I've moved into a smaller room and would like to maximize my space. I've decided to build a new bed frame, but for that to work how I would like I would need to eliminate my box-spring as it would make the bed too high.

I currently have a standard mattress, with a box-spring, on a metal frame. If the new bed frame has a solid enough foundation, could I eliminate the box-spring?

  • 5
    Box springs are like rust coatings at car dealers. They server no real purpose other than to increase profits of the seller.
    – DA01
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 14:17
  • 4
    @DA01 I disagree. I've slept on beds with and without and I always prefer with. Personal preference but I don't think they exist just to sell you something.
    – Steven
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 14:44
  • 1
    Personally, I agree with DA01. And I like the fact that our bed is lower to the floor without one. In fact, our mattress lies directly on the floor, with no box spring at all. This was done some years ago when our dog was getting old, but we have chosen to leave it that way. It is entirely personal preference.
    – user558
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 15:11
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    Definitely buy what you find comfortable. My only point is that there's a huge amount of markup and unnecessary features in the mattress industry. A little bit of research goes a long way to not over paying.
    – DA01
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 17:27
  • 2
    Is the solid foundation slats or something that lets air get to all sides of the mattress? Putting a mattress on a solid surface (like a full sheet of wood or straight on the floor) is a usually a bad idea because the mattress can trap moisture underneath.
    – Curtis
    Commented May 10, 2012 at 18:23

6 Answers 6


Yes. You can use slats instead of a box-spring. It will be a LITTLE bit stiffer, but it's perfectly fine and you'll love how your bed squeaks less. Here's a pic from an Ikea bed frame assembly guide - just as an example:

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  • And add some type of thin board over the slats as suggested in the other answers.
    – Ken
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 18:02
  • 2
    From Going to the Mattresses: "Many Europeans use platform beds without box springs. Do you hear them complaining?" Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 11:53
  • Many Americans also use platform beds without box springs and are perfectly happy with this setup. Me for one. My lady's another, though she's using a futon mattress on the platform rather than an American-style one. "If it happens, it must be possible."
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 1:18
  • I'm a European living in America and I don't use spring box because the bed was "too damn high". When I want to go to bed I want to go to bed, not to climb a mountain. I just use slats.
    – Cano64
    Commented Sep 11, 2015 at 21:38

Box springs help evenly distribute pressure on the mattress not just while laying but also when you're getting on/off the bed resulting in concentrated pressure points. They are for the most part, very firm and yield only the slightest bit. Most box strings don't even consist of springs at all. They normally consist of cheap flexible wood, thin upholstery batting, and cardboard. Without a box spring you run a higher risk of popping a spring in your mattress. The thickness of a box spring is only for decoration while the functional properties could be reduced to a much smaller design.

Slats are typically used with mattresses that don't have springs (coils). If you want to go the slat approach and have a mattress with springs, I'd strongly suggest using a thin yet strong sheet like material over the slats. Something like plywood or faux wood paneling.

Take these concepts into mind whilst building your new frame and you should be perfectly fine without a traditional box spring.

  • 3
    Instead of using plywood or faux wood paneling to cover the slats, we used a sheet of pegboard. The advantage was that it allows the mattress to breath.
    – pdd
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 20:41
  • @pdd, That's a great idea!
    – used2could
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 13:54

No you don't need one IF you have a foundation for the mattress to lay on, a thick sheet of plywood would do, since that is basically what a box spring us though you bed will lie 4-6 inches lower if you only have a 4 inch typical mattress.


I have a friend that has sold furniture for years. He has told me that box springs can change the firmness of a mattress drastically. So, if you want to buy a firmer mattress, just remove the box spring instead.


No one in Europe uses box springs. They use slats or wire mesh, and lay mattress on that. Box springs are just a nest for bugs ! Go and buy a Euro bed at IKEA, less cost, less space, and no bug nest !


My opinion is the best mattress is a quality air mattress, specifically designed for a bed and not the camping-quality air mattress. Only one company that I know if that makes them, but I won't mention the name. You've probably seen the ads. Been using one for over 20 years and it is great. You can adjust the firmness. Doesn't bounce at all. I use a sheet of plywood beneath it vs box springs. No dangerous chemicals as found in some of the "foam" type mattresses. Same firmness after 20 years as on day 1. Only ones that don't like it are the traditional mattress dealers because it takes their business away.

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