What Goes Under A Mattress?

By Sakibul Islam

Most times, mattresses don’t stay alone. They usually need the company of bed accessories like pillows, sheets, and toppers.

They also sometimes need bed frames too. All of these play one role or the other in making the mattress more comfortable to sleep on.

However, what goes under a mattress? If you’re curious about this, keep reading to find out.

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What is the Thing under the Mattress Called?

The thing under the mattress is a mattress foundation. Some foundations look a lot like wooden pallets placed on top of one another. Usually, wood pallets make good stack boxes for shipping.

They are made in such a way that they can be lifted on. The clean and smooth versions of these wood pallets are what make up standard fabric-covered plywood foundations.

Wooden pallets are affordable and easy to build on one’s own. Thus, they are a less costly alternative to other expensive bed supports like box springs. Mattresses are expensive enough on their own and adopting a pallet can help save a little chunk of your change. The best part is that they can support any kind of mattress.

Box springs used to be so germane to mattresses that they were indisposable. However, mattress producers caught wind of the fact that buyers couldn’t really tell the difference between a real box spring and a spring-less plywood foundation that looks just like a box spring.

Since these plywood foundations are less expensive to produce and yield far more profit than box springs, mattress companies adopted them.

Besides, emerging mattresses are designed to be much thicker and more luxurious than the way older ones were designed. As such, box springs became redundant since the thickness of the beds made it impossible to feel them in the first place.

What is a Mattress Foundation?

What Goes Under a Mattress

Most mattresses need a foundation for support. So, what exactly is a foundation? Simply put, a mattress foundation is whatever your mattress sits on.

Usually, it is meant to not only raise your bed to a desirable height but also to give it extra support. For some beds, the foundation is made up of wooden box springs, while others only have wooden slats. For many bed owners, even the floor will do for a mattress foundation.

Even though they are only meant to support the bed, your foundation choice can have adverse effects on your sleep. This implies that if your foundation does not support your mattress well, you’re likely to be at the receiving end.

Therefore, if your mattress is so weak or broken that your bed begins to sag, then, you won’t be well supported when you sleep either. This is what results in backaches and pain in various areas of the body every morning. This is why you need the right foundation for your bed.

Box Springs

Box springs are wooden boxes with springs inside them. This kind of foundation works well with spring mattresses. Box springs provide the little give that spring mattress needs to support the pressure of the sleeper’s body.

In fact, box springs are the best for spring mattresses. Any attempt to use a solid foundation with an innerspring mattress will result in the sleeper experiencing discomfort during and after sleep.

That being said, box springs do not work for all mattresses. Memory foam and latex are much too firm to need the support of box springs. A firmer foundation will work better for these kinds of bed

Do You Need a Bed Frame?

Technically, a bed frame is not a necessity if you have a box spring foundation. The box spring will protect or support your bed irrespective of what it is sitting on. All that the box spring needs is a surface that will help the weight of your mattress, and support you, and your bed springs as well.

However, in terms of elevating your mattress to a comfortable sitting height, a bed frame will help. It also makes it easier for you to get out of bed every morning, and this wouldn’t be the case if you just set the box spring directly on the floor.

When you also consider that a bed frame will give you extra storage room, then maybe you do need it. But as far as box springs are concerned, bed frames are not necessary.

Do You Need a Box Spring If You Have Slats?

In a situation where your bed already has built-in slats, you don’t need a box spring. Using a box spring with these slats will not add any support to your mattress, it’ll only make it higher and weightier.

Platform bed slats are enough to support your mattress on their own. If, however, the slats are too far apart, it will not give adequate support, and your bed will begin to sag.

Bed slats have more advantages than other foundations. They are less expensive and easy to replace or repair. When a part of a box spring is ruined, the whole thing becomes useless. Bed slats are also easy to move and provide excellent airflow.  Box springs, on the other hand, are unyielding.

  • Metal vs. Wood

In as much as metal slats are more expensive, they don’t tend to bend, break or sag as wooden slats do under the pressure of mattresses. Some metal slats are made to adjust themselves to fit different bed widths.

  • Bunkie Boards

Bunkie boards are another alternative for box springs and bed slats. Actually, a Bunkie board is any solid material that is set on a slat and then enclosed in fabric. There are available high-tech Bunkie boards made with wood strips or chips. In fact, they can be more effective than box springs in giving support.

  • Mattress Foundations

Just as box springs are designed for spring mattresses, mattress foundations are made to support latex, memory foam, and polymer mattresses. Mattress foundations are built with wood or metal and covered with a breathable cloth.

  • Adjustable Foundations

If you’d prefer something fancy and luxurious, an adjustable foundation is a good option. This kind of foundation gives plenty of room for customization. They come with extra features like reading lights, Bluetooth, and massaging vibrations.

Why Get a Mattress Foundation?

Mattress foundations are needed for many reasons. They help to raise your mattress, make it easier to get out of bed and prevent the bed from staying directly on the floor where it can quickly wear.

When choosing your mattress foundation, consider the kind of mattress you own, (innerspring, latex or memory foam?). Also, remember to think about how much airflow the foundation will provide. If you want style, you could consider that too.

Bottom Line

What goes under a mattress is a mattress foundation. As already stated, they come in different types. When shopping for one, pay keen attention to your mattress warranty.

Some foundations can void the warranty of certain mattresses. The make-up, height and airflow of the foundation are also important factors to consider.

About the author

Sakibul the founder of Houzmark and co-founder of Houzhold, is a product reviews analyst who researches, compares, reviews, and writes about home appliances. With his extensive knowledge and experience, he provides valuable insights and recommendations to help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing products.