What Is A Plush Mattress?

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What Is A Plush Mattress? Definitions And Your Questions Answered

What Is A Plush Mattress - Cover Image

What is a plush mattress? The answer isn’t very clear because mattress companies use the word “plush” in different ways. Some describe a mattress as “plush” when they are describing a mattress that is soft. Others use the word “plush” to describe a firmer mattress that has soft materials on the top, like a pillow top. Confused?

I like to think of them as a mattress that’s going to give you the support you need, while feeling soft and cloud-like to lie on. If you’re researching firmer mattresses and you come across the word “plush”, the company is probably trying to make their mattress sound more luxurious and have added a pillow top or soft cover.

“Luxury plush” is another term you’ll probably come across, and I often see this used when describing tall mattresses with lots of softer, contouring comfort layers.

Read through my FAQ to get all the answers you need about plush mattresses, along with some helpful recommendations along the way.

What’s The Definition Of Plush?

To try and sort out some of the confusion, I looked up what the word “plush” actually means. This will help you understand how mattress companies are using it.

According to Merriam-Webster there are three definitions we can apply to mattresses:

  1. “Made of a thick, soft fabric.” This makes sense in terms of firmer mattresses with pillow tops and/or soft covers.
  2. Thick and soft.” This makes sense in terms of softer mattresses being described as plush.
  3. “Very fancy and usually expensive.” This explains why mattress companies love to use the word “plush” as it makes their mattresses sound luxurious.

So, as you can see, the term “plush” can be used in more than one way, and there’s no one right or wrong. If you want some help choosing a plush mattress, scroll to the bottom of the article where there’s a link to my overview of my favorite plush mattresses to buy.

What Is A Plush Mattress: FAQ

Is Plush The Softest Mattress?

Short answer: not necessarily.

As explained above, a plush mattress might well be a very soft mattress, but it might be a firm mattress with soft materials at the very top.

I think it would be helpful if mattresses that come in at the lower end of the mattress comfort scale were described as “soft” rather than “plush” as this could help clear up some confusion!

If you want more information on two great soft mattresses, read my reviews of the flippable Layla Foam Mattress here and the popular Helix Moonlight Hybrid here.

Is A Plush Mattress Good For Your Back? 

Plush Mattress And Back Pain

The answer here depends on you, and your needs.

Chiropractors recommend that you choose a mattress that offers the best support for your spine. What does that mean? It means finding one that offers the right amount of contour and support. It doesn’t mean a firm mattress is your only choice, and it doesn’t rule out a soft mattress.

If you’re a lighter person, you’ll need a soft mattress to get enough contouring. If you’re an average weight, you’ll need something with more of a medium feel. If you are heavier, you’ll need a firm mattress.

Once you’ve figured out how much support you need, you can then decide if you want a plush version of that mattress by looking for luxury depth mattresses or ones with extra pillow tops. These are the things that will make the mattress feel plush at a medium or high firmness level.

Is A Plush Mattress Good For Side Sleepers?

Yes, this is a great choice for side sleepers. When you sleep on your side, your main pressure point is your shoulder. You need a mattress that is soft enough through the top layers to allow for deep contouring of your shoulder to support it and prevent that dreaded “numb arm” feeling you can get when a mattress is too firm.

A plush mattress, with its softer feel through the top, is therefore a great option to help you with the contouring your shoulder needs. If you share a bed with someone who prefers something firmer, a plush top but medium to firm mattress could be the right compromise for you. Helix has some great options in their luxe range you can check out, read my detailed Helix overview here.

Should I Get A Plush Or Medium Mattress? 

I think the real question here is about “soft” vs medium, not “plush” vs medium. So I’ll answer it like that:

A soft mattress is good for:

  • People who weigh around 130 lb or less, especially if you are a side sleeper in this weight range. You’ll need a soft mattress to allow for proper contouring and support of your lighter pressure points
  • People who really want to feel a soft cushy experience when they lie on their mattress

Medium is by far the most popular mattress type because it feels comfortable to most people. They are just soft enough yet just firm enough. You may want to choose a medium mattress with a plush top, such as Helix Midnight or DreamCloud.

Remember: no matter which online mattress brand you choose, you should get at least 100 nights to try the mattress risk free in your own home. Take advantage of these offers to check a mattress is exactly what you want.

Which Is Better, Foam Or Hybrid? 

Each has its pros and cons:

  • Hybrids have better air flow and stronger edge support
  • All foam mattresses are better at motion isolation
  • Hybrids will have more bounce than all foam mattresses
  • All foam mattresses are typically lighter, particularly in the luxury category where mattresses are thicker

My personal preference is for a hybrid mattress but there are some truly luxurious and amazing all foam mattresses out there too.

How Can I Make My Current Mattress Feel More Plush?

If you feel like your current mattress is too firm and you’d like to add a touch of plush or luxury to the top of it, you can add a mattress topper to soften it up. There are a plethora of great options out there, here’s a list of some of my favorites. Click on the names to go to my detailed reviews.

Ready To Find A Beautiful Plush Mattress? Click Here To Reveal My Top 5


Emily Johnstone

Emily is the creator and owner of bestmattressforyou.com. Emily's scientific background gives her an analytical, critical, and discerning eye to bring unbiased, thorough, and helpful content to the site. Your good sleep is her top priority. Find out more about Emily and bestmattressforyou.com here.