If you’re shopping for a daybed or a new mattress, you might be wondering is something is missing.
Do you need a box spring for a daybed? Box springs are not necessary on daybeds since the daybed frame itself provides adequate support for your mattress. The extra space below the frame can be used for storage or sometimes a trundle bed.
There are however some things we need to consider to be 100% sure that we’re providing the right support for our mattress.
What’s a Box Spring
A box spring is a (usually) wooden box covered in cloth that provides a flat surface to evenly support and raise a mattress. Generally speaking, they have not contained actual springs for about two decades.
Why Daybeds Don’t Need a Boxspring
Daybeds simply aren’t designed to need them. Their frames provide adequate support for a mattress while also allowing the space where the box spring would have been, to be used for storage bins or baskets and even trundle beds.
Modern mattresses provide more than enough cushioning and shock absorption on their own without the need to add a box spring for extra “springiness”.
Also, these same one-sided mattresses have built-in strength at the base which negates the need for a flat supportive surface under them.
As long as the supporting slats on the daybed aren’t spaced too far apart, there will be enough surface area to keep the mattress in tip-top shape.
Some Mattresses Require Special Support
In some cases, as with a Beautyrest Mattress, the manufacturer specifically states that slats must be at least 2 inches wide with no more than 2 inches of space in between.
If this is not the case, the mattress will be damaged and the warranty will be void.
But, you usually wouldn’t buy a top-of-the-line bed mattress for a daybed. Daybed mattresses are more likely to not need any extra support than the daybed already provides. Here are our top picks for daybeds.
If you want to be ultra-protective of your very expensive mattress, you could always add a panel of chipboard on top of your slats to create a single, solid and even surface. (Make sure to measure the size exactly, allowing space for the arm- and backrests.
Common Daybed Frame Designs (That Don’t Need Box Springs)
Daybeds are designed with a wide range of mattress support options. The most common types are metal or wooden slats, separated by an inch or two of space. A far less common type of support is link springs, a series of metal links that act as an elastic base which offers extra shock absorption for your mattress. (Here’s our review of the best daybeds for adults that do not need box springs.)
This is by far the most common mattress support and is especially common in metal daybeds. The metal slats can easily be up to 4 inches apart, which starts to reach the limit of what a mattress can take without showing permanent divots along the slats.
If they’re too far apart, you’ll begin to “feel” the slats through the mattress if you’re using a 6- or even an 8-inch mattress. The closer together the better.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers won’t tell you exactly how far apart the slats are. So you’ll have to order it based on the picture, or your own measurements in person. Try to have the slats as thick as possible with no more than 3 or 4 inches of space between them.
These often provide a wider surface area to support the mattress. Wood is softer than metal and the manufacturer needs the width in the slats to be strong enough to hold your weight. This has the added benefit of ensuring that the slats are at least 2 inches wide, and often much wider.
As long as the space in between is not larger than 4 or 5 inches, your mattress should be fine.
Flat Wood Panel
This is the exception and it most often found in antiques, upholstered or ornate wooden daybed designs and sometimes in DIY projects. Here you have no concern as to how much support your base will provide as it’s a solid piece of wood with no spacing in between. All you’ll need to consider is a soft, comfortable mattress with a good structural base support built-in and you’ll be sitting and sleeping for years on your comfortable daybed.
This is a highly uncommon daybed design but it does exist. Your mattress will have support that’s much more evenly spread than mere slats and it will be extra absorptive, but it will probably also be a little noisy and unnecessarily bouncy.
When Do You Need a Box Spring?
As mentioned before, in the case of some manufacturers, your mattress warranty will be void unless you provide adequate support from the bed base. This, however, is more common with expensive mattresses that would be used for beds and not daybeds. Your average 8-inch memory foam mattress will be just fine on any popular daybed you’ll find online.
In some rare cases, you may want to raise the height of your daybed. In this case, you might want to consider a box spring on top of your daybed. This is not guaranteed to fit and you’ll probably need a daybed with no arm or backrests. Rather invest in a 12-inch mattress of thicker to try and create extra height. Another option is to add risers to the legs of the daybed.
Here’s another reason you might be thinking of getting a box spring for your daybed. If the slats on your daybed are too far apart and you can feel them through the mattress. Fortunately, this will be easily remedied by a wooden panel over the slats rather than buying an expensive box spring and hoping it fits on top of your daybed. (It probably won’t)
Daybeds don’t need box springs, but depending on the types of slats, link springs or wood panel support your daybed provides, you may need to add a flat wooden panel for extra comfort or to avoid the mattress from getting damaged on the undersize and voiding the warranty.