Platform Beds vs Box Spring Beds

At the end of the day, we all need to sleep, right? That too on a comfortable bed! Nothing beats the feeling of getting into a comfortable bed and looking forward to a good nights sleep at the end of a hard days work.

When it comes to beds, depending on the kind of comfort you need, you have many options to choose from, however the two most common types of beds to pick from are the platform bed or the box spring bed. Any idea which one you are using currently? Unless you have actively purchased one in the past, you may never know the difference. In fact, many of us know the difference only when we see the two kinds side by side.

So, to shed some further knowledge on this hot topic, let’s quickly understand the difference between the two.

  • Platform Bed – This is made of a raised wooden frame, with wooden slats on top forming a platform on which the mattress can be placed. This type of bed is good for almost any type of mattress, ranging from innerspring to memory foam.
  • Box Spring Bed or Divan (as known in UK) – This consists of a rectangular wooden frame with box spring placed inside it. The mattress is then placed over this spring. It is important to match the box spring with the spring of the mattress for perfect comfort. Box springs beds and divans have a similar concept.

Now let’s look at these in further detail.

Platform Beds

Zinus platform bed with slats

These beds are lower in height and have a very modern look and simplistic design. As the surrounding frames are typically either made of wood or steel, there is  a large variety to choose from on the market. Many people like to spend time choosing the kind of wood finish or headboard they want. With steel you get the added reassurance of stronger support. However it’s worth noting that almost always, the slats which suspend the mattress are made of wood, despite what the surrounding frame may be made of. Standard platform beds are not really cheaper than box springs, in fact they are priced around the same mark, unless you opt for a solid wood version which can set you back some serious money. Platform beds which require assembly are much easier to assemble than a box spring which requires assembly, however, it’s possible to find box springs which are pre-built and therefore much easier to manage.

Memory foam mattresses are perfectly suitable for a platform bed, despite the common misconception that they are incompatible. The firm wooden surface teamed with a memory foam mattress radiates through to the user and helps to maintain posture and comfort, ensuring good sleep. Slats are also fine, provided they are no more than 3 or 4 inches apart. Other types of mattresses can also be used on platform beds, however, just bear in mind that latex mattresses are one of the heaviest types. If you’re generally overweight and have a latex mattress, be sure to check with your supplier if the platform bed can hold the total combined weight, especially if it’s of the slatted type.

An ottoman storage bed lifted to expose the underneath

Ottoman storage bed

Normally there is space below the platform, i.e in between the underneath of the mattress and the floor. Which gives a feeling of having ‘space’ in the room, and in many cases where the gap is high enough this space is used for storage, which is a bonus for some. Some platform beds may appear to have no gap or space underneath by looking at the sides, but looks can be deceiving. There is another type of bed known as an Ottoman bed. Like a platform in almost every other way, these Ottomans often have hydraulic pistons attached to the actual platform where the mattress rests on. The platform can then be raised, thus lifting the mattress and revealing storage space underneath.

Because these are low in height, some people may find it difficult to get in and out of bed, especially if their back or knees are giving them a problem. These beds are also a bit heavy to handle and move around, especially those made of solid wood.

Box Spring Beds

A Zinus box spring bed

In short, these are boxes which are commonly made of wood frames, and come in the same sizes as mattresses. Inside these boxes are spring foundations, alomst like an innerspring mattress. These are beds which tend to be of a higher height compared to platform beds, which is a major selling point for some. Not everyone likes the low-lying design of a platform bed. In fact, a box spring can be used in conjunction with a platform bed, simply place the box spring on top of the platform, and the mattress on top of the box spring for maximum height. This is a perfect scenario for tall people, or those with back or knee pain who struggle to climb in and out of bed.

A box spring with legs in an empty room

Box spring with legs

The box spring can work with any type of mattress, and is a common misconception that they are only compatible with innerspring mattresses. The mattress base and springs inside the box frame work together to make it even more comfortable for the person sleeping on it. They absorb the shock to some extent, thus accommodating for the tossing and turning during the night.

Box spring beds are no more expensive than any other type, but can be more expensive in the long run due to reduced longevity compared to other types. The springs can lose shape and will have to be changed, or replace the bed altogether. There is also no room for storage underneath, unless you opt for a box spring with legs, which are not too common, and ones which have legs are often not very high, thus limiting the space underneath somewhat.

Conclusion

With so much said about these two bed types, there is no need to fret before it becomes time to buy. Both bed types are good, but give a slightly different experience. So before you head out to buy a bed, have a think about your needs. Some of the important factors to help differentiate between the two choices are:

  • The kind of décor at your home – Do you want a low, sleek and modern look oozing from your bed? Platform beds have a more modern and light look, whereas box spring beds look more traditional and heavy.
  • Your physical condition – Do you need a low or high-rise bed, based on physical issues such as knee or back problems? Platform beds are at a lower height from the floor than box spring beds. This can be good or bad depending on your taste and physical condition.
  • Budget – Stylish platform beds can be very expensive, but a standard type can be as cheap as a box spring variant.
  • Storage area – Do yo need storage space underneath your bed? While most platform beds have storage space underneath, box springs do not.

Once you’re happy with the requirements from your new bed, and can decide between one or the other, it’s time to begin the search for the actual bed itself.

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