What’s the Best Bed Base for a Memory Foam Mattress?

Having the right base for your memory foam mattress is essential. Not sure what the best bed frame or foundation is for your new Novosbed mattress? Read on to find out.

Foundations for Memory Foam Mattresses

Here are the best bases for memory foam mattresses:

  • Standard Spring-free Foundation
    Foundations look very similar to box springs, but they do not use springs in their construction. Instead, they use lightweight fiberboard for increased strength and support. Many also employ a 1/4” MDF (medium density fiberboard) layer on the top level for flat and even distribution of the mattress.
  • Box spring
    If you’d like to use your box spring, ensure it is strong and durable, and can provide evenly distributed support to keep the mattress level. Look for a 1/4” layer of perforated plywood covering the top level to add strength and support (the perforations must be present to provide adequate air circulation beneath the mattress).

Remember: Many people use box springs under their mattresses to add height and an extra bit of bounce. Though they seem like a great fit, not all box springs are designed to support memory foam mattresses. Keep the following in mind:

  • Memory foam mattresses are heavier than regular foam or spring mattresses, and require a sturdy foundation that is capable of supporting a heavier load. For example: a Novosbed Classic Queen mattress weighs 89.8lbs. Added to this is your body weight (let’s say, 160lbs per person, two people per bed). Altogether, that is 409.8lbs placed on top of a foundation.
  • Unlike spring mattresses, which have internal structures, foam mattresses rely more on the support underneath to distribute their mass evenly. If your foundation has a slight sag in the middle, your mattress will dip into the sag, and will not have the support needed to provide the many benefits of memory foam to you.

Box Spring without its Cover

Spring-free Foundation

Now that you have a good foundation in mind, it’s time to choose a bed frame. With so many options out there, it’s difficult to know what to choose. Read on for a few ideas to help.

Bed Frames for Memory Foam Mattresses

Many bed frames will support a memory foam mattress. Here are some ideas of what to look for — and what to avoid.

  • Platform
    Because they are flat, strong, and durable, platform beds are ideal for memory foam mattresses. Platform beds are often made with heavier materials, and incorporate a strong layer of plywood to keep the mattress level and supported. Platform beds work well both with and without a foundation, however if using a platform bed without a foundation, ensure that the surface is untreated and porous (see specifications in our warranty) to allow for proper ventilation beneath the mattress.
  • Bed frame with slats
    A more lightweight approach is using a bed frame with horizontally placed wooden slats. These are easy to assemble, and often stand slightly higher off the ground than a platform bed. If you choose to use a slatted bedframe without a foundation, make sure that the wooden slats are no more than 3 inches wide, spaced no more than 3 inches apart. This will ensure that your memory foam mattress is supported properly, and doesn’t sink through the cracks.
  • Metal bed frames
    Most metal bed frames are designed to be used with a box spring or foundation, and a spring mattress. If you’d like to use a metal frame, make sure it provides enough support to hold a heavier memory foam mattress on top of a high quality box spring. For larger beds, such as Queen beds or King beds, consider adding a 5th leg to the frame to provide extra support.

Platform bed

Bed frame with slats

Metal bed frame

The Bad and the Ugly

Here are a couple examples of what not to use with your memory foam mattress.

Your memory foam mattress won’t break a box spring, but you should ensure that its foundation is strong enough to support the added weight.

Futon Frame – Small metal poles are too narrow for a foam mattress, and the double frame panels may fold in towards the center.

Jay Smith is chief bloggist at Novosbed.

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