Ok, what actually is a mattress topper?

Comfy & cozy ✌️

A mattress topper on a bed with a rainbow background.
(Image credit: Future / Amazon / Beth Mahoney)

Perhaps you’ve never had the need for a mattress topper before, or maybe your parents always dealt with your bedding buys until now. Whatever the reason, getting to grips with all the different aspects of a good bed setup for the first time can be a lil’ overwhelming, to say the least. So, if you’re unsure what exactly a mattress topper is, how it works, or whether you need one, don’t panic — we’ve got you covered. 

When you first move out, whether it’s into a dorm for college or into your first apartment, it can feel hella overwhelming. There’s just SO much that you need to think about. And honestly, we’ve all been there. You think you know everything you need to know about “adulting” and then you realize there’s something else that you’re unsure about. 

So, in case you’re not sure what a mattress topper is or why you might need one, we’ve put together this handy guide that covers everything you need to know about mattress toppers before you buy one, including whether you need one.

What is a mattress topper?

A mattress topper is a padded layer (think of it like a mini mattress) that sits atop your actual mattress. They come in a range of styles, thicknesses, and materials, from cooling gel toppers designed with hotter sleepers in mind to ultra-soft feather toppers that ooze coziness. Essentially, a mattress topper is an additional layer that sits on top of your mattress and is usually held in place by elasticated straps that go around and under the corners of your mattress. 

What are the benefits of a mattress topper?

So, why would someone opt to buy a mattress topper? Mattress toppers are great for upgrading an older mattress that might have lost some of its firmness or may be starting to sag. You’d be amazed at how much difference a good mattress topper can make to the comfort level of your bed. 

For renters, a mattress topper can be a great way to upgrade a rental bed without upsetting the landlord by asking to replace the entire mattress. While, for hotter sleepers, a cooling mattress topper can be a good way to make sleeping in warmer weather easier. Or, if you’ve accidentally purchased a mattress that’s too soft or too hard for you but you can’t return it, a mattress topper could help to fix the problem. 

Do I need a mattress topper?

Not sure whether you need a mattress topper? Well, first things first, think about how well you're sleeping. Is your current bed setup comfortable enough for you to get all the slumber you need? If so, then you probably don't need a mattress topper RN. But, if you often find yourself struggling to sleep, tossing and turning, and unable to get comfortable, it might be time to think about treating yourself to a new topper. 

Beth Mahoney
Staff Writer

Hi! I’m Beth, and I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy. I’m forever searching for items that will add style to my rather sterile, rented newbuild townhouse. I am forever searching for eye-catching and on-trend pieces of decor that will add personality without damaging the paintwork. When I’m not writing and researching trends and news pieces, you’ll usually find me camped out at my favorite coffee house with my Kindle, testing out new beauty products to blog about, restoring old furniture, or going on Instagrammable beach walks with my dog and fiancé.