What Is a Plush Mattress, and Is It the Right Choice for You?

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 02/13/2023

Investing in a comfortable mattress is essential for getting enough shut-eye each night. 

You probably saw plush mattresses among the other options when you were in the market for a new bed. 

But what is a plush mattress? And is it something that you should purchase for yourself? 

Let’s answer those questions. 

What Is a Plush Mattress?

A plush mattress, also called a soft mattress, is a mattress that feels very soft to the touch. 

This mattress’s soft, cushiony comfort layers make it cozy and snug for most people to sleep on. In addition, plush mattresses are typically great at relieving pressure.

However, a plush mattress isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. For example, it might be too soft for heavier sleepers, stomach sleepers, or even hot sleepers. 

We rate plush mattresses a 3 to 4 on our mattress firmness scale, and ultra-plush mattresses go even lower than that. Firmness is an essential factor in choosing the perfect mattress, and here’s what you should know about that. 

Why Firmness Matters

Firmness tells you how a mattress feels to the touch, but it’s very subjective. The same mattress that you think is soft could actually be a medium mattress for someone else. 

To make things easier, mattress manufacturers use a mattress firmness scale ranging from 1 to 10. These levels are usually called ultra plush (or extra soft), plush (soft), medium, firm, and extra firm. Although most people prefer a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress, you might not share this preference. That’s why it’s important to take your time when making the choice.

Firmness vs. Support

Before we compare plush mattresses to other firmness levels, we should cover the support. 

Support and firmness are related, but they’re not the same. Support keeps your spine aligned, and firmness indicates how much you sink into the mattress. 

Different materials have different levels of support and firmness. But a plush mattress can still be very supportive, even though it’s soft. 

Plush vs. Firm

Firm mattresses range from 7 to 8 on the firmness scale. The comfort layers in these mattresses are thinner than in plush ones. 

These beds don’t give you a sinking feeling like plush mattresses do, but they’re the best choice for certain people. 

The firmness of this mattress is excellent for back and stomach sleepers, and heavier people. It’s also a good choice for hot sleepers because less of their body is in contact with the mattress. 

On the other hand, plush mattresses are mostly the opposite. They’re not firm enough for stomach sleepers and heavier people, but some people who sleep on their backs could find this mattress type comfortable. There are even extra-firm mattresses, but they’re only used in exceptional cases and for specific medical conditions. 

Plush vs. Medium

Medium mattresses are known to be one of the most versatile firmness levels because they are neither too soft nor too firm. They are ranked 5–6 on the mattress firmness scale. 

When you sleep on a medium mattress, your body sinks a little, but not as much as on a plush mattress. Most sleepers can sleep comfortably on medium mattresses. 

Compared to soft mattresses, medium to medium-firm mattresses are comfortable enough for various users. 

They’re especially good for side sleepers, back sleepers, and couples. Average-weight sleepers will also enjoy sleeping on a medium mattress.

If you aren’t sure which mattress firmness is right for you, it’s a good idea to start with a medium mattress and see whether you should go higher or lower.

Plush Mattress Types

You can find plush mattresses in all mattress types, but not all of them have the same attributes. Here’s what you should know before you go any further.

Plush Innerspring Mattress

Innerspring mattresses are an old-school mattress type. They’re built with steel coils in the support layer and a thin layer of material for comfort. 

This means they’re usually on the firmer side, but some plush innerspring mattress options exist. However, they typically feel more like a soft to a medium mattress. 

Plush innerspring mattresses can be a good option for side and back sleepers. 

Be ready for bad motion isolation but good breathability because of the coils! 

Plush Memory Foam Mattress

Traditional memory foam is a soft material that molds to the body’s shape, relieves pressure, and blocks out movement very well. But a memory foam mattress also tends to trap heat, so watch out for that. 

The best plush mattresses out there are made from foam, and there are plenty of options.

This material is the best choice for side sleepers because the mattress surface contours the body well. It will support the spine while also conforming to the hips and shoulders.

If you’re a hot sleeper, look for gel memory foam, but know that it’s usually a bit firmer than traditional memory foam. 

Plush Hybrid Mattress 

Hybrid mattresses are built to be the best of both worlds. They usually use coils in the support layer, and the comfort layers are made from latex or memory foam. 

These mattresses are made to give you support and comfort, and there are plenty of firmness levels for hybrid mattresses. 

A plush hybrid mattress offers proper support with a cushioning feel on top. It’s perfect for side and even back sleepers. 

Plush Latex Mattress

Latex mattresses are either made from natural, synthetic, or blended latex. They’re usually firmer, very supportive, durable, and bouncy. 

You’ll get good pressure relief and acceptable motion isolation if you sleep on a latex mattress, but it’s not as good as memory foam in these areas. In comparison to memory foam, it’s very breathable. And way more expensive. 

Although they’re usually firmer, plush latex mattresses do exist. They’ll give you comfort and support, and they’ll last a long time. 

They’re especially good for back and side sleepers, combination sleepers, and people who suffer from joint pain. 

Plush Pillow Top Mattress 

Pillow top mattresses have an extra layer of soft material sewn onto the top of the mattress. This layer can be added to any mattress type, but it’s added chiefly to innerspring beds to make them more comfortable. 

You get a soft result when you add a pillow top to an already plush mattress. It falls somewhere between an ultra-plush and a plush mattress and is an excellent choice for side sleepers. 

Plush Mattress – Pros and Cons

As with everything, plush mattresses also come with benefits and drawbacks. Here’s what you should keep in mind.  


  • Cloud-like feeling
  • Excellent contouring
  • They tend to have good pressure relief


  • Not firm or supportive enough for heavier sleepers
  • Might have trouble with temperature regulation
  • Prone to sagging 

Who Should Use a Plush Mattress?

The only way to pick the perfect new mattress is to follow your sleeping preferences and requirements. The choice will depend on factors like your sleeping position, weight, joint pain, and more.  

But at the end of the day, who are plush mattresses perfect for? 

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers require a firm mattress to keep their spines aligned but one that is soft enough to allow their hips and shoulders to sink into the material. 

If side sleepers spend their nights on a too firm mattress, they’ll develop shoulder and hip pain. This is why a plush mattress feels like the perfect choice for them. 

It’ll give their spine the support it needs, but it’ll let the hips and shoulders of side sleepers sink through the comfort layer. 

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers usually need a firmer mattress to keep their spine aligned, but a plush mattress can also do a good job if that’s your preference and if it fits your body weight. 

It’s pretty easy to get a supportive mattress for people who sleep on their backs. They just need a mattress that will evenly distribute their weight.

However, some back sleepers shouldn’t sleep on too soft beds. Their hips will sink too much, which will cause pain and discomfort. It all depends on their weight and the mattress material. 

But if they sleep on too firm mattresses, they’ll likely have the same problem. That’s why medium mattresses are usually the best choice for the average back sleeper.

Sleepers With Joint Pain

If you suffer from hip and shoulder pain, a plush mattress is one of the best options, especially for those who are also side sleepers. 

A plush mattress is soft enough to give in to these body parts. Just watch out for one thing – how well they relieve pressure. 

No matter how soft a mattress is, you’ll need good pressure relief to handle joint pain. Mattress materials that offer good pressure relief are memory foam and latex, so look for the plusher versions. 

Plush mattresses might be a good option for some people with back pain, but most would be better off on a medium-firm mattress. 

Petite Sleepers

Body weight is an essential factor in choosing the right mattress firmness. The heavier you are, the more pressure you put on a mattress, so you need a firmer mattress. A firm mattress is also typically more durable, so it will last longer.

And if you’re on the lighter side, a firmer mattress will just hurt you. That’s why plush mattresses are an excellent choice for petite sleepers, especially those that weigh under 130 pounds. 

However, know that plush mattresses tend to sag and deteriorate. That is why, if you want your plush mattresses to last longer, you should be prepared to invest in high-quality plush mattresses.

Other Soft Mattress Types

If you’re looking for a soft mattress, but a regular plush mattress doesn’t seem like the right choice, don’t fret! There are a few options on the market that you could try. 

Plush vs. Ultra-Plush Mattress

First, we’ll start with the lowest mattress firmness level. Ultra-plush mattresses have a firmness rating of 1 or 2 and are softer than plush mattresses, making them the softest beds on the market. 

This might sound like the perfect experience. Like genuinely sleeping on a cloud, right? But you won’t run into an ultra-plush mattress that easily. And also, even though it has that soft sleeping surface, it’s probably not the best for your body.

Most of the time, ultra-soft mattresses can’t give sleepers the support they need to keep their spine straight. 

Also, remember that soft materials are prone to sagging; the softer they are, the less durable they become. 

Plush vs. Pillow Top Mattress

Pillow top mattresses have a layer of soft material sewn on top of the existing mattress. This process is used to create a softer mattress from an already firm mattress. 

Although a pillow top bed can be made from any mattress type, it is most commonly made from coil mattresses. 

This thin layer of material is used to create a soft comfort layer. That’s why pillow top beds have firm support from the mattress itself, while the extra layer provides softness. 

Because of this, pillowtop mattresses don’t exactly feel like a softer bed, but they’re still soft. 

Plush vs. Euro Top Mattress

Euro top mattresses are similar to pillow tops. They have a layer of extra cushioning added to firmer mattresses to make them more plush and comfortable.

However, in the case of a Euro mattress, the extra layers are added between the mattress cover and the mattress itself, so they become part of the mattress. 

Like pillow tops, Euro top mattresses are created to make a mattress softer, but they can’t impact the support. You’ll notice if a mattress has firm support beneath the extra layers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Plush and Soft Mattresses the Same?

The terms plush and soft mattress are used interchangeably. In other words, yes, it’s the same thing. 

What Is a Plush Firm Mattress?

A plush firm mattress has firmness between these two levels, so it’s likely a medium. It could also mean that the support layer feels firm while the comfort layer is plush. 

Can I Flip a Plush Mattress?

Not all modern plush mattresses are created to be flippable.

Most modern mattresses can’t be flipped because the comfort layer isn’t on both sides. However, if you aren’t sure whether you can flip a plush mattress, check the mattress warranty. 

If you can’t flip your mattress, you should rotate it to make it last longer. 

Can I Make a Plush Mattress Firmer?

If you feel your plush mattress is too soft, add a mattress topper to make it firmer. Mattress toppers can change the firmness of your bed, but they can’t impact its support. 

Is a Plush Mattress Good for Your Back?

It depends. A plush mattress can be good for your back if you’re a side sleeper or a lightweight back sleeper because your spine will stay aligned. 

Usually, people who suffer from back pain should sleep on a firm mattress. Firm mattresses provide better support, but it also depends on the sleeper.

Regarding back pain, most plush mattresses can relieve pressure very well, and they provide excellent contouring. However, whether a soft mattress will be the right choice depends on the sleeper, their body type, and other factors.

Final Thoughts

Well, this is our answer to the question, “What is a plush mattress?”

So what do you think? Does a plush mattress seem like the bed of your dreams?

Remember that plush mattresses are the best choice for side sleepers, petite sleepers, and some people with joint pain. And at the end of the day, it’s all about your preferences and needs.

Good luck finding your new mattress!

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.