Visit a mattress showroom anywhere in North America and you will find that most every mattress is some shade of white, off white or beige? Remove the labels, the foot protectors and decorative pillows and it is hard to distinguish one bed from another.
Doesn’t that seem odd? Why wouldn’t each brand want to differentiate itself and come up with some distinctive color scheme? Why wouldn’t they hire a top designer to seasonally debut new models with the latest pallet of chic colors?
Well here’s the answer. You’re the reason. Don’t get mad, I mean you, collectively, being a consumer. It’s true, and I’ll explain.
Step Into The Time Machine
It wasn’t always this way. As recently as the early 90′s, there was a real variety of fabric colors including shades of green, blue, gold, pink and silver — pretty much every color except white. In addition, many fabrics came in a variety of patterns including floral, paisley and geometric designs. Believe it or not, one major manufacturer’s top of the line model had a black background with bright colored flowers. Ouch!
While there was a plethora of hues to choose from, one of the most common questions asked by shoppers was, “Does this mattress come in any other color?” Color is one of those personal preference issues that runs the gamut. There is no right or wrong to colors, but there are lots of opinions about them. It was not uncommon for a shopper to like everything about a mattress; brand, price, comfort, but choose not to buy it because of the color.
While it may seem illogical because the only time one would see the color would be when changing the sheets, it is the prerogative of the shopper to buy or not buy for whatever reason she chooses. If color is important to her, it’s important, end of story.
There is a reason that white and off white are called neutral colors; they rarely evoke strong emotions one way or another. And while retailers understood this, most shied away from light colored fabrics because they feared them getting dirty, both during shipping and especially once on the sales floor. With so many customers lying on them with dirty shoes, the floor models would have to be replaced constantly and that would be too costly and too much trouble.
So what happened?
In the mid 90′s, manufacturing and shipping became more streamlined and efficient. Packaging methods improved and packaging materials became more durable. Instead of stockpiling inventory, mattresses could be made quickly, loaded directly onto delivery trucks and shipped with less handling and consequently less likelihood of soiling.
This inspired a few manufacturers to offer a model or two in white or neutral toned fabrics, and guess what? They sold. In fact they sold so well that within a few years, most any hint of color had vanished from mattresses. To curtail getting the floor models dirty, manufacturers began using colorful foot protectors to not only help keep them clean, but also to differentiate their brands by adding some color to the presentation.
In recent years there have been a number of attempts for brands to distinguish their models with more colorful fabrics, but as before, they didn’t sell as well as the neutral colored models.
What’s the REAL Reason?
One day, I asked my wife, if she were going to buy a mattress, what color would it be? Without hesitation, she said, “Oh, white or off white.” She explained, “White is clean and fresh looking, and you can’t see the color through the sheets — if I’m going to redecorate the bedroom it’s not going to be with the mattress. White goes with any color.” There you go.
I think she probably speaks for most women. Women make the majority of mattress buying decisions. Guys wouldn’t care if a mattress had a neon paisley cover and the foundation had a black and orange plaid cover. We all know the husband refrain: “If she’s happy, I’m happy.”
White covers seem to make women happy. It’s as simple as that.
Sleep Well! You’ll thank me later.