A mattress is an expensive investment. There is no doubt about that. This is especially true if your choice is a premium mattress. Because of this, you need to do everything possible to protect your investment and ensure it serves you for years. One way of achieving this goal is by placing it on a sturdy, supportive and high-quality base.
Of course, the last thing you want to do is place your mattress on the floor where it is susceptible to dirt, stains, mold, liquid, bugs and all manner of things that not only ruin its appearance but also reduce its useful life.
Buying a good mattress bed can protect it from all the issues aforementioned. With countless options available in terms of style, material, and price, choosing the one that meets the need of your mattress type can be challenging. Perhaps that is even the reason why the box spring vs. platform vs. foundation debate emanated from.
Without further ado, let us look at each of these types of mattress bases individually and what they bring to the table. By the end of the primer, you will have learned which one works best with your mattress type.
Box Spring Vs Platform Vs Foundation
Box springs are basically a base that lifts up a mattress. Because of their ability to lift your mattress off the ground, you can also use them as a couch to sit on. Unlike in the past when these bases had ‘springs,’ today’s ‘box springs’ have been replaced with metal or wood which are a sturdier solution. Compared to the real springs, metal or wood provide mattresses with better support and absorption of body weight.
In addition to absorbing shock, box springs are effective at maintaining the shape and structure of your mattress. The fact that they help raise your mattresses’ height means hopping out and in the bed is effortless.
Another major highlight about box springs is the fact that they are aesthetically pleasing thus providing your bed with a formal and sophisticated look. Other box spring types feature a warm and traditional style that those into conventional décor would prefer.
Box Spring Alternatives: Great alternatives to box springs are Bunkie boards, adjustable bases, platform beds, and foundation.
How to assemble box springs: Check out this video guide.
- Warm and classy design
- Flat surface to prevent sagging
- Good height for making disembarking from bed effortless
- Excellent bounce (a great choice if you have toddlers)
- Extra costs related to rails and frame
- Might lose support with time
If you lack the budget of a box spring mattress, a good alternative is a platform bed. The money you save can be handy in buying a premium quality mattress. Platform beds basically comprise of a rectangular, leveled, raised and horizontal frame. In most cases, rows of a latticed structure or flexible wooden slats to offer support characterize this bed.
A striking attribute about platform beds is that they can handle almost all types of mattresses. Nonetheless, they are best suited for memory foam mattresses due to their flat solid surface. On top of that, they feature slats that not only mitigate the chances of growth of mildew and mold but also aid excellent airflow.
You will also love platform beds do to their appeal. They boast a sleek and stylish design thus making your space look and feel less cramped.
Because of their low profile, they are more than stable.
Platform beds come in an array of types. They include:
Foot and headboard
Some platform beds bring with them a combination of a footboard and a headboard. This combination gives this type both a traditional and modern appeal. Choose this style if you do not intend to incorporate a box spring in your platform bed.
Instead of having visible legs, floating platform beds create a ‘floating’ illusion. In addition to not providing any storage space, these boast a modern aesthetic.
Storage platform beds, just like their name suggests, have inconspicuously designed drawers for additional storage. They hide below the bed. Is your bedroom small-spaced? Are you limited in your closet space? You should consider this type of platform bed to maximize your space.
Solid platform beds lack any space or room beneath. Their aesthetic appeal and sturdiness is their main selling point.
Having looked at that, it is also worth noting that platform beds feature different materials. Some of the common ones are:
If you are into versatility when it comes to your platform bed, then you should consider the wooden type. They feel and look ranges from industrial and modern to rustic and vintage. On top of being long-lasting, they give you a timeless look that remains good looking and trendy for years.
Their only downside is the fact that they are very heavy. Additionally, lighter wood shades tend to be prone to stains.
Looking for the kind of material that makes your platform bed timeless, simple and durable? Then you should consider metal. Their style is industrial and modern. Unlike some shades of wood or upholstery, you are guaranteed the metal style will never fade or stain with time.
The upholstered type is for use in a deluxe and cliquey feel in their bedroom. Its upside is that this style is among the most striking and assorted. Regarding its downside, it is susceptible to fading and staining.
- Different styles to choose from (Asian, modern, and conventional)
- Sturdy and durable
- Excellent air circulation guarantees cool temps
- Usable with different types of mattresses
- Solid surface to absorb mattress and body weight
- Heavy and large making it challenging to move
- Most lack space under the bed
Platform Bed Alternatives: Box springs, foundation, and cinderblocks.
How to assemble a platform bed: Check out this video guide:
Foundation just like the others is a box featuring a right and flat surface to offer adequate support to your mattress. Mostly, bed foundations are made of wood having slats running from one side to another similar to a platform bed. Nonetheless, their appearance resembles box springs in the sense that they have a fabric covering. There are others with exposed wood frame.
Mattresses made of dense material such as latex mattresses and foam mattresses are the best ones to be used on a foundation. Such mattresses require a sturdy surface to rest on. This is unlike their innerspring counterparts that enjoy flexibility from box springs.
Instead of providing shock absorption like a box spring, the foundation offers support. Their standard height is 7 – 9 inches. However, you can also get those featuring lower profiles.
In the modern times, foundations are the in thing. They have outwitted box springs as the preferred normal base for mattresses. Instead of having springs, they bring with them wooden slats that are evenly spaced. They are tailored to not only reinforce your mattress but also ensure it does not crash through the base.
The closer the space of the slats, the more support they give a mattress. Foundations, just like box springs come in three main sizes:
- Low profile – 5.5” and below
- Medium profile – 6 – 8.5”
- High/standard profile – 9” and above
Some of the various types of the foundation include:
These movable bases also go by the name power bases. They raise both your head and feet to enable you to feel some buoyancy that gets rid of neck and back pain. Some boast massage and lumbar support features coupled with an ability to tilt for comfort while reading or watching TV. If you are a ‘control freak’ and desire to manage everything from your mobile gadget, there are those with Bluetooth tech.
Adjustable bases are not only comfortable but can also go miles towards enhancing your health. While some flat foundations aren’t healthy in terms of applying pressure on joints and blood flow, you can trust these to help you with healthy circulation and adequate pressure relief.
If you have the following medical conditions, you should consider buying an adjustable foundation:
- Joint and back pain
- Heartburn and acid reflux
- Inflammatory conditions such as sciatica and arthritis
These bases work best with an individually wrapped coil, hybrid, and memory foam mattresses.
Best Adjustable Base – Nectar Adjustable Base
Of all mattress foundations, these stand out as the most low-profile option. They hardly add height to your general sleeping surface. Bunky boards can be hard parts of MDF, plywood or timber whose dimensions matches that of your mattress. A fabric wraps the wood to offer protection to your mattress as well as reduce the possibility of sliding.
Two striking features of a bunky board are its affordability and thinness. On top of that, they can provide stability and support for different types of mattresses devoid of adding height which makes them an excellent choice for kid’s beds. You can also settle for a bunky board if you are into a streamline and ultra-modern look inside your bedroom.
They work best with memory foam mattresses due to their surface area. Thicker pillow-top mattresses boasting ample height can also be set up on a bunky board.
Best bunky board – Signature Sleep Bunky Board
Metal platform foundation
The use of a metal platform foundation is handy when you desire to not only raise but also support a mattress while at the same create spacious storage under the bed. Although some assembly is necessary, it is more effortless to disassemble and transport compared to a box spring. Buying extra connector pieces is advisable if you intend to install a headboard.
This type of foundation is best utilized with a memory foam mattress that needs a solid and sturdier platform. Therefore, it is prudent to verify with your manufacturer before opting for this.
Best metal platform foundation – Purple Metal Platform Foundation
Solid platform foundation
Among all the bed frame choices available, this one offers the highest durability and most support. If you consider style important, then you will be glad to know that these are the most stylish. However, attached to their good looking nature is a heftier price tag. Although budget ones exist, more material certainly translates to more money.
Another highlight of this foundation is that you have to do away with reducing much airflow via the mattress. Therefore, your mattress can trap much heat in the process. It is not the best for hot sleepers or those living in a warm climate.
They are used best with hybrid mattresses, latex mattresses, and heavier memory foam. All these types of mattresses require extra support.
Best solid platform foundation – Prepac Foundation
Metal wire grid foundation
This is an incredible option if you own a latex mattress. To land the best one, you need to settle for one that features a rigid base coupled with tiny gaps running between. On top of that, your prospective choice ought to have a sturdy fabric screwed at the top. This not only offers a flat surface but also extra support.
Pros of Foundations
- Better support
- Easier off and on
- Minimal indentation
- More pocket-friendly compared to others
Cons of Foundations
- Most of them lack storage space
- Need for regular mattress rotation
Foundation Alternatives: Cinderblocks, platform beds, captain’s beds, and milk crates.
How to assemble foundation: Check out this video guide.