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13 Box Spring Alternatives For a Great Night’s Sleep

    Last Updated
    January 11, 2024
    min read

    The most common box spring alternatives are platform beds. They provide sturdy support, eliminating the need for a box spring. You can also opt for bunkie boards or creative DIY options for a simple and cost-effective route to box-spring-free sleeping, ensuring essential support without compromising comfort.

    Are you tired of tossing and turning as your bed squeaks and sags? This common issue is most often caused by using the wrong mattress foundation. 

    Beyond choosing a mattress, a  key component of this process is selecting the right type of mattress foundation to ensure that your mattress doesn’t sag or creak over time. 

    So, what is a mattress foundation? As the name suggests  — it is a firm, solid foundation to support your mattress and provide you with the best comfort for a full night’s sleep. Many believe a wooden box spring is the only option when choosing a mattress foundation, but there are many box spring alternatives that work just as well.  

    In this post, explore the different alternatives to box spring frames and learn more about each type to decide which is the right choice for you.

    1. Purple GelFlex® Grid Mattresses

    Purple RestorePlus™ Hybrid Mattress in a bedroom.

    Every Purple GelFlex® Grid mattress is specially constructed to provide a solid foundation for comfort and support. Durable foam layers paired with the GelFlex® Grid ensure a restful sleep experience without the need for a box spring. 

    Our GelFlex® Grid mattresses are engineered to withstand pressure and distribute weight evenly — ensuring long-term durability and support. These layers maintain their integrity, preventing the mattress from sagging, thereby maintaining a supportive surface in the long run.

    2. Bed Slats

    Bed slats are another great alternative to box springs. Bed slats provide a sturdy foundation for your mattress, distributing weight evenly, which prevents the mattress from sagging. 

    Before we learn more about types of mattress slats as an alternative to box springs, it's best if you first understand the differences between bed slats vs. box springs. 

    When looking into bed slats, there are two main types: wood slats and metal slats. 

    Graphic showing two different types of bed slats and their benefits.

    Wood Slats

    Choosing wood slats for your bed isn't just about a good night's sleep — it's also a green choice for the planet. Opting for sustainable wood options like ash, beech, or pine ensures both reliability and eco-friendliness. To enhance durability, always check that the wood has been kiln-dried to prevent warping.

    Wood slats boast several advantages. With proper maintenance, they may outlast their metal counterparts and maintain their shape over time. 

    While wooden slats are an alternative to box springs, they are not as sturdy as metal slats and can break or warp over time. Wooden slats also provide less ventilation compared to metal slats, which may lead to potential issues like mold or mildew. 

    Metal Slats

    Metal bed frames require less maintenance due to the metal's resistance to dents and scratches, making it a durable option. Metal frames also stand up well against pests like termites. When it comes to durability, metal is robust and long-lasting. 

    Additionally, metal frames are typically lighter than wooden ones, and some are even equipped with wheels for easy mobility. 

    3. Platform Bed

    Purple platform bed frame.

    A platform bed is a bed frame with slatted wood, solid wood, or metal surface. This type of bed frame doesn’t require a box spring as it already has a sturdy surface for mattress placement. 

    You can choose from various styles, including legless solid blocks or slightly elevated options with compact legs. These bed frames support almost all types of mattresses, most prominently,  foam mattresses that decompress faster when well-supported. 

    Purple Platform Bed Frames

    Enhance your sleep with our sturdy yet lightweight mattress support, holding up to 2,000 pounds with extra storage space.

    4. Mattress Foundations

    A young woman sits on the bed with a wooden mattress foundation.

    While both provide support, the main difference between a box spring and a mattress foundation lies in the construction. A box spring has internal springs for shock absorption whereas a mattress foundation features a solid surface or slats for a more stable support structure. 

    Bed foundations also come in various heights and styles but all typically contain slats that support your mattress. These slats are usually spaced 2-2.75 inches apart for optimum weight distribution.

    5. Adjustable Bed

    A young woman reading a book on an adjustable bed.

    The adjustable bed's unique base eliminates the need for a box spring and offers customizable support for different mattress types like memory foam and latex. Adjustable beds have a flexible base that adjusts to the user’s desired position. 

    An adjustable bed is similar to a regular bed, but features the ability to adjust the slope up or down with a remote. There are various benefits of adjustable beds — for one, their incline adjustment makes it more comfortable for those who often sit in their bed to read or watch television.  Additionally, they offer more personalized support and comfort for those who experience physical health issues such as limited mobility or chronic pain. 

    Purple Premium Plus Smart Base

    Upgrade your sleep with custom comfort, lumbar support, pillow tilt, sleep presets, dual massage, and under-bed lighting.

    6. Memory Foam Mattress

    A white memory foam mattress and someone touching it.

    Memory foam mattresses are designed to be flexible and adaptable to various surfaces. They come in different types, and they can effectively contour to the shape of a solid foundation, such as a platform bed or slatted base, without the need for additional support from a box spring.

    Memory foam mattresses ensure long-lasting support, making it a practical choice for those looking for a mattress with both comfort and longevity without the added expense of a box spring. 

    7. Hybrid Mattress

    Purple RejuvenatePlus™ mattress in a bedroom.

    Our bestselling Restore™ and Rejuvenate™ collections features a combination of Ultra Comfort Foam and edge-to-edge coils that offer both pressure relief and enhanced support, thereby eliminating the need for a traditional box spring. 

    Our independently responsive, edge-to-edge coils provide enhanced airflow while the Edge Support System ensures long-lasting shape. This decreases the chances of the mattress sagging even without the additional support of a box spring. 

    8. Bunkie Board

    Wooden bunkie board bed frame.

    Lightweight and easy to move, bunkie boards are the perfect companion for a hybrid or memory foam mattress. A bunkie board is placed beneath your mattress as a slim and sturdy wooden support for added stability. Some people use it along with a box spring, but it’s sturdy enough to provide support by itself. 

    Bunkie boards are a less expensive alternative and can even be a DIY project, making them a great budget-friendly option.

    9. Collapsible Metal Bed Frame


    A woman holds a wooden slat and is setting up a metal bed frame.

    Collapsible metal bed frames are a practical and efficient alternative to traditional box springs by offering substantial support for mattresses. These frames are typically constructed with sturdy metal materials, providing a reliable foundation for your bed setup.

    Collapsible metal bed frames distribute weight evenly across the mattress, promoting better support and stability. If you’re looking for a durable option, these frames are the perfect choice. Their metal structure ensures durability and longevity, offering a reliable foundation for different mattress types.

    Collapsible metal bed frames are an economical option, and they add versatility to bed setups, accommodating different preferences without needing an extra support layer.

    10. Low-Profile Box Spring

    Low-profile box spring.

    When comparing low-profile and standard box springs, low-profile box springs are designed with a reduced height. This makes them compatible with many modern bed designs and addresses the preference for lower bed profiles without sacrificing support. It’s important to remember that some beds, like hybrid mattresses, shouldn’t be used with any type of box spring, even if it’s low-profile. This includes Purple’s mattresses.

    Unlike a regular box spring, which typically stands at 9 inches tall, low-profile versions are shorter, ranging from 4 to 6 inches. Opting for a low-profile box spring is an excellent choice if you prefer your bed closer to the ground,  have a modern bed arrangement, or want to make getting in and out of bed easier.

    11. Coconut Coir Bed Rug

    Coconut coir bed rug.

    A Coconut Coir bed rug is a natural and eco-friendly alternative to a traditional box spring. It’s made from coconut husks, spun into fibers, and woven into a supportive, breathable rug that sits between your mattress and bed frame. 

    The coconut coir bed rug acts as a sturdy and well-ventilated base for your mattress. It provides a stable foundation, ensuring your mattress stays supported without the need for a bulky box spring. 

    The coconut fibers also allow for better air circulation, keeping you cool and comfortable during the night. It is also a great option if you are looking for an eco-friendly option. 

    12. DIY Pallet Foundation

    A DIY pallet bed foundation with a mattress and pillows on it.

    If you’ve ever thought about making your bed foundation, pallet pieces offer a straightforward and budget-friendly option.

    Ensure you have enough pallets to match the size of your bed and confirm they’re strong enough to support the weight of your mattress plus all sleepers. 

    Pro tip: Make sure to sand the pallets to avoid splinters and ensure the bottom of your mattress doesn’t get damaged. 

    13. The Floor

    White mattress on the floor with two blue pillows.

    Choosing the floor as an alternative to a box spring might seem like a straightforward move, but there are a few things to consider. While it might work for some, it has drawbacks.

    The floor doesn’t allow proper ventilation, which may result in your mattress trapping moisture and therefore lending mold and mildew. If you prefer the floor, be sure to air out your mattress by elevating it occasionally and using a breathable mattress cover. 

    Prioritize and Support Box Spring-Free Sleeping

    When opting for a box spring-free sleeping experience, it's crucial to consider viable alternatives for optimal comfort and mattress support. Platform beds, adjustable bed bases, bunkie boards, and DIY solutions like bed frame risers or repurposed pallets offer practical box spring alternatives. 

    While it may be tempting to use two mattresses, we do not recommend it because it can compromise support and lead to discomfort over time. By choosing the right alternative that suits your bed frame and mattress type, you can achieve a supportive, elevated sleep environment without the need for a traditional box spring.

    Box Spring Alternative FAQ

    Let’s discuss some of the most commonly asked box spring alternative questions.

    Most modern mattresses do not require a box spring. However, the accurate answer depends on some other factors like bed type, mattress type, height preference and budget considerations.

    Alternatives to a box spring include platform beds, hybrid mattresses, bunkie boards, adjustable bed bases, slatted bed frames, or placing the mattress directly on the floor.

    You can support a bed without a box spring by using a platform bed, bunkie beds, slatted bed frames, and more. This choice relies on your current bed frame, mattress type, and personal foundation preferences.

    Yes, you can put a mattress on a frame without a box spring. Many modern bed frames, such as platform beds or those with slats, can sufficiently support the mattress on their own.

    You can consider alternatives like a platform bed for built-in support, a bunkie board for a slim and affordable option, or an adjustable bed base if you desire customization. 

    Frames with slats also work well, promoting airflow. If you’re on a budget, you can also repurpose wooden pallets into a DIY bed base. Your pick depends on mattress type, bed frame compatibility, and personal comfort preferences.

    Consider affordable bed frame risers for extra height to raise your mattress without a box spring. You can also opt for a platform bed with built-in support or an adjustable bed base for both elevation and customization. Choose the option that aligns with your bed frame, budget, and desired height adjustment.

    Using two mattresses instead of a box spring is not recommended, as it may compromise the support and comfort of your bed. A box spring is specifically designed to provide a stable foundation for your mattress, ensuring proper support and extending its lifespan. 

    Placing two mattresses directly on a bed frame without the appropriate support may lead to uneven weight distribution, discomfort, and potential damage to the mattresses over time

    About the authors

    April Seifert

    April has nearly a decade of writing experience, with 3+ years specializing in sleep content. Her work has been covered by sites like BuzzFeed, Entrepreneur, and Money Under 30. She has an M.A. in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism from Syracuse University and a B.A. in Communication Studies. As a self-proclaimed expert in all things cozy, she sleeps better at night, knowing her writing helps others sleep in comfort, too.

    Kristen Olson-Turner
    Senior Director of Merchandising, Mattress and Bases

    Kristen Olson-Turner is the Senior Director of mattresses, where she has spent 10+ years understanding customer needs and integrating solutions into Purple products for better sleep and comfort.