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Editor’s Note: There’s 4 box spring alternatives and 2 substitutes worth considering in 2018. These include platform beds, frames, foundations, adjustable beds, slats, & bunkie boards. Each alternative & substitute has pros & cons worth considering (that we cover below). Our favorite? Platform beds (like Zinus’s Upholstered Platform Bed on Amazon). Platform beds offer uniform support and  add fantastic visual appeal to a bedroom. Continue reading below to find out which box spring alternative idea is right for you. 


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6 Box Spring Alternatives & Substitutes Ideas

box spring alternatives and substitute ideasThe main goal of a box spring is to provide good support for your mattress. Box springs allow you to increase the height of your bed setup to make it easier to get in and out of bed at night. Box springs are usually placed on a metal frame or platform bed.

The problem? Not everyone wants a box spring or has a bed set that can accommodate one. That’s where box spring alternatives & substitutes come in.

There’s 4 great alternative ideas to a box spring that serve similar functions. These include: 

  • platform beds
  • metal bed frames
  • foundations
  • adjustable beds

All 4 options can permanently take the place of a box spring (depending on the construction & design of your mattress). 

Continue reading for pros & cons for each alternative. 

4 Box Spring Alternative Replacement Ideas

Platform Beds

Metal Frames



1. Box Spring Alternatives | Platform Bed

  • More aesthetically pleasing
  • Come in upholstery options
  • Most don't require a box spring
  • Takes up a lot of space

Platform beds are fantastic alternatives to box springs. They not only make a room feel bigger, but they come in many different finishes & upholstery materials. Some of our favorite finishes are:

Most platform beds do not require a separate box spring. Platform beds usually come with metal or wood slats as support systems. This is adequate support for most mattresses. We always recommend checking product specs to ensure the platform bed you’re considering meets your mattress support requirements.

We recommend taking a look at a list of our favorite Platform Beds on Amazon here.

2. Box Spring Alternatives | Metal Bed Frames

  • Cheaper
  • Compact & sturdy
  • Allows for under bed storage
  • Not visually appealing

Like platform beds, metal bed frames are another fantastic alternative to boxsprings. Metal bed frames are also a cheap box spring alternative. They’re sturdy, compact, and offer uniform support. Most metal bed frames come in 10-14″ heights. Why is that important? It allows for easy underbed storage. The best part? Some even come in 18″ heights for even more storage space – our personal favorite box spring alternative bed frame being Zinus’s 18″ under-bed storage metal bed frame on Amazon.

Types: Metal frames come in several types, including:

We recommend taking a look at a list of our favorite metal frames here.

3. Box Spring Alternatives | Foundations

  • Solid base of support
  • Durable + great longevity
  • Prevents body impressions
  • More expensive
  • May need a frame with it

Foundations & box springs are virtually the same thing. They’re 2 terms interchangeably used (which sometimes makes it confusing). They both mean the same thing – a rigid, wood (sometimes steel or metal) construction to support a mattress. While foundations might cost a little more than other forms of support, they provide amazing support. They do a great job keeping a uniform feel across the entire surface of your mattress. The result? Less body impressions over time. More upfront cost? Maybe, but you indirectly save by having a longer lasting mattress.

Types: Foundations come in several different material types, including metal & wood

We recommend taking a look at a list of our favorite foundations here.

4. Box Spring Alternatives | Adjustable Beds

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Great pressure relief
  • Amazing blood-flow benefits
  • Way more expensive

Adjustable beds are our favorite alternatives to box springs. They’re great for several reasons. Our favorite one? All their reported health benefits. A few health benefits include:

  • healthier posture
  • reduced inflammation 
  • improved blood circulation

Adjustable beds also allow you to move the head & foot of your mattress up & down. This makes a huge difference for relieving tension and pressure points throughout the night as blood flow improves & rejuvenates the body.  Most come with a remote feature with massage, wall-hugging, & under-bed light. Our favorite budget adjustable bed base is Lucid’s L300.

We recommend taking a look at a list of our favorite adjustable beds here.

2 Box Spring Substitutes


Bunkie Boards

Unlike boxspring alternatives, box spring substitutes are solutions designed around temporary use until you’re able to purchase more permanent alternative(s). 

There’s 2 main forms of box spring substitutes, including slats & bunkie boards

While slats & bunkie boards can serve as permanent alternatives to a box spring (if they’re thick & sturdy enough), most times they aren’t. The result? They work best in conjunction with a box spring alternative (think platform bed + bunkie board, or foundation + slats). 

1. Box Spring Substitutes | Slats

  • Good temporary support solutions
  • Sturdy level of support
  • Doesn't have proper center support

Slats are tricky. While they’re good temporary solutions for support, they aren’t always the best substitute. For pillow tops & memory foam mattresses, slats spaced less than 4″ apart generally work well for temporary support. For latex mattresses, however, we recommend slats spaced no less than 3″ apart (and .5″ thick) since latex mattresses are heavier (on average) and require more uniform support.

Don’t forget about center support with a slatted system. Center support is crucial to ensure your mattress doesn’t buckle under your weight. Horizontal slats are not enough. Adjustable height bed frame slat center support legs like this work very well. 

We recommend taking a look at a list of our favorite slat options here on Amazon.

2. Box Spring Substitutes | Bunkie Boards

  • Great level of uniform support
  • Comes in steel or wood
  • Supports memory foam + latex types well
  • Must be above .5" or it won't support your mattress

Bunkie boards are great substitutes for lower profile beds where adding extra height from a box spring makes it too high. While bunkie boards can take the place of a box spring on platform beds, daybeds, trundles, bunk beds, and lofts, we don’t recommend it unless your bunkie board is minimum 1″ thick, or on top of additional slats.

Types: Bunkie boards usually come in 2 materials, steel or wood. Both materials work well, but our recommendation is using a minimum .5″ thick bunkie board if it’s steel, and 1″ thick if it’s wood. Click for our favorite bunkie board options online here.


Box Spring Alternatives And Substitutes

1. What's Better Than A Box Spring?

Box spring alternatives & substitutes have their place as mattress support systems. Each choice has  pros & cons depending on mattress type & personal preference. Continue below to find out which alternatives & substitutes are better or worse

Which Alternatives Are Better?

  • Platform BedPlatform beds offer similar support to a box spring. We don’t consider them better than traditional box springs. While they add great depth & unique design to a room, they won’t support your mattress any better or worse than a standard or low-profile box spring. 
  • Metal FrameLike platform beds, metal bed frames offer the same great support as a box spring. Like all products, always check manufacturer specs to make sure your mattress is properly accommodated on whichever frame you’re looking to buy. Some metal frames act as a framework for a boxspring to sit inside, while other metal frames act as complete box-spring replacements. Carefully read spec details to make sure you know which metal frame type you’re buying. 
  • Foundations – The word ‘foundation‘ is interchangeably used with ‘boxspring‘; they’re essentially 2 different words to describe the same thing – support for a mattress. Most people use foundations to describe a wooden box spring with no actual springs inside (modern box springs). The bottom line? Foundations offer the same level of support as a short or high box springs.

Which Substitutes Are Better?

  • Slats – Slats are fantastic substitutes to use in conjunction with, or in replacement of a box spring. This depends on what type of mattress you have. Most pillow tops & memory foam mattresses do well on slats spaced less than 4″ apart. Latex beds? They need a 2 levels of support, like slats + boxspring, slats + bunkie board, or a metal frame + box spring. Always check with your mattress manufacturer first to ensure the support you’re considering is adequate. 
  • Bunkie Board – Bunkie boards are as good as box springs. Better? Maybe, but not always. They can be better if you need a solid surface of support but don’t want anything over 2 additional inches. They can work as a substitutes & even complete alternatives to box springs. They combine great underneath box springs, on top of wooden or metal slats, and work well with more unique bed types like platform bedsbunk beds, daybeds, and more. 

2. What To Use Instead Of A Box Spring?

Our readers ask this question a lot. What can I use instead of a box spring

Our answer? Always the same. 

What to use instead of a box spring completely depends! 

Box springs are tried & true foundational support systems that act as solid, uniform support for a mattress. Modern box springs use wood or steel frameworks to create reliable brace to keep your mattress fresh for many years.

There’s no need to change what already works well. But, consider our recommended alternatives or temporary substitutes if you’re dead-set on choosing something other than a box spring.

Good luck!

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