A Complete Guide To Mattress Foundations

June 14, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team
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A mattress is quite literally the foundation of a good night’s sleep. It’s the cozy and magical carpet that invites you to far-off places and whimsical dreamscapes of cushioned bliss.

With that in mind, what is a mattress foundation?

A mattress foundation is the bed base that lifts your mattress off the ground, elevating your sleep (both figuratively and literally). 

Unlike a box spring, a mattress foundation employs wooden planking to support your mattress rather than box springs and coils. The wood slats are placed within a wooden box, then cradled with a snug, modish fabric.

It’s a whole new world of sleep wellness.

Our Mattress Foundation is the re-invented box spring, meant to provide excellent mattress support. Your mattress foundation will serve as the base for a good night’s sleep every night.

What is a Mattress Foundation?

A mattress foundation — wooden, sturdy, and boxed — is a mattress base that’s typically adorned with an airy, breathable material. 

While a traditional box spring may sag or break down over time, a mattress foundation is springless and designed for optimal sleeping comfort. If you’re looking for a more supportive sleeping experience, a mattress foundation may be your sleep salvation.

When choosing a mattress foundation, one that harbors tightly spaced slats is the best choice. Bed slats that are set too far apart cannot support sag-prone foam or hybrid mattresses. 

In fact, Casper’s very own mattress foundation offers perfectly spaced slats four inches apart for a strong and sturdy slumber. The tight infrastructure ensures optimal bedtime bliss, too.  

Benefits of a Mattress Foundation

The benefits of a slatted mattress foundation are as boundless as your nighttime imaginings. They include:

  • Surreal sleep time support – The compact designs of mattress foundations support your mattress, while still allowing for added bounce.
  • Expansive compatibility – Many types of mattresses fit within mattress foundations. Whether it’s a memory foam mattress, an innerspring mattress, or a hybrid mattress, slatted foundations give all types of cushions a place to sleep.
  • Swift assembly and takedown – Consisting of only a few key components, mattress foundations are easily assembled and disassembled in a matter of minutes. The assemblies are often toolless, needing only a few pushes and tugs to complete the framework. 
  • Dreamy durability – Over time, box springs foundations break down, caused by wear and tear of the coils. In comparison to box springs, slatted foundations support a firm sleep for longer periods of time. 
  • New heights – Pairing your mattress with a foundation gives it an extra lift. Mattress foundations keep your comforters and sheets far from the dirt and grime collecting on bedroom floors. They also create adequate airflow to avoid a case of mildew mayhem. 
  • Mattress stabilization – The form-fitting structure of a mattress foundation keeps your mattress in place during long nights of tossing and turning. While you may travel to far-off lands in your dreams, a mattress foundation ensures you’ll still be in the same place when you wake up. 

Types of Bed Foundations

There are times when a slatted mattress foundation won’t support your specific needs. Whether you enjoy a more pliable bounce or a more low-lying bed frame, there are a number of bed foundations to match your preferences:1

  • Solid foundation – Much like a slatted mattress foundation, solid foundations provide extra support. Instead of slats, the framework is filled with a series of wooden boards to prevent sagging. Most often there are no spaces between the boards. These types of foundations are best suited for memory foam, latex foam, and hybrid mattresses. 
  • Adjustable foundation – An adjustable bed frame foundation is the deluxe option of this lineup. Typically, the foundation is customized to each sleeper’s desired sleeping position. The adjustable base can be raised or lowered to relieve back, neck, hip, or shoulder pain. These types of foundations are also known to offer relief to sleepers who experience sleep apnea, acid reflux, snoring, edema, and fibromyalgia. 
  • Platform foundations – For those looking for a lower profile, a platform foundation offers the best fit. They’re compact, comfortable, and elicit zen-like vibes. Typically, a platform bed frame combines a foundation with a decorative bed frame — not only is it stylish, but it’s also compact and easy to move. Learn more about platform beds as we explain the difference between a platform bed vs. box spring foundation.
  • Metal-frame foundations – Remember when Aladdin’s magic carpet walked around on tassel legs? Metal bed frame foundations are a lot like that. Outfitted with elevating limbs, metal frames lift your mattress higher off the ground than a traditional mattress foundation would. It’s strong, sturdy, and suited for a few tosses and turns. 
  • Box spring foundations – A box spring foundation consists of steel coils encased in a wooden frame. The steel frame provides a high level of stability and support and serves as a shock-absorber. The coils also promote airflow through the material of the mattress for additional freshness.
  • Bunkie Board – These compact, low-to-the-ground foundations look a lot like box spring foundations. They’re typically composed of wooden boards and provide firm support.

Foundation by Mattress Type

Are some mattresses more suitable to certain types of foundations than others? The simple answer is, yes. Depending on the composition and fluff factor of your mattress, certain foundations may provide better or worse support.

Best Foundations for Hybrid Mattresses

While a hybrid mattress has a spring coil base, its foam form requires a more supportive mattress foundation. It’s optimal to place these types of mattresses on a foundation with wooden boards or closely positioned slats, such as a solid or slatted foundation.

Best Foundations for Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses are prone to sinking. Before settling into your mattress, place it atop a foundation with slats no more than three inches apart. Slatted foundations with wide boards or box springs cannot fully support the memory foam.

Best Foundations for Latex Mattresses

Similar to memory foam mattresses, latex foam is malleable and needs a supportive base. Choose a foundation with a wooden board or narrow slats to prevent any drooping.

Best Foundations for Innerspring Mattresses

An innerspring mattress consists of steel coils to uphold the shape of the cushion. It’s typically padded with comfortable foams or fibers. Innerspring mattresses are relatively sturdy. As such, they’re compatible with nearly every type of foundation, including slatted foundations, solid bases, or box springs. 

Best Foundations for Water or Air Mattresses

If you’re a sleeper who prefers to drift off into dreamland on a pirate’s sea ship (water bed) or a feathered bird (air mattress), consider enriching your journey with a bunkie board. They’re compact, close to the ground, and will give you an added level of comfort when the winds start to blow.

How to Choose a Mattress Foundation

When choosing a mattress foundation, it’s important to consider your personal sleeping preferences. Primarily, you’ll want to find a mattress that caters to your sleeping style before choosing a mattress foundation. 

#1 Find a Mattress First

When shopping for a mattress, first determine your sleeping position to identify the optimal level of firmness you need:

  • The back sleeper – Back sleepers are prone to experience tension in the neck and shoulders. As such, they should avoid mattresses that are too firm. A soft mattress, however, may cause unnecessary hip pain. In that case, a mattress with medium firmness is the ideal choice for those who like to stare at the stars before drifting to sleep. 
  • The side sleeperSide sleepers should pursue a gentle, medium-firm mattress that provides relief to the shoulders and hips. Memory foam mattresses are the best choice for those who dream sideways.
  • The stomach sleeperStomach sleepers should also look for mattresses that support their hips, spine, and shoulders. Typically, a more firm mattress is the best option.
  • The toss and turn sleeper – If you’re prone to twisting and turning throughout the night, you’ll need a Swiss army knife of mattresses. Look for a medium-firm mattress that provides the right amount of support and relief. It’s also helpful to find a mattress with an added bounce, to propel those mid-night contortions. 

#2 Choose a Mattress Foundation

Once you’ve identified your sleeping style and optimal mattress type, find a mattress foundation that best supports you and your mattress’s needs. A mattress foundation can have a major impact on how well you sleep. 

While we’ve already outlined which mattress foundations are most compatible with certain types of mattresses, also consider the following:

  • Aches or pains – In general those who experience daily back or neck pain may benefit from a mattress that provides a firm surface to ensure extra support. A saggy or soft mattress may elicit a few more painful early-morning mutterings. 
  • Available space – If your bedroom is stereotypical New York — very small with limited space — consider choosing a metal bed foundation or a bunkie board. Both foundations fit well in tight spaces. Those with room to stretch can opt for something more opulent like a platform or adjustable foundation.
  • Aesthetic – Depending on your desired aesthetic, the height and look of a mattress foundation can transform a space. A wooden mattress foundation is optimal for a rustic vibe, while a platform bed evokes modern relaxation. 
  • Durability – The longevity of your mattress foundation matters. As box springs are known to rupture or tear, you may question “how long do box springs last?” The coils may also break free from the fabric, causing discomfort far more torturing than a pea. Instead, when looking for longevity, opt for a slatted mattress foundation. Metal foundations also stand up to the test of time. 
  • Budget – Metal foundations and bunkie boards are typically more affordable than platform beds or adjustable foundations. Identify how much money you’re willing to pay for a good mattress foundation. 

Optimize Your Sleep by Choosing Casper

Maybe you want a sleeping experience that’s a little more comfortable than a magic carpet ride. For that, consider adding a mattress foundation to your bedroom repertoire.

At Casper, our mattress foundation and base offer durable wood, perfectly spaced slats, and effortless assembly. Long gone are the days of disgruntled tosses and turns as your body sinks deeper into a mattress abyss. 

Sources: 

  1. Sleep Foundation. Mattress Types. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/mattress-information/mattress-types