Why Do You Need Box Springs?

Your ability to get a good night's sleep can make or break your day. A comfortable, supportive mattress is a must for sound sleeping, but box springs -- also called foundations -- can be optional depending on your bed frame. These cloth-covered wood frames strung with sturdy wires and set with coils support the weight of the mattress and sleepers, while allowing for air circulation and raising the bed to a more convenient height. In many European-style or modern bedsteads, a series of wooden slats placed horizontally across the bed frame take the place of the box spring.

Modern bedroom
credit: etse1112/iStock/Getty Images
A low-slung modern bed may use slats instead of a box spring unit.

When to Invest in Box Springs

Raising the mattress off the floor with a box spring not only increases your comfort, it improves the look of the bedroom when you don't have a slatted bed frame. Once the mattress is raised on a box spring -- and set into a low metal frame with wheels or on feet screwed into the wooden frame -- you only need to place it against a headboard for the finished look of a bed. Also, when you buy a mattress, not buying the compatible box spring manufactured for that mattress can void the warranty on your pricey purchase. And while mattresses are expected to last at least seven years, using a box spring can extend the useful life of its accompanying mattress, according to the mattress industry's Better Sleep Council.