The Best Mattress for a Platform Bed
The platform bed. A suddenly hip and chic choice in the modern bedding market, as today's generation seeks to put off anything that reminds them of old or traditional. The funny part about it is the fact that the platform bed is nothing new. In the old days the platform bed was achieved by simply throwing a mattress on the floor. Today platform bed manufacturers charge thousands of dollars for a plastic or wooden platform you could build yourself for 50 bucks worth of cheap lumber.
Nonetheless, if you're going to buy a platform bed you need to be aware of how mattresses work. If you put the wrong mattress on a platform bed you're asking to be very uncomfortable. A platform bed is very different in the way it supports a mattress as compared to a more traditional bed frame utilizing slats and a box spring. This fundamental difference in construction means a very decided difference in the way you feel lying on a given type of mattress.
Forget the Box Springs
The box spring was invented to provide a platform on which to place a coil spring mattress when using a slatted bed frame. Obviously wooden slats don't provide enough surface space to lay a bare mattress on; and using a piece of plywood instead of slats defeats the purpose of having such a bed frame. Thus, the box spring goes on top of slats and the mattress on top of the box spring. With a platform bed the slats are eliminated. Therefore, the need for the box spring is also eliminated.
If you place a box spring on a platform bed, and then a coiled spring mattress on top of it, you'll end up with a sleep surface that is much too high. It will almost be like sleeping in a bunk bed yet without the benefit of having two mattresses. Not only that but getting in and out of bed becomes very difficult because it's so high.
If you're using a foam or adjustable air mattress on a platform bed you will be inhibiting the performance of those mattresses by using a box spring. These types of mattresses need a firm and solid surface in order to provide you with the proper support. By putting a box spring underneath you won't get that firmness, and you will be defeating the purpose of using foam or air to begin with. The point is, if you're using a platform bed forget about the box spring.
Proper Mattresses for Platform Beds
While you can use a coil spring mattress on a platform bed, it is not your best choice. Coil spring mattresses have a built in "shock effect" that is alleviated with the box spring. Yet when you place a coil spring mattress on a platform bed it makes the issue of pressure points more severe because there is little flexibility.
For the most comfortable sleep on a platform bed you have three basic options:
Latex and Memory Foam
Both latex and memory foam do extremely well on platform beds. The platform provides the optimal surface for these types of mattresses. And because foam mattresses are designed to absorb energy and remain still, the platform "gets out of the way" and allows the mattress to function as it's intended to.
The one thing you have to be careful of with the foam mattress is to find one that is thick enough for your weight. Most people can get by with a mattress that's 3" to 4". But if you weigh in excess of 225 pounds or so, you'll need a mattress in the neighborhood of 5" or more.
Adjustable Air Mattresses
Adjustable air mattresses will always require a solid platform underneath. Not just to work properly, but also to keep the warranty intact. Attempting to use an adjustable air mattress with a slat bed frame and box spring will most likely damage your mattress beyond repair. You can put an adjustable air mattress directly on the floor, but if you want to have it at a standard height a platform frame will be necessary.
Adjustable air mattresses do tend to move during the night so it's good if your platform has a slight lip around its perimeter. This lip will prevent the mattress from extending over the platform in any one direction. If your platform doesn't have a lip, you could accomplish the same thing by placing a piece of scrap carpeting between the mattress and the platform. Secure the carpeting with glue or carpet tape to prevent it from moving. The friction between the carpet and the mattress will keep your mattress in place.
Waterbed mattresses were the original occupants of constructed platform beds. Like foam and air, waterbed mattresses need a solid surface underneath to hold them up. And like adjustable air mattresses, they will be irreparably damaged if you try to use them without a solid platform underneath. Keep in mind that waterbeds require either soft or hard sides to retain their form. Platforms for hard sided waterbeds typically include wooden rails all the way around. However, you can purchase a soft sided waterbed mattress which is encased in a fabric casing for use on a platform that has no rails.