Mattresses Glossary: A - Z of Mattresses

Mattresses terminology can be confusing. Have you ever ventured into the world of mattresses and felt overwhelmed? Uncertain about a host of terms you've seldom used? If so, you're not alone. With so many different elements blending together to describe mattresses or an entire bedroom suite, it's no wonder we're left a little confused. Given the importance of buying mattresses however, understanding industry language is imperative. At Forty Winks, we've assembled a glossary to assist with your knowledge. From Armoire to Ottoman and everything in between, you'll never feel lost again.


Adjustable Bed:

Often referred to as an 'Electric Bed', the Adjustable Bed's point of difference lies in its ability to elevate and bend.

Air Bed:

An air bed differs from a traditional mattress because rather than utilising coils for support and structure, the Air Bed relies on an air-filled core. A key benefic of the air bed is that it de-flates for easy storage when not in use.

Air Chamber:

Refers to the air compartment of the air bed.

Air Mattress

An inflatable mattress filled with air injected via an electrical or manual pump, designed for quick installation for overnight guests, camping trips, caravans and holiday homes.


Allergens are particles that cause an allergic reactions in certain individuals. Regarding mattress choice, foam that is mildew and dust-resistant is the optimal choice.

Anti-Microbial Fibre and Foam:

Treated fibre or foam with the aim of preventing bacteria, dust mites and certain types of fungi.


Refers to the contortion of an Adjustable Bed. An adjustable bed may have one or two-point articulation folds.



Several layers of Cotton Felt.

Bed Frame

The entire supporting framework of the bed. The bed frame secures the headboard and footboard in place while supporting the mattress and/or bed-base.

Bed Rails

The "L" shaped metal or wood sides of a Bed Frame that hold the mattress in place.

Bed Support

The bed rails and frame that help prevent the set from warping, twisting and sagging.


Refers to the inner core of a waterbed mattress where the water is contained.

Blended Latex

A specific type of latex produced by combining natural and synthetic latex.

Body Alignment

The structural positioning of the spine, muscles and joints.

Body Impressions

Often confused with 'Sagging', Body Impressions are indentations remaining on the surface of a mattress following natural compression of the quilting and cushioning of multiple layers over time.

Bonnell Coil

The original Innerspring mattress coil design, symbolised by hourglass-shaped springs.

Border Rod

Also known as 'Border Wire', the Border Rod is the wire supporting the exterior of the mattress or bed-base, maintaining its shape by connecting the coils to the ends of the Helicals.

Border Wire

See 'Border Rod' (above)

Box Spring

Designed to support the mattress and often referred to as the 'Bed Base', the Box Spring is the cloth covered, sturdy wooden frame upon which the softer mattress sits.

Built-Up Foundation

Also known as a 'Slatted Base', the Built-Up Foundation is a support system for the mattress consisting of a wooden base and slats.


California King

The California King mattress is a mattress only slightly narrower and longer than a standard King size mattress.

California Queen

The California Queen a mattress measuring only slightly longer than a standard Queen size mattress.


A fabric cover for a mattress typically featuring a printed-on design.

Chiropractic Mattress System

A chiropractic mattress system is a system of endorsement and acknowledgement of genuinely supportive mattresses.

Coil Configuration

The arrangement of coils in a specific pattern.

Coil Count

Refers to the total number of Coils in an Innerspring Mattress.

Coil Springs

See 'Coils' (below)


Spirals of wires within an innerspring mattress combining to form the supportive core.

Corner Guard

Protective, plastic corners for mattresses.


Refers to the way the surface of the mattress feels against your body. Comfort is objective; certain people find 'hard' mattresses comfortable, while others prefer 'soft' mattresses.

Comfort Layers

Refers to supplementary layers of upholstery surrounding the core of a mattress.

Comfort Zone

The layers of upholstery between the support system and the ticking of the mattress.

Continuous Coil

Refers to an innerspring mattress design promoting strenght and stability by attaching each coil to its adjacent parntner coil. Each row of coils is manufactured from a single wire, shaped into a series of ringlets

Continuous Quilting

Also referred to an 'Multi-Needle Quilting', Continuous Quilting uses multiple needles to form a continuous, tight pattern and a firmer mattress.

Convoluted Foam

Refers to foam resembling the shape of an egg carton designed to create a greater surface area. Can also be referred to as "Egg-Crate Foam".


Typically refers to the support layer of a mattress, regardless of the material.


A soft, breathable, natural fibre used in the manufacturing of pillows and mattresses.

Cotton Felt

A treated cotton fabric utilised in the manufacturing of mattresses that weaves thick cotton fibres together to form a compressed layer.


Also referred to as 'Ticking', the Cover refers to any fabric encasing the mattress.


A mattress that is slightly higher in the middle than on the sides.


Layers of material including latex, foam, felt, cotton, polyester and more, situated between the insulation and quilting layers of an Innerspring Mattress.



A thick, interwover fabric sewn into the cover of a mattress.


Generally the size of a twin or single bed and including sides, a back and, at times, storage space underneath, Daybeds are a practical alternative which can be situated both inside and outside the home.


The deck can be either a link spring deck, poly deck or slatted deck and is designed to support the mattress of the Daybed.


Refers to a measurement used to establish the durability and firmness of a foam mattress by establishing weight over volume.

Double Bed

Also known as a Full Bed. A 53" x 75" Mattress fits this Bed. The Double Bed is not necessarily suitable for tall people, as the length remains standard.

Double Ended Frame

Bed frame that supports both a Headboard and Footboard.

Double Extra Long

A double extra long mattress is the same width as a traditional double mattress with an additional 16cm of length.

Double Heat Tempering

A tempering process where coils are heated and cooled twice to create a more durable spring.

Dual-Purpose Bed

Futons and daybeds are dual purpose beds because their original function is not their only function.


Process of creating firmer, heavier latex by whipping liquid latex into wet foam before it is hardened and vulcanized.


Refers to the length of time a mattress will retain comfort and support at adequate levels.


Edge Break-Down

Refers to the softening of the outer edges of a mattress where the structural integrity begins to fail.

Edge Coils

Refers to additional coils along the edges of a mattress providing superior seating posture and structural integrity across the entirety of the mattress' surface.

Edge Guard

Plastic piece attached to the outer edges of the mattress to provide superior seating posture and structural intergrity across the entirety of the mattress' surface.

Egg-Crate Foam

Refers to foam resembling the shape of an egg carton designed to create a greater surface area. Can also be referred to as "Convoluted Foam".


Term that describes the flexibility and resiliency of a mattress or material.

Electric Bed

Often referred to as an 'Adjustable Bed', the Electric Bed's point of difference lies in its ability to elevate and bend.


Also known as 'Pillow-Top', Euro-Top is a layer of additional padding at the top of a mattress.



Refers to the softening and compressing of a mattress over time.


Refers to a natural or synthetic material used throughout the design of a mattress.

Fibre Filling

Placed within the bladder of a semi-waveless or ultra-waveless waterbed, Fibre Fillers attempt to subdue to free flow of water and increase the firmness of the sleeping surface.

Fill Level

A measurement of the depth of the Bladder in a Waterbed.


In mattress upholstery, refers to padding used underneath the mattress Cover to create its Quilted appearance.


Refers to the compression resistance of a mattress, ultimately determining mattress support and comfort.


The act of systematically and periodically turning over and/or rotating a mattress to prevent Recommended to prevent sagging of the mattress.


Supplementary padding used in mattresses for additional comfort. Common foam types include polyurethane, latex and memory foam.

Foam Core

Refers to the foam directly beneatch the surface layer of a mattress, integral to the support and structure of the mattress.

Foam Encasing

Similar to an 'Edge Guard', Foam Encasing consists of foam rails placed along the interior perimeter of a mattress to protect against Edge Break-Down.


Though traditionally used to describe a bed-base, the Foundation can consist of any base or support placed beneath a mattress, including slatted base or platform foundation.


Using self locking devices at each corner, the frame connects the headboard, footboard and bedposts together to serve as the structural support of the entire bed mattress system.

Free Flow

Refers to a conventional waterbed contain only one chamber, allowing the water to "flow freely" within the mattress.


Also known as a 'Double Bed'. A 53" x 75" Mattress fits this Bed. The Full Bed is not necessarily suitable for tall people, as the length remains standard.

Full Extra Long

A full extra long mattress, as with the double extra long, is the same width as a traditional full mattress with an additional 16cm of length.


Comprising the futon base and mattress, the Futon is a sturdy, low-lying piece of furniture functioning as both couch and bed, where required. Futons are crafted from a host of materials and available in most sizes.