Alternatives to Box Springs for Mattress Support

A good mattress is a key necessity for comfort during sleep and for guaranteeing both quality and quantity sleep. Nothing disrupts sleep like a dented or sagging mattress.

Sagging mattresses have been known to cause back pains due to uneven spinal support, which then throws the spine out of alignment. They have also been known to cause muscle pains and to hinder proper blood flow to the muscles of the body. To avoid this, it is important to ensure that a mattress is firm, strong and free of dents and sags.

What to put under a mattress instead of a Box Spring?

A dented or sagging mattress needs support, and this is where the use of a box spring comes in. However, there are other materials you can put under a mattress instead of a box spring in order to achieve the same goal.

You can put plywood support, or a coconut coir bed rug, or a low-profile foundation under your mattress. You can optionally choose to use a platform bed.

The origin of box springs

Box springs first came into existence in the 19th century out of necessity because at that time, mattresses were quite thin by design. Again, most of the mattresses at the time were innerspring mattresses that were made without additional layers for support.

On the other hand, very few of the box springs introduced at the time had any layers of support, and even those that had the layers had too few of them for adequate positive impact.

Why a use box spring?

The goal in designing box springs was to reduce wear and tear of mattresses and largely to reduce the impact or shock to mattresses upon lying on them.  The situation is now different as modern innerspring mattresses are manufactured with many layers for maximum support. 

What is a box spring?

A box spring is a solid bed foundation made of wooden frame and which contains springs. It is usually covered with cloth. It is put under a mattress for underlying support so that the mattress remains firm, strong and raised to a comfortable height. It is also serves to absorb the impact caused by shock, wear and tear.

Downside of using a box spring

The downside of box spring is that it is not compatible with all the types of mattresses found in the market, such as latex and memory foam mattresses. They are also very pricey as compared to other bed foundations.

Box spring alternatives for mattress support 

As already mentioned, there are other alternatives for mattress support other than the box spring. Basically creations you can put under your mattress other than the box spring to give it both the desired height and support.

It is good and advisable to always seek professional advise on the bed foundation that is most suitable for your type of mattress and which will sufficiently serve the intended purpose.

  • Plywood support

Plywood supports are a great alternative to the box spring. They are simply solid platforms made of wood and with evenly spaced, well-designed holes for breathability.

The holes allow circulation of air into the mattress. They are manufactured using organic compounds of low volatility. Plywood support is usually half-inch in thickness.


You can use a plywood support on a bed frame that is not firm enough or a bed frame whose breathability is wanting so as to improve airflow under the mattress. You can also use it on a metal frame without slats.

Another name

The other name for plywood supports is “bunkie boards”, a name that arose out of the need for bunk beds to have much more support for mattress than the support offered by a basic metal-frame bed.

  • Coconut coir bed rugs

A coconut coir is made from the fibers found between the outer coat of a coconut and the hard, inner shell of a coconut. It is greatly preferred and is seen as the most ideal in the making of a bed foundation because of its qualities, mainly its thickness and its ability to resist moisture.

It is actually the thickest of all known natural fibers and is also the most resistant to moisture as compared to other natural fibers found in the market.

Characteristics of coconut coir

Coconut coir is very resilient. It always springs back to shape after use and it never looses its spring. You can use it for a very long time without it loosing its shape either. It is also tough and durable.

It is also naturally breathable, allowing for circulation of air and therefore promoting ventilation. It also provides great insulation. Its thick fibrous material makes it resistant to dampness and moisture. It also does not harbor microbes such as bacteria, dust mites and other allergens.

Low-profile foundations

There are mattress foundations of low profile by design. They are made of sturdy, solid wood or metal which is covered with breathable organic fabric. Unlike box spring, they do not contain springs.

In terms of height, they are about five to five and a half inches tall, which is about half the height of a box spring. However, you can find some that are four inches high.


Low-profile foundations are also much lighter as compared to the standard box spring foundation. They are solid box-like frames which come with or without stands. They give support to your mattress by raising it to your desired height above the floor.

  • Platform beds

Platform beds are another alternative to box spring. They have a modern look and are appealing by design. They are made of raised horizontal solid frames that are rectangular in shape. They are level, with rows of flexible wooden slats which serve the purpose of supporting a mattress.

Slat spacing

The slats are spaced two to three inches apart to allow for circulation of air to the mattress, thus helping to keep away moulds and mildew caused by moisture and dampness. The design also helps to keep away dust mites and all manner of allergens, prolonging the life of the mattress.