One of the first things you’ll think about after getting a new mattress is how to support it properly. Support plays a vital role in ensuring you get a good night’s sleep and that your mattress lasts long. Usually, you’ll be faced with different support options, including a box spring and mattress combination, a platform bed, or a foundation bed. This article will guide you to picking the right support for your mattress.
There are different types of bed supports in the market. Your choice will largely be influenced by your mattress type and the kind of support you’re looking for. As a first-time buyer, telling the difference can be a struggle. But don’t fret. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to pick a suitable bed base, like a pro.
Why you need a bed base
Your mattress needs a solid foundation to rest on. This could be a box spring, solid base, or wooden slat platform. The mattress foundation supports you as you sleep and ensures your mattress doesn’t sag, slide or sink. It also adds height to your bed, keeps your mattress clean, improves airflow, and increases the lifespan of your mattress.
A wrong bed base won’t offer adequate support and may indent the mattress, causing you to sleep in an awkward and uncomfortable position. And just like a poor quality mattress, a bad base will cause back pain, joint pains, fatigue, and other physical and psychological health issues. Let’s now look at the benefits of using a box spring or a platform bed with that in mind.
A box spring is a base layer that raises your mattress and serves as a foundation to keep the bed even and well supported during your sleep. It usually has a wooden frame designed to absorb and distribute weight, sometimes with added steel reinforcement for strength.
Traditionally, metal box springs were meant to absorb the impact, minimizing the wear and tear on the mattress. That’s because the mattresses were thinner and made with innerspring. But modern-day mattresses don’t necessarily need a box spring.
In fact, the latest latex and foam mattresses can be damaged by using a traditional box spring. The reason is box springs don’t have a solid surface and don’t offer a good foundation for the mattress to rest on. Box springs are great for innerspring mattresses, although these mattresses are sturdy enough on their own.
Platform beds are low-profile bed frames that have a built-in foundation. They have sturdy bases consisting of a raised and leveled frame made of wood, plastic, or metal. Wood platform beds use wooden slats or solid wooden surfaces, while metal platform beds use metal frames with several steel slats to promote breathability, airflow and support the mattress.
A solid platform bed consists of solid material that you can place your mattress directly on. The solid material can be plastic, metal, wood, or composite. A metal platform bed is the strongest and provides the least amount of play and resistance in the frame. It uses a metal frame with support wire.
Slat platform beds use flexed or rigid slats made of wood, metal, composite, or plastic. Flexed slats, often made out of wood, are bowed out to accommodate your weight and that of the mattress. Rigid slats are straight and provide no give but have a stronger structural base.
A size platform bed eliminates the need for a box spring. But if you would like to raise them a little, you could use them with a box spring as well.
Box spring vs. platform
Box springs are, in essence, an additional layer under your mattress to absorb shock and offer more support. So, naturally, they raise the mattress to a greater height. Box springs can elevate the bed up to 20-25 inches high off of the ground. This makes them cleaner and comfortable to get in and out. It also prevents small pets from jumping up and small insects from creeping into the bed.
Platform beds sit closer to the floor, which is fantastic but inconvenient for people with knee or back problems. With an average of about 16-18 inches, platform beds are lower than what an average person needs for a bed, which is 25 inches. But the good thing is that you can always incorporate a box spring for additional height.
And although platform beds provide for easy assembly, they are heavier than box springs and therefore difficult to move around.
Although you can buy box springs with storage drawers, they’re few and far between. A majority of box springs don’t provide any bed storage. On the other hand, platform beds offer storage space, allowing you to store more items underneath your bed. And the best part is you can get slat beds with built-in drawers which are both stylish and convenient. This might cut the need to add more bedroom furniture like shelves or wardrobes.
Platform beds are made almost entirely of metal, wood, or other strong materials. This means they can offer a sturdy base for most mattress types, including memory foam, hybrids, and latex. Platforms can also be ideal for innerspring as they can help minimize sagging and motion transfer. Box springs, however, only work with innerspring mattresses. Whatever size you prefer, from twin size, to queen size, to king size and beyond, you can find a matching platform or box spring.
Platform beds are quite inexpensive. Platforms themselves are affordable, going for around $100-500. What’s more, since they are standalone, you won’t need to buy mattress support/bed frame combo as you would with foundation or box spring. Besides, the box spring costs around $160 – 800, and you still need to get a bed frame which drives the price further up.
Box springs offer good responsiveness and are great at absorbing shocks. This makes them ideal for people with back pain issues. Platform beds also offer great comfort and support. But they are even better as they allow for air circulation, keeping you cool.
Platform beds last longer because they don’t have springs that rust or lose tension. Also, their rigid slats lower the chances of sagging. Some platform beds have flexed slats or slats that bow outward – though these aren’t as durable.
Traditional box springs are less durable because the coils inside lose tension. However, they can last longer if you handle them gently. And on the bright side, the box spring absorbs body weight and extends the mattress’s lifespan.
Both box spring and platform bed bases provide plenty of benefits. Your choice will therefore be influenced by the type of mattress and your preferences. For example, a box spring would be ideal for a full queen-sized innerspring mattress, and an upholstered platform bed would work well for full-size memory foam.