What Is a Platform Bed? Pros and Cons, Types of Platform Beds – In-Depth Guide

Platform bed example in luxury bedroom

If you’re looking for a new mattress foundation, you may be considering a platform bed – a simple low-profile structure with a built-in foundation.

But is a platform bed right for you? 

You already know that your mattress is the star of the show when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. What may be less obvious is that without the proper support, even the best mattress might not work as it should. 

To make matters worse, figuring out the proper support for your situation can be confusing. Is a platform bed best, or should you choose a box spring? What’s the difference between the two anyway? 

Today, we’re here to help clear up the mystery. We’ll answer all your questions, starting with the all-important “What is a platform bed?” We’ll also take a look at the various types, the pros and cons, and how platform beds stack up against box springs. Keep reading to learn more. 

What Is a Platform Bed? 

A platform bed (sometimes called a cabin bed) supports the mattress using either wooden slats or a latticed surface.  

Platform beds are built low to the ground and tend to have a no-frills look to them, although they do come in a variety of styles. You can find everything from basic, wooden frames to fancy upholstered versions. They’re also available in several sizes, and you can find some with headboards and footboards, too. 

Platform beds have become popular in recent years, and one of the reasons is that they’re compatible with most mattress types. They work especially well with memory foam and latex, although innerspring mattresses are less compatible. Most people opt for a hybrid model combining innerspring and foam layers if they plan to purchase a platform bed. 

Do Platform Beds Need Box Springs? 

Wondering whether platform beds need box springs is a common question, and the answer is no, they don’t. 

Box springs are necessary to provide a flat, supportive surface for mattresses – namely innerspring mattresses. But platform beds are flat and firm enough to support a mattress on their own, eliminating the need to buy extra accessories. All you have to do is purchase the bed, set it up, and it’s ready to use. 

Types of Platform Beds

Platform beds are available in a wide range of styles. Here’s what you can find. 

Slatted

By far the most common choice, slatted platform beds can help you stay cool at night because they promote airflow. However, you’ll need to ensure that the slats are spaced properly to provide proper support for your mattress. The ideal spacing is about two to three inches apart.

Solid

Solid platform beds are also common. Be sure to look for a model with holes in it. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a too-hot sleeping environment, especially if you have a foam or latex mattress. Solid platform beds are also excellent for heavy sleepers or those who love a firm feeling sleep surface. 

Metal

A less popular choice is a metal platform bed, which makes use of woven metal supports to keep your mattress in place. Of the three, these steel slats make for the most durable and secure bed possible. 

Headboards or Footboards

When platform bed styles debuted, they didn’t have headboards or footboards. For the most part, they’re more popular without them. However, many manufacturers have updated their offerings to include these styles. 

Platform Bed Pros & Cons

Now let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of platform beds.

Platform Bed Pros

There are many benefits of a platform bed, including: 

  • Affordability: No added support is required to use them, so platform beds are usually an economical option. 
  • Versatility: Most mattress types work well with this bed type, affording you excellent versatility when it comes time to choose a new one. Innovative memory foam designs are the most compatible.  
  • Compact Size: Because they sit lower to the ground, platform beds tend to look a bit more compact. If you need a low-profile option for a small room, this choice works well. 
  • Airflow: No one likes to be hot at night, and unfortunately, this problem is all too common. But if you choose a platform bed with slats, you can promote airflow and ventilation for cooler nights. 
  • Storage: Platform beds provide room for storage underneath, and some even come with drawers, making them ideal for anyone looking to maximize space. 

Platform Bed Cons

Now let’s talk about some platform bed disadvantages: 

  • Lower to the Ground: Platform beds raise your mattress much less than traditional box springs. You will be much lower to the ground, which makes getting in and out of bed more difficult. This point may be a con for some people, such as seniors or those with mobility issues.  
  • Heavy Profile: Platform beds are usually quite heavy, which makes changing their position awkward. If you move often or like to rearrange the layout of your room, a platform bed may not be right for you. 
  • May Be Too Firm for Some People: Platform beds create quite a firm sleep surface, so if you enjoy a softer sleep experience, you might want to choose something else. 
  • Aesthetics: Finally, the look of a platform bed is not for everyone. They tend to look quite basic, so if you enjoy a more luxurious-looking bed, you’ll probably have to spend extra money on a headboard. 

Platform Bed vs Box Spring

Whether you choose a platform bed or a box spring, you’re guaranteed to get ample support for your mattress. But keep in mind there are some critical differences between the two. Here’s how they stack up against one another. 

Storage

If you’re trying to maximize every last inch of storage space in your home, a platform bed is the better choice. Box springs sit directly on the floor, eliminating any chance of storing things underneath your bed. Platform beds have a few inches of space underneath them, and many are even designed with drawers and cabinets to keep your belongings out of sight. 

Air Circulation

Because the box springs are in direct contact with your mattress, they do not allow for airflow. Slatted platform beds provide optimal airflow and help prevent heat and moisture from getting trapped inside. 

Durability

In terms of durability, solid and slatted platform beds are about the same as box springs. However, metal platform beds are the most durable option of all. You won’t have to worry about them sagging or wearing as the years go by, which is a common concern with box springs.  

Price

Price is another vital consideration when purchasing a mattress and frame. If you’re looking to save, a platform bed is the best way to do so. Box springs are typically pricier given that you have to buy the box spring and bed frame individually.

Memory Foam Compatibility 

If you have a memory foam mattress (or are considering purchasing one), the importance of having the proper mattress foundation cannot be understated. Not all foundations are suitable, which is true of box springs. 

When you put a memory foam mattress on box springs, the springs compress during use, which becomes annoying any time you move. On the other hand, Platform beds provide excellent support for memory foam mattresses. (Though it’s always advisable to check what type of mattress support the manufacturer recommends).  

Slats vs. Solid Surfaces 

If you think a platform bed is right for you, the most significant decision you’ll have to make is whether to buy a slatted or a solid version. But which is better?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Both share many of the same characteristics and offer plenty of benefits. They’re affordable, provide excellent mattress support, and give you extra storage space. Plus, they both promote airflow to keep hot sleepers cool and prevent any allergen-inducing moisture from building up in the mattress. 

Where we see some differences is in the type of support they provide. Solid platform beds offer the most robust mattress support, whereas slatted beds may break if you use them with over-large or dense mattresses. However, slatted beds are better at distributing weight, which a solid base won’t do. 

Additionally, when it comes to airflow, solid bases promote some airflow, but they provide less ventilation than slatted bases. If you’re concerned about overheating in bed, a slatted platform might be a better choice. 

Final Thoughts

Platform beds have plenty of advantages, though they may not be right for everyone. As you consider purchasing one, it’s vital to assess your needs and lifestyle concerns. 

If you prefer a more affordable option that offers storage and a simple, clean look, it’s worth considering a platform bed. On the other hand, if you like a more traditional look or have mobility issues, a box spring mattress foundation is probably a better choice.  

Ultimately, the choice is yours to make, and we hope you found this guide helpful in making your decision. 

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