oh boy! another question about bedding!
January 15, 2015 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Can you put a mattress on a split box spring directly on the floor, or do we really need to get another bedframe?

Masculinemillipede and I have a king size tempurpedic mattress on a split king size box spring (you know, where it's in two pieces instead of one big piece, like two double-bed-or-so-sized box springs side-by-side), in a metal bed frame. One of the wheels on our bedframe has become unstable--long story short, we investigated replacing it or dealing with it somehow, and these particular wheels on our particular bedframe are not in the Home Depot wheels for your bed and other sundries section (there is such a section! wow!) and we'd have to write some unknown manufacturer to find the exact part for the exact wheel, and we just can't. We just can't and we won't. We quit. We are tired.

We are tired because now that the wheel is unstable, masculinemillipede and I participate in an 8-hour one-of-us-waking-up-the-other-one pee-and-wiggle-legs-around-to-adjust-fest every night. When the wheel was not broken, one of us could pretty much jump up and down on one side of the bed and the other one would stay asleep.

Soooooooooo. We were wondering--exactly how bad of an idea would it be to dispense of the bed frame altogether? We'd just have the split box spring on the floor, with the mattress over it. Normally I'd think this would be fine, but I'm a bit worried about the splitness of the box spring. Is the frame somehow holding it together? Will a gap form? Has anyone tried this and had it work or not work? Believe it or not, I've spent the past hour googling this very specific and kind of dumb question and I have found nothing.

(I know our other option is just to buy a new bedframe. We could! But the idea of the bed actually being a little lower anyway is appealing, so no bedframe at all could be the best solution, if you, metafilter people, tell me that it is ok.)
posted by millipede to Home & Garden (29 answers total)
Take all the wheels off! The bed frame will still be there, it'll be lower, and the box spring issue won't matter. Stick a piece of felt or something under each leg to protect your floor.
posted by phunniemee at 3:12 PM on January 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: We will investigate that! I seem to recall that there is a protrusion where each wheel is screwed on, which could leave the bed not-so-stable, though.
posted by millipede at 3:14 PM on January 15, 2015

Mold, crawly insects, and bugs. Oh my.

How about a simple block of wood to hold that corner? (If there's a bedskirt)
posted by artdrectr at 3:17 PM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Keeping the frame sans wheels seems like a better idea than mine, which was to tie the box spring together with a rope around the perimeter. That would prevent the little movements from shoving the box springs apart over time, which is a potential problem. Any non-stretchy rope would do it. If it's any bit abrasive, wrap the rope with cloth or small stuff (i.e. a smaller rope coiled around the larger one) to prevent damage from rubbing.

That wheel thing seems way easier, though.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:22 PM on January 15, 2015

If there's a little thing protruding where the wheels are, there's probably a little footie thing you can get to replace the wheels or otherwise cover the protrusion.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:38 PM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

You can remove the wheels, but the standoffs for them will probably damage the floor. Get some furniture mover pads to protect the floor.

Anyway, yes, you can totally just put the box springs on the floor. I've done this lots.

The box springs won't go anywhere, especially if the floor is carpeted. If it is wood/laminate and you are, ahem, very active, then, maybe they might separate ? Run a rope around it then, but I don't see it happening.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:46 PM on January 15, 2015

I'm not sure if the problem with replacing the wheel is that the Home Depot available replacements wouldn't be the same size as the other wheels (leaving the bed unstable) or if they won't fit onto your existing frame at all. If the former, could you remove and replace all the wheels?
posted by Caz721 at 3:49 PM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, you should be able to get little bed frame foot, uh. Shoes? Covers. Something.

But otherwise, no, there isn't really much reason to worry about putting it right on the floor, assuming you do not live in a medieval den of filth. Entire nations of people sleep on mattresses (ok, futons) on the floor and have not yet died from it.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:07 PM on January 15, 2015

Best answer: Ditch the frame. You can absolutely put the boxes right on the floor, and the mattress on that. The weight of the Tempurpedic will keep the boxes in place. Those things weigh a ton.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:10 PM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Do you have rats? No? Then it's fine.

Move it sometimes to clean under it. We did this for five years, it was fine. Thinking about doing it again because my bed frame is pissing me off lately!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:18 PM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is your frame just a standard metal-with-wheels thing with the sliding brackets for width? People get rid of those all the time and you should be able to pick one up just about anywhere for a nickel.
posted by rhizome at 4:24 PM on January 15, 2015

Bed frames supposedly help airflow. I don't know if that matters as much if your mattress is a big hunk of foam.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:25 PM on January 15, 2015

Where do you live? In a more humid climate (like the Pacific Northwest) a boxspring on the floor is a terrible idea because of mold. It won't matter if it's on a carpeted surface or hardwood or anything, eventually you'll grow mold under the bed and it will be bad. (Ask me how I know.)
posted by purple_bird at 4:37 PM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Don't do it!! You're very likely to get mold growth. Get a piece of 2X4 out of the scrap but at The Home Depot and use that in place of the wheel. If it's too high, pound it a few times with a hammer. Or, take all the wheels off and use furniture coasters.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:23 PM on January 15, 2015

Response by poster: We live in NYC. Our apartment is extremely dry.
posted by millipede at 5:32 PM on January 15, 2015

My old queen mattresses sat on the floor, in the Pacific Northwest. I didn't have any mold/bug problems. The mattresses would shift around on the hardwood floor a bit and the top mattress especially would tend to slide when I leant or slept against the wall in bed, but the same thing happens to a lesser extent in my current bed which has a wheeled frame. I think it will be fine.
posted by wrabbit at 5:49 PM on January 15, 2015

Be very careful moving that mattress, and make sure you have a solid plan and maybe some rope and/or friends to help. Even with two people, you are going to have trouble. If either of you has a delicate back, be even more careful.

Mattresses are awkward to move -- it's hard to get a grip on them -- and surprisingly, very, very heavy.
posted by amtho at 6:00 PM on January 15, 2015

Get those furniture leg protectors that are metal cup shaped with carpet on the bottom.

I've found that no frame puts the hem of your bed covers down into dust bunny territory. They'll get dingy looking a lot faster.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:01 PM on January 15, 2015

We live in NYC. Our apartment is extremely dry.

In that case, don't do it because bed bugs. You never know when one might hitch a ride in on your clothes or bag and they are more likely to end up in your bed and ingest you if it is not elevated.
posted by Jahaza at 6:08 PM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Infest autocorrect, infest, but actually "ingest" works too.
posted by Jahaza at 6:09 PM on January 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

It's a pity you're on the other coast because I'm just freecycling a frame for a box spring to sit on. It's VERY basic, just some angle-iron with legs, but you can probably find something similar for a few bucks. It really is better to get off the floor. Using the box spring on the floor is better than putting the mattress on the floor, but if you do either you need to lift them to air the underside.

It's amazing how much water the body exudes, and it needs to evaporate. Even in a dry apartment you'll get mold under a mattress left on the floor (cultures that use futons usually do not leave them sitting on the floor.)

Fwiw I think all king size mattresses have two box springs, for easier moving.
posted by anadem at 6:38 PM on January 15, 2015

If the bed is on top of a box spring, this really isn't any different than having a platform bed. Not sure if tempurpedic mattresses need to be flipped, but if they do, flipping should help avoid mold growth.

I'm in New York State, have lived in Florida and NJ, and have always had either platform beds or mattresses on the floor. The only time I ever had a mattress get mildewy was after the ceilings in our apartment leaked quite a bit of water on it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:11 PM on January 15, 2015

these particular wheels on our particular bedframe are not in the Home Depot wheels for your bed and other sundries section (there is such a section! wow!)

FWIW, my experience is that the Home Depot selection in this sundries area can be pretty crappy - I've had better luck with Lowes or local hardware stores.

Or, considering you're in a major city, there have to be places that sell replacement wheels (I'm in a much smaller city than NYC and I can think of about four places off the top of my head where I could get such a thing in my area). "Furniture casters" or just "casters" would be the term to use, and if you can get the broken one off the frame you could probably just take it in to whatever caster manufacturer/wholesaler/supplier you find and they could look and see if they sell a replacement.

It's possible your frame uses some specially-manufactured wheel, but it's about equally likely that the frame company just ordered a bunch of regular stock wheels from a wheel manufacturer.

If you're sick of it, you're sick of it, but you got some room between "Home Depot" and "I give up", is what I'm saying.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:37 PM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Every time i've ever needed a bed frame i've gotten one off of craigslist for free, or like $20 within an hour.

i can't think of any other item that's so readily available for free or incredibly cheap. microwaves maybe?

For what it's worth, i always thought people overstated any problems that come from doing this. Unless your place is DISGUSTING, humid, leaky, or otherwise has some huge mold or pest problem it'll be totally fine. i rocked the floor mattress pretty much non stop from 2007-2013 in 5 places.

The only time i ever had a problem with bed bugs or anything else was on a brand new schmancy mattress on a frame. I honestly don't believe it increases your chances of anything bad. I'd throw the annoying ass frame away, put the mattress on the floor, and get a new free craigslist frame at your leisure.
posted by emptythought at 4:13 AM on January 16, 2015

Response by poster: Some clarification here, because I'm getting the impression that people think either our reasoning is different than it is, or our idea is different than it is:

1) we are not even considering putting the mattress on the floor. The bed spring--a split bed spring, in two pieces, which was the reason I asked this question--would go on the floor, and our mattress would go on top of that. Our mattress would be at regular bed height.

2) I looked at the frame closely last night, and simply taking the wheels off won't work--there are sideways-across-the-entire-bed bars that the wheels attach to that would make this impossible. it would be balancing the entire bed on two really long bars of the thickness of unsharpened ice skate blades. Unstable and bad for the wood floor. We're also not really looking to get a new frame--the idea is we will try the box spring on the floor if it's not a terrible idea, and if we hate it, we'll get a platform bed and throw the box spring and frame away.

3) The idea is to get rid of wheels altogether, because who knows when another one will go bad? The broken one is barely broken at all--just the mechanism that makes sure it doesn't roll isn't entirely functional. I've had a platform bed in the past, and I liked how comparatively stable and sturdy that felt. What we seek here is sturdiness, not a wheel replacement.

My question really centered on whether you can put a mattress atop a split box spring just on the floor, without a frame, because I was worried the box spring might separate and form a gap, or otherwise slide around. I accept as truth that it is ok to put a box spring on the floor with a mattress on top of it; we are not worried about mold (on the box spring? really? why would this be different than a platform bed??) and we're not especially seeing any additional bed bug risk here.
posted by millipede at 6:26 AM on January 16, 2015

We have your exact same mattress (twinsies!) and the boxspring is currently on the floor. We did this as we co-sleep with our toddler and he can get off the bed himself when it is lower to the ground like this. We did this a few months ago and have had no issue yet.
posted by jillithd at 8:30 AM on January 16, 2015

Ugh, I would not do this. Mold and bug issues are the still concerns if you have a box spring on the floor. Shop around for replacement parts or save up for a new frame. You can get a adjustable metal frame for around $30. I've had the same adjustable metal frame (no wheels) for over 10 years, with multiple beds.
posted by Gor-ella at 10:22 AM on January 16, 2015

If the only problem is the wheel rolling around, get a set of furniture cups at Home Depot. They're designed specifically to keep wheeled furniture from moving.
posted by Scienxe at 11:41 AM on January 16, 2015

Yes, you can put a mattress on a split box spring directly on the floor. Now, it's possible that they might slide around a bit, but you can put one of those rug gripper mats under it or something if they do.
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on January 16, 2015

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