You've purchased your first 'good' mattress. Now what?

When furnishing your bedroom, it can sometimes feel like purchasing a foundation for your bed is unnecessary.

Some questions you might ask yourself include:

  • Is it okay to put a mattress on the floor?
  • Can you put a mattress and box spring on the floor?
  • Does putting your mattress on the floor save money?
  • Will putting my mattress on the floor void the warranty?

Whatever the case may be, here are some things to think about as you consider how you want to set up your bed.

Things To Consider When Setting Up Your Mattress

There are several factors to consider when setting up your mattress, including:

  • The type of flooring you have
  • Your mattress material
  • Potential health benefits of sleeping on the floor
  • Potential disadvantages of floor sleeping
  • Warranty restrictions

Remember that the area you wish to keep your mattress should be cleaned and prepped before putting it down. Be sure to vacuum the floor, including baseboards and crevices, and mop the area if applicable.

It's also good to read through your mattress warranty or ask your mattress retailer for guidelines and recommendations for setting up your mattress correctly.

Note: In some cases, putting your mattress on the floor goes against your warranty. However, some mattress companies recommend placing your bed on the floor.

Do You Want To Put Your Mattress on the Floor?

While sleeping on the floor is not a new concept. It can often make us recall a different time, like when we were just starting after college and didn't want to spend any money on comfort items.

But now, you may be choosing to make better quality sleep a priority. Maybe you've invested in a new mattress or are experiencing mobility issues getting out of a mattress on the floor.

The Surface of the Floor

One factor that should be considered when thinking about keeping a mattress on the floor is what type of flooring you have.

Some of the best floor surfaces for placing a mattress on include:

  • Hardwood
  • Tile
  • Floor mats or tatami (Japanese style mat)
  • Synthetic-fiber carpets or rugs

Flooring surfaces to avoid placing a mattress on include:

  • Plywood
  • Natural-fiber carpet or rugs (these can hold moisture)

The Type of Mattress You Have

The material your mattress is made of can affect its performance on the floor.

While it's true that most any mattress can be used without a frame or foundation of any sort, it may not be wise for every mattress type.

The best mattresses to place on the floor include pocked coil, innerspring, and hybrid mattresses.

It is not advisable to put memory foam, foam, or mattresses from a box directly on the floor. (See the disadvantages of sleeping on the floor section for more detailed information.)

The Benefits of Sleeping on the Floor

In some cultures sleeping on the floor is standard practice. Throughout history and even today, many people still prefer to sleep on or close to the ground. It wasn't until Medieval and Victorian times the standard shifted to a raised bed.

Sleeping on the floor has a varied history, and various benefits can result from this practice, including:

  • Providing excellent support. You will get excellent support when placing your mattress on a solid, flat surface like the floor. In turn, this firm support may help reduce neck or back pain, as it can support proper alignment of the spine.
  • Allowing for a cooler sleeping environment. Since cold air weighs more than hot air, it generally stays low near the floor, which can help you maintain a cooler sleeping environment during hot weather.
  • It can be budget-friendly. One perk many people quote as their primary motivation for putting their mattress on the floor is that they don't need to spend money on a foundation.

The Disadvantages of Sleeping on a Mattress on the Floor

For every benefit floor sleeping has, it also has potential disadvantages.

The following disadvantages may apply more to specific individuals than others, but they are worth considering before placing your bed on the floor.

Sleeping on the Floor Can Be Bad for Allergies

Woman cleaning dust build-up from under a bed foundation with feet.

Floors tend to collect dust and dirt. Sleeping closer to the floor means sleeping closer to potential causes of allergies. If you clean regularly, you may not experience this issue.

However, if you don't stick to a regular cleaning schedule and rarely dust your space, you may find that sleeping on the floor leaves your nose stuffy and your sinuses congested. Keeping your mattress on a dirty floor can also increase the chances of your mattress developing a dust mite or bed bug infestation, as this mattress location gives them better proximity to a new home.

Keeping a Mattress on the Ground Makes Air Circulation Difficult

Earlier, we stated that it is not a good idea to place memory foam, foam, or mattresses in box beds directly on the floor. This is because the memory foam and polyurethane foam mattresses do not allow air to flow properly. This is particularly true if they are set on a carpeted floor, rug, or mat.

The lack of airflow can cause the moisture from night sweats and the heat of your body to build up in the mattress, which can cause a build-up of mold and mildew.

Mobility Issues and Joint Pain

Keeping a mattress on the floor can make it challenging to get out of bed. This may be a strong consideration for the elderly or anyone with chronic pain, mobility issues, or chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Also, depending on your typical sleeping position, sleeping on the floor may cause more joint pain. This is especially true for side-sleepers. As floors provide firm support, they have very little “give.” As a result, this can increase the pressure around the hips, back, neck, and shoulders.

Temperature Fluctuation When a Mattress Is on the Floor

Floor sleeping may be too cold for some climates. The cooler temperatures experienced when putting your mattress on the floor may also be a disadvantage if you live in colder weather or a location known for harsh winters.

If you've placed your mattress on a hardwood or tile floor, the bottom of the bed is likely to become cold from the floor unless it is adequately insulated.

You can buy special mats to protect your mattress from the cold floor, but it is recommended to use a foundation. This option still lets your bed keep a low profile and provides some insulation from the cold.

Bedroom with the mattress on a hardwood floor. 

Safety Tips for Sleeping on the Floor

If you're still determined to keep your bed on the floor, here are some tips for sleeping on the floor safely.

  • Clean your floor regularly. To reduce your exposure to allergens and dust, it can help to clean your floor with a vacuum and a mop regularly. Spaces around the bed tend to be a high foot traffic area in the bedroom, keeping these spaces as clean as possible. This ensures overall comfort, helps preserve your mattress, and can help prevent a bed bug infestation.
  • Let your bed air out. We recommend airing out your mattress at least once a week. However, if you live in a more humid climate, it may be wise to air out your bed more frequently. You can easily do this by tipping it on its side and resting it against the wall or another sturdy surface.
  • Carefully consider your mattress type. If you have a memory foam mattress, it may not be wise to put it directly on the floor, as this type of mattress is more likely to trap heat and develop a mold problem due to the lack of airflow.
  • Triple check your mattress warranty. Before plopping your mattress on the floor, read through your warranty carefully. Some mattress warranties are voided when the mattress is not used with a box spring or bed frame, which goes against its recommended use.
  • Think about adding additional protection. Your mattress is an investment towards your overall health and sleep quality. We suggest using a mattress protector or encasement for floor sleeping. A mattress covering can be essential if you put your mattress on a carpeted floor. Otherwise, the accumulated sweat and dead skin cells in the bottom of your mattress can potentially stain your carpet.
  • Consider a separate sleeping area for your infant. If you're a new parent sleeping on the floor, it's good to consider an alternative sleeping area for your newborn. The Nations Center for Biotechnology Information published an article on cases where infant deaths were considered the cause of positional suffocation associated with sleeping on or near a mattress placed on the floor. While only five deaths were discovered in this study, they were all preventable.

Different Types of Mattress Foundations, Bases, and Supports

There are many different ways to support your mattress, even if you're trying to keep a low profile or stay on the floor. From foundations to bases, it is possible to find the perfect mate for your mattress that provides you with the ideal sleeping conditions.

Here are some options for supporting your mattress:

Foundations with Storage

Storage bed with mattress and headboard.
Foundations come in many different styles. Some common foundations include:

  • Low foundations. These can help keep you close to the floor.
  • Standard foundations. Standard foundations are still close to the floor but provide a little more height.
  • Foundations with feet. These foundations provide a few more inches of height while keeping a low, minimalist profile.
  • Foundations with storage. If you have a small space, a storage foundation is a great way to utilize the free space under your bed that you wouldn't have access to if your mattress were directly on the floor.

Bases and Adjustable Bases

If you've invested in a memory foam mattress, consider an adjustable base that lets you manipulate your bed's position at the touch of a button.

The adjustable bases tend to have a higher profile, but the position manipulation is a good trade-off, especially if you need to control snoring or often read or watch TV in bed.

Adjustable base to manipulate your mattress into many different positions.

Alt-text: Adjustable base to manipulate your mattress into many different positions.

Benefits of Adjustable Bases

With an adjustable base, you can choose from the broadest range of positions for complete comfort. Using an adjustable base has several benefits, including:

  • Easing back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Improving circulation
  • Reducing acid reflux
  • Reducing snoring
  • Lessing tossing and turning

Standard Bed Frames

With the spike in minimalist decoration, standard bed frames, sometimes called foundations, are becoming more popular. This minimalist option is excellent for maintaining a low profile while protecting your mattress and joints.

Deciding What To Do With Your Bed

Overall, the best thing when deciding what to do with your bed is to consider your preferences and the advice of your mattress retailer.

There are so many options that will keep you and your mattress investment safe that do not include putting your mattress directly on the floor.

Are you looking for a bedding solution for your home? Contact us today.


National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information:—Floor mattresses: another potentially dangerous infant sleeping environment

Sleep Foundation—Tips for Using a Mattress on the Floor