Are Bed Frames, Box Springs, and Foundations Necessary?

Yes, bed frames, box springs, and foundations are necessary.

You’re probably thinking ‘yeah right, well I sleep on the floor and my mattress is just fine.’

I have nothing against placing your mattress on the floor.

example 1 of bed frames, box springs, and foundations

But I believe the mentioned accessories (supports) play a part in your mattress’s maintenance; they make cleaning and moving easy for you.

You’ll be able to keep mold away and reduce dust that can settle under your mattress. And also let your mattress breathe’ in case it’s made of foam.

So, if you want your mattress to last long place it on a support.

Which support should you get?

Well, this post will help you choose the right one for your type of mattress. You’ll be able to understand the definitions and differences of these supports.

Definitions: Bed Frames, Box Springs, and Foundations

So, let’s look at some definitions:

Bed frames

As the name suggests, bed frames hold mattresses, bedding, and other accessories in place. They are made of mostly metal or wood. And you can also find some covered with upholstery.

bed frames, box springs, and foundations
CC image courtesy of JWynia on Flickr

The frames include four legs and they may also come with headboards and footboard frames.

The good thing is bed frames work well for most mattresses, and they create storage spaces underneath them.

Most people call them beds or platform beds when they come with attached headboards, slats, footboards and storage spaces.

Box Springs

Now, box springs sit on either the bed frames or floor, and they come in the sizes of mattresses. They are wooden boxes that feature metal rods or spring systems, covered with sometimes padding and upholstery.

These box springs were mainly made to support the two-sided spring mattresses that were quite popular some years ago.

bed frames, box springs, and foundations
CC image courtesy of freakapotimus on Flickr

They also reduced shock and elevated the mattresses where necessary.

And although they aren’t many manufacturers that make those mattresses now, the box springs are still in use.

They work well for most mattresses including the hybrid ones that have spring systems.

Box springs create smooth surfaces that allow mattresses to wear out evenly. They create solid support structures for most mattresses.

For these reasons, some manufacturers still insist on their use in their warranties.


Foundations are the modern cousins of box springs. Most of them feature slats or bars instead of springs.

The wooden foundations are great for mattresses made of different types of foam and latex.

They create even surfaces for these mattresses and provide sturdy supports that prevent the mattresses from sagging.


I believe you now have an idea of the type of support that would work for your mattress.

A platform bed frame with enough slats will work just fine without the box spring or foundation. But if the slats are far apart, get a box spring for your hybrid mattress or foundation for that foam mattress.

You can also opt for an adjustable base, which allows you to adjust the mattress to your preferred angle.

One thing to note, adjustable bases require foldable, flexible mattresses to work well.

So, do you still think these support systems are necessary?

FAQ on Bed Frames

Well, let’s expound further and also answer some frequently asked questions.

Are bed frames universal?

I believe people around the world use different types of frames for their mattresses. So, yes, bed frames are universal.

Do they have universal sizes?

Not exactly, I think sizes vary with manufacturers dimensions. But the differences aren’t that far apart. What I found different are the names of the frame sizes.

For example, a twin size frame’s counterpart in the UK is called a single size.

And unlike in the USA, bed frames in the UK mostly contain the complete frame including the headboard and footboard.

What are the bed frame sizes?

example 2 of bed frames, box springs, and foundations
CC image courtesy of HousingWorkPhotos on Flickr

Most manufacturers create frames that fit most mattress sizes from the twin to the California king.

Check out a review of two full-sized bed frames.

And you can buy any of these sizes from an online or e-commerce store for convenience.

The differences usually appear on the heights of the frame. What this refers to is the space in between the frame and the floor.

You can get a low bed frame or a high one with bigger storage space.

Do bed frames have a weight limit?

Yes, they do, just like most furniture. Try to find out the limit from the manufacturer before you buy. Consider your weight and that of your mattress together with any other accessories that you may place on the frame.

Ask before you commit. It is always better to be safe than sorry. You don’t want to end up with flimsy support.

Check out the mattress checklist for more factors that you should consider.

Do bed frames require assembling?

Most of them do require assembling. It can be tasking if you don’t have instructions or a video to follow or if the parts aren’t marked.

Don’t fret though……. You can request for the instructions from the manufacturers/sellers.

The DIY process of assembling is meant to be easy; it should take a few minutes to connect.

How long do bed frames last and are they expensive?

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CC image courtesy of bimmergeekca on Flickr

Durable bed frames last longer than most mattresses and most of them will come with warranties for the first year or so.

Good ones range from around $50 to over $200 depending on the sizes, adjustability properties, and brand.

 Can bed frames be recycled?

Like most furniture yes they can. You can take the frames to a scrap yard near you or leave them at a Salvation Army drop off point. There are recycling organizations that can make use of the metal/ wood.

And you can recycle the frames into something useful for your garden.

Box springs and foundations can go through recycling too. They get dismantled and separated. The recycling companies then sell the parts to other industries.

So, what are the different types of box springs?

The different types of box springs

There are two types of box springs. The high (regular) profile and the low profile box springs.

The latter became popular after the introduction of thick mattresses that had heights over 9 inches.

These mattresses create very high sleeping arrangements when placed on regular box springs and frames. And this is why low profile box springs that kept the beds at lower heights were made.

These low profile box springs have heights lower than 7 inches, while the high ones are over 7.5 inches.


Please note that it’s all a matter of preference when it comes to choosing either of the two. They both work just fine, so it would be wrong to suggest that one is better than the other.

example 6 of bed frames, box springs, and foundations
CC image courtesy of _Tony_B on Flickr

Some brands also include foldable (split) ones that are easy to move and great for temporary use.

The price range of box springs can be around $60 to over $100 depending on the size, materials used, and the brand.

A twin size box spring that you can get for your kid’s mattress is cheaper than a queen whether high or low profile.

And yes, box springs do wear out eventually.

Does a box spring size matter?

Yes, you should get the right size for your mattress. If you have a twin mattress get a twin box spring that fits well so that it can support and elevate your mattress evenly.

Ask for the box spring dimensions first especially if you’re planning to buy online. And make sure you understand your mattress’s dimensions too.

Can you use a box spring on a platform bed?

Yes, you can use a box spring if your bed has a few slats or far apart slats and if you want to increase the height of the bed. And in case your mattress warranty includes the use of a box spring.

In most cases, the platform frame should be able to support your mattress without the use of a box spring.

How much do box springs cost?

Just like bed frames good box springs costs depend on size, materials, and brand.

A good one that you can buy from an e-commerce store goes for more than $50. Most of them come with DIY instructions that are usually easy to follow.

Can box springs get bed bugs?

Like mattresses, bed frames and box springs too can get bed bugs. Box springs come with padding and covers, which can comfortably become bedbug breeding areas.

example 4 of bed frames, box springs, and foundations
CC image courtesy of cuttlefish on Flickr

The best thing would be to keep the bugs away from your space.

You can make this possible by using bug-proof encasements for your mattress, and box spring.

Your last resort would be to get rid of the box spring if the infestation is widespread, and there isn’t a way out.

You can place and seal the box spring in a plastic bag ready for disposal. To be on the safe side, check your state site for the environmental regulations.


What about foundations? Can they work on the floor too?

As I mentioned earlier foundations work a lot similar to box springs. So a good number of the answers I covered on box springs apply here.

example 7 of bed frames, box springs, and foundations
CC image courtesy of abraham.williams on Flickr

And yes, you can use a foundation on the floor without the frame.

And just like box springs, you can get a split foundation too.

So, why would get a split foundation?

You would get a split foundation:

  • If you’re planning to get is a wider support that can’t pass through your doorway or stairway. In most cases, a split foundation will come in two pieces that fit well through narrow spaces.
  • If you want lighter support that will be easy to move around. You will be able to move the foundation from one space to the next.
  • And some brands assemble these split foundations before delivery, so no DIY needed. You just pick and fix the pieces in your room.


Do box springs and foundations wear out?

Quality box springs and foundations usually last longer than most mattresses, but they do wear out eventually.

You can tell it’s time for a change when you notice defects such as creaks, sagging parts and broken slats on these bases.

You’ll have to play your part too if you want any of these accessories to last. They require proper assembling and maintenance just like the rest of your furniture.


Bed frames, box springs, and foundations help in the maintenance of your mattress. You don’t have to get all of them, but at least one can do.

Some bed frames work alone others may need a little support from the box springs and foundations.

If you consider the cons of placing a mattress directly on the floor, then you’ll realize a base makes your mattress reinforced and comfortable.

CC featured image courtesy of AnnieAnniePancake on Flickr

Author: Brenda

Brenda Nadi is a proud mama, entrepreneur, and sleep blogger. She creates guides, tips, and reviews of sleep products that make comfortable environments for new buyers.

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