A Bed in a Box? Macoda Mattress Review

It was a happy coincidence that Mr Nerd and I had just been talking about replacing our old mattress, as it was getting close to the end of its life, when I got an email came out of the blue from a locally based company called Macoda – asking if we would like to try one of their mattress in return for an honest review.

Sometimes, blog things feel a little serendipitous. Once we were thinking of what we could do to fix the outside of the house now that we’d finished the inside; and I got an email from James Hardie asking if we would like to do a collab and use their cladding to give our home a new look. Another time, I was looking for a carpenter, and got a random email from a blog reader just to pass on the name of a carpenter she’d really liked. I could honestly go on and on about the number of product offers that have my come our way because of the blog. Some I know are a perfect fit because I’ve already bought and used them before and I already love the brand. Lots of things are not a fit or not really relevant to what House Nerd is about, so I don’t take them on (like the company that offered me a $500 voucher for very revealing lingerie the other day… which was uh, kind of them, but a good example of not suiting my brand). So when a product we need that that actually seems like it could be a fit comes our way, I’m stoked. Just like this.

But – Macoda sells mattresses that come in a box. Could they really be THAT good?

I’m pretty sure most of us would be aware of the bed-in-a-box craze. Traditionally, you’d go to a shop and buy a mattress, and probably pay a delivery fee to have one hefted to your door and maneuvered into your bedroom. Now, you can order one online, a slimline cardboard box is delivered to your door, you cut it open, and out comes your new mattress, which self-inflates in a matter of minutes (it’s actually really cool to watch. Why isn’t blowing up a camping mattress so easy?)

I was skeptical when I first heard of the mattress-in-a-box concept. I’m presuming a lot of people are the same. How do those skinny cardboard boxes hold a mattress – one good enough for a decent night’s sleep?

I knew my sister and brother-in-law loved theirs, which they had ordered partly because it would be easier to get up the narrow winding stairs of their old inner-city Sydney terrace house, where they have a fourth-floor bedroom. So I was happy to give it a go.

Macoda was co-founded by Perth-born James Cole, who was working in aviation before he began his company. He was no stranger to bad sleep at the time. “I’d toss and turn all night,” he admitted. “And snore. That combination affected my partner’s sleep more than anything.”

For James himself, getting a really good mattress was a game-changer when it came to his energy and wellbeing. (I can attest from having now met him in person, he does look enviably well-rested). Since launching Macoda with co-founder Dayne, the company’s mattress has been named Australia’s Most Comfortable Mattress for the second year in a row by Bedbuyer, the country’s leading independent mattress experts, who tested more than 100 boxed mattress).

He is now really passionate about how prioritising sleep is essential for your wellbeing – and unfortunately, not enough people do it.

“I believe that people nowadays are putting too much pressure on themselves and the compromise ends up being less sleep,” he says. “Sleep is so important and when we neglect it, it negatively impacts pretty much every facet of our life, and once that cycle starts it’s hard to get out of. We want to change that.”

Testing out our Macoda (yes, she sleeps on the bed!)

Ten years ago, it would have been unheard of to buy something like a mattress online. For James and _____, busting misconceptions around mattresses in a box and buying online was a priority. “Ordering things online is always a game of trust, and for big ticket items like a mattress it’s tenfold,” he says. “But we strongly believe the skepticism is a step in the right direction, and it puts the power in the buyer’s hand. Consumers are looking into things, and more often than not our customers are educated buyers who’ve done their research. People aren’t getting ripped off in stores anymore.”

James said the technology of their mattresses is as good as ‘traditional’ mattresses – and for less outlay. “In terms of design, the Macoda is actually a hybrid, so it’s the best of both worlds,” he says – each mattress has zoned pocket springs (instead of one big block spring system). What also makes the mattress a hybrid is that they also use foam, not just one block of support or memory foam, but three different foams that each serve a unique purpose. One layer is a gel memory foam, with hundreds of tiny gel beads that react to the surrounding temperature to keep you cool. But probably the mattress’s most unique feature is its ‘unzip and flip’ system, which lets you adjust it to make it softer or more firm, says James. “The top quilting on the mattress can actually be unzipped and removed; revealing the three layers of foam inside,” he says. “These can be re-arranged or flipped, to change the feel of the mattress completely. Anyone can do this at home in about five minutes which is just incredible.”

James is so confident about their mattresses, they offer a trial period of 100 nights – if you’re not impressed with the mattress after three months, you can return it. Most haven’t. “Our feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which makes it so much easier to do what we’re doing, because we know we’re genuinely making a difference for people,” says James. “Sometimes people will reach out because they’re so thankful for the change the mattress has made in their lives. It’s pretty unreal to think about how much impact a mattress can make, but the stories people tell us are amazing.”


I have to admit I do like a really soft mattress. If I feel like I’m sinking into a cloud when I go to bed, (or being eaten by a giant marshmallow when I sit on a couch) I’m blissfully happy.

My husband prefers a much firmer mattress.

And the third person in our marriage doesn’t care one way or the other.

I should probably confess here that our dog Nala sleeps on our bed and she has since every single night she has lived with us. Mr Nerd and I still argue to this day over whose fault it is that we have a (rather chunky) Labrador cross that demands to sleep alongside us with her head on the pillow, and grumbles and sighs dolefully until she’s tucked in like a person. Mr Nerd says it’s my fault. I used to be vehemently anti-pets-on-the-bed. No way would I ever let a dog sleep on my bed! Gross. Plus, you give in once, they’ll want to sleep on your bed forever.

Then, I brought Nala home as a puppy. I lived on my own then. She had her cosy little fleece basket next to my bed where she went to sleep. Then in the middle of her first night I woke up to see this little furry black and white face with her paws on the side of the bed, looking at me, crying in the dark. This poor little puppito. Missing her mama and her brothers and sisters at the farm.

“Ok get up,” I said sleepily (she was too little to make the jump, I had to hoist her up) and those words changed my life forever. She fell asleep instantly on my ankle and has slept on my bed ever since. The mind was willing. The flesh was weak. You would have done exactly the same thing if you were woken up by a crying puppy that looks like a baby panda bear. (By the way, if you’ve never seen this video of baby pandas playing on a slide, you NEED TO). But I still maintain that the dog sleeping in our bed is equally Mr Nerd’s fault, because he also encouraged it, and he tucks her in. From the get-go he basically fell asleep cuddling Nala, like a child with a stuffie. Especially in winter, when she is basically a furry hot water bottle. To this day, he cuddles her to sleep every night.

Nala was very disgruntled when we made her shove off the bed so we could pull our new mattress into our room. It was fun getting the mattress out of the box and watching it inflate. The plastic-y smell when we first unpacked it wasn’t great, however James had warned me it was quite normal with boxed mattresses, and it quickly dissipated. Reassuringly, the Macoda mattresses are Certi-PUR-US certified, which means they’re made without formaldehyde, as well as a bunch of other nasties, and are low VOC. They’re also independently tested for the presence of more than 300 harmful substances.

The Macoda is ready to sleep on straight away and Nala seemed to know this as she angrily jumped straight back up onto the bed in a huff. My first night’s sleep on it was not great, however, I put it down to being a HOT night (it was in the middle of one of those horrible summer heatwaves we’ve had this year) and I run hot. You know how everyone has that friend that’s always cold? I’m the friend that’s always hot. Mr Nerd thought the mattress was great and really liked the support.

The next night I had a much better sleep, but still decided to try flipping the inserts around to make it softer. This is one of the cool features of the mattress, you can unzip the top three parts and make it softer or firmer. I liked it softer, although my husband preferred the mattress more firm. We shall continue to bicker.

Mr Nerd has had a lot of back and hip pain lately (time to trade him in for a younger model?) but within a week of sleeping on the Macoda, Mr Nerd said his back aches were much better. (I may keep him a while yet. Lucky).  

I don’t know about you guys but the older I get the more I look at couples who sleep in separate beds like Mark and Carol Brady and I’m like yes Carol, you are wise. Possibly sort of unromantic, but wise. Who likes being woken up by their partner tossing and turning? No-one. However, I did feel like there was far less ‘jiggling’ with this mattress, which was great. The Macoda is designed to minimise motion transfer, which is basically a fancy way of saying when your husband or dog tosses and turns and jiggles about irritatingly in the middle of the night it’s less likely to wake you up. This is true! For the first week I barely noticed Nala leaping about in the middle of the night trying to squash us. The structure of it ‘feels’ different to a traditional mattress (our old mattress had a traditional spring system) but you quickly get used to it. I actually slept really well. Even though I have always preferred a really soft sinky mattress, within two weeks it did have that comfortable “this is MY bed” feel and my back felt good too.

Compared to our old mattress, which from memory cost a rather insane $3800 (we were DINKS back then, people) the comparison between the much cheaper Macoda ($1,100 for a Queen) was favourable. It’s not expensive, not cheap, and I think it’s good quality for its price – especially considering it’s a hybrid.

Your mattress comes with a trial period of 100 nights. So if you’re not happy with it after three months, you can return it. It’s a good way to go if you want peace of mind.

In a nutshell, if you are after an affordable mattress and prefer your mattress on the firmer, more supportive side, the Macoda could be a good way to go. 

Soon I’ll be sharing a Macoda giveaway where you can win one of Macoda’s amazing pillows to help you get a better night’s sleep. I’ll also be sharing the guys’ expert tips for an excellent night’s sleep every night – check back in soon. Thank you to Macoda for partnering with me on this post – you can visit their website here or follow them on Facebook or Instagram. They currently have their Easter sale on! Maya x


Author: Maya Anderson

When Maya Anderson was thinking of a name for her homes and design blog, nothing seemed more fitting than House Nerd. Obsessed with everything to do with houses, renovating and interior design, Maya is a features journalist by training with a background in print and a focus on homes and real estate. She has been renovating her 1970s house since forever, loves dogs and can eat her body weight in dumplings.

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