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mattress guides

Platforms For Memory Foam Mattress: Foundations Vs. Box Spring Vs. Platform Beds

platform base for memory foam mattress
Oct 27, 2020

Do you want your memory foam mattress to last longer? Do you want to provide your spine with proper support? Consider purchasing a mattress base - namely, a platform base that can make your night’s sleep better and save you quite a lot of money.

What is the platform base for memory foam mattress?

A platform base is a supportive base under the mattress. There are 3 main types of mattress bases: foundations, box springs, and platform beds. Which option is the best one? A platform bed is the simplest and most cost-effective solution for those who have a memory foam mattress. The prices of such beds vary greatly depending on the materials, height, design, and plenty of other factors, but any customer can find a quality queen-size platform bed for about $120 or even less.

Do you need a foundation for my memory foam mattress?

First, let us explain what exactly a mattress foundation is. Simply put, it is a wooden or metal box, with even slats inside and covered with some type of fabric. Unlinke box springs, they better match memory foam mattresses. But do you really need a foundation, considering that this is not the bed frame itself, but just an extra “layer”?

Generally speaking, the answer depends on your expectations about your mattress, the bed frame, and some other circumstances. You may need a foundation for your memory foam mattress if you want to:

  1. Extend the durability of your mattress
  2. Prevent sagging
  3. Add some extra height to your bed
  4. Improve the airflow
  5. Avoid putting your memory foam directly on your metal or wood bed frame
  6. Find something budget to put it between your bed and mattress

Foundations were initially designed as the solid surfaces aimed at providing better support, absorbing shock, and making mattresses last longer. And they are still good at it. Note that memory foam mattresses are usually pretty soft, and you should put them on the even frame just because your mattress will last 3-5 years instead of 7-10 years.

Does it mean that literally, anyone needs a foundation? Not exactly. Let us take a look at the reasons why it may be not the best option for you.

  1. You already have a platform bed.
  2. You don’t want to spend more money on 3 items (frame, mattress, and foundation) instead of 2 items.
  3. You don’t want to sleep on a really high bed.

We mentioned that people don’t really need a foundation if they already have a platform bed. What are the differences between them? Some may also argue that box springs also fall under the category of mattress bases. Which of these 3 options (foundations, box springs, and platform beds) are better and which are worse? Let us see.

How does a platform base differ from a box spring and from a foundation?

So, we have 3 types of mattress bases: foundations, box springs, and platform beds. Let us take a look at each of them in more detail.

  1. Foundation - an empty box with slats inside, usually wooden or metal. Matches memory foam mattress. You need it if you have a bed frame, especially a metal one, and want to make your memory foam mattress last longer, improve support, prevent sagging.
  2. Box springs - a box with springs inside, matches innerspring mattresses and sometimes hybrids, but is not good for memory foam mattresses.
  3. Platform beds - alternative bed frame with a very supportive surface (often with slats) that make it possible to use a mattress for a really long time without any extra base, i.e., without a box spring or foundation. Platform beds are “totally memory-foam-friendly”.

As you can see, only 2 of these options are actually compatible with memory foam mattresses, and they are foundations and platform beds. The main difference between them is that foundation is not a bed - it is an extra “layer” to put between a bed and a mattress. Platform bed, in turn, is a real bed made of wood and metal that makes it possible for a sleeper to keep a mattress directly on it, without any foundation needed.

Platform bed base vs. traditional bed: which one is better?

Generally speaking, a platform bed is better if you have a memory foam mattress and don’t really like high beds. Why?

There are two main reasons:

  1. Platform bed and a mattress are cheaper than a traditional bed + a box spring/foundation + a mattress.
  2. It supports your mattress even better than a bed and a foundation and makes it last longer.

We should emphasize that platform beds are definitely more cost-effective for those who have memory foam mattresses. However, in other cases traditional beds may be a better choice. In other words, platform beds are not objectively better - they are better in this particular case.

Types and materials of platforms for memory foam mattress

Platform beds are really popular and no wonder. The best thing is manufacturers do all they can to offer a perfect solution to a customer and produce various types and subtypes of beds made of different materials. Of course, each of them has its pros, cons & special features, and we are going to discuss them in more detail.

Slatted platform bed

Slatted platform bed
Pros:
  • Breathable
  • Great support
  • Modern designs
  • Reasonable prices
Cons:
  • Many cheap, non-durable models on the market

Slatted platform beds, especially wooden beds, are the most popular on the market. They are usually made of wood, so they are good for memory foam mattresses, and more importantly, you can choose between a bed with closer slats or look for a bed with bigger gaps that with better airflow.

Solid platform bed

Solid platform bed
Pros:
  • Light
  • Easy-to-move
  • Supportive
Cons:
  • Nothing really special

Solid platform bed is the exact opposite to a storage bed - this is just a platform (usually splattered) to put a mattress on it. Yes, there may be some special features like the material, construction, but generally speaking, this is the “simplest” platform bed as it is.

Footboard & headboard

Footboard & headboard
Pros:
  • Can be matched with different types of mattresses
  • Keeps mattress from sliding
  • Aesthetic & functional
  • Keep things from falling off the bed
  • Make bed making so much easier
  • Stabilize your bed and therefore improve sleep
Cons:
  • Dust

The best things about such beds is that they work well with all types of mattresses. More importantly, they fix mattresses, i.e, keep them from sliding. They are not too pricey, so if you are on budget, you can still find an affordable platform bed for a reasonable price. The only disadvantage of this option is dust settling on footboards and headboards.

Floating platform beds

Floating platform beds
Pros:
  • Elegant solution
  • Still a solid base
  • Easy to clean under the bed
Cons:
  • Usually pricier than other types of platform bed
  • Cheaper models may not provide enough support
  • No storage space

The main benefit of a floating platform bed is the way it looks. The trick is simple: its legs are closer to the center, and the bed looks like it is floating. This is also a good option for those who are tired of making tons of effort to clean under the bed, but not so good for those looking for the most affordable base for their memory foam mattress.

Storage platform beds

Storage platform beds
Pros:
  • Extra storage space
  • Modern designs
  • Cleaner bedroom
Cons:
  • Difficult to clean
  • Heavier

Do you need a storage platform bed for your memory foam? It depends on your priorities. If you have too many things in your bedroom and need a place to store them, it is a perfect option. If you hate to clean drawers, closets, etc., this is definitely not the best type of a bed.

What are platform beds made of?

There are the top-3 materials used to produce platform beds. They are as follows:

  • Wood. It is incredibly popular, in particular, because it is considered that wood works better with memory foam. It looks great, it is pretty lasting, and it is relatively cheap - here are the keys to its success.
  • Metal. This is the most durable and at the same time, cheap material that will never stain or fade, so no wonder a lot of people choose it.
  • Upholstered. A good durable foundation covered with fabric or another type of upholstery looks beautiful but is the less durable option.

Does Koala know what is the best foundation for a memory foam mattress?

Simply put, a good platform bed is the best foundation for this type of mattress. But are such beds expensive?

Let us take a look at the best budget and mid-range mattress and some of their features.

Platform bedPrice (Queen)MaterialTypeMore info
AmazonBasics 14" Platform Bed Frame$90SteelSlattedIncredibly popular (over 26,000 ratings on Amazon), high customer satisfaction rate Simple, cheap, supportive, lasting, easy to set up
Zinus Joseph 6” Metal Platform Bed Frame$105SteelSlattedNoise free, non-sleep, can be used with any type of mattress
Home Life Premiere Classics Platform Bed$178Wood/linenSlattedLooks expensive, sturdy construction, headboard and frame for incredibly low cost
Zinus Olivia Metal Platform Bed$114Wood/metalSlattedNoise-free, non-slip, great price, easy to assemble
Zinus Alexia 12” Deluxe Platform Bed$148WoodSlattedNoise-free, prevents a mattress from moving

Conclusion

So, there are two types of bases that work for memory foam mattresses. Foundations are the boxes placed between a mattress and a bed to make the latter last longer, provide better support, etc. However, buying them really makes sense if you want to have a high bed or if you already have a metal frame and cannot put your new mattress right on it.

Otherwise, platform bed is a better option because it works with this type of mattress without foundations, box springs, etc. And it is pretty cost-effective - you can buy one for $100 or less.

FAQ

What type of foundation should I choose for memory foam mattress?

It depends. If you have a bed frame and need to put something between the frame and a mattress, choose a foundation. If you have nothing but a mattress or only a mattress, choose a platform bed - it is the most cost-effective option.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a platform bed?

Benefits of platform beds are as follows: tons of types, designs, and materials, no need to buy a box spring, great support, air circulation, extended lifespan of a mattress. As for drawbacks, there are only two of them - they are not easy to move and they are not high.

What is the most convenient material for a platform bed base?

Wood and metal is the best combination - both materials are very durable, wood used for slats doesn’t damage the mattress, and both of them are relatively cheap.

Do I need a box spring for memory foam mattress if I have a platform bed?

No, you don’t need it.

Should I put plywood under memory foam mattress?

It makes sense if you have a foundation/platform bed with pretty big slats or gaps - that will help you prevent sagging.

DIY foundation for memory foam mattress: can I make a good platform by myself?

In short, yes, you can if you are skilled enough and have quality materials. You need to make the boards that fit your frame, install bed risers if you want to add some height, and that’s all. However, we made it sound simple - it may be much more complicated in real life.