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Divan bed base and mattress in a bedroom
  • Article

5 min read

bed bases explained

The bed is usually the biggest item of furniture in your bedroom, so of course you’ll want it to be the main focal point within the space. When choosing a bed base and headboard, the design not only needs to suit the style of your bedroom, it should also be the right type for your mattress too. After all, the base is key to enhancing both the comfort and performance of the mattress. So, now that you’ve picked out the right mattress, you then need to select the most suitable base, and sometimes this decision can seem almost as complicated as choosing a mattress. To point you in the right direction, we’ve created this handy guide to help you choose the best bed base.

Does bed base affect mattress performance?

The base is just as important a decision as selecting a mattress and you will need to check that it delivers the desired feel for the mattress it will be used with. A bed base has two main purposes - it positions the mattress off the floor and supports the weight of the mattress, so that it has consistent support across the entire surface. 

The base needs to have the strength to keep the mattress firmly in place and give you the required support too. Regardless of how great your mattress is, you won’t get the full benefits of it unless it’s placed on a good quality base that’s robust and sturdy. If the base sags or is damaged in any way, then it affects the performance of the mattress, compromising longevity and comfort levels. So your bed base and mattress need to work together to provide the support needed, ensuring a comfortable and restful night’s sleep.

Tips for a minimalist bedroom

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The different types of bed bases

Mattresses can be used in combination with a range of bed bases, but you will need to ensure your mattress and base are suitable to use together, even more so if you are buying them separately. The main types of bed bases are divans, which have a flat base that’s consistent across the entire surface, and bed frames, which typically feature wooden slats and provide superior ventilation.

When it comes to divan bases, there are a range of types, including solid top, sprung edge and firm edge. A divan bed base can be used with any type of mattress, whether that’s sprung, memory foam or hybrid.  

  • Solid top divan - a solid top divan base features a rigid, non-sprung top panel, usually made from hardboard. This type of bed base is firm and offers a more affordable option than a sprung edge base.

  • Sprung edge divan - a sprung edge divan incorporates an open coil or pocket sprung unit mounted on a frame that acts as a shock absorber and increases the durability of the mattress too. 

  • Firm edge divan - a firm edge divan features a smaller number of large, heavy duty springs within a rigid wooden-sided frame. 

Furthermore, divans are perfect if you are short on space, as most of them are available with drawers or lift-up storage. Lift-up storage beds, also known as ottoman beds, need to have a platform that’s strong enough to support the mattress but also light enough to lift up.

The other type of mattress base is the slatted base, which is mainly used within a bed frame, and can either have rigid or sprung slats. Sprung or flexible slats are mounted into a frame, providing a level of springiness due to the bowed shape. Sprung slatted bases work with the mattress, improving comfort levels and prolonging its lifespan too. In comparison, rigid slats give a firmer feel, but can actually affect the durability of the mattress, as they have no give and work against the mattress. 

Which is the best base for a mattress?

Whether you have a memory foam or sprung mattress, it’s important to check you have a suitable bed base, as a base that’s broken or poorly ventilated can affect the design and performance of your mattress. 

Mattresses can be used with slatted or divan bases, as long as it’s sturdy and well ventilated to promote airflow. It’s important to note that the slats should be of a high quality to prevent them from warping or breaking and they should be close together to provide a high level of support, otherwise you may find the base doesn’t give the mattress enough support. Foam mattresses may squeeze through wide spaced slats causing damage to the slats and the mattress, while unsupported pocket springs can poke through the bottom of the mattress.  

When it comes to replacing your bed, it’s a good idea to buy the base and mattress together, so you can be sure of the best possible combination for superior comfort and your best ever night’s sleep.

Author - Liz Tabron

Liz Tabron

Liz has over 7 years' experience in writing lifestyle, home, health, and eco content. Liz's mission is to make accessible our expert team's knowledge.