Ship mattress, comforter from USA or buy in India? Our story…

20101023-IMG_6574PHOTO: Meenal trying out mattresses in Sikandarpur Market, Gurgaon, India

Mattress

Surprisingly, buying a mattress after returning to India was quite straight forward. All of the major brands- Kurl-On, Sleepwell, etc.- can easily be found in most major markets with same day pedal-rickshaw-delivery and cash-on-delivery payment terms. This was a pleasant surprise after our mattress shopping experience in Boston (the entire industry is shady and worse than used car dealers).

Types & costs

The coconut coir (the hair) filling is the cheapest branded option at $150 (Rs.6,800) for a 4 inch thick mattress. They aren’t supposed to last more than a year before sagging and the coir irritated us. We also found these harder than we like but our experience was limited to lying on it for a couple of minutes.

Next, you have a spring coil system mattress. These are buy far the most common and even through my skeptical eye, they are comfortable. We purchased a 6 inch thick spring coil mattress and cover or $300(Rs.12,300+Rs.1200).

The top of the line is the independent coil system. Our shopkeeper didn’t stock these as they cost $425 (Rs.20,000) and didn’t sell very often. He offered to order it for us but we didn’t want to wait a month and go through the inevitable hassle in India of daily follow up phone calls. Besides, the spring coil system seemed comfortable enough.

The shop could also order mattresses with memory foam and independent coil system for $1050 (Rs.50,000), only memory foam for $1800 (Rs.80,000-90,000), etc. We didn’t even venture there since we don’t find memory foams as comfortable as the advertisements. On the cheapest end of the spectrum, you can find non-branded mattresses for $30-$50 (Rs.1500-Rs.2500).

Sizes

Oddly, the queen size mattresses that are readily stocked are 60 inches x 78 inches. That’s 2 inches shorter than the U.S. version. If you want to get the extra 2 inches, you need to custom-order it for $340 (Rs.16,000). To save on the daily phone calls and inevitable delays, we avoid custom-ordering even if the item in stock is less than perfect.

4 inches is considered standard thickness of a mattress in India. Everything in this post is for 6 inches unless otherwise noted. Apparently thickness affects the longevity of the mattress, not its comfort.

Update December 10th, 2010

The mattress is still very comfortable 6 weeks after use. No information on how long it’ll last but so far so good. We shipped 1 mattress from the U.S. because we thought we won’t find something we like in Delhi. In hindsight, our concerns were misplaced and we would rather have shipped more furniture.

Bed

Types & costs

I’ll write a detailed post on furniture later. Suffice to say for now that furniture in India is generally twice as expensive for half the quality. That equals 4 times the price in my mind. Beds are usually made of particle board, MDF, Rubber wood, Sheesham or Teak board (different from Teak wood).

The shacks off the road were selling queen beds without mattresses for $150 (Rs.7000). Cheap looking furniture stores next to dug up streets on the way from Delhi to Gurgaon and chains stores like Fab India were selling beds for $530 (Rs.25,000) and up. The cheapest beds in fancy stores like Basix in Gurgaon were $3,200 (Rs.1,50,000). Basix offered to custom make their cheapest one for $2,100 (Rs.1,00,000)! Given these prices, we bought a boring looking bed along with 2 side tables made of particle board. It cost $330 (Rs.15,500) for all 3 things, and Lifestyle furniture in Gurgaon delivered it on time as promised. I don’t love it but couldn’t bring myself to pay such high prices. We also found someone in Amar colony’s Kabari Market who offered to make us a bed for $230 (Rs.11,000). His samples were impressive and we know someone who is happy with his work. We may end up trying him for our guest bed.

It’s painful to pay such high prices, especially when I know that I would have gotten something cheaper and better if I shopped in Ikea or Jordans or Ethan Allen.

Overpriced bed in Gurgaon, New Delhi, NCR  IndiaPHOTO: One of the many overpriced beds in Lifestyle (as in every other store)
Material: Rubber wood
Price: $800 (Rs.37,950) for the wooden bed only. Does NOT include side tables, mattress or anything else in the picture.

Sizes

The furniture stores carry queen beds sized 60×78 inches, 60×79 inches, 60×80 inches or more. Surprisingly, the salesmen didn’t know that their beds were all different sizes. Take a tape measure with you to make sure that your mattress will be a good fit for the bed you purchase.

Pillows

Sita Fabrics in Lajpat Nagar not only had down pillows, but he also had choices in them with down mixes of 20% and up. They also had those space age curved memory foam pillows or Rs.2000. Given the choices I found, you should be able to find your Westin Hotel pillow at roughly the same prices as in the U.S.

Blankets/Comforters

I feel colder in Delhi than I do in Boston since buildings never have central heat in India. They are made of brick and cement with floors of stone or marble – all very good during the hot summer months but COLD in December, January and early February. I needed a warm comforter since the puny room heater wasn’t going to do it.

Sita Fabrics in Lajpat Nagar sells comforters for Rs.1850 and covers or Rs.1300. Even though the covers are relatively expensive, they are a whole lot easier to wash than the comforter. The comforters have turned out to be exceptionally warm, very comfortable and even modern looking. The shopkeeper claimed that they were machine washable but I’m a bit scared to try. Will update after our first attempt.

PHOTO: Comforter purchased in Delhi and Bed and side tables from Lifestyle in Gurgaon.Comforter purchased in Delhi and Bed and side tables from Lifestyle in Gurgaon

Kwality Furnishers for mattresses

Link House, M.G. Road, Sikanderpur, Gurgaon, Haryana.
Phone: +91-124-406-5619

Lifestyle Furniture for Bed
Phone: +91-124-4112200

Sita Fabrics for sheets, comforters, pillows, shower curtains, etc.

Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi. Ask people in Lajpat for directions once you get there. My mother-in-law lives in Delhi and swears by this place.Sita Fabrics for sheets, comforters, pillows, shower curtains, etc. in Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi

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