thicker comfort layers, and firmer mattresses have less thick comfort layers.

Plush and firm beds are at opposite extremes of the mattress strength scale - a mattress scaling system of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest, and 10 being the hardest. Choosing between a soft and a firm mattress depends mainly on two criteria: bodyweight and sleeping position.

Plush Mattresses

A plush mattress is an extra soft mattress often made from memory foam to provide a soft feel. Mattresses described as plush typically feel softer on the surface where you sleep. Many people describe slipping into plush mattresses as sinking into a luxuriously comfortable bed. They are suited for people who sleep on their sides, and suffer from pressure point discomfort while sleeping. The reason is simple. Plush mattresses cushion and cradle pressure points, creating a softer sensation, and less stress on the joints. The memory foam composition causes it to deform under pressure, and still gets back to its original shape.

In other words, they cushion your body while you sleep, with the perfect amount of give, for a comfortable sleep throughout the night. Some back sleepers also prefer plush mattresses, but they require mattresses with firmer cores to provide the support their backs require, in order to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Stomach sleepers, however, rarely prefer plush mattresses. The sinking sensation can leave them feeling as though they are suffocating. And the mattresses force the spine to bend in strange positions. Firm mattresses are a better choice for back and stomach sleepers.

Advantages of a Plush Mattress

The pleasant feeling of a soft mattress might suit side sleepers, due to the additional cushion. The soft mattress should provide a feeling of almost complete immersion, without causing pain. If you are a lightweight person, a plush mattress can be a comfortable mattress for you while you sleep.

Disadvantages of a Plush Mattress

If you have shoulder, neck or back pain, or if you sleep on your stomach, a plush mattress might not be a good option for you. A more firm feel can provide more comfort while sleeping. The plush mattress may not be suitable for couples, as movement can disrupt each partner's sleep due to the soft mattress design.

Who Should Use Plush Mattresses?

  • Side sleepers
  • Combination sleepers
  • Diminutive people
  • Patients suffering from muscle or joint pain

Firm Mattresses

Firm mattresses aren't quite as soft as the plusher varieties. They are often referred to as providing exceptional support. While some people find them stiff and uncomfortable, stomach sleepers often find them a better choice. Firm beds help stomach sleepers maintain proper spinal alignment while sleeping, as do those who sleep on their backs.

Side sleepers sometimes struggle with firmer mattresses, as they tend to irritate pressure points, leaving them aching and sore in the morning. While shoulders and hips are the most commonly complained of pressure points when it comes to firm mattresses, some people also complain about their knees. This can sometimes be relieved by placing a thin pillow between your knees while sleeping, regardless of how soft or firm your mattress may be.

Advantages of Firm Mattresses

The benefits of a firm mattress is suggested for those who do not manage back, neck, or shoulder pain. What a firm mattress really should be is a mattress that provides pressure relief, and reduces muscle tension while ensuring blood circulation. A firm mattress may be appropriate for stomach sleepers to reduce lower back pain.

Disadvantages of Firm Mattresses

A firm mattress simply means a mattress that you can feel more pressure on than a plush mattress. If you suddenly switch from a plush vs firm mattress, you may feel a little uncomfortable, as it may take a week or two for your body to adjust to the new sensation, and to enjoy the benefits.

Who Should Use a Firm Mattress?

  • Stomach sleepers
  • Back sleepers
  • People who are overweight

What if You Choose The Wrong One?

In Web MD, Arya Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, states, "The mattress needs to support your body in a neutral position, one in which your spine has a nice curvature and your buttocks, heels, shoulders, and head are supported in proper alignment."

"If the mattress is too firm, it will push on those main pressure points and take you out of alignment. If it's too soft, those pressure points won't be properly supported, so your whole body flops back." Both of these scenarios can lead to an achy morning."

We can see that finding the proper plush vs firm mattress is very important for your sleeping needs.

What If Your Partner Has Different Needs?

Most people spend weeks looking for a mattress that offers a balance of plush vs firm. It is hard enough to find the right fit for yourself, but when you add a partner into the mix, the search becomes more complex. Especially when your partner has different comfort expectations and personal preferences. That is, of course, unless you choose the right mattress.

PlushBeds Mattresses offer the rare combination of plushness to cradle pressure points, and superior support for proper spinal alignment. These handmade mattresses offer buyers infinite customizability, so that each person can have their own preferred level of plushness or firmness, on each side of the bed.

One of the many things that set PlushBeds apart from other mattress makers is that you can change the level of firmness or plushness after you've purchased your mattress by adding or removing comfort layers.

PlushBeds does not glue mattress layers together in our Botanical Bliss Organic Latex Mattress, like so many other mattress makers. This gives you the option of adding and removing layers, as needed, to meet your unique comfort and support preferences. You can even have a different level of plushness and firmness on each side of the bed. This is a great option for couples with different comfort needs, where one prefers a plush vs firm bed.

PlushBeds also offers a hybrid latex mattress that combines the plush feeling of luxurious organic latex with the superior, no motion transfer property of encased coils. The Luxury Bliss hybrid latex mattress does not offer the customizability of the Botanical Bliss mattress, but it does offer you a free 100 night trial, to see if it's a good fit for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it uncomfortable to sleep in a firm bed?

Firm beds, as long as they are compatible with your sleeping position and size, should not be uncomfortable.

It's normal to feel uneasy when you first buy a firm new mattress, especially if you were previously sleeping on a softer mattress. In this scenario, we recommend that you use your new mattress for at least 30 days—the average mattress adjustment period.

If you're still having troubles with your firm mattress after 30 days, it's probably time to upgrade to a softer mattress.

Is it true that plush beds are unhealthy for you?

It's a popular misperception that firm beds are better for you than plush beds, but this isn't true. Firm beds and plush beds are simply designed for different types of sleepers.

Plush mattresses should provide adequate cushioning, whether you are diminutive, a combination sleeper, or a side sleeper. If you sleep on your stomach or back, however, the padding and sagging may cause your spine to flex in an abnormal way, causing discomfort and pain.

Do firm mattresses have a longer lifespan?

Regardless of your mattress being plush or firm, most mattresses last close to ten years. The firmness of your mattress has no bearing on its lifespan.

The construction and materials used in your mattress are critical to its durability. The support layer of your mattress, which is designed to prevent wear and sagging, should account for at least half of its overall construction.

As an example, if your mattress is a foot thick, the support layer should not be less than a half foot thick. Any less will result in quick sagging and wear, requiring you to replace your mattress sooner than thought.

Are the mattresses in hotels plush or firm?

The majority of hotel mattresses are in the medium to medium-firm firmness category. Extreme mattress firmnesses, like plush or firm, are unlikely to appeal to the majority of visitors, resulting in complaints. For most people, medium and medium-firm mattresses are a good compromise, making them ideal for hotel use.

What is the ideal mattress firmness?

Because there is no such thing as an optimal level of firmness, the best hardness for one individual may be the worst for another. There are many mattress firmnesses to fit a range of demands, including your body shape, weight, and whether or not you have a bed partner.

Is it preferable to sleep on a plush or firm mattress if you have back pain?

There are two elements that determine whether a plush or firm mattress is better for your back pain. The first is your physical stature. Your favored sleeping style is the second. A medium to medium-firm mattress is ideal for back problems in most circumstances.

Large sleepers who sleep on their stomach or back will benefit from this firmness level. To relieve lower back pain, combination sleepers and side sleepers may require the gentle feel of a plush mattress.

What is a plush comfort level?

A plush comfort level is a level or degree that indicates how plush or soft a mattress is to a potential buyer. In terms of firmness, mattresses that are branded as "plush" typically fall in the 1-3 range. Your bed will be less firm the lower the plush comfort level is.

We recommend resting on a variety of mattresses before purchasing to discover your optimal level of luxurious comfort. This will help you determine your personal preferences for plushness and feel.

How can I firm up my plush mattress?

By adding a mattress topper to your mattress, you can make it firmer. Mattress toppers give several inches of comfort and support to your mattress. If you want to get the most out of mattress toppers, go for one that is at least a quarter foot thick. Mattress toppers made of latex are an excellent option to increase the firmness of your mattress.

Is it preferable to sleep on a firm or soft mattress if you have hip pain?

In many circumstances, soft mattresses are the finest mattresses for relieving pressure and tension in the hips. While you sleep, plush or soft mattresses help carry and support your hip joints. For side sleepers and combination sleepers, this delineating support is especially good for decreasing hip pain.

Larger people with hip pain may need a somewhat firmer mattress to relieve their discomfort. On a firm mattress, those who sleep on their backs and stomachs may find relief from hip pain.

Is it possible for plush mattresses to be overly soft?

For certain folks, a mattress may be too soft. Check your warranty if you notice your mattress has become too soft; it may be time to replace your mattress box springs.

If your mattress isn't due for replacement, you may only need to firm it up. Add a firm mattress topper to your bed to achieve this. Placing a length of plywood underneath your mattress is another option.

What makes a mattress suitable for my sleeping habits?

Your body will be held in a neutral position by the greatest mattress for you. The head, shoulders, buttocks, and heels will all be adjusted, and the spine will be retained in its natural curve. An excellent mattress will often make the sleeper feel as if they are floating on air, with no pressure at all.

For whom is a firm mattress better suited?

For those who suffer from lower back pain, firm mattresses are often an excellent choice. A firm mattress also prevents your lower back from compressing, and helps to appropriately distribute your body's weight.


Choosing the right mattress firmness will ensure a comfortable sleep. Soft mattresses are ideal for petite sleepers that sleep on the side at night, or alternate sleeping positions.

Firm mattresses are best for large back sleepers and stomach sleepers. A firmer mattress will prevent sagging, and provide enough support for the sleepers.

Arthritis patients will experience great relief from plush mattresses. Sleepers that experience back pain should opt for mattresses of medium and medium firm, as well as in couples with different body sizes and sleeping positions.

Your sleep position carries a lot of weight when it comes to the perfect mattress to meet your needs, but there is some degree of preference to consider as well.

Fortunately, with PlushBeds 100 night sleep trial, you have time to choose the mattress that fits your sleep needs best. Whether you need a plush vs firm bed, or a combination of the two, PlushBeds is sure to have a mattress that meets your needs for comfort and support.

If you have questions about PlushBeds mattresses, kindly call us toll-free at 888-264-8619, or speak with us via chat!

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