What is a platform bed? Furniture is constantly evolving, and sometimes it feels like there are more types of furniture than breeds of dogs. Not everyone’s a bed expert, so we’ll answer those burning bed questions for you.
Platform beds are a type of frame that’s low to the ground with short legs and a solid platform or slats that hold the mattress. Many manufacturers state that platform bedframes range from 5–12 inches high.
These beds are excellent for remaining uncomplicated and cost-efficient. They require no mattress foundation as they’re a solid base on their own.
Platform beds come in a range of styles to suit every taste, and some have additional features such as storage drawers beneath them. This is great for kids with lots of toys or people living in studios and small apartments.
All in all, platform beds are simple pieces of furniture that require no boxspring, come in many shapes and all sizes, and can support all mattress types. Although, some people recommend you don’t use innerspring mattresses with platform beds, based on comfort.
Types of Platform Bed
For novices to the platform bed type, slats and even materials may be confusing so here’s a brief overview.
A solid platform bed has a sheet of material across the entire base of the bed. This material can be made of anything, from solid wood to composite, even plastic or metal.
Wood is the most common, but if you want a bed that lasts the longest look for metal. Keep in mind that a metal solid platform will offer no resistance and will add some firmness to your mattress.
Solid slats are planks of wood or plank-like metal that run widthways across your bed frame. They sometimes have a support beam in the centre.
While wood is most common and metal right after, they can also be composite or plastic.
These slats allow excellent airflow through the mattress and they won’t add as much firmness as a solid platform will. There’s some room for the mattress to press between the slats and the further apart the slats, the softer your mattress stays.
Although, since it’s pressing down and under pressure unevenly, solid slats may wear your mattress out faster than a solid platform.
A sprung slat platform bed is similar to a solid slat one, except the slats are always wood and they’re gently raised or bowed. They connect to a lengthways support beam in the centre of the bed frame so it’s two little raised slats side by side, rather than one long bowed one.
These slats are generally pushed back down by the weight of your mattress, and you on it. They make for a springer feel and are more supportive than regular slats as it’s a two-way pressure situation; you push down on them, while they push upon you.
Sprung slats will move back into place once you get out of bed in the morning, effectively counteracting any pressure you placed on your mattress during the night. So, if you pushed any stuffing down, the slats help move it back up. This extends your mattress’s lifespan.
If you have sprung slats and your mattress warranty demands a boxspring, you should contact the manufacturer and explain the situation to see if they can make an exception for you. While not the same as a boxspring, the sprung slats are better for your mattress than other platform bed types.
While all but sprung slat platform beds can have metal frames, this type of bed is unique to a metal construction. The frame is fully steel—most of the time—and there may be some sturdy wire in there too, adding further support.
The frame is airy like slats, except there are wider gaps between the bars that run widthways across the bed frame. There are also a few vertical bars, so your mattress’s base forms a boxy shape.
Adding a boxspring to a frame like this will soften the mattress while going without will leave the bars free to make your mattress slightly firmer.
Are Platform Beds Like Boxspring Beds?
You need a boxspring for a bed frame that’s nothing more than a skeleton. Maybe it has small edges and one or two support beams for a boxspring to sit on, but a mattress isn’t firm enough to stay comfortably on this.
Boxspring beds are wooden, like platform beds, but they typically have a cloth covering and contain springs. Boxsprings help absorb shock and keep your mattress springier and responsive for longer, and they also keep your mattress high so you don’t feel too close to the ground.
So, box springs are a flat, supportive surface for a mattress to sit on—like platform beds.
However, boxsprings are springier, they’re used in addition to a basic bed frame, but platform beds don’t need boxsprings to function so that’s where platform and boxsprings differ.
Will I Ever Need a Boxspring With a Platform Bed?
You may need to pair a boxspring with your platform bed if your mattress’s manufacturer demands it. Since mattresses wear out faster without boxsprings, it’s natural that the warranty would require every precaution against wear and tear that leads to complaints.
Always check your mattress’s warranty or the manufacturer’s policy before forgoing a box spring.
Are Platform Beds Like Panel Beds?
No, platform beds aren’t like panel beds. Panel beds only have rails along the sides and require a foundation under the mattress, often a boxspring.
It’s easy to confuse the two given that platforms and panels seem like the same thing, but these two bed types make up the difference between needing a mattress foundation and not.
What Benefits Do Platform Beds Have?
- Keeps you cool at night.
- No need to pay extra for a foundation.
- Frequently contains storage options.
- Available in a wide array of styles.
- Compatible with all mattresses.
- Modern appearance.e
- Difficult to move as they’re bulkier.
- Firm support under the mattress isn’t desirable for some users.
- Lower to the ground, which some people dislike and have difficulty with.
Outside of not needing to purchase a mattress foundation/boxspring, platform beds have one key benefit: you stay cooler at night.
As these beds often have slats, there’s more room for the air to move through the mattress and under the bed, keeping you cool, aired out and hopefully free of night sweats. While the coils in boxspring mattress foundations can also help circulate air, it’s not as quick nor as effective as with a slatted platform bed.
There are other, smaller benefits to platform beds too, as well as some downsides you should consider though.
Platform beds are unique from boxsprings and panel beds, and are:
- Chic and modern.
They make a wonderful addition to any bedroom, so if you’re looking for a new bed they’re something to consider.
If you have any comments or questions regarding platform beds, feel free to leave them below.