There are 10 slats (~108cm length, ~9cm width, ~3.5cm thickness) on my bed right now spaced at ~11.2cm. Unfortunately, these slats are spaced too far apart and will void my hybrid (pocket spring with foam comfort layers) mattress warranty and it is generally advisable to have slats spaced closer together to provide better support for the pocket springs and reduce sagging risk.

I am planning on adding extra slats of width 6cm to the bed: 1 in between each existing slat, so there will be 9 extra slats in total. However, there are wooden spacers between each slat, as demonstrated in in the image below. The wooden spacers have a width and thickness of ~1.6cm. Two options come to mind and I am not sure which would provide better strength:

  1. Adding extra slats of thickness 3.5cm like the existing slats but adding a notch at the ends so that they can fit in at the side rails.
  2. Adding extra slats of thickness 1.9cm without a notch and resting them on top of the wooden spacers

Which would you recommend? Are there any alternative options that are relatively simple?

enter image description here

  • I would consider whether this is going to be too hard - compare a sprung bed see Image picked at random showing sprug supports and you are looking at 8-12mm (less than 1/2" of material - albeit pre-stressed).
    – Mr R
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 4:07
  • 3
    Remove spacers with prybar , install slats with space required. After cut the spacers and nail it.
    – user263983
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 11:29
  • 2
    Do not remove those. No way a bed manufacture went through the trouble of cutting those and adding 5 nails to the top and another 5 to the sides x2 x how many spacers... just to space out the slats. And given the slats look thicker this looks to be a quality bed. Do not remove them.
    – DMoore
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 15:57
  • I think you're right, @DMoore, but not about the nails. Plenty of imported stuff has a splattering of very short nails that serve no real structural purpose. It's done that way to be fast and cheap. That's what kept me from seeing the true nature of the blocks--I'd have expected screws for that.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 16:01
  • @isherwood - although you are technically right about the screws I have never seen it done that way and I would think it is because it is technically too difficult to manufacturer. Quality furniture is made in small factories basically with stations by hand (used to pick up furniture in south carolina twice a year). Those 5 small nails are the way every bed that I have seen would be fastened. Why not screws (which would be better)? Probably would takes 10-20 times as long (pilots for sure) plus chance of wood splitting .... cont
    – DMoore
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 16:07

3 Answers 3


Option 1 looks good - you could screw them into position or fit spacers between.

Consider spacing the slats so they match the pocket springs...

Another possibility is to put a board over the slats then there would be no gaps.

  • Thanks for the reply. I'd only be adding a notch on the wood slats and not on the spacers, so it'd be like this. Do you think that would provide sufficient and greater strength than the second option?
    – ricarnam
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 5:18
  • 1
    I believe the warranty concern is the space that is unsupported. A sheet of 5/8" plywood over your existing slats will allow the entire mattress to be supported. If need be for transportation or size reasons it could be several pieces. Just be sure any seams meet on top of a slat. Most home centers will cut the plywood for a nominal fee.
    – mikes
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 12:36

Answer = Neither

Best long term approach:

  1. You buy a quality box spring and leave slats as is. In the US they are practically giving these things away not sure how it is in other countries. Box spring will disperse weight to edges. Removing the spacers will degrade your bed as it looks like the spacers are connected to both sides - so they are not actually "spacers" but actual fasteners!

enter image description here

  1. If you do not want a box spring and you are OK with an unsupported mattress the next best option is to buy a 3/4" piece of plywood and cut it to size.

Neither of these methods needs more slats, which by adding more you are taking away from the structural framing of the bed. I highly advise not removing the "spacers".

  • This is really the best solution. Mattresses typically require box springs anyway for performance and warranty. I'd reiterate that the plywood doesn't need to be nearly that heavy, though. Even 1/4" underlayment would barely flex at all. 3/8" BC would be plenty solid. A sheet of 3/4 weighs something like 40 lbs.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 15:59
  • 1
    @isherwood - I understand the comment about the plywood. If it were a "regular" 10" mattress I would think 3/8" is fine. But if you are getting a 3-4" IKEA mattress 3/4" is needed - really. Because I have slept on a slatted bed with a thin piece of plywood overseas (relatives) many times and with two adults the middle is 2-3 inches down and you can't feel your legs in the morning.
    – DMoore
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 16:03
  • Thanks for the reply @DMoore. What would be the cons of having the plywood on top, in terms of support, since you mentioned that it would be unsupported? Wouldn't option 2 still achieve a similar effect? I should add though that as far as I'm aware, pocket spring mattresses (mine has ~250 pocket springs per sq. m) are generally considered more desirable than traditional innerspring mattresses as they offer more comfort and precise support. My mattress is also 31cm thick with a ~20cm spring system underneath ~11cm foam layers, so I am not sure if that would warrant thicker/thinner plywood?
    – ricarnam
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 16:40
  • @George - you can get by with 1/2" for sure with something that thick. Are you really opposed to a box spring? Just from the small picture it looks like the frame of your bed + slats was made with a box spring in mind. Normally most or all of the mattress should be sticking out of the bed frame.
    – DMoore
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 16:43
  • @DMoore: Sorry I misinterpreted what you meant by box spring and thought you were suggesting that I replace my pocket spring mattress with a single-unit spring mattress. Adding a box spring foundation does sound like a good option...I think I would still prefer a solid or slatted foundation though but I will consider it.
    – ricarnam
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 16:59

Much easier approach IMO: Just cover the existing slats with sheets of whatever cheap sheet material you can easily buy. 1/2" or 3/8" plywood or chipboard or hardboard ... anything at all will serve the purpose you want. No modification needed to your bed. Buy what's on sale. The sheets of material can be cut into pieces that are easy to transport and handle, and can be tossed onto the slats, loose, with your mattress placed on top.

  • Further to this, should the new top have some small breather holes added?
    – Criggie
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 19:30

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