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Pros & Cons of a Low Profile Bed Box

Leah James

Low-profiles bed boxes -- manufacturers usually called them box springs or foundations -- measure approximately half the height of traditionally sized models. A regular box spring typically has an 8- to 9-inch height. Low-profile versions range from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches, depending on the brand. With plush and pillow-top options increasing mattress height, more manufacturers are offering low-profile foundations, but choosing one has distinct pros and cons.

Pro: More of Your Headboard Shows

Using a low-profile foundation lets more of your headboard show.

When you combine a standard box spring with a pillow-top mattress, your bedding may block too much of your headboard. Additionally, some footboard styles are meant to stand higher than the mattress top. When the mattress set is too thick, the footboard looks lost. Using a low-profile box spring lets you enjoy the luxury and comfort of a thick, cushy mattress without hiding or overwhelming your bed.

Con: Ready-Made Bed Skirts Don’t Fit

Though a low-profile bed box standardizes the overall bed height when combined with one of today’s thicker mattresses, the top of the box spring sits lower to the ground, especially if you use a metal bed frame. Ready-made bed skirts will always be too long, and not by just enough to puddle charmingly on the floor. Unless you opt for a custom bed treatment, expect to hem any bed skirt you use with a low-profile foundation.

Pro: No Need for Bed Steps

While tall beds are frequently desirable, especially for antique and antique-reproduction styles, combining an oversized pillow-top mattress with a standard box spring could cause too much of a good thing. When a bed is exceptionally tall, bed steps are an option, but not everyone can use them. For young children, the elderly and people with physical disabilities, bed steps are difficult or even dangerous to navigate. A low-profile box spring reduces the overall height of the bed, making it more accessible for all sleepers.

Con: Difficult to Put Sheets on Bed

If your bed frame features deep wooden rails or a wrap-round box, a low-profile foundation may sit lower than the top of the frame. As a result, the bottom of your mattress sits inside the bed frame. Visually, that’s not a drawback, but it does make it harder to put sheets on your bed -- especially if the mattress is a tight fit for the frame.

Pro: Use with Contemporary Beds

Sleek, contemporary bed styles are frequently designed for use without box springs or foundations. Some mattress manufacturers make box spring use a warranty condition. If you combine a low-profile box spring with a mattress of modest height, you can cover the set with a single, deep-pocket fitted sheet. You’ll get the contemporary look without sacrificing comfort or mattress longevity.