sleeping low
September 22, 2010 4:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about getting a platform bed for my new place. Any downsides I should know about?

I'm curious about how a platform bed affects comfort, cleaning, storage, sex, and pretty much anything else.
posted by roger ackroyd to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You can't put anything under the bed -- it's too low. If this matters a lot, just look for a platform bed frame that's taller, or think about putting (matching) blocks of wood or the like underneath to make it taller. Everything else is awesome -- I find it much more comfortable than my previous mattress + box spring bed.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:59 PM on September 22, 2010

As far as I can tell, it's basically a box-spring that shifts a little less. The things you have to check out before you buy, like build quality, solidity, warranty, how high off the ground it is, all that stuff is basically the same as it is for a standard mattress-plus-boxspring setup except you don't have to worry about hauling around the box spring when you move. As long as they have a way for your mattress to breath a bit underneath them (which I'm told is important but don't have any experience with; mine has plenty of ventilation and I've never owned one that didn't) they're pretty good; I hear you should avoid the ones that are a solid piece of plywood under the mattress, is all.

I find that at moments of... vigorous activity? they tend to make less noise than standard bed frames, so there is that. Having more storage space under the bed, depending on how high it is off the ground, is pretty great too. But in every other respect you're just replacing your box spring with either nothing, or some amount of space you might be able to use.
posted by mhoye at 5:01 PM on September 22, 2010

Your mattress might wear a little faster. If you get a low platform bed, you're that much closer to the floor, so the floor needs to be clean (also, it might be harder to get out of bed in the morning). There might be less room for straps/ties/clips if you're into that sort of thing.

Nice looking. No box spring means less space for bed bugs to hide. Less creaking!
posted by analog at 5:03 PM on September 22, 2010

I have a platform bed (this one, I think) and after five years the spine running down the middle is just the wrong height for a Roomba. It's too high for the Roomba to notice but too low for it to clean under, so it gets stuck there, beeping sadly for help until I come poke it out with a broom.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:05 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've had several platform beds. One was about 5 ft off the ground (just low enough for me and spouse to sit up in bed). Benefits? great storage. We put our dresser underneath it flush with the edge, and boxes etc behind the dresser. Downside? Hard to get into and out of at the end of pregnancy (may or may not be relevant).

The one we have now is lower than that, but still high. We have a second platform that is the right height to sit at the end of the bed with your feet on it as if it is the floor (if you don't like to climb out of bed). I like that the platform is actually bigger than the mattress. Although this affects how you sit on the edge of the bed, I like having a place for extra blankets or pillows to go or fall, but still within reach.
posted by kch at 5:12 PM on September 22, 2010

My experience and understanding of platform beds is the complete opposite of many of the previous posters. I slept on a platform bed for about ten years as an adult, and another fifteen or twenty as a child.

My childhood bed functioned as my model for what a platform bed should be; namely, a platform (ideally wood), integrally connected to the frame of the bed. There was no box spring. There was simply wood and mattress.

Apart from the lack of box spring, the childhood bed looked and was the same height as any other bed.

The adult platform was considerably lower, but not too low. Like its predecessor, there was no box spring. Unlike its predecessor, it had sliding drawers underneath--that is, drawers almost as large as half the bed, one on either side, on wheels, that you could roll out for easy access. They were great! It was a totally logical spot for extra linens, pillows, and so on.

These two beds are the most comfortable I've ever slept in. In my experience, box springs are trouble waiting to happen. At some point one of the springs twists, even just a little. If you sleep with a mate, often quite a lot, and usually in the center of the bed. Like the princess and the pea, you always feel it, and eventually suffer for it. I would argue box springs are the cause of many a bad back. Such problems are completely eliminated with wood. So my advice: Yes to platforms! No to box springs!
posted by Violet Blue at 5:20 PM on September 22, 2010

I've had two of this style of japanese platform bed and have loved them both. Easy to clean underneath, two big drawers for storage and the tatami mats (under the futon) smell like freshly mown grass -- even after a few years. It's much firmer (obviously) than a box springs and mattress but I find it extremely comfortable.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 5:32 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I switched to a platform this summer after years of the box spring and mattress combo. I bought this one from West Elm (in dark wood, plus a headboard). I put a mattress from Keetsa on top. It's great! Looks good, about the same height as my last bed but with less creaking and more stability. I am really not sure what a box spring adds to a bed, but I don't miss it in the least.
posted by JenMarie at 5:32 PM on September 22, 2010

I occasionally sleep in an Ikea platform bed with wood slats (I don't know the model, but it's a pretty standard platform bed). I don't like it. At all. It's too low for my stupid, borrowed-from-an-old-person knees, so that sucks. I like storing things under my bed, so if it were my permanent bed, I'd have a problem with that. I also don't like the rim around the side. It's nice if you want a surface to set a cup of tea down on, but most of the time it's just something hard that I bang my elbow/ankle/head into. And it really sucks if you put your hand in the gap between the mattress and the rim and then someone else sits on the bed, because your knuckles will get smushed. And it has become really squeaky with, uh, use. And sometimes the slats move around and make big scary noises like something's going to break so you have to stop what you're doing, pick up the mattress, and set them back properly.

Yeah, platform beds do not get my vote. Ugh.
posted by phunniemee at 5:44 PM on September 22, 2010

It's important to be aware that a lot of poeple - like phunniemee - have only ever encountered platform beds that sit right on the ground. There are others; I'm about to buy one that's nearly six inches high. "No space underneath" is a common but not universal property of platform beds.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:08 PM on September 22, 2010

I bought this one from West Elm (in dark wood

I have that same bed frame. Two, actually (one in the guest room). It's great. It's basically the same height as a "normal" bed, so it's plenty tall enough for storage boxes underneath. Mattress salesmen's claims notwithstanding, there's no real reason for a box spring. Box springs are basically just overpricsd wood frames covered with fabric-- they add nothing except some height and, as analog notes above, additional places for bedbugs to hide, and they are god's own pain in the ass to move.
posted by dersins at 6:25 PM on September 22, 2010

We built ours. We spent about $100 on timbers and screws. You need a drill and a saw, and a palm sander and polyeurethane to finish.

Our measurements are for a king size bed. If you want them, MeMail me.

We built ours very simply, but along either side we have bookshelf cubbies. The mattresses (two twin extra longs) sit inside a little lip, sort of like a waterbed.

If you lift a mattress, and slide a slat, voila, tons of underbed storage. That's where we keep our off season clothing, in our luggage, and where we hide "adult" items from our kids, as well as presents. They know they're in there, but they can't get to them, bwha haha ha!

It's easier to clean, because dust and stuff can't get under the bed. There's no bedskirt to wash, so that's nice.

You can build it to the exact height you want (we did), and if you base it on a certain partners' leg height, that can be very nice. Also, it's giant and solid and heavy, so you can pretty much do anything to it/on it, and there's no noise or shifting.

The husband has back problems, and it's been wonderful for him. I like it, too. Plus, a king mattress, plus box spring and bed frame, you're looking at $750 to $1200. We spent less than $400 on materials and two TXL mattresses. So I think it was worth doing.
posted by Leta at 6:33 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

It really depends on which platform bed you get regarding under-bed storage. Some are so low that they provide none. Others provide more than a traditional mattress and box-spring bed since there's no need for a box-spring. Box-springs are ridiculous and unnecessary. Get a good mattress and put it on slats!

I love platform beds. I think they look much better than traditional beds.
posted by 2oh1 at 6:39 PM on September 22, 2010

Husband and I sleep on a tatami-mat-plus-futon platform that's about 6 inches off the ground. My favorite thing about it is that when one of us tosses and turns, the other person doesn't notice. Nice and solid. When we go to hotels, it's like sleeping on noisy jello.

The vacuum doesn't fit under the bed, so I don't vacuum under the bed but maybe once a year. I'm a bad person.

I definitely like platform beds better than boxsprings. The biggest challenge for me has been - how do you decorate a cheap apartment bedroom dominated by a low bed?
posted by hishtafel at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2010

Mr. TBS and I have a Malm bed from Ikea and we love it.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 9:08 PM on September 22, 2010

I much prefer them for my back. Solid bed plus mattress with foam and I'm a happy camper. The main thing is the height- too low and they're a pain to clean under. Too high and you store all kinds of junk under there.
posted by fshgrl at 11:10 PM on September 22, 2010

Best answer: I spent several years sleeping on a platform bed and loved it. But you need to pick a much softer mattress than what you would put on top of a box spring, or it will feel like you're sleeping directly on the platform.
posted by DrGail at 5:51 AM on September 23, 2010

So it's kind of expensive, but I have a platform bed with a dozen built-in drawers. Holds pretty much all of my clothes that don't need a hanger and is solid as a freaking rock, probably because it weighs north of 700 pounds. Doesn't move or creak ever.

That was my single biggest purchase last year, but I figure it'll probably be part of my estate.
posted by valkyryn at 5:52 AM on September 23, 2010

Response by poster: I'm going to go for it. Probably that West Elm model, if it's still on sale. Thanks to everyone who weighed in!
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:33 PM on September 23, 2010

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