5 Alternatives to Box Springs

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A man checking out a brown box spring.

The box spring for a bed is a bit of a conundrum for me.  We have just a mattress and it works great.  I’m not the only one who thinks this way give the rise in popularity of platform beds.

As you’ll see here, there are several alternatives to a box spring for a bed.  For each alternative, I list out the pros and cons.  FYI, I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy a box spring.  I’m just setting out other options in case you’re thinking of doing away with the box spring.

1. Innerspring Mattress

White, firm innerspring mattress with a light blue lining.Source: Wayfair

Pros

  • With a lot of structure built into the mattress, it’s no longer necessary to have a box spring when you buy an innerspring mattress. These are a great option if you are looking to save money when buying your bed or don’t want your bed to be very tall.
  • The prices are very reasonable on this kind of mattress compared to other available types.
  • This kind of mattress is very comfortable to sleep on and offers a lot of support to the whole body due to the springs inside the mattress itself.
  • Innerspring mattresses are easy to buy as many companies manufacture and carry them, making it possible to replace your mattress without a lot of hassle or a long wait.
  • While they feel similar to traditional mattresses, innerspring mattresses offer much more support than older varieties that require a box spring.
  • This is the perfect mattress if you tend to be cold when you are sleeping as they do a great job retaining heat and keeping people just a little bit warmer. This is due in part to the many different components in the mattress and how it is built.

Cons

  • Innerspring mattresses do not limit the transfer of motion, which can make it difficult to get a great night’s sleep if you share your bed with a partner.
  • While some innerspring mattresses seem to be a great deal because of their low price, they tend to be of lower quality and can feel flimsy. In addition, they will need to be replaced sooner than higher-end innerspring mattresses.
  • Unfortunately, while they are very comfortable to sleep on for a short period of time, if you spend a long time in bed or have problems with joint pain, you will quickly notice that you experience uncomfortable pressure with an innerspring mattress.
  • Because the springs are in the mattress and not below it, you may hear squeaking when you roll over, which can cause light sleepers to wake up.
  • These types of mattresses are prone to allergens and dust mites and need to be cleaned regularly.

2. Memory Foam Mattress

High-density and firm memory foam mattress in white.Source: Hayneedle

Pros

  • Memory foam mattresses can also be used without box springs because the visco-elastic foam that they are made of is not only very supportive but also durable so it will not compress during the night and lose the support that you need to sleep.
  • This is the best mattress option if you have pain in your joints or body and want to make sure that you get pain relief. Because of the way the mattress molds to your body, you will get perfect support from head to toes.
  • These mattresses last a lot longer than other options on the market and are a great purchase because of their durability. Even though they will cost a little more up front, that expense is made up over the lifetime of the mattress.
  • Memory foam mattresses do a great job repelling allergens and keeping the room clean.

Cons

  • These mattresses are not ideal for people who are hot during the night as they tend to retain heat. They don’t breathe very well and can be uncomfortable for sleeping if you are someone who likes it to be cooler.
  • There is an often a de-gassing period with memory foam mattresses that will keep homeowners from being able to use their new mattresses right away. It can be difficult to breathe while sleeping on the mattress during this period and there have been reports of respiratory problems.
  • People who do not have a high enough body weight will have problems sleeping on memory foam mattresses as they will not be able to conform to the person’s body and offer enough support.
  • While there is plenty of support when you are near the middle of the memory foam mattress, there is not a lot along the edges whereas box springs offer support from edge to edge.
  • These mattresses are incredibly heavy and difficult to move, whether to change the location of the bed in the room or when moving to a new home.

3. Wood Platform with Slats

White platform bed with wooden slat support.Source: Wayfair

Pros

  • It’s easy to customize the size and the height of a homemade wood platform for your mattress. This will allow you to keep your bed as low to the ground as you want or to raise it up if you prefer to sleep higher in the air.
  • Wood platforms are relatively easy and inexpensive to make. Since you can use reclaimed wood for this, it’s a very environmentally-friendly way to get the support that you want when you are sleeping.
  • This is a very aesthetically pleasing way to raise your bed.
  • When your box spring rests directly on the floor, you won’t be able to store anything underneath it but you can when you have a wood platform.
  • There’s better air circulation with a wood platform than there is with a box spring, especially when you have used slate in the construction to keep the platform secure yet airy.
  • While box springs are very heavy, a wood platform can be a lot lighter. This makes it very easy to move not only around the room if you wish to rearrange your furniture but also to another home.
  • Some people are concerned about the health problems associated with metal frames and the metal in boxsprings but all wood platforms will remove this worry.
  • Platforms generally do not need to have a bedskirt to look complete and put together, which will update the appearance of your room and make it more modern.
  • This is a great choice if you are on a tight budget and want to have a complete bed but can’t afford a frame, mattress, and box spring.
  • Many platforms will have drawers built in which are a great way to hide toys, clothes, and other items in the room.

Cons

  • Wood frames and platforms will not absorb the movement of people in the bed and won’t absorb shock the way that boxsprings will.
  • Wood platforms will not stand up to a lot of movement and bouncing, which means that they will be worn out quickly if you put them in a child’s room.
  • Wood frames and platforms can shift around because they do not have enough weight or mass to stay in one location.
  • They don’t offer a ton of support to the mattress and can cause it to wear it out a little prematurely.

4. Hybrid Mattress

Gel-infused, hybrid mattress.Source: Hayneedle

Pros

  • The best of both worlds, hybrid mattresses offer a combination of a supportive innerspring system in the mattress as well as memory foam or gel on top to make the mattress even more comfortable and supportive.
  • The steel coils offer incredible support in a mattress that feels traditional.
  • Hybrid mattresses respond quickly to someone getting into bed, offering immediate support.
  • They have great motion separation that allows two people to sleep in the same bed without bothering each other.

Cons

  • Because these mattresses are relatively new on the market, there has not been a lot of research done to show how long they will last.
  • They suffer from the drawbacks of both innerspring and memory foam mattresses, including squeaking springs, heat retention, and difficult of moving them due to their weight.
  • As a newer mattress on the market, they are not available everywhere and it can be difficult to find one quickly if you have an emergency and need to replace your mattress right away.
  • These mattresses tend to be a bit pricier than other available options.

5. Nothing: Putting the Mattress Directly on the Floor

White mattress with a brown blanket on the floor.

Pros

  • Perfect for people on a tight budget, using the floor as support while sleeping may not be a very common decision that people make but is a great way to still have a place to sleep while not spending any more than you need to.
  • If you are a rough sleeper or you have a child who thrashes in the night, you will not have to worry about him or her accidentally falling out of the bed and getting hurt as he or she will easily roll right onto the floor.
  • When done correctly, this can be a very interesting design choice and looks great in a bohemian home.

Cons

  • Many people do not like that their sheets and blankets will be resting on the floor and can get very dirty and dusty.
  • It’s difficult to keep pets off of the bed when it is directly on the floor.
  • You won’t have any storage space under the bed and will have to find other ways to store your items.
  • If the bed is not made every day, the room can easily look sloppy. This is not a great look if the rest of your home is modern or contemporary and can cause the bedroom and bed to look out of place from the rest of the décor choices.
  • It doesn’t offer a lot of support for your back when you are sleeping so if you suffer from back pain, then this is not a great long-term solution for you.





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