How to Make My Firm Mattress Softer

If it’s hard for you to tell if you’re sleeping on a mattress or a rock, then my advice to you is “Buy a new mattress, and get the best mattress system for your body within your budget.”

Your reply may well be, “In this economy? What budget?” Alternatively, you may say, “I just did, but I can’t return my bed because it didn’t come with a free trial period!”

Which I can definitely understand given the state of things at the moment. Things are tight and beds are a big purchase. If it’s a choice between paying for a softer mattress or paying rent so you have a home to put that softer mattress in, you should pay for the rent.

You’re still in a rocky sleeping situation night after night though, so what can you do until you’ve saved up enough to buy the right bed?

If you’re wondering how to make a too-firm mattress softer, there are things you can try to transform your overly firm mattress into a more comfortable sleeping surface.

Mattress Topper

If you’re looking to improve the comfort of your bed without breaking the bank, investing in a mattress topper can be an excellent option. Opting for a high-quality memory foam mattress topper or latex foam mattress topper can provide excellent cushioning and a softer feel, resulting in a more comfortable sleep experience. They can also conform to your body shape and provide pressure relief and spinal alignment.

If you’re choosing a memory foam topper, keep in mind that memory foam is temperature sensitive, and softens with your body heat. On the other hand, it may retain body heat which could be an issue if you tend to sleep hot. In such cases, it might be worth exploring options like latex foam, which still retains body heat, but not quite as much.

One of the benefits of investing in a soft mattress topper is that it’s a cost-effective solution compared to buying a brand-new mattress. While the price of a topper can vary depending on the quality and thickness, it’s generally more budget-friendly than investing in a new mattress. By adding a topper to your existing mattress, you can transform its firmness and enjoy enhanced comfort without spending a fortune.

Mattress Pad

Another alternative to making your firm mattress softer is adding a mattress pad to your sleep setup to enhance comfort levels. Prioritize soft materials like quilted cotton. These materials not only provide an extra layer of cushioning but also add a touch of plushness to your mattress.

A quilted design helps distribute weight evenly, reducing pressure points and promoting a more relaxed sleep experience. It can make the mattress feel noticeably softer, and compared to a foam mattress topper, a mattress pad made of cotton or wool could sleep cooler.

When selecting a mattress pad, consider the thickness and quality of the materials. A thicker pad generally offers more cushioning and can have a greater impact on softening your mattress. It’s also essential to choose a mattress pad that fits your mattress size properly, ensuring a snug and secure fit.

Mattress Topper vs Mattress Pad

While both mattress toppers and mattress pads serve the purpose of enhancing the comfort of your mattress, there are some key differences between the two:

  1. Thickness and Cushioning: Mattress toppers are generally thicker than mattress pads, ranging from 2 to 4 inches in depth. They are designed to provide substantial cushioning and alter the feel of your mattress significantly. On the other hand, mattress pads are thinner, typically around 1 inch thick, and offer a more subtle layer of padding.
  2. Mattress toppers are mostly made from memory foam or latex foam. These materials are chosen for their ability to contour to your body, relieve pressure points, and add a plush feel. In contrast, mattress pads are often made from quilted cotton or polyester blends. They focus more on providing a thin layer of softness and protection rather than substantial support or body contouring.
  3. Level of Softness and Support: Due to their greater thickness, mattress toppers offer a more noticeable change in the feel of your mattress. They can transform a firm mattress into a softer and more comfortable surface. Mattress pads, while still providing some softness, are primarily intended for adding a layer of protection and slight cushioning without significantly altering the overall firmness of the mattress.
  4. Price Range: Mattress toppers tend to be more expensive than mattress pads due to their higher-quality materials and thicker construction. The costs can vary depending on the material, thickness, and brand.


Constructed with a fabric casing filled with feathers or down, featherbeds create a soft and cozy sleeping surface. By placing a featherbed on top of your mattress, you can enjoy a luxurious and cushioned sleep experience.

Featherbeds offer the advantage of conforming to your body’s contours, providing gentle support and relieving pressure points. The feathers or down inside the casing adjust to your weight, offering a personalized and inviting sleep environment.

Additionally, featherbeds provide insulation, effectively regulating body temperature by trapping warmth. This makes them suitable for colder nights, ensuring a cozy and snug sleeping atmosphere. However, individuals with feather or down allergies should consider hypoallergenic or synthetic alternatives.

Check Your Bed Base

The bed base or bed frame you use can have an impact on the firmness of your mattress. Here are a few ways in which the bed base can affect the overall feel and firmness of your mattress:

  1. Solid Platform Bed: A solid platform bed with a firm, flat surface can make your mattress firmer. The absence of any give or flex in this solid foundation can result in a firmer surface.
  2. Slatted Base: A bed base with slats can affect the firmness of your mattress depending on the spacing between the slats. If the slats are closely spaced and provide little to no flex, the mattress may feel firmer. Alternatively, if the slats have more give, it can create a softer feel as the mattress can sink in between the slats.
  3. Box Spring: A traditional box spring typically consists of a wooden frame with springs or coils. This mattress foundation can provide a softer feel to innerspring mattresses as it, but latex or memory foam mattresses will conversely feel firmer.
  4. Adjustable Bed Base: An adjustable bed base allows you to customize the positioning of your mattress. While it may not directly impact firmness, changing the angle or elevation of the bed can affect the perceived firmness as your body weight is distributed differently.

Other Items to Top Your Mattress

You can create a DIY mattress topper by layering soft materials to achieve the desired level of comfort. Consider experimenting with thick quilted blankets or combining multiple comforters to add a plush and cozy layer to your mattress. Whether you choose quilted blankets, comforters, or a combination of both, the key is to experiment and find the perfect combination that provides the desired level of softness and cushioning.

By opting for a DIY approach, you can also save on costs. Unlock your creativity and try out different combinations of soft materials to create a DIY mattress topper that adds a plush layer of comfort to your bed.

Reconsider Your Bedding Manchester

The choice of bedding materials can significantly influence the overall comfort of your mattress. Opting for softer materials like high-thread-count cotton or bamboo sheets, as well as lightweight and fluffy blankets, can greatly enhance your sleeping experience.

Look for materials like microfiber or fleece, which offer a plush texture without adding excessive weight or warmth. Upgrade your sheets to high-thread-count cotton or bamboo, and complement them with lightweight and fluffy blankets to optimize your sleeping experience.

Rotate Or Flip Your Mattress

Some beds are designed with adjustable levels of firmness, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines for instructions.

When considering flipping or rotating your mattress, it’s essential to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure it is designed for such adjustments. Some mattresses may have specific instructions or recommendations to follow for optimal usage. I’ve written about the flipping and rotating of mattresses here. 

Give It Some Time

It’s important to note that specific mattress types, especially memory foam models, may require a break-in period to soften up. During the break-in period, the materials in the mattress, such as memory foam, need time to adjust and conform to your body. Initially, a memory foam mattress might feel firmer than expected. However, as you continue to use it, the foam will gradually soften and provide a more comfortable sleep surface.

It’s recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the break-in period for your specific mattress. This typically ranges from a few weeks to a couple of months. By being patient and giving your mattress time to adjust, you can experience the true level of comfort it offers.

If, after the break-in period, you still find the mattress too firm for your liking, you might consider exploring other options, such as adding a mattress topper or pad to enhance its softness.

Get A New Bed

If your mattress continues to feel excessively firm even after attempting the previously mentioned methods, it may be worth considering replacing it with a softer model. Exploring mattresses with different firmness levels can help you find one that aligns with your specific comfort preferences.

Take into account factors such as the type of mattress, comfort layers in the mattress, the level of support provided, and the overall feel of the mattress. Look for options that offer a softer firmness level, such as plush or medium-soft mattresses, which can provide a more comfortable and pressure-relieving sleep surface.

It’s also essential to consider your own preferences and any specific requirements you may have, such as back support or motion isolation. Take advantage of mattress trials or return policies to ensure that the new mattress meets your expectations and offers the desired level of softness and comfort. If you’re not sure where to start, we have a guide here! 


Remember, everyone has different sleep positions and body types, so it may take some trial and error to find the right solution for you. If you’re a stomach sleeper or back sleeper, you might not be too bothered by a firmer surface. If you’re a side sleeper, by following these tips, you can make your firmer mattress softer and enjoy better sleep quality. And when you have the means, consider getting a soft mattress that fits you.

And make sure you get one from a mattress company that offers a decent trial period so you’re not stuck with a too firm bed!

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