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What Kind Of Bed Foundation Do I Need?

What Kind Of Bed Foundation Do I Need?

A bed foundation is the core of a bed, and it can make or break your sleep. Many people believe that the more expensive the mattress, the better it is for your back and hips. This may be true for some people, but without a well-built bed foundation to support your mattress - your mattress won’t remain in good condition, nor will it support you properly.

For many years, traditional box springs were used as bed foundations. However, with the emergence of advanced memory foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses, box springs have taken the back seat - giving the wheel to a stronger and a more durable bed foundation.

Table of Contents

What Is A Bed Foundation?

A bed foundation is an underlying support for the mattress, it is the surface that the mattress is placed on. As a result, a bed foundation is often called a mattress foundation - even though a mattress foundation is just a type of bed foundation, both terms are used interchangeably. A bed foundation’s main purpose is to ensure your body is properly supported as you sleep and to prolong the lifespan of your mattress by preventing sags, dents, or it sliding from its place.

Box springs may be the most common type of bed foundations, however, they’re not the best. Other types of bed foundations include bed slats, solid foundations, bed frames, and in some cases - even the floor is used as a foundation. The right type of bed foundation will provide a stable and strong mattress base. This mostly depends on your mattress type and sleep needs.

Benefits Of A Bed Foundation

In addition to being a necessary base for your mattress, here are the main benefits of using a bed foundation:

1. Improves Support As You Sleep

A bed foundation doesn’t only support the mattress, it supports you as you sleep. This is especially true for memory foam, hybrid, or latex foam mattresses. Memory foam is known for its contouring properties, it adapts to the body as you sleep, providing the right amount of cushioning and support. These mattresses promote spinal alignment, which is when your spine is adequately aligned with your head, shoulders, hips, and knees.

However, without a good bed foundation, your mattress can prematurely sink in. If this happens, your body will no longer be supported and your spine won’t be aligned. This will lead you to sleep in uncomfortable and awkward positions, chasing comfort to no avail. Eventually, a poorly-supported mattress can result in back pain, stiffness, and other body aches.

2. Extends Your Mattress Lifespan

The average lifespan of a mattress is usually from seven to ten years - depending on the mattress type. However, this can significantly decrease if you don’t efficiently care for the mattress.

According to a recent study, the average person spends approximately 33 years in bed! An average of 26 years is spent sleeping while the remaining 7 years is spent trying to go to sleep. This excludes other activities you do in bed, like watching TV or reading. In conclusion, a mattress is a lifetime investment that you should care for in order to last a long time.

Providing your mattress with a strong bed foundation will extend its lifespan by preventing it from prematurely sagging or developing lumps or dents. Additionally, mattresses can be expensive so needing to replace your mattress every few years isn’t ideal.

3. Enhances Airflow In Your Mattress

If your mattress traps heat, this usually means it isn’t getting adequate airflow. A mattress that doesn’t breathe can lead to discomfort and overheating as you sleep. This can disrupt your sleep and make you wake up with night sweats in the middle of the night.

Memory foam mattresses and latex mattresses are dense and are known to have high heat retention. On the other hand, innerspring and hybrid mattresses allow for better airflow due to the coils in their structure. However, no matter the mattress type - if your mattress is placed on the floor or doesn’t have a suitable bed foundation, it’ll prevent airflow. The right bed foundation will allow air to circulate through the mattress, which will prevent moisture and humidity from developing bacteria or mold in the mattress.

4. Keeps Your Mattress Fresh & Clean

If you place your mattress on the floor, it’ll be exposed to all of the dirt and bacteria from the floor. Though this may be common among college students and teenagers, this is the worst thing you can do to your mattress. The floor is where dust, dead skin cells, bugs, hair (human and pet!), and dirt is collected.

In order to protect your mattress from all of this, it needs to be elevated on a high bed foundation, off the ground. This is specifically vital for innerspring and hybrid mattresses because of their open-cell structure. Even though they’re breathable, these mattresses may allow for bacteria to grow inside and permit insects to nest in the mattress, if placed on the floor.

5. Raises The Height Of Your Bed

Adding a mattress foundation under your mattress will overall raise the height of your bed. Without it, your bed will be too low and it’ll make climbing into bed and getting out of bed very difficult.

A bed foundation can add an average of 15 to 20 inches of height to your bed. This will make it easier and more comfortable to access your bed as well as place a suitable distance between you and the floor with all of its griminess. Adjustable bed frames offer you the option to adjust the leg height, allowing you to customize the bed height. If you’re a fan of a low profile bed, many platform bed designs aren’t high in height - but still have a good distance from the floor.

However, a bed with more height will be suitable for older adults. This is because it’s easy to access, offers the ability to sit on the bed with your feet touching the floor, and prevents the cold draft that comes with being close to the floor.

6. Prevents The Mattress From Sliding

Lastly, if the mattress is placed on the floor, especially a wooden or tiled floor - it will easily move from its place with the slightest movement on the mattress. Instead of constantly pushing it back to its place, a bed foundation is sturdy and will provide stability for your mattress.

Different Types Of Bed Foundations

Now that you understand the importance of having a bed foundation, it’s time to go through the most common types of bed foundations so you can pick the right one for your mattress. Depending on your mattress type, some foundations can be more compatible than others.

Box Springs

Box Springs | Puffy

Box springs are the oldest type of bed foundation on the market. However, they aren’t as popular anymore because they can be squeaky with movement and they’re not as durable as other foundations.

A box spring foundation is a wooden box with metal springs inside topped with a fabric cover. They were designed to be paired with innerspring mattresses, which also have coils or metal springs inside. A box spring supports the mattress and sleeper, as it absorbs the body’s impact and your body weight. In some cases, innerspring beds are sold with their box spring. But if you suffer from seasonal allergies, box springs will only make it worse. The box spring’s open-cell structure allows for dust mites and bacteria to gather inside, which can trigger allergies.

What mattress types are compatible with box springs?

Box springs are traditionally used with innerspring mattresses but can also be compatible with memory foam, latex, or hybrid mattresses under certain conditions. While box springs don't have a flat and solid surface, which is typically recommended for memory foam and other non-innerspring mattresses, newer box spring models have been designed to offer the necessary support.

It's important to ensure that the box spring you use provides a consistent, sturdy base to prevent any sagging or uneven support that could affect the mattress's integrity. Before using a box spring with your foam or hybrid mattress, check the manufacturer's recommendations as using an incompatible foundation may void the mattress warranty.

One of the biggest downsides of box springs is that if one spring breaks, it can poke out of the structure and potentially damage your mattress. Unfortunately, springs can’t be fixed so it will ruin the bed foundation as well.

Do I need a bed frame with a box spring?

Typically, you don’t need a bed frame for a box spring. A box spring is good enough to support your innerspring mattress but it won’t add much height to your bed. This is where a bed frame comes in handy. A bed frame will heighten your bed as well as play a role in your room’s decor if it’s upholstered or decorative. Placing a box spring on the floor will significantly reduce the height of your bed by at least 9 inches.

Bed Slats

Bed Slats | Puffy

Bed slats are the most popular type of bed foundation, this type consists of a wooden or metal frame and is lined with metal or wooden slats across the frame. A slatted foundation is a cost-effective option, and unlike traditional box springs, if one slat breaks - it can easily be replaced. Generally, wooden beams are less expensive than metal ones.

Metal slats can be stronger than wooden slats, as wood can break or bend over time if low-quality wood is used. This will make the mattress sink in faster or develop lumps. If you’re going with wooden slats, make sure premium quality wood is used such as pine, oak, maple, or mahogany wood. Unfortunately, many manufacturers use cheap wood that doesn’t last for long so it’s always best to make sure you’re getting solid wood.

Slatted bed frames offer strong support and comfort for a mattress but how far apart the slats are can make all the difference with this bed base.

How far apart should bed slats be?

If the structure includes wide boards or the slats are too far apart, it won’t properly support your mattress. It is best to keep the slats from 3 to 4 inches apart, this will provide optimal support for your mattress while still allowing for even air circulation. If the slats are further apart, it’ll make the mattress sink in between the slats, which will be very uncomfortable.

What mattress types are compatible with slatted foundations?

You can use a memory foam, latex foam, or hybrid mattress on bed slats. Innerspring mattresses will work best on box springs but every other mattress type gets all the support it needs on slatted foundations, as long as the bed slats are no more than 3 inches apart.

You don’t need to use a box spring with this bed foundation but you can use one if you’d like the added height to your bed. Bed slats alone won’t add height to your bed, but if they’re in a bed frame, such as a platform bed, then you don’t need the extra height a box spring will offer. Platform beds are well-structured and don’t need another layer on top of them to support the mattress.

Solid Foundations / Mattress Foundations

Solid Foundations / Mattress Foundations | Puffy

Solid foundations are designed to cater to the needs of advanced memory foam mattresses and high-tech hybrid mattresses. This foundation comes in a metal or wooden frame, similar to a box spring, however it doesn’t include metal springs. It consists of wooden slats with little to no space between them and is covered with a breathable fabric layer.

In some cases, they feature a center beam for extra support or they can be topped with a thin wooden layer. Mattress foundations are the more advanced version of box springs but offer more support and stability for a mattress. Additionally, they give height to your mattress, an average of 4 to 9 inches - some mattress foundations have their own legs that offer adjustable heights, so you can adjust it depending on whether you prefer a high profile or low profile bed.

Check out Puffy mattress reviews from real customers and see how we compare with other brands.

Most mattress foundations are meant to be used with bed frames because they’re not very decorative, but they can still be used on their own.

What mattress types are compatible with solid foundations?

Similar to bed slats, memory foam, hybrid, or latex foam mattresses are compatible with solid foundations. It offers sturdy support to all mattress types, and is possibly even better than bed slats because the wooden beams are fixed in place and aren’t removable, like bed slats. This ensures that your mattress weight is always evenly distributed on the foundation.

Bed Frames

Bed Frames

Bed frames are frame-shaped structures with side rails that can either be made of wood or metal. Most bed frames include a headboard and footboard as well. The best type of bed frames include a built-in bed foundation, they’re also known as platform beds. It can be one of the various bed foundations, such as bed slats, a solid foundation, or it can have a center support beam with wide slats that are topped with a bunkie board. Platform bed frames serve as a bed foundation and a decorative bed frame to add style to your room.

You can consider an elegant upholstered bed frame for a modern flair or a wooden bed frame for a rustic feel to your room. Additionally, they can include space for storage under the bed or built-in drawers. Additionally, bed frames may have functional headboards, with drawers or shelves for storage. Some bed frames don’t have a foundation in the center so you can put your preferred bed foundation, depending on the mattress. You can even fit a box spring into a bed frame if needed.

What mattress types are compatible with solid foundations?

Platform beds are compatible with all mattress types, thanks to their solid surface. Alternatively, you can switch the bed slats for a different mattress foundation if needed. This customizable option also adds height to a bed, making it easy to sit or get into bed. Platform beds do not need box springs, it’ll only add weight to the bed without additional support.

Bunkie Boards

Bunkie Boards | Puffy

A bunkie board is a layer placed on top of a slatted foundation to provide extra support and an even flat surface for the mattress. Then it is topped with a thin fabric to prevent the mattress from sliding. Bunkie boards are popularly associated with bunk beds, as they’re used as support between the two beds. It can be used on multiple bed foundations, like bed frames and platform beds as well.

Bunkie boards are usually made from wood, such as plywood or particleboard. The wooden barrier ranges from 1 to 3 inches in thickness. They are often compared to box springs because they’re similar in structure, but they actually offer more support than box springs and weigh lighter. Bunkie boards can be used to add height to your mattress foundation.

What mattress types are compatible with bunkie boards?

Bunkie boards can be used to support all mattresses, even innerspring mattresses. However, they are mostly used with hybrid or memory foam mattresses. A bunkie board should be used if the mattress foundation has slats that are more than 3 inches apart.

Adjustable Bed Foundation

Adjustable Bed Foundation | Puffy

An adjustable bed foundation, also known as a power base, is an adjustable bed frame where you can adjust the head and leg height to customize your comfort. Adjustable beds are widely used in hospitals to customize support for patients and relieve pain in certain conditions, like back or leg operations. Besides the adjustable height feature, many modern adjustable beds have other high-tech features like a massage option or a one-click neutral position.

An adjustable foundation is a great option for those who like to read or binge Netflix in bed. Additionally, it is ideal for loud snorers, those who suffer from acid reflux, or have nasal and breathing issues like sleep apnea or seasonal allergies. You can elevate your head as you sleep to breathe easier and sleep more comfortably.

What mattress types are compatible with adjustable bed foundations?

Adjustable foundations work well with latex foam, hybrid, and memory foam mattresses, because of their reflective and flexible elasticity. Adjustable foundations aren’t compatible with water or air mattresses.

How To Choose The Best Bed Foundation for Your Sleep Needs?

You’ll find various mattress brands and bed foundations online and at stores, but which one is right for you? Here are all the things you should consider to find the perfect bed foundation:

  1. The best foundations for beds will also have a type of warranty in place to protect against manufacturer defects. Before purchasing a foundation, you need to understand the warranty terms - some warranties can void if you use a mattress on the wrong foundation. For example, using a memory foam mattress on a box spring will easily ruin the mattress.
  2. You’ll also need to consider your room size when looking for a bed foundation. For example, box springs aren’t foldable so if you have a small room, it may be difficult to fit in a box spring. The size of the headboard and footboard will also be defined based on your mattress and room size. Solid foundations, like a metal bed frame, will be great for smaller spaces for their flexibility and sturdiness.
  3. Your bed foundation will set your bed’s height. Do you want a high profile or low profile bed? Some people prefer a low profile bed for a minimalist look but a high profile bed will make it easier to climb into bed.
  4. Your bed foundation will depend on the weight placed on it. This includes the number of sleepers on the bed, body weight, and even the weight of the mattress. Be sure to check the weight limit of a foundation to ensure it’ll stay strong and won’t break under heavy pressure.
  5. A good mattress foundation will be easy to assemble and set up - it shouldn’t include hundreds of parts and complicated instructions. The right foundation should offer excellent mattress support, easy assembly, and breathability.

Upgrade Your Sleep With Puffy’s Bed Frames

Puffy’s considered all your sleep needs and ensured all of the bed foundations meet the criteria for ultimate mattress support. All of the bed foundations include lifetime warranty, a 101-night sleep trial period, and free shipping right to your doorstep.

1. Puffy Mattress Foundation

Puffy Mattress Foundation

101-Night Sleep Trial Take the Puffy Foundation home and try it out first hand! You have a full 101 night trial to test it out! Love it or we'll take it back for a full refund.
Lifetime Warranty With its sturdy build quality, noise-free design, and easy setup, the Puffy Foundation was built to last and is covered by our lifetime warranty.
Room For Storage Instead of just taking up space like a box spring, the 15" tall Puffy Foundation gives you enough space for extra storage. Gain more space in your room.
Built To Last Never worry about replacing your bed frame again. The Puffy Foundation is made with heavy duty steel, built to last and capable of holding over 1000 lbs!
Sizes Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Price Range $139 - $229
Free Shipping Get your Puffy Foundation shipped directly to your door free within 1 - 3 business days.

Puffy’s sturdy mattress foundation is made of heavy-duty steel to ensure you don’t face problems that are usually associated with wood foundations like panels breaking or bending. This structure is squeak-free and can support up to 1000+ lbs - despite it being lightweight.

You can easily move around the foundation and assemble it in a few minutes, no tools or instructions are needed. This makes it the perfect choice for small spaces. The mattress foundation will fit into a bed frame and it features headboard attachment brackets to add your preferred headboard. The open-air design consists of crisscrossed steel slats that prevent the mattress from sagging and provide optimum airflow for your mattress. You won’t need to worry about dust and bacteria build-up inside. Additionally, there’s no need for a box spring with this foundation, it’ll give you the support and height you need.

2. Puffy Adjustable Base

Puffy Adjustable Base

101-Night Sleep Trial You get to sleep on our adjustable base risk-free for 101 nights before deciding if it's right for you. Don't love it? No worries - you can return it for a full refund.
Lifetime Warranty We are confident in the quality of the Puffy Adjustable Base - confident enough to offer a lifetime warranty. For as long as you own the base, you're covered!
Designed For All Mattresses Whether it be innerspring, memory foam, latex, or hybrid, the Puffy Adjustable Base will work with your mattress.
Customize Your Comfort Independently adjust your leg and head height, as well as massage levels, with the press of a button. Or relieve pressure after a long day with the single press Zero-G position.
Sizes Twin XL, Full, Queen, Split King
Price Range $899 - $1,799
Free Shipping Get your Puffy Adjustable Base shipped directly to your door within 1 - 3 business days for no extra charge

This luxurious option takes comfort to a whole new level! With a wireless remote, you can adjust your head and leg height to customize your comfort and support. Elevate your head to breathe better if you have breathing problems or sit up straight to read in bed. Better yet, with the press of a button, you can enjoy the Zero-Gravity position - which is a neutral position that relieves pressure from your body and promotes spinal alignment.

Other advanced features include dual massage zones, USB charging ports on the side of the base, and under-bed lighting. If you have trouble falling asleep after a long day, get a massage with the dual-zone feature that targets pressure points and has three different speeds. No longer navigate your way to the bathroom in the dark. With the under-bed lighting, it’ll light a path for you to quickly get there.

Puffy’s Adjustable Base is easily set up in a few minutes and includes a headboard attachment to style your bed the way you like. If you’re tight on space and need more storage options, with the adjustable leg height, you can adjust the bed’s height for under-bed storage. It can raise your bed 11.5 inches higher! The strong foundation is made from steel for durability but is thick and padded for comfort. This base is available in four different sizes: Twin XL, Full, Queen, and Split King. The Split King bed is great for couples who have different mattress preferences, each side can be customized differently. Maybe you like to stay up and read while your partner sleeps? You can adjust your position accordingly.

3. Puffy Bed Frame

Puffy Bed Frame

101-Night Sleep Trial You have a full 101 nights to try out the Puffy Bed Frame and see if it's the right one for you! We guarantee the best quality - if you don't love it you can return it for a full refund.
Lifetime Warranty The Puffy Bed Frame is sent to you with a lifetime warranty. For as long as you own the Puffy Bed Frame we will ensure it continues to deliver on quality and comfort.
High Quality Frame Strong and durable, the Puffy Bed Frame is built to last with heavy-duty hardware. The Puffy Bed Frame provides you with quality you can feel - a solid base for your mattress.
Easy At-Home Assembly Delivered straight to your door, you can assemble the Puffy Bed Frame at home with our easy-to-follow assembly guide. In no time, your new frame will be set up ready to get the best sleep of your life!
Sizes Full, Queen, King, California King
Price Range $899 - $1,099
Free Shipping Get your Puffy Bed Frame shipped directly to your door quickly and easily, for no extra charge, within 1 - 3 business days.

This upholstered modern bed frame will make a great addition to any bedroom. The bed frame is made from steel with high-quality wooden slats, providing a solid base for your mattress. The structure is noise-free, no matter how much your toss and turn - and it is easily assembled in a few steps. The soft fabric headboard adds an elegant touch to the room as well as provides you with padded comfort while sitting up in bed. This bed frame is available in four sizes: Full, Queen, King, and California King.


Is foundation the same as box spring?

A box spring is a type of mattress foundation that is specifically used with innerspring mattresses. However, if you have a memory foam or hybrid mattress - you’ll need a different foundation. Other bed foundations include solid foundations, bed slats, bunkie boards, or adjustable bed bases.

Is a foundation needed for a bed?

A bed foundation is an integral part of the bed. It supports the mattress and prevents it from prematurely sagging, or developing dents or lumps. A good foundation can extend the mattress lifespan so you don’t have to buy a new mattress every few years.

What kind of bed foundation do I need?

The right bed foundation depends on the mattress type, room size, preferred bed height, and the bodyweight of sleepers. The most popular bed foundations that are sturdy and offer efficient support are solid foundations or bed slats, but the slats can’t be more than 3 inches apart.

Can you use a mattress on a bed frame with a foundation?

Most bed frames are designed to include a mattress foundation, it can be bed slats, a solid base, or a bunkie board. If your bed frame doesn’t have a strong foundation, you’ll need to get a mattress foundation. Most foundation types can fit into bed frames.

Do slats ruin mattresses?

Bed slats are the most popular type of bed foundations, they can either be metal or wooden slats. Bed slats shouldn’t be more than 3 inches apart. If they’re further apart, there is a chance your mattress can sink in between the slats and develop lumps.


If your mattress prematurely sags or develops lumps - the problem may be with the bed foundation, not the mattress. The right bed foundation can add years to your mattress lifespan. With a little research, investing in the right bed foundation can have a seriously positive impact on your sleep.

Choose your Puffy Midnight Foundation

Upgrade to unmatched support with the Puffy Midnight Foundation.

Enjoy peaceful sleep on this sturdy, noise-free mattress foundation:

  • Supports up to 1,000 lbs.
  • Easy assembly.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • 101-night sleep trial.
  • Free shipping and returns.

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Customize your comfort with a bed frame.

Upgrade your sleep with our stylish and supportive bed frames, bases, and foundations.

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Elevate your sleep with luxury bedding.

Add luxury to bedtime with our silky soft sheets, protectors, blankets, and more.

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