Mattress and Boxspring Shopping Advice

Wallingford Mattress Box from Bedrooms & More Seattle

A question we hear from Seattle shoppers: Do I need a mattress set? Can I get by with a mattress only?

We will finally get to the bottom of who will win…boxspring vs. platform bed! Ready for some Q&A? We’re here to help dispel some myths about mattress shopping and make the process easier and more transparent for you.

Q: What’s the value of a box? When shopping for a new mattress, do I NEED to buy a new box, or can I use my old boxspring? Is using a platform bed — a bed that supports the mattress all on its own on a raised, horizontal frame — as good as using a boxspring?

A: All of these are good questions, and the answer may vary. Most boxes these days are just fabric covered height. They have wooden slats across the top; oftentimes there will be cardboard over the slats. The few companies that still use coils or metal in their boxes use a rigid structure with little to no give. Therefore, a box is merely height to hold a mattress on a frame. This is one of the reasons platform beds have become more popular over the years. As boxes have become an unnecessary part of a bed’s support system, people have chosen to save money by selecting frames that no longer require a box.

You might not need a box under your mattress

The right bed frame eliminates the need for a box underneath your mattress. If you don’t require the height & your mattress is in good shape, a platform bed with slats is all you need!


It used to be that boxes were an integral part of a bed’s support system. If you go back far enough in the history of mattresses, you’ll find that batting materials like hay, wool, and cotton were the sleep surfaces of choice for most people (nowadays, we would liken these beds to futon mattresses). Back then, coil boxes would provide responsiveness to a sleep surface that was generally quite firm. As mattress companies evolved, coil systems were inserted into beds to increase their comfort life. These heat-tempered coils maintain their shape for up to 2 million compressions. Conversely, batting materials compressed fairly quickly.

With coils now being part of the mattress, the coil boxes became a liability for mattress companies. The number of coils used in boxsprings were not numerous enough to handle the weight of a mattress plus people combined. Therefore mattress companies were more likely to have warrant-able sags on mattress sets they sold. Often times, people needed to insert plywood between the mattress and box to firm up their sleep surface. When people didn’t firm up the bed themselves, sags in low coil count boxes led to problems for mattress manufacturers and consumers alike.

So mattress companies changed. Boxes are now manufactured with little to no give so that sags are less likely to be a result of the box, and are sometimes an unnecessary purchase.

Q: I’m in the market for a new bed, and my bed frame requires the use of a box. Do I need to buy a new one?

A: Unfortunately, you may. Mattress warranties require that you put the mattress on a good support system. Platform beds are almost always okay, but old boxsprings generally aren’t. As I said before, old support systems can develop sags. That will telegraph through, and potentially even damage a new mattress. If your old box has a slatted wood top and no give, then you should never need to replace it. These platform boxes are a permanent solution, and essentially all mattresses are okay on these.

Q: Why did the salesperson tell me I HAVE to replace my box, or it voids my warranty?

A: It may be that the salesperson doesn’t have enough education, or it could be that a rare mattress company has a unique policy. A platform box is equivalent to a platform bed. If there is center support under the middle of the box or mattress, you meet the warranty requirements for most companies. When using a box, anything larger than a twin mattress should have center support. On a platform bed, even a full needs that support.

Ready to try a platform bed instead of a box spring?

So in the battle of boxspring vs. platform bed, you picked platform bed. With solid construction & the appropriate number of wooden slats for support, a well-built platform bed eliminates the need for a box under your mattress.


10 thoughts on “Mattress and Boxspring Shopping Advice

  1. Sten says:

    Very interesting point with a guarantee of the mattress. I understand that if the bed frame does not meet the standards of the mattress – a guarantee disappear? Some companies offer a lifetime limited warranty, they probably rely on ignorance of the buyer. Thank you that opened my eyes, I do not think about it.

  2. Seeking a new mattress says:

    Your advice is awesome! I’m going to replace my 20 years old mattress but don’t know how to shop a new mattress. Your article helps me a lot! I have a question, which one is better the latex mattress or memory foam?

    • Blake says:

      Latex. Hands down. Not even close. Memory foam is a well marketed mediocre product. Latex is a poorly marketed superior product. Just make sure that you choose a bed you can flip, and uses only botanical latex. It’d be worth checking out our beds featuring Botanicore latex.

  3. vineeta says:

    I have a Rice Bed. I bought a box spring (9″) and Serata Winding Creek Fm Mattress (10″). The height of the bed has gone up. If I put slates on the bed and remove the box spring ……will that be a good support to my mattress.

    • Blake says:

      My suspicion is that the feel will change with the removal of a coil box. If you have a slatted box, then you aren’t sacrificing anything in terms of durability or feel. I’d check out my post about platform beds to make sure that the support you are creating is adequate.PLATFORM BED BLOG

  4. kathy says:

    Does anyone have any information about the Stearns and Foster bed the “Kathryn”. We are looking into purchasing a new bed but have a store credit for the last new bed we bought. It developed a “valley” within 6 months.


  5. design bedrooms 2014 says:

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  6. SAB says:

    I am replacing a 10 year old high quality mattress with a new latex mattress. My foundation appears to be of the solid platform type you mention,and I’d like to use them because i don’t want to give up the height that they provide (as opposed to a platform bed). I was thinking of putting the new mattress on the foundation, but i don’t think there are enough slats on it to support a latex mattress. Can I simply add another layer of wooden slats on top of the foundation and then use it? Thanks for any advice.

    • Blake says:

      That is not a terrible plan. It really depends on what your time is worth. Buying a new box that has the proper support designed in will be pretty darn inexpensive. A good queen slatted box is about $150 here in our store.

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