Foundation vs Box Spring vs Platform Bed

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Searching for the perfect night of sleep means searching for the bed that is most perfect for you. With so many different styles, preferences and options out there, we wanted to make your life simple and break down three of the most popular choices out there: the foundation, box springs or the platform bed.

What Is A Platform Bed?
Let’s begin with the basics. A platform bed is a bed frame that has a head and foot board, as well as wooden slats that support your mattress.  A platform bed differs from a traditional bed in that a mattress can be placed directly upon your platform bed without any need for a box spring or a foundation, whereas, in the case of a typical, non-platform bed, you’d need either a box spring or a foundation on top of your bed frame before you could place your mattress on it. A platform bed will be lower to the ground than a typical, non-platform bed will be, so it is important to take into consideration what your optimal bed height is.

What Are Box Springs?
Next, let’s discuss box springs. A box spring is shaped as a rectangular box and has metal springs inside of it. These springs are important, as they move with the springs of the mattress, thereby helping firmer mattresses feel softer on you while you sleep, as the flexing and moving of the metal springs absorbs much of the stiffness. Also, box springs will allow you to raise the height of the mattress, if, indeed, this important to you. (And it very well might be: who wants a bed too low to the ground? Or, on the other hand, who wants a bed that is too high and is a pain to climb on to when you are tired at night?) Also worth noting is that the box spring’s structure will give you a very flat, very firm surface on which to place the mattress.

What Is A Foundation?
Now, for the foundation. A foundation is a box, usually made of wood with many wooden slats on its sides, that gives you a flat, solid surface. A foundation will look like a box spring, as it is covered primarily in the same fashion. The foundation is important as it allows for the mattress to be supported. This differs from the role of the box spring, which acts less for support and more for the absorption of shock, due to its springs.

Nowadays, many people opt to replace their box spring with a foundation
In the days of old, box springs had thick springs in them to balance out the thinner, more mobile springs of your mattress.  People would buy box springs for a simple reason: they gave you support while you slept, and also absorbed a lot of the weight that you put on your bed while you sleep. As the mattress industry evolved, companies primarily stopped using box springs and began using foundations instead. Unlike box springs, foundations have no springs, but instead give you an even thicker, stronger support for your sleep, helping not just to absorb all the weight you put on your bed, but to distribute the weight more evenly, thus taking pressure off of your back and your bed. If, however, you are someone that does not enjoy a foundation, all you need is a platform bed: take your mattress and place it directly on the platform instead.

Our Advice
Now, for some advice. In general, it is thought that, for a harder surface that allows for less movement, a mattress that is memory foam and spring-free is best. Some people enjoy using a mattress with inner springs on foundations with little to no give. If you don’t like using a memory foam mattress, however, you don’t have a problem. Really, any sort of mattress will work on a platform bed, not just memory foam mattresses: coil mattresses, pillow-top mattresses, latex mattresses will all work. If you buy a platform bed for yourself, you are definitely not limiting your options in terms of which mattresses you can and cannot use. Plus, it’s worth pointing out that, since a platform does not need a box spring, you’ll be able to save more money that you can pump into getting the perfect mattress for you.

Summary
And now, to summarize and make sure everything is clear. Looking at the box spring vs the platform vs the foundation, all have their advantages, and it really depends on your preferences for how you enjoy the feel of your bed when you sleep. The box spring has its coils that will work in tandem with the mattress, and will also help to conform the mattress to the shape of your body. This can improve your sleep by wonders, in that it maximizes your potential for comfort, in addition to warding off the usual problems of wear and tear on mattresses, allowing it to last even longer. The foundation has its own advantages: it is often cheaper than box springs, and is ideal for those among us that seek out a firmer, more rigid sleep. Keep in mind, however, that foundations are usually best for certain mattresses: no-flip pillow top mattresses, or even memory foam mattresses. Lastly, consider the advantages of platforms: there is style (platforms have a clean, modern look), cost efficiency (you can save money by not needing to splurge on box springs and other foundations), support (you can get a very firm sleep if you put the mattress directly on the bed frame, if that is something that you are looking for), stability (platforms are lower to the ground and usually more stable than other sorts of bed frames, especially for those that are heavier, or move about considerably in their sleep) and even storage (generally, many platform beds even come with built in storage).

All in all, we hope you now have the information to make the best, most well informed purchase for you.

One comment

  1. This was quite helpful-thank you! I appreciate the way it was written in basically giving specific pros for each type.

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