What is a Platform Bed: A 2019 Guide Including Pros, Cons, and Other Useful Information

Thinking about buying a platform bed for your mattress but not sure if it will work for you and your bedroom? Are you not even sure what a platform bed is? We've taken the guesswork out of this popular bed frame style, so you can save time and money.

Are you researching different foundation options for your new mattress? Confused by all the unfamiliar terms? If so, then this article can help.

A platform bed is a type of wooden bed with a raised horizontal frame. Usually designed with a low profile, platform beds can come with a head and footboard or without. They typically use a latticed surface or wooden slats to support the mattress and to add flexibility for the sleeper. The slatted surface promotes ventilation to cool you down and prevent heat from building up.

Considered a very reliable bed due to its structure, you can use any type of mattress with a platform bed without needing a foundation or box spring. They come in a variety of sizes and can end up being more affordable than other foundation types since they don’t require anything extra before they’re ready to sleep on.

Most modern platform beds come with drawers or enough room under them to store items, which can be helpful when you’re living in a small apartment. Let’s look at some other information on platform beds.

Platform Beds vs. Box Springs

Traditional box springs use coils in a frame to make the bed higher which, as a result, makes it easier to get into and out of. A platform bed, on the other hand, gets rid of the springs and uses a firm base (usually) with a slatted surface.

A platform bed offers more flexibility and also allows more airflow than a box spring, due to the slats. They may come with drawers, cupboards, or other storage space, unlike box springs. You can use one-sided, latex, memory foam, or hybrid mattresses on a platform bed, making it super versatile. A box spring, however, is mostly for use with innerspring mattresses.

Pros and Cons of Platform Beds

Every type of support comes with pros and cons. Here are some to keep in mind if you’re considering a platform bed.

Pros

  • Cost: Since you don’t have to buy additional support, like a box spring, to use your platform bed, they can be a more affordable option.
  • Versatility: You can use any type of mattress with a platform bed, from a latex bed to a classic spring design, or luxurious memory foam.
  • Comfort: Sleeping too hot is a common issue for many people. A platform bed will help reduce heat retention because the slats promote airflow. Even platform beds without slats often have holes in them to increase ventilation and keep air moving.
  • Storage: As mentioned, many platform bed options come with extra storage capacity. Whether it has drawers or not, you can still place some items under the bed as there will usually still be some space.

Cons

  • Aesthetics: Platform beds tend to look very basic compared to other bed types. If you want a fancy or luxurious looking bed, you may have to spend a bit extra to buy a headboard to attach.
  • Moving: If you’re moving to a new place, or even if you just want to move your platform bed from one room to another, it can be difficult as they tend to be heavy.
  • Height: Platform beds don’t raise your mattress height as much as other types of foundations and usually have a lower profile, overall. Depending on your age and agility, a low bed can be harder to get out of and into. If mobility is an issue for you, you might want to look into an adjustable bed, which can ease the burden of getting out of bed.

Types of Platform Beds

Platform beds come in a wide variety of styles, including extra wide, legless, and more. Here are a few of the different features your platform bed may have:

Solid Surfaces

Platform beds come with either a solid or slatted support surface. If your platform bed has a solid surface, it will typically include holes to promote airflow. Without this, foam or latex can trap heat because it has nowhere else to go, creating an uncomfortably hot sleeping environment.

If you are carrying some extra weight or just prefer a really firm feel for your mattress, you may want to choose a solid platform bed. Only a very durable or sturdy foundation should be used for a heavy mattress, like memory foam or latex, or sagging is bound to happen faster than necessary. The best way to know if your foundation can support this type of mattress is to check with the manufacturer of both the bed and the mattress.

Slats

Another option for a support system in a platform bed is a surface made with slats, which is more common than a solid surface. A slatted bed will require that you space the slats out the right amount to help preserve the integrity of the mattress. Evenly spacing them (usually between two and three inches apart) at the recommended amount will also make the bed more flexible and improve airflow.

Head or Footboards

The original platform bed styles didn’t come with a head or footboard, but some modern versions include options to add them. Just note that you shouldn’t use these with a box spring, as you might cover the head and footboards due to the platform bed’s low profile.

Metal Support

Although not as common, some platform beds use a woven metal support to hold your mattress. This type works better with a box spring, as metal support isn’t suitable for certain types of foam mattresses.

Which Style Should You Choose?

If you want a simple, clean look, you can choose a legless platform bed. This will go with essentially any décor. You can also choose to use a wrought iron style for something classier, but remember you’ll need to add a box spring if you want additional height for your mattress. There are also “floating” styles, which extend beyond the legs of the bed to create a floating look, as well as classic platform beds with head and footboards.

When deciding which style you should choose, you’re going to want to think about the existing decor in your room, the height of your mattress, and your practical needs, like storage and room size, to find the platform bed that works for you.

How Much does a Platform Bed Cost?

Compared with other types of bed supports, platform beds are very affordable because they only require a single piece (in addition to your mattress) to function. However, there’s a wide range of prices available. You can find a platform bed for under $100, or options that cost thousands.

Is a Platform Bed Worth It for You?

Considering all of the above information, it’s probably safe to assume a platform bed is a suitable option for you because they work with any mattress. Whether you want a wooden or metal bed, a simple or complex arrangement, there’s likely a platform bed out there for your needs.

A platform bed can help you sleep cooler, extend the life of your mattress, and make your sleep much more comfortable by offering flexibility. Make sure that when you buy a mattress for your platform bed, you check out the warranty for their recommended slat width and materials. Otherwise, the warranty may be void due to incorrect use.

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