Platform Beds

The Pros and Cons of Platform Beds

What is a platform bed?

A Platform bed is a type of bed frame that uses wooden slats, typically spaced 1 to 2 inches apart, as a mattress foundation. Unlike other traditional bed frames, platform beds do not require the use of box springs.

Platform Beds are our most popular bed because of their simplicity and ability to be used in a wide variety of bedroom styles. From sleek Mid Century Modern, homey Craftsman all to Japanese Tatami style, this type of bed can work for everyone. Because of their solid foundation most platform beds are recommended for use with memory foam mattresses.

The benefits of platform beds

A platform bed is a sturdy bed

People love platform beds because they are sturdy, simple in design, eliminate the extra cost of a box spring and look great in all types of bedroom styles.

A Platform Bed is simple and easy to set up and keep looking good. The mattress is placed directly on the platform with no need for a box spring. Many of our customers tell us that the platform configuration makes it faster and easier to make-up the bed and change the sheets, especially tucking in the corners of those tricky fitted sheets.

A platform bed’s wooden slatted base is designed to keep body weight evenly distributed throughout the bed and protect the mattress from sagging and creating indentations or unwanted “hot spots.”


walnut mid century modern platform bed
Mid Century Modern Platform Bed in American Walnut
Simple Low Platform Bed
Simple Platform Bed with Wood Slats

No box spring needed

You can put any mattress directly on a platform bed – no need to purchase a box spring. The strong wooden slats provide a solid foundation for all types of mattresses from traditional innerspring, memory foam mattresses as well as many of the new and interesting designs now coming to the market. Many of the top mattress brands specify that their mattresses must be used with a platform bed to keep the warranty intact.

A well-built Platform Bed is sturdy and quiet! No squeaking or other unwanted noises from the Box Spring or metal bed frame to keep you awake at night. A wood bed can be particularly strong and quiet.

Platform extensions

Another benefit is that the design of a platform bed can accommodate a platform extension, which is an extra surface the extends past the edge of the bottom of the mattress at the sides and end of the bed. This adds a distinct style and can be a convenient place to store items needed at bedtime.

The bed shown to the right features 4 inch platform extensions. The mattress will be supported by the wood slats and the extension trim will surround the bed. A box spring bed  would not allow this type of trim to be used.

platform beds, Platform Beds

Types of Platform Beds

Solid Custom Heirlooms offers platform beds in a wide variety of configurations. This article will describe each type and discuss the advantages of each.

    • Low platform beds are 4 to 16 inches tall
    • High platform beds are 10 to 36 inches tall
    • A floating platform bed is a type of platform bed that conceals the bed support so that the mattress appears to “hover” in the bedroom.
    • Canopy beds with a platform base
    • A storage platform bed adds drawers and shelves under the bed and in the headboard
    • Loft beds raise the bed 6o inches or higher above the floor to create extra living space underneath

How high should a bed be from the ground?

Customers often ask how high should a bed be from the ground? This is entirely personal preference! Please consider style, function and don’t forget to calculate the thickness of your new mattress too. While there is no industry standard, as a general rule, most standard beds have a finished mattress high that are at knee level, putting them at approximately 16 to 25 inches from the floor.

The mattress platform for a low platform bed is typically 4-16 inches from the ground

The mattress platform for a high platform bed is typically 24-48 inches from the ground

The mattress platform for a loft platform beds is typically 60+ inches from the ground

Low platform beds

A low platform typically bed raises the mattress up off the floor approximately 4 to 16 inches. Depending on what type of mattress is used, this puts the finished bed height between 5 to 24 inches from the ground.

Solid platform beds do not have legs and are our lowest profile option. Solid platform beds rest directly on the bedroom floor for a very minimalistic and modern look.

A low platform bed with legs is typically a bit taller, with legs that raise the bed frame 6 to 16 inches from the floor, often with a 12 to 24 inch finished mattress height.

Benefits of low platform bed

Simple construction and ease of assembly makes a low platform bed good people that move often. Some bed designs can be broken down into a compact enough package to fit into a small car.

A low bed can make a small room look bigger because it has a small volume and takes up less space. A low bed is especially good for a room with a low ceiling or if the bedroom has sloped ceiling. A low platform bed with a small or no headboard can work very nicely with a sloped ceiling room.

Parents love low platform beds because they are at floor level, making it easy for young people to “roll out of bed” easily and safely. A low platform bed can be an ideal first bed for a child. Some parents will also use a trundle bed for a first bed because it provides a low mattress height on the bottom mattress and later a higher bed height on the top mattress.

People that co-sleep with their children tell us that a low bed gives them peace of mind that children will not fall out of the bed during the night.

Low platform beds are the ideal base for the Japanese platform beds. While a Tatami Mat, Futon or Shikibuton can certainly be used on the floor, we have many customers order a simple low bed to keep their mat up off the floor, adding style and definition to their bedroom while helping to keep the bedding clean.

The pros and cons of low platform beds

Advantages of a low platform bed:

    • Budget friendly – no box spring is required
    • Simple assembly, can often be moved easily
    • Low height makes it easy for kids and pets to get into bed
    • Rolling out of bed is snap
    • A lower bed makes the room look bigger

Disadvantages of a low platform bed:

    • Getting in and out of bed might be harder for some people
    • Less room for storage space underneath the bed
    • May require special low profile nightstands and lamps
    • Likely not the best bed for elderly persons
    • Watch out for your shins!

What is a floating bed?

Also known as a cantilever bed, a floating bed is a platform bed that appears to “hover” just above the bedroom floor by placing the legs or base where they are less visible from the common view. Floating platform bed frames often include built in nightstands which also levitate alongside the mattress.

floating platform bed
cherry wood low platform bed frame front view
platform beds, Platform Beds

Benefits of a High Platform Bed 

A high platform bed uses legs to raise the finished bed height to 24 inches or higher bringing the bed to a more typical mattress height.

People typically choose a high platform bed frame to provide extra storage space under the bed. Some people also find that a high platform makes it easier to get in and out of bed.

A high Platform Bed with stairs can make it easier for people to access taller beds.

headboard with arch
Platform Bed with Headboard in White Oak
canopy bed with headboard
Canopy Platform Bed with Headboard in Cherry

Canopy platform beds

A canopy bed adds a posts and a frame to any platform or storage bed frame. The canopy bed bases and frame can be used for hanging curtains, drapes or other materials to add style and privacy to the bed.

Storage Beds

A storage platform bed makes the most of often-unused space under the bed by providing built in drawers, cabinet doors or other spaces for storage. Storage platform beds support or replace an unused and often dusty space with clean, well-organized drawers or cabinets. Where as typical under-bed storage gets dusty, a storage bed keeps things clean and well organized.

Some storage beds also include drawers or shelves in the headboard of the bed. Readers appreciate a bookcase headboard that keeps their favorite texts within arm’s reach. Some beds can even have a space for a small lamp to sit on one of the shelves.

12 drawer storage bed
12 Drawer Storage Bed
loft bed for adults
Loft Bed with Desk and Shelves

Loft beds

Loft bed frames are our tallest type of platform bed, with the mattress platform starting 5 feet or more from the floor. A loft bed is similar to a bunk bed, but replaces with bottom bed with open space that can be filled with a desk, table or other furniture.

Loft beds for adults are a great choice for small rooms because they:

    • Raise the bed up off the floor
    • Open up the room for extra storage, work or play space
    • Create a cozy sleeping “perch”

Solid wood platform beds

Solid wood platform beds are worth it because wood is the strongest and most beautiful choice for any bed. Wood construction provides a firm, solid surface squeak-free foundation for any type of mattress.

The natural beauty of real hardwood is unsurpassed. Whether the fascinating tones of Cherry, rich White Oak or dark Walnut, wood will bring a natural warmth to the bedroom that cannot be replicated by metal or man made veneers.

If cared for properly, high quality bed and hardwood beds will last for decades or longer and can become a family heirloom valued my multiple generations.

Hardwood can be repaired easily and does not chip, warp or otherwise deform over time.

Real wood is healthy and does not emit chemical fumes found in particle board, metal or painted products.

Health benefits of solid wood platform beds

An investment in a solid wood platform bed will support your mattress and provide years of peaceful, healthy sleep.

    • Unlike particle board that will offgas chemicals for years, solid wood emits no harmful fumes.
    • Customers tell us that putting their mattress on top of a solid wood platform gives them a grounded feeling while sleeping and as a result they wake up feeling refreshed and ready for their day.
    • Low platform beds facilitate sleeping low to the ground, which many customers report is a key for their sound sleep.
    • A solid, squeak free platform ensures quiet and restful sleep.
    • Box Springs can become a place for dust, dirt and even Dust Mites to accumulate. People with dust and dust mite allergies should consider switching to a platform bed and eliminating their box spring to reduce the presence of allergens in their bedroom.
    • Solid wood does not conduct EMFs

Feng Shui and Low Platform Beds

Low Platform Beds can be ideal for Feng Shui enthusiasts as experts say that a bed height should be between 8-18 inches from the floor and the space between the mattress and floor should be open. There should be as little as possible between the person using the low profile bed frame and the floor. This will help to ground the sleeper and ensure good sleep.

torii gate bed
Canopy Bed with Torii Gate Headboard

What about Box Spring beds?

People who say “I hate Platform Beds” should take a look at the benefits of a Box Spring bed. A Box Spring bed supports the mattress with a Box Spring. Generally, a Box Spring is sold by the manufacturer alongside the mattress. The bed is designed for the thickness of both the Box Spring and the mattress together. While a Box Spring bed does have horizonal support slats, they are generally fewer in number and would not support a thicker mattress even without a Box Spring.

box spring bed with tall headboard side view
Walnut Box Spring Bed

Benefits of a Box Spring vs Platform

Buyers often choose a Box Spring bed vs a Platform when they want a more traditional look and feel to their bed. When both a Box Spring and mattress are stacked together the has a much taller vertical mattress look, most often twice the thickness of the platform alternative. This will make the bed look larger in the room, and depending on the overall design of the bed, will often make the top of the mattress higher.

A Box Spring bed allows the use of a Bed Skirt which is a piece of material, most often tucked between the wooden box spring and the mattress, that covers the space between the bottom of the Box Spring and floor. This gives a traditional finished look to this type of bed and can cover this space so that items under the bed cannot be seen.

A Box Spring can also provide a different feel to a mattress and some mattresses are designed to be used specifically with a Box Spring. In some cases, this type of bed can be more “springy” or “bouncy.” Make sure to buy a high-quality Box Spring, as some customers complain that they can be squeaky or creaky over time.

Platform Bed FAQs

Can you put a Box Spring on a Platform Bed?

Yes, it is possible, but it will depend on the bed design. Platform Beds are generally deigned to accommodate only a mattress and the addition of a Box Spring could make the finished mattress height taller than desired.

Does a Platform Bed feel different than Box Spring?

This will be highly dependent on your mattress type and mattress manufacturer recommendation. There are a wide variety of different styles and types of mattresses designed to be used in both types of beds

Do Platform Beds need Box Springs?

A platform bed is designed for use without Box Springs

Do you need a Box Spring with a bed frame?

Beds are generally designed for a either with our without a Box Spring. Depending on your bed type you may or may not need one.

Are Platform Beds comfortable to sleep on?

Yes! Platform Beds are our best-selling bed for a reason. Our customers report that Platform Beds are extremely comfortable.

How thick should a mattress be for a platform bed?

A platform bed can accommodate any thickness of mattress from a 1 inch thick Tatami Mat to and 18 inch inch thick or larger memory foam mattresses. When planning your bed purchase please also plan for your mattress thickness, especially in relation to headboards, footboards and overall finish bed height.

Does a platform bed need ventilation?

If a mattress is not ventilated properly mold and mildew can form between the bed surface and bottom of the mattress. Slatted platform beds are built with wooden mattress support slats, typically space between 1 and 3 inches apart to provide this needed ventilation. If you build or purchase a bed with a solid plywood or particle board mattress foundation, consider adding ventilation holes to provide proper air circulation.

What is the difference between a platform bed and a regular bed?

A platform bed is a popular alternative to “regular” or “traditional” bed frames that require a box springs.

Why are platform beds so cheap?

A platform beds is lower in total cost vs other types of beds because it does not require a purchase of a box spring or other additional mattress foundation. In addition, many of our platform beds are simple in design which makes them lower in cost.

Can I raise a platform bed without legs?

To fine tune your bed height with minimal effort, mattress topper can help you quickly raise a platform bed by 1 to 4 inches. A topper is placed directly on top of your mattress and in addition to making your bed taller, it can be comfortable  too!

American Hardwood Platform Beds from Solid Custom Heirlooms

At Solid Custom Heirlooms we build all types of Platform Beds and also work with customers to create beds customized to their individual needs. Each piece of furniture is built to order by American craftspeople from the highest quality hardwood, sourced from throughout the Appalachian region. We believe that “solid is best” and avoid the use of veneers and compressed particle board. We are practical artists devoted to the creation of attractive forms in beautiful wood that meet functional needs and provide visual pleasure for generations of users.

Solid Custom Heirlooms is a family owned and operated company started in 2010 by an Ohio native when he turned a woodworking hobby into a business. Today we are a three generation strong family business that employs skilled craftspeople throughout the Appalachian region for our design, furniture building and finishing operations. We are proud that the production and sale of our furniture supports the people and economy of the Appalachian region.