Your bed’s mattress can only provide the maximum amount of comfort if it’s placed on the correct foundation.
A weak foundation can cause the mattress to sag, making it hard for you to sleep after a long day.
It can also end up making your body sore in places you just don’t want to feel discomfort (like your lower back!).
To get a good night’s sleep and in some cases make your room look cozy and inviting for sleep, it’s important to use the right foundation for your bed.
The two most popular types of foundations are slats and box springs.
This is a biggie when you’re DIY’ing your own bed frame.
And, when choosing between the two, many people end up asking the common question – can you put a box spring on top of slats?
The short answer is: yes, you definitely can.
But… only if you need to. Confused? We’ll explain.
Slats vs Box Springs – What’s the Difference
Bed slats are a sequence of connected long planks that are placed across a bed frame’s width.
They’re usually made of strong wood or metal to support your mattress.
Slats’ special design keeps your body weight distributed evenly across the bed, which helps prevent sinking.
Benefits of Slats
Slats are the best choice when you’re on a budget but still want a sturdy bed.
The wooden construction makes it cheaper than box springs.
When you use slats as a base, the underside of your mattress gets proper airflow, and the open space prevents heat retention.
Relatively lightweight, slats can be installed by a single person.
They’re also easy to assemble and disassemble when you need to move them.
Cons of Slats
A base whose slats are spaced too far apart may cause some types of mattresses to sag over time.
Memory foam mattresses, for example, should not be used with slats spaced more than 2.75 inches apart.
The bed frame can become unstable if the slats aren’t properly fixed.
This can damage your bed and bedroom floor, and even lead to injuries.
A box spring consists of a sturdy wooden frame that’s filled with springs and covered with fabric.
Box springs are helpful for shock absorption and weight distribution, and can provide additional height to your bed.
Benefits of Box Springs
Bed frames that sit on a slat base are usually quite low. If you prefer a bed with added height, a box spring may be a better choice.
Spring boxes that come with spring coils provide you with extra bounce if you also get a sprung mattress. Bear in mind that not all box springs come with coils.
Helps alleviate back pain:
The added height provided by a box spring base is ideal for sleepers who experience back pain due to faulty bed foundations.
Cons of Box Springs
You can’t disassemble a box spring like a slatted base, and it’s also heavier. This makes it difficult to move around.
You have to flip box springs over a couple of times a year to keep them sturdy and supportive, especially if weight hasn’t been distributed evenly.
Can You Put a Box Spring on Top of Slats?
Putting a box spring on an uneven and unstable base is a common mistake made by new homeowners and newbie DIYers.
As mentioned earlier, you can technically put a box spring on top of slats – but it’s not necessary.
You can use slats instead of box springs and vice versa.
This is usually done by people who already have a bed with slats and who want to raise the bed’s height.
Personally, I did this once for my tween boy when we built a new bed set for him using slats – but we already had the box spring/mattress set.
So, we just stacked them (making sure to create a lip of about 3-inches to keep the box spring from sliding).
My son loved the extra height. He obviously didn’t care about conform but enjoyed the look and feel immensely!
I’ve also seen people use a super comfy mattress topper as their mattress – simply layering it atop a box spring that is supported by slats.
You should also check your mattress’s warranty to determine whether it requires a box spring or not.
Also, remember that some innerspring mattresses function better when coupled with a box spring.
Do I Need a Box Spring If I Have Slats?
While you can put a box spring on top of your slats, you don’t necessarily need them.
If you have a bed frame whose base slats are not more than 2.75 inches apart, you generally won’t need an extra box spring.
However, in some cases, metal slats act as a bed frame rather than a base.
Also, some slats are spaced too far apart which can cause a mattress to sag, affecting your sleep.
In such cases, it’s better to buy a box spring to provide you with the extra support you need for a good night’s sleep.
What Is Better Box Spring or Slats?
Box springs and slats have their own pros and cons.
So what’s better will depend on what you’re looking for, whether it’s height, comfort, or aesthetics.
For more height, box springs work better.
Also, some innerspring mattresses might require a box spring to function properly. In such cases, it is better to opt for a box spring.
However, slatted bases are cheaper and usually come with the bed frame itself.
They’re easy to install and disassemble when needed, and provide about the same amount of comfort.
So, if you prefer a bed that’s lower in height and is easily movable, a base with slats is the way to go.
If you’re looking to increase your bed’s height and make your room look more grand overall, you can easily put a box spring on top of the slats.
All you have to do is make sure that the size of the box spring matches the slats’ base so that it fits perfectly.
Also, if your slats are too far apart, you might need to add a box spring to give it the support it needs.
However, in most cases, you won’t need a box spring if you already have a bed with built-in wooden slats, which provide an ample amount of support and are just as durable.