How to Install a Box Spring & Mattress

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A mattress and box spring are sometimes sold together as a set.
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A complete bed includes a frame, a box spring, and a mattress. If you are using a bed frame, a box spring is crucial to prevent the mattress from sagging or falling through the frame. It is important to properly position and install both the box spring and mattress as improperly doing so can cause damage to the mattress and discomfort during use. This installation requires no special tools or skills and can be done if a newly purchased mattress does not come with free installation.


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Step 1

Ensure that the bed frame support slats are in place inside the frame before proceeding. The slats should be spaced equally apart. Some frames do not have slats and rely simply on the side ledges to hold the box spring in place.

Step 2

Carefully place the box spring inside the bed frame. The box spring should sit on top of the slats (if applicable) and the inner edges of the frame. Be careful not to tear the sides of the box spring on any metal corners or screws on the frame. If the box spring is in two pieces, lay one side first and ensure it is flush against the inner edge of the frame before placing the second piece.


Step 3

Lift up the mattress and lay it face up on top of the box spring. The edges of the mattress should be mostly flush with the top edges of the box spring. The mattress may slide a little on the box spring during normal use; this is normal.

Step 4

Place the sheets on the mattress, tucking the corners and edges under the mattress in the space between the mattress and box spring to complete the installation.


Rotate your mattress every 6 months to a year. Do so by removing the sheets and rotating the mattress so that the front of the mattress is now at the foot of the bed. If you do not have a pillowtop or plushtop mattress, you can also flip the mattress over so that the top is now face down. Do not perform a mattress flip on pillowtop or plushtop mattresses as this can damage the materials.

Adjust your mattress as needed to prevent the edges of the mattress from sagging over the edges of the box spring.


Mattresses can be heavy. You may want to enlist the help of a friend or family member to help move and position the mattress.