Is Your Platform Bed Sturdy Enough?

Sturdy Rosemary Platform Bed from Bedrooms & More Seattle


Q: Are platform beds sturdy? Are they comfortable? Is your platform bed sturdy enough?

A: YES, if they’re well-built and have adequate support systems to support the mattress.

How can you as a customer know whether the platform bed you’ve been eyeing is sturdy enough? How sturdy should a platform bed be to support a mattress?

Great questions. If you’ve ever purchased a platform bed from a department store or a discount big box store, you may already have experienced inadequate mattress support. If you’ve ever spent a night on a sagging mattress or one that felt uneven or higher in one area than another, in fact your platform bed frame may have been the issue, rather than your mattress.

[cta-title]Can your platform bed frame do its job?[/cta-title][cta-desc]A well-built platform bed will support your mattress like a dream. No bowing, sliding, or squeaking.

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Not all platform beds are adequate to support a mattress. 

Our store occasionally gets calls from consumers, concerned because their mattress feels uneven. Our first question is always, “What do you have the mattress on?”

“I just recently bought a platform bed from

[big box store]
,” is frequently their answer.

Our follow-up response: “Put the mattress on the floor, lay down on it, and tell me if the mattress feels flat.”

The consumer does this, comes back on the line, and tells us (with surprise in their voice), that YES, the mattress does feel flat.

So then we know the platform bed is a culprit.

If you find yourself in the same situation, here are several ways your platform bed may not be sturdy enough to support your mattress:

Poor Slat Design

Slats should run underneath the mattress within the frame. They’re there to keep the mattress level and supported. But some platform bed slats are poorly designed and never stand a chance of supporting a mattress well. Ever heard of Euro Slats? These slats actually come bowed, which can create 1 of 2 potential problems: lack of strength or a crowning effect. If the slats lack strength, they end up sagging under the weight of a person (or people) and a mattress. If the slats ‘crown’ (bow upward slightly), this is because they’re too strong. Fairly obvious editiorial note here: avoid Euro Slats in a platform bed.

Some slat systems are flimsy, not thick enough to support the mattress, or too flexible and sag under small amounts of weight.

Shoddy Slat Installation

If the slats are installed in sections, and only go half way across the frame, they’re susceptible to sagging.

Sagging sectioned slats

If the slats don’t attach to the side rails, but simply rest on a lip, they’re more likely to sag.  Slats should be secured with screws or by some other method.

No Center Rail

Some platform beds lack adequate center support in the form of a center rail crossing the slats. The center rail helps fight gravity, as anything being pushed down on will eventually sag to some degree.

Sagging platform bed slats with no center support

Poor center support often leads to people rolling to the middle of the bed. I’ve seen metal rails and thick wooden rails that sag under the weight of a mattress plus people, and sometimes even when no one is lying on it. If there’s no center rail crossing the slats, the slats will inevitably sag. Center support legs down the middle of the mattress gives you a comfier and more stable night’s sleep.

Slats no center legs

Poorly Designed or Cardboard Bed Boards (AKA Bunkie Boards)

Almost no bed boards, or bunkie boards, are appropriate for use by adults. Usually these are comprised of a few thin pine slats topped with cardboard. These will squeak and sag in numerous ways, making for a very unpleasant night’s sleep. If a retailer is recommending you use a bed board or bunkie board with a platform bed, then it probably shouldn’t be used as a platform bed at all.

What should a sturdy platform bed look like?

platform bed support diagram

A sturdy platform bed should have [see above]:

  • real wood slats
  • center rail that runs from head to foot
  • center support legs that reach all the way to the floor

At Bedrooms & More Seattle, we offer lots and lots of attactive, quality-made platform bed choices. We’re sure to have a look and a finish that works with your decor. 

[cta-title]A sturdy bed frame makes for comfy sleep[/cta-title][cta-desc]At Bedrooms & More in Seattle, it’s easy to find a stylish platform bed frame that suits your decor & supports your mattress to perfection.

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43 thoughts on “Is Your Platform Bed Sturdy Enough?

  1. Jordan says:

    Great guide here. No matter how perfect the actual mattress is, if what it is on isn’t good quality then you can suffer anyway. Thanks for sharing this guide to what a good platform should look like!

  2. JK says:

    Thanks for this article. I have an uneven mattress problem for my platform bed that has euro slats. A few slats are flat or bow down (dipping) when my husband is on the mattress and the rest bow slightly up. Is the correct fix a solid flat surface (like plywood) or a bunky board? Would I put it on top of my euro-slats?

    • Jeff Garfield says:

      Ideally, the euro slats would be removed and heavy (1″x4″ are good), closely spaced slats (3″ maximum between) is best. That allows air circulation and should eliminate the unevenness. On full size and above, a center rail with legs to the floor should prevent any sagging. If you decide to use solid plywood for a surface, be sure to allow for air circulation under the mattress in the form of a fiber pad. Otherwise, a temperature differential with added moisture can create a condition where mold can occur.

  3. Mandy says:

    We bought a full size loft. It has slats which sag, so I bought a metal bunkie board w great reviews…Although it’s not wide enough & falls thru. The bed w slats alone says it holds 150 lbs. Now w the added metal on top, it seems to me that’s not safe w the weight. And it still sags! Any other options??

    • Blake Garfield says:

      Without more information, it would be irresponsible to say definitively what will solve the problem. I would suggest you explore adding a rail from head to foot on the loft under the middle of the wood slats. I would return the metal bunkie, if you can. If you are able to attach a center rail, it should be vertical to prevent it from sagging over time like the rest of the slats.

  4. Dayna says:

    Thanks for all the helpful info. This is actually the only straight answer and made sense answer I’ve read regarding Platform Beds. I made the mistake of taking a friend’s suggestion on buying Particle Board for support under my brand new mattress. …mistake! Not only did it stink up my room, cut up mattress and the smell is so strong it gave me headaches. Learn from my mistake. I wish I had read this article first. Thanks again.

  5. lauren says:

    Hi, do you sell a center rail for supporting slats? If not, what do you recommend? I have a metal bed frame with bowed slats that I think would be fine if I could support the slats down the middle (head to foot). thanks.

    • Kathryn Michael says:

      Hi Lauren,

      Thank you for contacting us! We want to make sure we are understanding your question correctly. Is there any way you can send us pictures of the bed frame/bowed slats? That will enable us to answer your question to the best of our ability; without seeing exactly what’s going on it is difficult to give you a definitive answer.

      Thank you,

      Kathryn

      • lauren says:

        Thanks for replying. I just need a support rail to run vertically (head to foot) down the center of the bed under the slats, as there is nothing now. Thanks.

        • Kathryn Michael says:

          Lauren,

          There is not necessarily a standard piece that would conform to all bed frames. There are a few things we can recommend:

          1. We can replace your slat system with a platform box, which come in varying thicknesses but as minimal as less than 2 inches.
          2. We could sell you a set of flat slats and a center rail (if we know the height of the finished slats).

          – Kathryn

  6. Aryn Kennedy says:

    My queen bed has solid pine slats that are 2.5 by 1″. It has three support legs, but no center rail. The slats have a 4″ gap. We’re getting ready to buy a Helix mattress, and I’m trying to figure out if this is adequate support or whether I should add add some extra rails.

    • Blake Garfield says:

      The lack of a center rail will be a problem. The slats without legs to support them will sag. We suggest a slat spacing of 3″ or fewer. On a side note, I’d advise against a Helix mattress. It is one sided and contains a large amount of poly foam. Anything with that much light weight poly foam will give you sufficient sagging to make it unusable within only a couple years.
      If you only need the bed for a year or two, it will be fine. But if you’re looking for a bed to last more than one or two years, another bed would be more cost effective.
      If you want a more permanent mattress, check out this website discussing how to shop for a mattress.

  7. Eric Hall says:

    My platform storage bed has no support in the center. There is actually a square hole there. Was ready to get a mattress which solutions can I implore to increase support and prevent sagging with the new mattress.

    • Jordan Little says:

      You will need a new center support. The easiest way would be to measure from the bottom of the slats to the floor. A good center support generally has four legs and a center rail to provide rigidity to your sleeping surface.

        • Jordan Little says:

          If you would contact the manufacturer, they might make a center support for it. If they do not, then it would need to be custom made. If you are in the Seattle area, we could possible make one if we get the dimensions from you.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I live in Dallas. My mattress is 6,years old I was planning on getting another. I want to prevent the issue from happening with my future purchase. If you could provide me an email I can send pics and we can see if we can work something out.

  8. Maureen Holman says:

    My california king mattress is falling to the floor. There are 4 wooden pegs holding up the double box springs and a lot of movement on the bed has caused the pegs to start slanting to the floor and making big gouges in my wooden floor. Is there a metal bedframe I can use to support the bed and double box springs? My bed is beautiful with a high headboard, side rails and a beautiful footboard. I I can’t afford to replace he bed and box springs and mattress…any helpful information??? Thanks so much

  9. Evelyn Wade says:

    I currently have a king size platform bed with bowed slats, it’s awful! I going to replace the whole bed until I found your site and hoping you could help. Do you carry slats by itself or I have to purchase a whole new platform bed with the proper slats? Thanks

  10. Tracy Cothern says:

    Question. I have a king bed with wooden slats and a medal frame that runs down the middle. I have two twin box springs and King mattress. I want to remove the box spring to lower the bed do I have to have bunkie boards once I remove the box springs.

    • Jordan Little says:

      Bunkie boards will work, but a platform box would provide the best and most reliable support. They are available in 4″ and 9″ height. A bunkie board is 1 1/2″ overall in height. We carry all of these online and in-store.

      • Tatyana says:

        Hello I have the same problem ,I have king bed wooden slats with metal peace in the middle what makes my matress to bend in the middle,what to do ?

        • Matt Davis says:

          Without knowing what your wooden slats look like, the easiest solution would be to get a box that has ample support or even a bunkie board (2″ tall box). But if you send us some pictures of your slats, we can give you more specific suggestions to your need. Our email is: online@bedroomsandmore.com

  11. Jenni says:

    Thank you for this article! Aren’t there any platform beds which are actually solid…platforms? Not just slats? That seems like a recipe for disaster. Thanks!

    • Jordan Little says:

      A slat system can certainly vary in quality based on the wood slat spacing and thickness. When done correctly, slatted platforms are preferred because they allow for better circulation around and underneath your mattress.

  12. Brandy says:

    I have a queen platform bed with wooden slats that bow slightly up. They are not the straight across flat slats. The bed is in good condition, but I’m am in the market for a new mattress. My current one is a 12 year old pillow top mattress that is terrible! It sags so much at my hips. It was fine at first, so I think the age is the reason for the sag. But I’m not sure if the platform contributed to this. I really want a double sided mattress that I can flip and rotate to extend the life, but I don’t want to risk premature sagging. Can I use a foam center double-sided mattress on my bed? Do I need additional support such as Bunkie Boards or will I be ok with just the platform?

    • Jordan Little says:

      The support system that you are describing is called a “euro-slat” platform. For sizes larger than twin, a metal spine is used to provide a solid landing point for the arched slats.

      A good support system allows for any mattress to perform at its best. In years past, and in some select mattress brands today, a “box spring” works in conjunction with the mattress to provide overall comfort as intended by the manufacturer. More commonly today a “platform box” is used in lieu of a “box spring”. A “platform box” is slatted structure upholstered like a “box spring”, but is devoid of springs.

      Though there are varying qualities of platform box, the point to understand is that a good slatted platform can allow a mattress to perform exactly the same as the “platform boxes” with which those same mattresses are sold when they are sold as sets.

      With all this being said, a “euro slat” system is not ideal, particularly with an all foam mattress. Though the center portion is flat and rigid, each side allows for significant flex. The mattress on top of a system like this will echo this. When sleeping, a person will generally feel like they are rolling away from the center into pits. If the slats are particularly strong, the opposite effect may take place. The sleeper may then have a sensation of always rolling to the center of their mattress. Either of these sensations may only be slightly mitigated by a linked-coil style of mattress, where the mattress itself has some structural rigidity.

      For any mattress, and particularly a foam mattress, the support should be rigid and consistent. We highly recommend strong flat slats and a center support.

      • Brandy says:

        So any mattress is acceptable, but not all mattresses are ideal? I do have the metal center support, and I do believe that most of my sag issue is due to the mattress age and that it’s a pillow top. I just don’t want to have a sag issue within the first months of getting a new mattress.

        • Jordan Little says:

          Purchasing a (1) flippable mattress and selecting one that uses (2) durable materials are the two keys to mattress longevity. By choosing a flippable mattress, compression of soft material can be mitigated over time. When you are sleeping on one side, the other side will be refreshing itself by having your weight and the weight of the mattress pushing down upon it evenly. Durable materials like tempered coil systems and 100% tree rubber latex are the most long-lasting. Tempered coils keep their form well over time which is why they are often able to be repurposed/ recycled after their original use. Tree rubber foam has fabulous elasticity, and will outperform synthetic-based foams. Fibers like wool and polyester are more subject to compression. If soft fiber provides the comfort that you desire, wool and horse hair are the most resilient because of their crimp and diameter. Soy/Polyurethane and 100% polyurethane foams, including memory foam, are of medium durability depending on density. On average, polyurethane foams have a deterioration of 5% per year.

          We carry a wide variety of mattresses that we have built to last, and they’re ALL 2-sided. Check out our mattress section online and feel free to reach out if you have more questions.

  13. Derek says:

    I’m a DIY furniture building, and I just built a queen bed out of 2×4″ and 2×6″ for head and foot with 2×10″ rails. I have 1×4″ (nominal) slats spaced at 3.5″. I plan to get a memory foam mattress without any other sort of foundation. I currently don’t have a center support in my design. Do you think that it is necessary for what I’ve described?

    • Jordan Little says:

      A center support would absolutely be needed for your design. The 1X4 will be spanning the 60″ width of the bed frame. Without a center support the slats will flex downward significantly in the areas where you sleep. Your goal in creating proper support should be to create a rigid & consistent support across the platform surface allowing the mattress to perform to it’s potential.

  14. Britt says:

    I recently set up a full/full bunk bed for my daughter and I was concerned about the top bunk not having enough support.. There are 14 slats that rest on a lip, then there are two center supporting boards ( one that runs under seven slats on the left, and one that runs under the seven slats on the right). What concerned me was that the center boards were only screwed onto 3/7 of the slats it ran underneath and it was not intersecting with any other lips/edges/sides of the bed.

    • Drew Garfield says:

      Hi Britt,

      I have e-mailed you separately regarding your question. I am hoping to see some pictures to best advise you.

      Thanks!

      Drew
      Bedrooms & More

  15. Kathy Lamont says:

    We are having a hard time finding a platform bed that is rated to hold enough weight (170# latex mattress + 2 adults) that also has slates only 2″ apart (manufacturer requires this for warranty) and no or a very low headboard. If a bed is well made and the only problem is that the slats are too far apart, can additional slats be added? Second question… would putting a latex mattress on the floor (or on plywood on the floor) be appropriate in the short term? We are hesitant to purchase a nice platform bed until we are through the trial period with the mattress and are sure we are going to keep it. We do want to be sure that it is properly supported though (both for the warranty and to be sure we are getting a true feel of the mattress) Thank you!

    • Jordan Little says:

      Hello Kathy,

      We do not sell any platform bed with 2″ slats spacing. Our Night & Day Complete Bed (linked below) would supports the weight and have a low headboard. Their slats are about 3″ apart. We do sell Night & Day slats, so you could decrease the spacing of the slats by adding additional slats.

      Putting a latex mattress on the floor for a short time is okay, but you shouldn’t keep it there for awhile. If it’s on the floor, it’s not getting any air flow through the bottom, so mold and bacteria can grow. If you do keep it on the ground, we suggest getting a fiber pad to put below the bed. They are usually 1 or 2″ thick pads that just help with airflow. If you do decide to go with a platform bed through us, we can provide a loaner base you can use for your mattress while you wait for your platform bed to come in.

      Have a great day,

      – Jor

  16. Jane H says:

    Hello, I’m planning to buy a queen pocketed coil spring/memory foam hybrid bed. I’m looking for a supportive platform and I think I’ve decided on one with steel slats (as opposed to wood) and steel support in the center with feet. First of all, is there a problem with steel slats instead of wood? I was thinking that they wouldn’t be susceptible to bowing or breaking but would they press into the bed and cause damage or something? Second, with the memory foam top, I was wondering if using a mattress topper of some kind would help prevent against sagging due to body impressions? My theory is that the body impressions will be made mostly on the topper and not make it through to the mattress itself. The only information I’ve been able to find refers to using a mattress topper after the sagging has already occered, while I’m more concerned about preventing this in the first place. Thank You!

    • Nick Ritchie says:

      There shouldn’t be any support problems with wood slats vs steel ones so long as they don’t have too large of a gap between each slat. We recommend a gap of no more than about 4 inches between slats and if the steel slats are really narrow you might need less space than 4 inches. If the gap is larger you are more likely to feel each slat and ultimately you will need a platform box for additional support. You would be correct, a topper of any sort will help prolong the lifetime of your mattress because it will prevent or delay the impressions in the mattress. If your mattress begins to sag adding a topper after will only cause the topper to contour to the already sagging mattress and won’t solve the issue at hand.

  17. David says:

    New memory foam mattress coming next week. I’m concerned that 1″ pine slats will have too much give across 5′ (there is a center cross piece in the standard steel frame but that won’t be supporting the mattress except at the center slat sitting right over the crossbar. My thoughts are to buy 8 10′ 2x4s, cut in half and simply drop in the angle bar of the frame like any slat. 16 slats at 3.5″ with +/- 1.5″ gaps would get me the 80″. I’m 165# and my wife is 115# so if anything this is overkill. Thoughts?

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