Box-spring mattresses provide the foundation beneath a variety of mattress types, taking the brunt of the wear to provide the mattress with a longer life. Some companies tell you that if you don't buy the box spring or recommended foundation for their mattresses, they may void the warranty. But some people still say "no" to the traditional box spring and have found creative alternatives to them.

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Man reading a newspaper in bed.

Platform Bed

Bedroom interior
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Modern bedroom with platform bed.

To streamline the look of a bed, some people opt for a platform bed. Just like it sounds, the bed frame consists of a wood platform supported by legs, with an attached headboard or even nightstands. But in place of a box-spring foundation, the mattress rests directly on the platform, which provides the needed support. Some box springs act as shock absorbers for the mattress or provide the lift needed to make the bed height comfortable; platform beds are built high enough to make the bed the right height.

Wire and Metal Frames

Curtained bed
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Metal frame bed.

A daybed with a hidden trundle bed beneath does away with the box-spring mattress, using a wire and metal frame in place of it. The wire is woven between the metal frame in such a way to provide give when the weight of a body is on the bed. The trundle frame collapses flat with the mattress atop it to slide beneath the day bed when not in use. Often made up to appear like a many-pillowed couch in a guest room, a trundle daybed provides sleep for two when opened up.

Take It to the Floor

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Bohemian bedroom.

In the 1960s, hippies took to placing their mattresses directly on the floor, as is done in many other cultures around the world. This works really well for a home decorated in a shabby-chic or Bohemian style. Some even built raised niches just to hold the bed into which you have to climb steps to get. These types of beds often sit on plush rugs or include canopies for a special hideaway.

Captain's Bed

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Captians bed with spa robes on edge.

Designed after the built-in beds captains used aboard ships and many waterbeds in the late 1970s to 1980s, the captain's bed provides a raised but framed-in platform-type bed. Beneath the bed, there's a lot of extra cupboards, drawers and storage space. The platform usually consists of plywood edged in wood the depth of the mattress or slightly lower to make getting into and out of the bed comfortable. These beds may even be a bit taller than standard beds; they can be standalone or built into niches or against the wall in a bedroom.

Futon Frame

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Futon in studio.

A futon frame uses a cotton mattress that does not have a box spring beneath it. The frame itself uses slats that run the width of the mattress. In the upright position, a futon doubles as a couch during the day, but when the back is released to a flat position, the cotton mattress becomes flat for sleeping, often enough for two people. This often is a staple in a studio apartment or a college student's dorm room.