What Is A Platform Bed? Do You Need A Box Spring?

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With all of the new, savvy, innovative kinds of mattresses on the market today like natural, hybrid, organic, gel and specialty foam; more and more people are choosing to buy platform bed bases. Although these beds have been used in Europe and other countries around the world for a long time, they are just now becoming popular in the United States of America as a result of many new online dealer websites in the market. Many of the new bedding companies do not make box springs anymore. If you are wondering why then the platform bed option may help explain this to you. So what is a platform bed? Do you still need a box spring with it? Why are these kinds of beds becoming so popular? Let’s find out!

Platform bed basics

A platform bed consists of a mattress and a frame that is slightly elevated. Usually, it is rectangular and can be solid or can contain some room for extra storage underneath. This furniture is often made out of wood but can be made with metal as well. They are less commonly referred to as cabin beds.


These beds typically have rows of slats running from one side to the other which are intended to support the mattress. Unlike a traditional bed frame, which usually only has a few slats designed to support a foundation or box spring, a platform bed has many slats, enough slats to hold a mattress without any additional support.

For other kinds of bed, there are different ways to make a soft mattress firmer. But for a platform bed, adjusting the distance between the slats can slightly modify the firmness or softness of the mattress. It is very quick and convenient and many platform beds have this added feature.

This furniture can also have a solid surface instead of adjustable slats. This design does not allow as much air circulation but it still provides the necessary support and durability.

Headboard and footboard

A platform can have a savvy headboard and/or footboard, but not all do. Those that do have it allows you the freedom to decorate. You can easily show your own personal style.


Many platform beds are lower to the ground than a traditional bed. They generally have a sleek and low profile with minimal height. Although, those that are higher off the ground are also available. The lower aesthetic of this furniture is also achieved through the lack of a box spring which adds a significant amount of height.

Frequently asked questions about platform beds

1. Does a platform eliminate the need for a box spring?

Now that you know what a platform bed is, you are probably asking yourself, do I need a box spring with it? The answer is no! This is one of the best aspects of using a platform bed. It works as a box spring and a bed frame simultaneously. This provides adequate support while still allowing maximum airflow to your bedding. It keeps it cool and dry for the entirety of its use.

A platform bed works well with all different types of mattresses like natural, hybrid, organic, gel or any other bedding. But, it is the number one recommended choice for memory foams specifically. Because of this reason, it makes it a great option for most consumers.

2. What about comfort?

Are platform beds comfortable? The overwhelming feedback is yes! For the most part, your level of comfort will be determined by your mattress, but what you decide to rest it on is important as well.

With this kind of furniture, you do not have to worry about springs that can sag or bend out of shape and cause discomfort. For most people, this is a huge perk.

Not only are these beds comfortable, but they also actively work to preserve your beds’ comfort level throughout extended use. This is done by providing durable support that does not wear down. They provide evenly distributed support so your mattress does not compress asymmetrically or unnecessarily. This works well when you sleep on your back or any other sleeping position for that matter.

People who prefer a bit more bounce may disagree and still prefer a traditional box spring with an innerspring mattress. But for most, they find that a platform bed is more than suitable for their personal needs. In fact, they are now thought of as the preferred method of support for hybrid and memory foam mattresses.

3. Are there different styles of platform bed?

Absolutely, although they all maintain the same general savvy structure and aesthetic look. Most are also pretty low to the ground with some exceptions.

  • A floating design which has a larger top than a base. This creates a visual illusion that the frame and mattress are floating, or slightly hovering depending on the height above the ground.
  • Slats or solid top, as mentioned before.
  • Solid base or open base with space for storage
  • With or without drawers for added storage and organization
  • With or without headboard and/or footboard based on aesthetic preferences.
  • Little or no clearance beneath

Check out the video below for some awesome bed ideas.

4. What are the pros and cons?

The pros and cons of platform beds are varied but the pros far outweigh the cons in the end. Let’s find out what they are.

Pros of a platform bed:

  • No need for a box spring or foundation
  • Can be lower to the ground providing easier access for the injured, elderly, young kids, or anyone with limited mobility
  • Enables maximum airflow to the bedding
  • Allows you to sleep cooler while preserving the integrity of the bedding
  • Works well with all types of mattresses
  • Preferred support method for memory foam mattress
  • Can be adjusted to provide a firmer or softer surface
  • Sleek natural design

Cons of a platform bed:

  • Often more expensive than traditional ones
  • Not as much bounce as others
  • It may be tough to move because it is all in one piece

5. What are your other options?

Platform beds may not always be the best option. Fortunately, there are other choices that would better suit your needs. It all really depends on the type of mattress you use.

Mattress foundation:

What is a mattress foundation? A foundation is typically made of wood and resembles a platform bed with slats going from side to side that provide support. However, a fabric cover is placed over it to make it appear and function like a box spring.

It is a sturdy frame for your mattress that provides a rigid flat surface, as would be needed with an innerspring mattress. It can also be used with a memory foam or natural latex mattress.

Mattress foundations are best used with memory foam and hybrid mattresses that weigh a lot and require a sturdy surface, not a shock absorber. They may also be used with innerspring beddings if you find that you want to make them a bit firmer.

Box springs:

A traditional box spring is made of either wood or metal. It is the size of your mattress and houses metal springs that respond to pressure from the mattress placed on top. They are specifically designed to support innerspring beddings. It also works to absorb a significant amount of shock displaced by an innerspring mattress.

It is not as sturdy or durable as some of the other options. However, it is often the most cost-efficient option.

They are often the bounciest option but this also heavily relies on your mattress. As you may have guessed, innerspring beddings are the bounciest.

6. How does the platform bed compare to other options?

Now that we have ample information, let’s compare what we know and see how these options measure up to each other.

Platform bed vs box spring:

The main difference when it comes to this comparison is durability. The latter will not last nearly as long as the former. This is especially true when you take some of the newer hybrid and speciality foam mattresses into consideration. They often weigh significantly more than a traditional innerspring one and can cause the springs to weigh down and deteriorate under the pressure. They do not always compress evenly under the added weight either.

The latter does not allow ample airflow, unlike the former. This can lead to mould or a musty smell, especially if you sweat while sleeping, which many people do.

Box spring vs foundation:

The main difference when it comes to a box spring vs a foundation is the level of support. The former works as a shock absorber and is flexible while still providing support.

On the other hand, the latter does not absorb shock but instead works as a sturdy support system for your mattress. It is rigid and people who prefer firmer beds often enjoy this option.

adding slats on a platform bed

What to take away from this article

In conclusion, platform beds are increasingly becoming the number one choice for people to use in accompaniment with their mattresses. We were able to answer our main question: ‘What is a platform bed?’ The answers are quite revealing. They are comfortable and they eliminate the need for a box spring or foundation. This kind of furniture can be used with every different type of mattress and they can often allow for added storage underneath. All these and more point to the platform beds’ growing and lasting success worldwide.

While this kind of bed may initially be a bit more expensive than other options, they are significantly more durable and will last you much longer. In the long run, it will become the best choice economically.

So say goodbye to your old foundation or box spring and say hello to a comfortable and supported night’s rest on a platform bed instead!

Additional Resources

Emily Alexander
Emily Alexander

Emily Melynn Alexander was born on the east coast of the USA but has called Colorado home since 2000. She has a degree in English and Political Science from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She enjoys sleeping in locations all around the world.

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