What is a Mattress Foundation?

standard size mattress foundation

Beneath the Mattress

A mattress foundation is a bed base with a wooden frame and either springs or metal rods that provide support to a mattress. The foundation is usually the same size as the mattress that sits on it. While the mattress provides support to the human body, the foundation ensures that the mattress itself is properly supported to maintain a long comfort life.

Foundations raise the height of a mattress, making it easier to climb in and out of bed. They also absorb shock and reduce wear. In a complete bed set, foundations are typically placed on top of a wooden or metal bed frame that is connected to the headboard and footboard.

It's also common to see mattresses and foundations used together without a complete bed. Many sleepers who don't feel the need to have a decorative-looking bed place their foundation directly on the floor.

Related: What is a box spring?


Over the last several years, advancements in sleep technology have resulted in mattresses that are a lot taller than they used to be. For this reason, many manufacturers produce low-profile foundations, which provide the same amount of support as standard foundations but are shorter to reduce the height of the sleep set. Standard foundations measure 9 inches in height, and low profile foundations measure between 5 and 5.5 inches.

The difference in height between the two is completely aesthetic, and there is no difference in the amount of support they provide to a mattress. Whether you lay your mattress on top of a standard or low profile foundation, you can count on it getting the support it needs to maintain its comfort for as long as it should.

Do I Need a Foundation?

The type of base you need depends on your mattress and bed frame. Innerspring mattresses usually do well with a box spring and foundation. However, there are different types of beds that are designed to support a mattress. Adjustable beds and platform beds are two examples. It will also often work to place a mattress directly on the floor.

Latex beds and memory foam beds often feel better on a more solid surface than a foundation provides. They work well with an adjustable base or platform, but that's not to say you can't use a traditional foundation with them. It comes down to preference and what your warranty requires. The same goes for hybrid mattresses, which can work well with traditional box springs or the more modern solutions.

Learn more about different types of mattresses:

Protect Your Warranty

Most manufacturers require that a mattress be supported by a foundation in order to file warranty claims. There are exceptions to this, such as when a mattress lies on a platform bed. Since platform beds feature either wooden slats or a deck, the mattress does not require the additional support of a foundation.

If you're not sure if you should purchase a foundation with your mattress, or you have questions about a foundation you found on our site, you can call 1-800-455-1052 to speak with a friendly mattress expert who will be happy to further assist you.

Shop Foundations and Box Springs

Beautyrest Silver sale

Sign up for exclusive deals & more!

Brand Reviews

Tempur-Pedic Review Stearns & Foster Review Beautyrest Review Sealy Review Serta Review Restonic Review Scott Living Review Ashley Sleep Review Spring Air Review Chattam & Wells Review Talapedic Review Vispring Review Sapphire Dream Review Joybed Review Renew Review
Stearns and Foster sale
mattress finder