Beginner's Mattress Buying Guide

Shifman Mattresses

A Look At The Van Gogh

Shifman mattresses are sold to Presidents and movie stars but they don't advertise so you may never have heard of them. They're very expensive but they're very well built so a good case can be made for spending the money - if you've got it.

In this article, we'll be taking a look at this relatively small mattress maker. They've been producing some of the highest quality, handcrafted beds in the world for over a century now.

To learn more about their history see this page about the Shifman Mattress Company.

To find out what real customers had to say about the company's products see our section on Shifman Reviews.

Here we're going to examine one of their top of the line products in an attempt to discover what makes Shifman mattresses a cut above the competition.

There's probably no more important piece of furniture in your home than the bed. After all, you spend a third of each day sleeping on it. That's why it's so important to choose the right one, especially if you have back or neck problems. The truth is that many mattresses don't provide the proper level of support and can aggravate these conditions. Of course, it's also important to find one that's comfortable and will give you many years of faithful service.

The Shifman Van Gogh

The Van Gogh is part of the Masters Collection - the company's top of the line. This is one of the most sought after Shifman mattresses, but it used to be a pain to find. Unlike other Shifman beds, it's not available at Bloomingdales. You'll have to venture to fine furniture stores to locate this elusive mattress but we can assure you the quest is worth it.

We recently discovered that Klingman's, a furniture company in Grand Rapids, MI, has begun selling the Van Gogh online - so they're not that difficult to find anymore. However, to our knowledge Klingman's is the only retailer selling them over the internet.


The mattress itself has double off-set innersprings, quilted cotton, natural latex foam and firm edge supports. All of these combine to provide an unrivaled level of comfort. It also boasts an impressive 368 coil layout and a 12 and a half steel gauge number, which is a measure of the support a mattress provides.

The upholstery, which is the main ingredient in a mattress besides the springs, is made up of four layers of cotton felt that the company manufactures themselves. Many people consider cotton to be the best material you can use in a mattress. It's comfortable, long lasting, and it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The Van Gogh, like all Shifman mattresses, is handcrafted. This means it won't fall apart under heavy use like most of the cheap, mass produced bedding being sold today. There are stories of these mattresses lasting for well over twenty years.

Natural Latex Foam Pillowtop

The model also comes with a built in pillow top for the ultimate in luxury. Normally we would advise you to avoid pillowtops like the plague. They feel great in the showroom but when you get them home they quickly wear out, developing body impressions and becoming uncomfortable.

The salesmen push them because they're more expensive and they're paid on commission. This is the source of many people's problems that you read about in bad reviews. They're usually made with cheap polyurethane foam which doesn't hold up. And when people find out that it's not covered under a typical warranty because it's a "comfort issue" they tend to get angry, especially if the mattress was expensive.

But Shifman uses natural rubber latex foam and cotton in their pillowtop. Latex is probably the best thing you can use in the top layer because it's very comfortable and very durable. Of course it's more expensive but the latex in the pillowtop of the Van Gogh should last for the full life of the mattress.


The Van Gogh isn't completely maintenance free. Shifman recommends that you rotate and flip it twice a year so that the possibility of sagging can be minimized. This is true of most of the best mattress companies and is necessary because of the way they're made. When properly cared for they last much longer than an average mattress.

Although the Van Gogh is quite heavy and you probably won't be able to move or flip it yourself, the king size does come with hinges on the inside that let you fold the mattress without damaging it. This also allows you to carry it up a narrow flight of stairs without much difficulty.

The mattress and the box spring can be purchased at Klingman's for about $3,500 and are sure to provide many years of sleeping pleasure. The Van Gogh is available in the standard sizes of twin, full, queen and king.


If you're interested in Shifman mattresses another good place to look is Bloomingdale's. They offer an entirely different product line than that found in other stores, which is only available through them. They are Shifman's biggest retailer and many people buy their mattresses there.

They also sell online but we don't recommend buying that way with Bloomingdale's. They list them at full retail price - which is about double what you should actually be paying. Instead, wait until one of the stores has a sale and go there in person. You'll get a much better deal.

The Shifman Product Line

The Van Gogh is typical of the way the company manufactures it's entire product line. Here's an overview:

All Shifman mattresses are hand-tufted, which means that everything from the innersprings to the upholstery is locked together preventing shifting, slumping or depressions of any kind for decades on end.

Shifman also makes its own cotton felt from the highest quality cotton. Because of its resiliency, cotton is the preferred upholstery material and will last far longer than the polyfoam which is used in most mattresses.

Hand-tied box springs using Italian twine offer superior support and durability. This labor-intensive process greatly reduces wear on the mattress, which is why Shifman mattresses last much longer and remain more comfortable than competing brands.

More than 280 different sewing operations are necessary for each queen size bed. This attention to detail in the tailoring results in a strong and long lasting mattress which looks as good as it feels.

The fine fabrics used to cover the outside include French tapestries and Belgian damasks. They are very strict with quality control and are inspected for strength, weight, and thread count.

All in all it's easy to see why three different Presidents have furnished the White House with Shifman mattresses. They are undoubtedly among the best made in America - if not the world.

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