Alternatives to traditional box springs are an important component of natural and healthy sleep solutions.
Box springs were first introduced at the end of the 19th century when they were designed to help absorb impact and reduce wear and tear on the mattress. Box springs were necessary then because mattresses had much thinner profiles and were primarily innerspring designs. Innerspring mattresses were made with few or no extra layers for support.
Today’s innerspring mattresses are manufactured with multiple layers and do not require a box spring for optimal support.
What are some box spring alternatives?
There are a number of alternatives to a box spring.
Platform Beds: Modern-Looking Box Spring Alternatives
A platform bed, also known as a cabin bed, consists of a raised, level, typically rectangular, horizontal solid frame with rows of flexible wooden slats meant to support just a mattress. No box spring is needed with a platform bed.
Platform beds utilize properly spaced slats – each two to three inches apart - to ensure that your mattress breathes, prolonging its life for years to come.
A low-profile foundation can provide the support needed while only being about half as high as a traditional box spring. Low profile mattress foundations are made from strong wood (or metal) and covered in breathable organic fabric. These mattress foundations are simply a solid box-like frame, with or without feet, that supports your mattress and raises it to an appropriate height off the floor.
Additional benefits of the low-profile foundations are that they:
- Prevent your mattress from sagging
- Increase the longevity of your mattress
- Offer accessibility to those who may have difficulty getting onto a higher bed
Coconut Coir Rugs:
The Coconut Coir Bed Rug is a natural way to improve air flow under your mattress. Made of coconut fibre with organic latex, this GOTS Certified mat drastically improves air circulation, extending the life of your mattress and inhibiting the growth of mold and mildew in humid climates, enclosed spaces, or when using a bed frame that limits airflow.
If you are putting your mattress directly on the floor or your home is extra humid, two coconut coir rugs are recommended for ideal circulation.
What is Coconut Coir?
Coconut Coir is made from the fibrous material found between the hard internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. It is the thickest and most moisture-resistant of all commercial natural fibres.
Features of Coconut Coir
- Naturally breathable
- Promotes ventilation
- Provides excellent insulation
- Does not harbour dust mites or other allergens
- Unaffected by moisture and dampness
- Tough and durable
- Resilient; springs back to shape even after constant use
Plywood supports are solid wooden platforms with holes in them for breathability. Manufactured using low-VOC (volatile organic compounds), the half-inch plywood support allows for airflow under your mattress, as well as even and continuous support. Consider using it on an existing bed frame, such as a metal frame without slats, or any bed frame that you feel is not supportive or breathable enough.
Plywood supports are sometimes called “bunkie boards.” The name originated with the need for bunk beds to have more mattress support than a basic metal frame. Bunkie boards replaced a box spring so that bunk-bed mattresses could sit low.
Do I need a foundation if my mattress has innersprings?
All mattresses need a foundation for a few reasons.
A mattress must have space for air to flow beneath its surface to prevent the growth of molds and mildew. Latex, innerspring, and foam mattress constructions all benefit from a foundation that allows them to breathe.
A foundation will improve the longevity of your mattress by providing stability and reducing shock and wear. A foundation also prevents dust, mites, mold, and mildew damage to the mattress cover.
A foundation raises your mattress off the floor to a height that makes it easier to get on and off the bed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can be used instead of a box spring?
Instead of a box spring you can support your mattress with a platform, a foundation, a plywood support, or a coconut coir rug.
Do you really need a box spring?
There was a time that a box spring was a necessary component of a sleep unit, but mattresses today are constructed for support and comfort and can be used on a firm, breathable surface.
How can I support my bed without a box spring?
You can support your bed without a box spring as long as you place your mattress on a firm breathable surface. Air flow beneath the mattress is important to prevent mold, mildew, mites, and dust.
What happens if you don't have a box spring?
If you don’t have a box spring, you can place your mattress on wooden slats that lie across a wood or metal bed frame. You could also put your mattress on a platform or foundation.
Box springs were initially used to provide support for older style mattresses that were thinner that the ones made today.