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What Kind of Mattress Is Best for Home Staging?

Nov 02, 2020
What Kind of Mattress Is Best for Home Staging?

What kind of mattress is the best for staging a vacant bedroom? Air mattress, real mattress, or foldable box spring?

We see this question come up ALL THE TIME in our Facebook group, Staging Studio SocietyPairing our expert knowledge with our Facebook community’s feedback, we’ll go over the pros and cons of each option. Like with so many things in home staging, there’s no one-size-fits-all option. But with this info, you can decide what kind of mattress is the right fit for your home staging business.

Plus! Our community of stagers has compiled a list of mattresses, toppers, etc. that you can buy online. Keep scrolling to shop for your next stage 😉

Real Mattress Pros & Cons

In our home staging business, we stage with real mattresses. They give a luxury look that doesn't look "staged." However, keep in mind, we are a multi-million dollar company with a warehouse and two moving crews.

Staging should make the home feel like a dream home, and a real mattress goes a long way toward achieving this. The most difficult part about real mattresses is that they are a pain to move and store.

PROS: It’s the real deal! A much more luxurious look and no worries if anyone sits on them.

CONS: Difficult to move and store. Run the risk of people using them (yes, we have heard plenty of stories of squatters and “adventurous” couples using staged beds).  

“I always find free mattresses on Facebook Marketplace and other local selling apps that I use for my stagings. I wrap them in plastic moving wrap to make sure they last longer and stay cleaner and no one would know the difference!” – Sarah Olea, Owner of Hummingbird Staging, Staging Design Professional®

Staging Pro Tip: When you buy a mattress new, leave it in the plastic to keep it clean and lasting longer.  

Real Mattress Staging Examples

picture of four different mattress in different bedrooms1| Staged by our home staging business. 2| Staged by Staging Design Professional® Marcia Stiff, Owner of MLS Properteez3| Staged by Staging Design Professional® Sherrie Medeiros, Owner of First Impression Home Staging. 4| Staged by Torrie LM, Owner of Home At Last Staging & Consulting.

Air Mattress Pros & Cons

The next option we see a lot is an air mattress. When we were just starting out, this was our go-to when staging a bedroom. They are easy to move, set-up, and store with or without a warehouse

If you choose to use an air mattress you need to be aware of the strong potential that the mattress will deflate and begin to sag in the middle – quite the opposite of the inviting feeling you’re going for.

In fact, we advise you only use air mattresses as a start-up inventory piece due to their tendency to deflate. They can be a great way to get started staging bedrooms, but as your company grows, you may want to look into other options. If you do use air mattresses, make sure it is high quality and that it has an automatic pump.

PROS: Lightweight and easy to store with or without a warehouse.

CONS: They often sag and deflate. Air mattresses typically have a lumpy appearance that you may need some sort of topper to disguise. If someone sits on them, it is more likely to mess it up.

“We use air mattresses for the most part - I love framed beds as they hold the air mattresses in pretty well!” – Michelle Heaton-Goodness, Staging Design Professional®

“I use air mattresses to prevent visitors from laying on the bed and it saves a lot warehouse space... it’s a win win” – Gracielle Ahued, Staging Design Professional®

 Air Mattress Staging Examples

air mattress staging example1| Example of air mattress used in a stage by Amanda Layton, owner of Layton Designs2| Staged by Staging Design Professional® Cami Patterson Household, co-founder of Householder Home Staging. 3| Staged by Staging Design Professional® Gracielle Ahued, Owner of Beenova Design.

Foldable Box Spring Pros & Cons

A third option is a foldable box spring. We saw this hack used by the home staging industry leader Michelle Minch, of Moving Mountains Design, and wanted to share it with all of you. Stagers said they are easy to move, store, and clean (which is particularly important when staging during a pandemic).

Despite the ease of the box spring itself, there are a lot more moving parts to make this look like a warm and cozy bed. Using a high-quality mattress topper and even doubling up on duvets is suggested to make this box spring look like a bed.

PROS: Easier to maneuver, take up less space, and aren’t comfortable enough to use.

CONS: Also requires a mattress pad and/or two duvets. 

“I have been using the tall foldable bed frames combined with the foldable box springs. Top it with a cushy mattress topper and it looks great! So easy to manage by one person, easy to store and move, and no chance of losing air with an air mattress” – Melody Norris, Member of Staging Studio Society

Foldable Box Spring Staging Examples

spring mattress staging example

1| Staged by Melody Norris, Owner of Sandia Staging and Design. 2| Staged by Robin DeCapua, Owner of Madison Modern Home. 

How to Pick the Best Mattress for Your Home Staging Business

PHEW! Those are a LOT of options, right? How do you know which one to choose?

We think Staging Design Professional® Deborah Plowden, founder & CEO of Debonair Home Staging, said it best:

“There are pros and cons for [all] approaches. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer, consider what works best for your business model. Always remember you have the right to change your business model at any time; going from air mattress to real mattress or going from real mattress to air mattress.”

So, weigh all these pros and cons and decide what works best for YOUR home staging business. We have many successful students who only use air mattresses, only use real mattresses or those who opt for the box spring option! Others use a combination depending on the particular stage.

If you're in the market for new inventory for your staging business, be sure to check out the below air mattresses, box spring, and mattress topper. All of these products were suggested by real stagers in our Staging Studio Society Facebook group

Stager-Recommended Air Mattresses, Box Springs, and Accessories


If you'd prefer to shop wholesale (a great way to save money), check out our mini-course, Buy Like a Boss: The Stager's Guide to Wholesale. This course will teach you everything you need to know about buying wholesale, plus it includes our own vendor list that we compiled over 10 years in the business.

Regardless of which mattress you choose, our FREE Bed Recipe video will show you how to stage perfect beds, every time.

Staging Studio was created FOR Stagers BY Stagers. Everything we teach, and all the resources we offer, are because we used them in our own business first. For free home staging training, click here.

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