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Do Beds Need a Box Spring? [Here’s Which Ones Do]

When planning the design of your bedroom, you will want to consider which bed type matches your sleep comfort and the theme of your bedroom. Your bed is the focal point of your bedroom, so for appearance's sake, you might wonder if every bed needs a box spring. There are two types of bed styles; beds with box springs, and platform beds. We've researched each to determine whether your bed really does need a box spring.  

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Beds with coil spring mattresses need box springs. Regarding your bed's frame, most designs will require the use of a box spring placed between the frame base and mattress. Bed frames with a slat base such as sleigh beds and four-poster beds need a box spring to firmly support the mattress.

We've narrowed down the use of box springs to one type of mattress, you probably have many other questions related to how box springs work and what other types of mattress support are available. Please keep reading as we answer these questions. We'll also take a close look at platform beds, and suggest box spring alternatives for your mattress. 

A cozy bedroom, Do Beds Need a Box Spring? [Here's Which Ones Do]

How A Box Spring Helps Your Mattress

Box springs support your mattress. They keep your bed level so you can sleep evenly, increase the life of your mattress, and may be required in the mattress' warranty.  The coils in the box spring match the coils in your mattress.  This coil system allows for airflow to keep your bed cool.

Foam and latex mattresses cannot be used on box springs because the coils will damage the mattress by causing it to sag. Using a box spring with foam and latex mattresses will nullify most warranties for these types of beds.

Is it OK to Put a Box Spring on Floor?

It is okay to put a box spring on the floor.  When doing this, you may want to put a non-slip covering under the box spring, so it does not slide on the floor.  A box spring on the floor will not allow the air to flow through, and it also may collect allergens, such as dust.  In some climates, mold, which is very toxic when inhaled, can grow around and on the box spring on the floor.  Mold is a known cause of many illnesses, so you may consider this when deciding whether to put your box spring on the floor.

Can you use a piece of plywood instead of a box spring?

Yes, you can use a piece of plywood the size of your mattress instead of a box spring.  Be sure to check your mattress warranty, though.  If the warranty requires a box spring, using plywood as your base will void your mattress warranty.

Are platform beds better than box springs?

The answer to this question is a personal preference.  Platform beds are not as tall as the box spring beds.  They are usually five to seven inches tall.  If you can comfortably get in and out of bed lower than the traditional box spring style, then you may prefer the platform bed.  Platform beds can be a space saver in the room, more contemporary in design, and less expensive because you only need one mattress.  The platform bed is potentially firmer than you prefer.  So, trying out platform versus box spring beds is advised before purchasing one.

Do I need a box spring if I have slats?

Platform beds do not require a box spring.  The platform of the bed acts as the support for the mattress—slats make-up the platform, which curve upward and are two to four inches apart.  The upward curve gives spring to the bed, and the space between the slats allows air to flow to the mattress to keep it cool. 

Can you put a mattress directly on slats?

The mattress for a platform bed is placed directly on the slats of the bed.

Can you still use a box spring on a platform bed?

While box springs are not necessary for platform beds, they can be used on the bed if you would like the height of the bed to be higher.  It may also make the platform bed a bit softer.

Is it Bad to Put a Mattress Directly on Floor?

Placing a mattress on the floor may void your mattress warranty if it requires your mattress to be on a box spring or platform.  It is not bad to put your mattress on the floor as long as it does not affect the mattress warranty.  It will be affected by the same problems foundations experience when placed on the floor and cause difficulties getting up from the mattress if you are not very agile.

Create Your Bedroom Oasis

These are the basics of box spring and platform beds. You may want to shop around to try the different types to match your comfort level. Sweet dreams in the bed of your dreams!

Please read our other posts to help select the right size bed:

How Big Is A King  Sized Bed [Various Types Discussed]

Do Beds Need A Headboard [The Answer May Surprise You]

Paul Schmitt

Monday 7th of March 2022

I recently purchased two used 4-poster wooden beds and one used wooden sleigh bed (all queen size). All 3 beds came with wooden side rails that screw or hook into the headboard and footboard. I also purchased three box springs and mattresses. My question is about supporting the beds underneath. The sleigh bed has 3 wooden supports that run side-to-side between the rails and have one center support that touches the floor. Each of the 3 supports has screws to screw it to the side rails. That one is okay.

The biggest dilemma I have is with the one of the 4-poster beds. It did not come with any slats or support rails. Can I put 3 or 4- 1x3 (or 1x4) slats that stretch horizontally from rail to rail, without having any center support that touch the floor? Or would I need to purchase some kind of supports that have a center support?

The third bed, a 4-poster wooden bed, has 3 steel supports that run side to side between the rails and each one has a center support, like the wooden ones that came with the sleigh bed. The problem is that the center support for each one does not reach the floor. Can I just place a block of wood underneath the center support to make it touch the floor or should I be looking at purchasing something entirely different? Or is there something I can buy for the center support so that it will reach the floor?