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The Rolls-Royce of Bed Makers

With an enviable following of celebrities and royalty, Hästens horsehair mattresses are the ultimate sleep status symbol. 

Crafting a Hästens Mattress

Sleep is a serious business, at least according to Hästens, a family-run company founded in 1852 when Pehr Adolf Janson, then a self-trained skilled craftsman in poor rural Sweden, was awarded his certificate as a master saddler by the King of Sweden.

He named the company Hästens, which means horse in Swedish, and, to this day, horsehair has remained the company’s most precious asset. Following the family tradition, the second generation quickly adapted to changing times. Per Thure Janson started crafting horsehair mattresses, seats and cushions for Sweden’s first automobiles.

From then on, manufacturing the most exceptional mattresses and beds was the natural way forward. The recipe for an exceptional bed remains the same: countless layers of cotton, wool and horsehair. “At Hästens every day is about remembering where we come from. We don’t use complicated formulas. Here, function designs form. We design beds to last for generations, without ever compromising on the price or number of layers,” fifth-generation owner Jan Ryde explains.

Visiting the manufacture (which feels very much like a family home with pictures of the employees lined up at the entrance) the blue-check pattern stands out. It is a visual symbol of quality and has remained unchanged since 1978 when it was first introduced at the Stockholm Furniture Fair as a futuristic bed designed to last to the year 2000. What is the epitome of a great bed today was then considered ugly.

Jan Ryde at the Hästens manufacture in Sweden

“We want people to invest in their health, for health starts with good sleep,” says Jan Ryde facing another wall of fame, picturing stars and famous sportspeople — George Clooney, Drake, Brad Pitt, Ronaldo, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey, as well as the Swedish Royal Family, who wake up on one of their signature blue check mattresses. 

The quality of Hästens’ beds is mainly due to one star element: horsehair. Washed using organic soap, it is twisted into long braids and left to dry for three to six months. Once the tension is released, the horsehair becomes a fluffy cloud of tiny, intertwined springs.

Layered and fixed together by hand in between a soft cotton and wool mixed sheet, they support each muscle and help regulate body temperature (they have a natural ventilation quality and dry up quickly, sucking up the body’s excess of heat). “We constantly improve our skills and techniques and look for better materials but, to date, we clearly haven’t found anything better than horsehair,” says Ryde. The bed’s frame is made of FSC-sourced slow-growing pine; recycled steel springs are individually wrapped in cotton and cellulose (a natural material derived from wood); and fixed using a mixed flax bake, that muffles sound and removes electricity from your body. All the layers are pressed together to compose the mattress, which is then hand stitched together to make sure it doesn’t collapse over the years. Every mattress comes with a 25-year warranty.

Nothing is left to chance in a Hästens bed, which is geared towards prioritising good sleep. “People must prioritise buying a Hästens bed over a new car that won’t last as long... and might not have the same health benefits. You need to prioritise yourself,” says Jan Ryde.