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A Guide for Buying a Platform Bed

Puja Lalwani Jan 6, 2019
Heading out to buy a platform bed? Before you do, take a look at this guide so that you know what to look for when buying the bed.

Blast from the Past

The box spring bed was invented in the mid-1860s. Every bed before that can be considered a platform bed!

Platform Bed (n.)

A bed consisting of a mattress on a solid platform raised off the floor by legs or framing, with the floor space beneath the platform used for living space or storage.
―The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
A bed consisting of a shallow box for holding a mattress, set on a slightly recessed pedestal.
―Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary

A bed without springs

These are the many avatars of a platform bed, but the last definition is what essentially captures exactly what a platform bed is―a bed without springs.
With a huge history and a slow and steady evolution, modern-day platform beds are sleek, minimalistic, and space-efficient―everything a compact home needs.
With the need for a box spring eliminated from these beds, there's only durability, strength, and most of all, comfort to demand from them. What does it take to choose a platform bed to fit your needs? Here's a simple guide that helps you.

Bed Size

The size of the bed predominantly depends on the space available in your room, your existing mattress size, and whether or not you are looking for a bed with storage.
Keep these considerations in mind with regard to size.
  • There should be at least 30" of walking space around the bed.
  • In case of Japanese-style platform beds (with ledge-like extensions), the space available should be 30" after accommodating the ledges. These ledges may be anywhere from 3"-9" wide, and sometimes more.
  • When choosing a bed with storage, ensure that there is enough space around for the drawers to open completely.
  • Platform beds are usually low in height (sometimes just 6" from the floor) and are great for rooms with a low ceiling. This, however, is not always the case, and if you are not comfortable with the height, you will be able to find others of standard height after the placement of the mattress.

Mattress Size

Standard mattress sizes can be accommodated on readymade platform beds. To know what these standards are and what your requirements will be, here's a list.
  • Single or Twin: 39" x 75" (suitable for one person - child/teen)
  • Double: 54" x 75" - (suitable for two people; double platform beds can accommodate a queen bed mattress)
  • Queen: 60" x 80"
  • King: 76" x 80"
  • California King: 72" x 84" (suitable for very tall people)


The choice of material for a platform bed depends largely on your budget.
  • While solid wood is without doubt the best choice, it is rather steep to invest in a bed made of this material.
  • Metal beds are known to be the most sturdy, durable, and affordable.
  • Laminated beds offer the visual richness of solid wood without the cost. These are used with MDF as a base.
  • Beds made of reclaimed wood (from old wood from barns, dead trees, etc.) are a more eco-friendly option, but may be more expensive. They provide a rich, aged wooden appearance and are known to be most sustainable.
  • Upholstered platform beds are the new variants in the market, lending a soft, rich feel to the room they are placed in. Likely to be high maintenance, these units look like they are definitely worth the effort it takes to maintain them. Check the material used for the framework of such a bed before purchasing it.


Platform beds do not require box springs, and that is their biggest benefit. But instead of box springs, they have slats. While most mattress sit on these slats, some may be difficult to place on them, such as memory foam mattresses. 
These need a completely flat surface so that they do not lose their shape. In such a case, it is a good idea to have a very thin box spring placed on the platform bed.
  • Platform beds may be box beds or ones that stand on four legs. In case of the latter, it is important that they have a central support (perhaps in the form of a fifth leg or a support running parallel to the length of the bed), particularly if the bed has slats. This is because the slats may be begin to sag after a while.
  • Such beds may come with additional elements like attached sideboards, headboards, and footboards. Depending on your requirements, you may choose among these.
  • Storage is another great benefit of choosing platform beds as against beds that need box springs. Under-the-bed drawers in different sizes, bookcases, and headboard shelves are just some of the storage features offered by platform beds. Some beds offer more than one row of drawers. Is this storage bliss or what!


From zen-like Japanese platform beds to vintage constructions, to rustic units and modern creations, platform beds are here to cater to YOUR personal taste in décor. So, whether it is a metal finished bed for the modern maiden, or a traditional four-poster bed for the vintage diva, or a simple bed for the happy hoarder, there is one for all your needs.

Contemporary Platform Bed

Traditional Platform Bed

Japanese-style Platform Bed

Upholstered Platform Bed

Platform Bed with Storage

Modern/Eclectic Platform Bed

Four-poster Platform Bed

The Good and the Bad

  • Platform beds are great if you want to create an open feel in room. Since most are lower than standard beds, they provide the illusion of space and height.
  • If you have spent most of your life using a box spring bed, the transition to a platform may seem a little strange at first, because it is firmer. On the plus side, no more squeaks or sinking into bed!
  • If you use the bed for more than just sleeping, i.e. working, watching TV, reading, choose a platform bed with a slightly angled headboard to support you in these activities.
  • Slats in the platform bed allow ventilation for the mattress, and make it less prone to collecting dust and mildew.
  • If you have trouble with your back, and find it difficult to get up from lower heights, opt for a higher mattress and a slightly higher bed; because even if you choose a 6" mattress with a 6" platform bed, you are effectively 6" lower than the standard bed height, and this may bother you with back trouble.
  • Platform beds are easier to move around because they are lighter. So, you can change its position in the room more often.
  • These beds turn out to be more cost-effective because you are not spending money on the box spring.
  • With the numerous storage options they offer, they are definitely a great choice for small rooms, or those of you who just never seem to have enough space.
So, fix your budget, do thorough research, consider the mattress, and bring home this versatile piece of furniture for your room.