Bunkie boards, adjustables, platforms... What should your mattress be resting on?

Posted by Rohan Kusre on

When it comes to picking what to rest your mattress on, you might think you can throw a box spring on your bed frame and call it a day.

Well, think again.

The foundational support you use with your mattress can make an enormous difference not only in terms of your long-term comfort but also in terms of durability. It is therefore important to have the correct type of base for your specific mattress.

So, how do you know what you should be resting your mattress on?

Here’s a quick run-down of some different types of mattress bases, when you should use them and when you shouldn’t.

Box Spring - Out-dated and lacks support

don't use a Box Spring

The type of base you’re probably most familiar with, the box spring is a wooden or metal frame with steel support springs and a cloth cover of some sort. It’s often the most affordable type of mattress base.

Box springs are a good option if you have a traditional innerspring mattress or a mattress that needs a little help in the weight distribution department. However, they aren’t great for mattresses that need high levels of support, like memory foam mattresses.

Most box springs are designed for use with a bed frame and often require regular rotation as the springs start to lose their supportive qualities over time.

Foundation - Solid and Simple

Bear Foundation

Another major type of mattress base is simply called a foundation. Now, this can mean a variety of different things depending on the manufacturer. But generally, a mattress foundation is a metal or wood frame with either a solid wood top or a slatted-wood system and a fabric cover.

Some people might choose to put a foundation directly on the ground. Others might use it with a bed frame, like using the solid-wood, slatted Bear Foundation with the Bear Bed Frame. Either way, a foundation is a great option for any type of foam mattress because it provides a solid, uniform base to avoid sagging and uneven weight distribution.

So if you have a foam mattress — whether it’s memory foam, latex or polyfoam — or even a hybrid mattress, you may want to consider pursuing the mattress foundation route.

(P.S. If you go with a slatted mattress foundation, just make sure the wooden slats are no more than 2–3 inches apart for optimal foam mattress support!)

Platform Bed - Sleek and Supportive

Platform Bed

If you’re all about simplicity and efficiency, then the platform bed is probably the right mattress base for you.

Platform beds give you everything a foundation does — except they already have a built-in, wooden-slat support system. That means one less piece to buy for your sleeping set-up and, therefore, can sometimes mean greater affordability (but of course, there are some swanky, expensive platform beds out there).

And the best part? This system works with pretty much any type of mattress.

(Plus, platform beds are oh-so-sleek.)

Bunky Board - Extra Support at a Low Cost

Bunky Board

If you just raised your eyebrow at the words “bunky boards,” don’t worry — we’ll explain.

A bunky or bunkie board (both spellings are correct) is usually a 2- or 3-inch-thick wooden platform upon which you can rest your mattress. Today, they’re made with wood chips or strips formed to the desired size and often covered in fabric.

Bunky boards have become increasingly popular alternatives to box springs partly due to their low price-point and low profile. They can rest directly on the slats of a bed frame without adding to the height or bulkiness of the bed.

For this reason, bunky boards work well with platform beds if you’re looking to add some additional support to the slat system. You can also use them with memory foam or other foam mattresses since they add solid, even support.

And if you’re on a budget, there’s no denying that a bunky board could save you some major dollars and cents.

Adjustable Base - High-Tech Comfort

Bear Adjustable Base

You can always opt for a futuristic, ultra-ergonomic, adjustable base for your mattress.

Adjustable bases, like the new Bear Adjustable Base, help you customize your sleep position and provide a range of health benefits, including alleviating sleep apnea, enhancing circulation, easing insomnia and relieving chronic pain and acid reflux.

Some adjustable bases, including the Bear Adjustable Base, are available as a “split model” so you and your partner can each have your own unique, personalized sleeping position.

It may seem like you’d need a special sort of mattress for this high-tech contraption of a mattress base — but you don’t. Adjustable bases work with pretty much any type of mattress (though it’s probably not a good idea to try to use one with a waterbed mattress).

So, if you’re looking for a base that not only supports your pocket-spring, foam or hybrid mattress, but also provides added relief and comfort while you sleep, an adjustable base is the answer you’ve been waiting for.

Why Do I Need a Base for My Mattress, Anyways?

Maybe you’re thinking back to the “good ole’ days” of tossing your mattress on the floor and sleeping like you were in an ‘80s hair metal band.

But let’s be honest — those weren’t really the good ole’ days.

Okay sure, if you have a memory foam mattress, it’s probably sturdy and supportive enough to handle resting directly on the floor… but that doesn’t mean you should do it.

Providing a base for your mattress — whether it’s memory foam, latex foam, a hybrid, a pocket-spring or a classic innerspring — will protect it and significantly increase its lifespan.

Using a base or foundation with your mattress also prevents sagging and indentation, which are often the results of resting your mattress on an uneven surface. And — you guessed it — this sinking and sagging means less support for your body when you sleep.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure your mattress base matches the size specifications of your mattress. Otherwise, the support benefits go more or less out the window. Luckily, that’s an easy task since most manufacturers make mattress bases in standard sizes.

Bottom line: You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to choosing a base or foundation type for your mattress.

And with so many options, you can easily find the perfect base to fit your mattress, lifestyle and desired comfort level.

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