Couple sitting on a bed asking if putting a mattress directly on a bed frame is a good idea.

Putting A Mattress Directly On A Bed Frame

Question: Is It Okay To Put A Mattress On A Bed Frame Without The Box Spring?

This is possibly one of the biggest questions we get asked. While box springs and foundations have very different names, they are very similar to one another in what they actually do; they are both designed to be used as the base support that goes directly underneath nearly every kind of mattress that is made.

Mattresses And Boxsprings Have Different Jobs

The comfortable part of the bed is the mattress that sits directly on top of the box spring or foundation which in comparison is very flexible. This flexibility can come from several different inner workings; coil springs, latex rubber, memory foam, or a hybrid of the aforementioned.  The malleable core and sleeping surface are designed to easily mold and contour while also supporting the curvatures of a person’s body. Placing it on anything but a supportive surface can cause it to break down prematurely, sag or worse still fall between the steel supports.

Sitting A Mattress On A  Metal Bed Frame

When you choose a Hollywood-style frame or bed that has steel side rails and a couple of steel slats spanning the width you do NOT have enough support to place a mattress directly on the slat system. Even adding additional steel slats is usually not enough to support. In order to place a mattress on plank slats, they must be closely spaced. The specific spacing depends will depend on the warranty requirements of your mattress, but many high-end mattress producers like to see the spacing of the metal braces or wood laths to be no more than 2-3 inches apart.

Close-up of a metal frame bed. Sitting a mattress on a  metal bed frame.

This is significantly closer spacing than typically found on even the best metal bed frames. The fact is when you are using a bed frame that is made from steel or metal type and has a long-running or width running middle support bracing will necessitate that you use box spring foundation.

How Can I Get Away Without Using A Boxspring?

It is simple you can sleep on a mattress without a box spring comfortably, but there are a couple of different ways to do it.
These days boxsprings are nothing more than a rigid riser referred to commonly at a foundation or semi-flex box spring, the fact is most do not flex or give, so they really add nothing to the comfort of a mattress. 

So you can skip it if you want to for alternative base support like a platform or divan bed.  Most such beds are essentially wooden frames with slats. Some are very basic while others are more fashionable.  The important thing is to be sure the warranty allows for use of the mattress without a box spring and that you know the manufactures support requirements.

Frames Or Boxsprings? Which Ones Help You Get Better Sleep?

The important thing to notice is that all of these systems have center support bars. While they are all strong and made of angle iron and steel, they all have one, two, and even as many as four slats spanning the bed’s width. These are perfect examples of what a mattress by itself should NOT be placed upon. A closely spaced slat pack with some strategically placed legs in the middle is a possible solution to use in lieu of a box spring or foundation.

If you have further questions as to whether your frame will support a mattress, email us pictures showing the frame you are attempting to put your mattress own and we can try to give you our opinion of whether it will work or not. You can also reach out to us at the toll-free number at the top of this page.

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