What Is a Slat Bed Frame?

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  • Written By: Norma Jean Howland
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2019
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A slat bed frame is a structure that uses pieces of wood or steel to support a mattress. In this type of bed, the slats are laid between the bedrails and are often used instead of a box spring to support a mattress. This kind of bed frame can be found in beds made out of wood, metal, or plastic. Sometimes a slat frame with slats that are close together to provide additional support is used with a futon. These frames may come in a variety of designs from modern to antique.

This kind of bed frame may come with pieces of wood that are simply laid between the bed rails, or the slats may be attached to each other with a sturdy strip of cloth that has been stapled to the wood. There are also slat bed frames with steel pegs that keep the slats in place. In some cases, the slats may be held onto the bed frame using screws or bolts. For extra safety, some frames have a steel center support system underneath the slats. If a futon is being used instead of a mattress, the slats are usually fitted closer together to provide adequate support.


Different styles of bed, from traditional maple panel beds to classic brushed nickel spindle beds, can be paired with a slat bed frame. Since this kind of bed frame is often used without a box spring, the mattress tends to be closer to the ground, and the headboard is usually more visible. Sometimes this kind of bed frame will also feature wooden slats on the head and footboards. Another type of slat bed frame is simpler in style, with just a platform of attached slats for support, similar to a platform bed. This bed may also include storage drawers built-in under the bed for extra sheets, blankets, and pillows .

Many materials can be used to build a slat bed frame, it may be made from wood, steel, plastic, or a combination. Some bed frames combine both carved wood and brushed nickel as a designer choice. Some children’s beds use slat bases, which are usually made of plastic in different shapes and colors. This kind of bed frame may also be used for classic metal beds, like a spindle bed frame made from hand distressed tubular steel. A wooden slat bed frame may have hand carved designs on the headboard or be built into an antique style sleigh bed.


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