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6 Box Spring Alternatives (Slats, Platform Beds, Bunkies & DIY Options)

Options you can use instead of a box spring


A bed frame usually requires a box spring to sit on top of it before you can put your mattress on it. A box spring provides support for the mattress and acts as a platform for it to sit on. In the modern world many mattresses are purchased online and box springs can become a hassle to ship or assemble. Box springs are also very bulky and hard to maneuver. Luckily, there are a variety of box spring alternatives on the market for you to choose from. In this post we have listed all available options you can use instead of a box spring, from bed slats to DIY options. All of the options are just as supportive and effective as a box spring and provide the same feel and comfort for your mattress. 

What is a box spring and why do you need one?


A box spring is a 8″ or 5″ thick box that is made of wood, metal or a combination of the two materials. It is meant to provide a solid and flat platform for your mattress to sit on. Without a box spring, or a box spring alternative, your mattress would severely sag and would not have the proper base to be able to support you while you sleep. There are a variety of alternative options that you can use when it comes to box springs and supporting your mattress but the bottom line is you need some kind of support to ensure your mattress works properly. 

6 Box Spring Alternatives

1. Bed Slats


Bed slats are probably the most common alternative to using a box spring. Bed slats simply lay on your frame with your mattress directly on top of them. They require zero assembly and are just as supportive as a box spring. bed slats also allow your mattress to sit lower to the ground for a more modern and accessible bed. It is important to make sure the bed slats you purchase are high quality and not spaced too far apart. Check out our top picks for where to buy bed slats here: 

(Top 4) Best Bed Slats to Buy Online

High quality and supportive bed slats that we love.
Editor's Pick

2. A Platform Bed (comes with built in bed slats)


If you would prefer not to use a box spring, one way to avoid having to deal with it altogether is to purchase a platform bed. A platform bed is a bed set that comes with a built in platform or bed slats to support your mattress. Platform beds have become extremely popular over recent years and are very cost effective for shipping online. They are an all-in-one bed frame options that saves you the hassle and money of having to buy a box spring or box spring alternative. Below we have listed 2 of posts with our favorite bed platform bed frames: 

Best Sturdy Platform Beds

High quality and sturdy platform beds that we love.
Editor's Pick

Best "Low Profile" Platform Beds

Quality made platform beds for a modern, lower sleeping surface.
Editor's Pick

3. A Bunkie Board


A bunkie board is essentially a thin platform that sits on your bed frame. Bunkie boards are very similar to bed slats in that they provide a solid sturdy base for your mattress without the large footprint of a box spring. It is also possible to make a DIY bunkie board at home by using plywood pieces cut to fit inside your bed frame. 

4 Bunkie Boards You Can Buy Online

Where to buy a quality bunkie board online.
Editor's Pick

4. A Low Profile Box Spring


A low profile box spring is essentially a thinner version of a standard box spring. While a standard box spring is approx. 8″ thick, a low profile box spring generally measures about 5″ in thickness. A low profile box spring is easier to ship and allows your mattress to sit slightly lower than standard height while still providing more height than bed slats. Low profile box springs still provide the same amount of support as a box spring and will give the same feel to your mattress. 

4 Low Profile Box Springs You Can Buy Online

Where to buy a low profile box spring online.
Editor's Pick

5. Put Your Mattress on the Floor


If you prefer not to purchase a box spring you can always just put your mattress directly on the floor. The floor will act as your platform and provide a slightly firmer support for your mattress. If you do decide to put your mattress on the floor it is important to make sure you pick it up often and vacuum and clean under and around your mattress. Not cleaning the surface below and around your mattress can lead to moisture which causes mold, as well as dust mites. 

6. DIY Box Spring Alternatives


If you want to save a buck and need to support your mattress without the use of a box spring you can always go the DIY route. Buying some boards of 3/4″ plywood from the hardware store and cutting it to fit in your frame is a great way to provide support for your mattress and save some money. A homemade plywood support system is essentially the same as a bunkie board. For a variety of other DIY bed frame and box spring ideas check out

Can you put a mattress on a frame without a box spring?

No, you cannot put a mattress on a standard bed frame without a box spring or some kind of alternative support system. The only exception is when you purchase a platform bed. A platform bed comes with built in bed slats that act as a replacement for a box spring. There are alternatives to box springs that you can use but you need some king of solid support system for your mattress to sit on. 

Can you use an old box spring with a new mattress?

You can use an old box spring with a new mattress as long as it is still in tact and doesn’t have any structural breaks or sagging. It is important to run your hands across the entire surface of your old box spring and push down to test for any breaks, cracks bends. A box spring that isn’t 100% flat and solid will cause your mattress to sag and break down unevenly.