Choosing A Bed Foundation: Buyer’s Guide

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
April 4, 2022
min read

Most buyers think that the mattress they choose is the end-all-be-all for sleepytime comfort, but the truth is that the type of foundation you choose matters just as much. Having a sturdy, solid surface under your bed can provide extra support and comfort while prolonging your mattress’s lifespan.

But with so many options, how do you choose the right type of foundation? Don’t worry – we have the answer. Read on to learn more about standard foundations and how to select the ideal one.

What Is a Mattress Foundation?


A mattress foundation, also commonly known as a bed frame, is any stable surface that your bed sits on. It provides additional support, protects your mattress, and also gives you a bit of airflow to cool your bed at night.

That said, there are many types of mattress bases currently available, each with its own unique set of features. For example, slatted bases provide solid and stable support, while an adjustable foundation flexes and bends for comfort. Additionally, something like a platform bed frame offers extra storage beneath your sleeping surface.

But no matter your needs, Purple has a wide selection of solid foundations for purchase. That’s because we understand bed foundations are as personal as the mattress you choose. Check out our product page to see what we have on sale.

6 Benefits of a Mattress Foundation

Here’s a sleep fact: solid foundations for your mattress can improve your overall sleep experience. But how? Read on for the 6 main benefits of a suitable mattress base.

Improves Support

Even the most perfect mattress is prone to sagging and warping over time, but having a supportive base can make up for a little bit of that lost firmness. This base keeps even the most pliable of latex mattresses in shape, meaning you wake up with less body pain overall.

Increases the Lifespan of Your Mattress

A bed foundation can help extend your mattress’ lifespan by protecting it from the floor and providing extra stability. Even the most no-frills standard foundations can minimize the daily wear-and-tear associated with keeping your bed on the floor, making it a worthy investment.

Adds Height

Are you having trouble climbing out of your hybrid mattress in the morning? Is it because you’re too close to the ground? A suitable frame can provide the bed height you need. Some bed base options can even add up to 16 inches of height to your mattress if you’re exceptionally tall.

But beyond getting in and out of bed more manageable, the added height can keep your bed cooler overnight. That’s because the space between your mattress and the floor allows for adequate airflow, which dissipates your body heat faster.

Helps Keep Your Bed Clean

Even the cleanest households have blind spots, and keeping your mattress on the floor is a recipe for a dirty sleeping area. Bed foundations act as a barrier between your mattress and the floor to keep added dirt, dust, and more from getting onto it.

Keeping your mattress clean also helps to extend its life.

Increases Airflow

Airflow is important for comfortable sleep, especially with memory foam and hybrid mattresses. Bed foundations allow for airflow above and below your mattress, keeping you cool while you sleep.

Stops Your Mattress From Sliding

A proper bed foundation will prevent your mattress from sliding. This is especially important if you toss and turn night after night. If your mattress shifts around too much, it could hang off the base and potentially lose its structural support.

Types of Foundations

Whether you’re using a hybrid mattress or an all-foam mattress, pairing your sleep surface with the proper bed foundation is critical. Most mattresses usually have an ideal type of base to keep them supported and in place. Here are some of the most common bed foundations and mattress combinations.

Adjustable Bed Frames

As the name suggests, adjustable bed bases can move and flex to accommodate any sleeping style. This can be particularly helpful if you struggle with sleep apnea, joint pain, or neck pain.

Adjustable bed frames are typically electronic metal frames that allow you to sleep at an incline, in a more seated position, or with your feet and legs elevated.

Adjustable bed frames are ideal for: Folks who have a flexible mattress type (foam, latex, some hybrids). People who sleep better at an incline or who struggle with snoring. They can also help with getting in and out of bed more easily.

Platform Beds

Platform beds are typically made up of metal or wood frames that are perfectly measured to keep your mattress in place. Many people prefer platform beds for their minimal, aesthetic look and the extra storage space underneath.

Platform beds are ideal for: Any type of mattress, especially foam or hybrid. Also great if you need extra storage in your bedroom.

Box Springs

Traditional box springs are usually paired with older kinds of beds like innerspring mattresses. Unlike more modern alternatives, these foundations use inner coils to give you a more supportive and stable sleep experience. However, buyers should be wary of accidentally voiding their mattress warranties when using box springs.

Specifically, memory foam beds, latex mattresses, hybrid mattresses, and even Purple mattresses shouldn’t be used with box spring foundations. That’s because the springs can damage the unit over time.

Box springs are ideal for: Old-school innerspring mattresses. Be sure to double check with your mattress supplier or local furniture store before splurging on a box spring mattress.

Box Spring

Bunkie Boards

Bunkie boards are a solid mattress foundation usually paired with slats and covered in fabric. Originally, bunkie boards were made from a piece of plywood or particleboard, but you can now buy higher quality versions made with wood chips or strips. Bunkie boards can provide the same level of support as a spring-based foundation without the added height.

Bunkie boards are ideal for: Bunk beds, children's beds, or when you don't want extra height for your mattress.

Bed Slats

Bed slats are a popular foundation option because of their relatively low cost. However, this isn’t the only reason this solid mattress foundation is so common. Well-spaced wood slats are easily repairable because of their modular construction, meaning you won’t need to repair or replace the entire unit if one slat breaks.

In addition to this, bed slats are easier to move than box springs. Simply roll them up, then reinstall them when you move your bed. They’re also highly flexible in size and can be made to fit everything from a twin to a king bed.

Bed slats are ideal for: Any type of mattress. Bed slats are cost-effective, simple bed foundations that are easy to set up and take down.


Metal vs. Wood

While a wooden slatted foundation is less expensive than steel slats, it does come with a few drawbacks. Specifically, it might bend, sag, or even break under a person’s weight – especially if you haven’t changed them out in a while. Too much sagging impacts your bed’s overall support and comfort.

Conversely, metal slats are much more durable and don't bend or sag as easily as wooden ones. Some can even be adjusted to fit different bed widths.

Do Bed Slats Make a Difference?

A slatted foundation is an inexpensive and straightforward solution for lacking bed support. They also come with a few air circulation benefits, meaning you sleep cooler for longer.

How Far Apart Should Wood Slats Be?

Well-spaced wood slats can make all the difference, so how far apart should they be? The answer is that they should be no more than 2.75 inches apart from one another. This ensures your mattress gets the support it requires while also preventing any sag over time. Be sure to check your slatted mattress foundation's spacing regularly to avoid damaging your mattress.

What Mattress Is Best for a Slatted Bed?

Any bed will work fine with a slatted mattress foundation, including memory foam beds or hybrid mattresses. Both metal and wooden slats help increase airflow under your unit, helping cool the dense material found in memory foam and hybrid mattresses.

How to Choose the Right Foundation for You

Choosing the right foundation for your needs involves many factors, from existing mattress type to budget. Here’s what to think about before pulling the trigger on purchasing a bed foundation.

Consider Mattress Type and Size

Your mattress plays a crucial role in the type of bed foundation that’ll suit you best. That said, most bed foundations can be paired with most mattress sizes, unless you have a specialty size like a twin XL.

Additionally, most bed foundations will also work with any mattress, except if you’re considering a box spring foundation. As we mentioned earlier, box springs should only be paired with innerspring beds.


Sticking to your budget can feel challenging when you find that one beautiful, expensive wooden frame that suits your room’s look perfectly. However, there are always cheaper options for all types of mattresses.

Generally speaking, adjustable bed frames and platform bed foundations tend to run a little more expensive, while a slatted mattress foundation or bunkie boards can save you a few hundred dollars. However, the cheapest option may not always be the best one, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons.


When trying out a new mattress base, you’ll want to give it a little push and a wiggle to test its durability. After all, nobody wants to sleep on a frame that could easily collapse under the weight of your mattress. If a few dollars is the difference between a solid base and a rickety one, we recommend shelling out a bit more for longevity’s sake.

Assembly Requirements

Nobody wants to struggle when putting their bed frame together, so take a bit of time to decide if you’ll be able to assemble your unit by yourself or if you’ll need some help. This is especially important if you tend to move around often, as you’ll have to take it apart when you go.

Style and Design Preference

Most people consider a bed frame’s look to be one of the most important factors when choosing a unit. Luckily, most furniture stores carry a wide selection of styles, so you’ll have plenty to choose from.


Most mattress warranties will state which type of bed foundations are allowed and which ones are not. For example, Purple mattresses do not work with box spring mattresses, and using one will void your warranty. So, be sure to check the warranty label before buying.

Purple Bed Foundations Can Do It All

The right bed frame can make your sleep experience go from good to great. Luckily, Purple has a healthy selection of bed frames for all mattress types and room styles. Each foundation is built with quality and comfort in mind – check out our product page to get started!


Platform Bed

A strong, simple, and storage-friendly option for comfort and airflow.


Purple Bed Frame

An upholstered, stylish, and cozy addition with no need for extra support.

Purple Ascent Adjustable Base

Provides premium, customizable support for your mattress.