August 2008


Latten… whaaa?

Yesterday I made my second trip to Ikea, and just like the first, I lost track of time.

I headed there with a colleague who walked me through the process of buying a bed in Germany, something which is surprisingly different from America.

The last time I bought a bed in America, I went to the store, picked out a mattress and box-springs combination, and then, because I was poor, I picked out a simple metal frame. When it came to the mattress, there were really only a few decisions to be made: size and firmness. The frame could be complicated, if you had the money to buy something stylish.

At Ikea I started by picking a frame. I settled very quickly on Malm. Beyond the relatively ok price, it had the basic look I was imaging for my new frame with simple clean lines and a sturdy base. It was my only quick decision.

From there I decided upon a 160x200cm (63” x 79”) sized frame because I want a bed that it bigger than the traditional American Twin bed I’m used to. It was a decision I revisited a few minutes later, when my colleague walked me into Ikea’s “Lattenrost” department.

“So what kind of Lattenrost do you want,” he quizzed me.

“What is a Lattenrost and what does it do,” I asked back.

It turns out that this was not an easy question, and he told me that it went under the mattress and supported the mattress. I started looking at the ones on the wall—some including a feature where the head could be elevated, ones with convex wooded slats, others with double convex wooden slats, with yet others covered in plastic. The cheapest one was 10€, with prices rising to astronomical if you got one with a motorized adjusting head piece.

After looking at the prices, it suddenly occurred to my colleague that if I got the 160x200cm bed, that I would need two Lattenrost, a fact that made me worry about a crack in the bed: I don’t like it when Europeans push together two twin bed and call it a full sized bed. The crack between the two beds effectively prevents and discourages me from lying diagonally across the bed.

I went down a size in my bed frame, down to 140x200cm (55” x 79”), thus preventing a crack in the bed.

Once I had a rough idea which Lattenrost I wanted, we moved on to the pressing issue of the mattress, somehow ending up in the Latex section. As my colleague read aloud a sign stating the benefits of the Latex mattress, I asked him if I could only use water-based lubricants with it—he was too absorbed to catch my question—which was probably a good thing because an Ikea clerk wandered by, and he cornered her, asking her advice.

The second she announced that Latex mattresses are good for people who get cold at night, I was off the mattress and off looking at other mattresses: I have an incredibly high internal body temperature and the mere thought of staying toasty warm because of my mattress scared me. She talked us through a couple of other options, and I ended up getting a rather nice mattress that was substantially on sale.

I also revisited the Lattenrost question because the one I had picked out didn’t have a wood frame, and so it might break more easily than one with a wooden frame.

Whatever happened to box-springs? I think that in an American bed, the box springs fulfills the functions of a Lattenrost with the added benefit that it not only comes with the mattress, but its fabric covering matches the mattress’ fabric covering.

If I had to guess, I’d say we spent at least an hour in the Lattenrost and mattress department.

In America I think I selected, purchased, and arranged delivery of my last mattress in less than half an hour.

The strangest part of the process was arranging for delivery. The firm that makes deliveries does so over a large swath of Thüringen—not just the immediate surround city. What struck me as especially odd was the fact that it was a flat rate for delivery based upon the value of the goods being delivered, not the distance involved.

For now I’m excited at the prospect of sleeping in my new bed: it will be delivered on Friday, and then I will have to figure out how to assemble it. My colleague has offered to assist me, and I may take him up on the offer, so it might be Sunday before it’s ready for a nap.

In the mean time, I’ve successfully assembled my new Ikea lamp and am contemplating assembling the matching Malm side table for my Malm bed. I also have my two Ikea candles, my Ikea scissors (for the quilt project!), my Ikea Swedish Meatballs, and my 60 Ikea Swedish Meatball Sauce to enjoy.

10 comments to Latten… whaaa?

  • Good luck with the construction. We got a Malm bed too, and it actually went OK, but only because there were two of us working on it and we never did get the metal crosspiece stabilizer things to work properly and eventually gave up.

    Also, we have two Lattenroste underneath one 160x200cm mattress. That would have worked for you. Here’s what we learned about that though: you might need some spacers between the Lattenroste and the frame of the bed to make sure that they (the Lattenroste) don’t shift and fall through the frame — that happened to us until we wedged folded up carboard between the Lattenroste as spacers.

  • Ikea. Is there anything they can’t do?

  • jen

    i didn’t know buying a bed could be so complicated. i’m kind of a “oh, i’ll pick that one-how much do i owe you?” kind of gal.

  • We have a 200×200 bed with two Lattenröstis, and we have no crack in our bed. So your fears in that regard were unfounded…

  • I heard once that 60% of Europeans sleep on an IKEA bed… the other 40% can’t figure out how to put it together. tee hee hee

    Seriously, the quality of the Lattenrost is a large factor. Never go for the roll up one which sounds like your first option that you got away from. (we learned the hard way) As Cliff said, the spacers can be important too. Oh, and hey, I burned through a cheap IKEA mattress in about two years. The Karstadt mattress sales lady insisted that I had to have a HARD mattress because I am over 80kg. Hard in America and hard in Germany are two different beasts… now I sleep on the softness equivalent of a door.

  • Good News! It took me about 45 minutes to assemble 85% of my side table. The parts I couldn’t do need a screwdriver I don’t own, and need another set of hands to do properly.

    @cliff: Thanks for the warning. I will be constructing it with my expert German colleague.

    @cq: publish books that I want to read at night in bed.

    @jen: It’s more straight forward at the Mattress Factory, that’s for sure!

    @Scott: hmmm… I should be ok, I’m only one person…. but when I get married, I will keep that in mind.

    @Snooker: I want a firm bed, that’s for sure, but not door hard!

  • cat

    Pray to heaven! WHAT have you slept on until IKEA came along? Never saw a bed here without Lattenrost. MY first IKEA mattress lasted almost one and a 1/2 years. Unless it is damned firm, do not sit on the edge much or sleep on the edge.

  • @cat: I’ve been sleeping on an American mattress and box spring. There’s a long story there…

  • J

    It is quite hard to get out of Ikea quickly. Even I, someone who hates shopping, thinks so.

  • J

    It is quite hard to get out of Ikea quickly. Even I, someone who hates shopping, think so.