What is a Bunkie Board?

Key Takeaways

  • Definition and Purpose: A bunkie board is a thin, flat platform made of solid wood or metal that provides support and stability for your mattress. It is placed between the bed frame or platform and the mattress to enhance support, prevent sagging, and promote proper spinal alignment during sleep.
  • Benefits of Using a Bunkie Board: Using a bunkie board can improve mattress support, extend mattress durability, and save space in your bedroom. Bunkie boards offer versatile compatibility with various bed frames and are available in different materials and thicknesses to suit your mattress type and preferences.
  • Choosing the Right Bunkie Board: When selecting a bunkie board, consider factors such as thickness, material, size, and any additional features like ventilation or noise reduction. Ensure that the bunkie board matches the size of your mattress and complements your bed frame for optimal support and comfort.

When creating a comfortable and supportive bed, there are essential components beyond just the mattress.

A bunkie board is one such component that often goes unnoticed but plays a significant role in ensuring proper support.

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If you’ve come across the term but need clarification on what it entails or how it can benefit your sleep experience, this in-depth guide is here to provide all the information you need.

Definition of a Bunkie Board

A bunkie board is a thin, flat platform made of solid wood or sturdy metal.

It is designed to provide exceptional support and stability for your mattress as an alternative to a traditional box spring.

Bunkie boards typically have a thickness ranging from 1 to 3 inches and are placed directly on top of a bed frame or platform, creating a solid foundation for your mattress.

The Purpose and Benefits of a Bunkie Board

You might be wondering how a bunkie board can be helpful in enhancing your sleep experience. Let’s discuss it in detail.

1. Improved Mattress Support:

The primary purpose of a bunkie board is to enhance the support provided to your mattress.

Placing a bunkie board between the bed frame or platform and your mattress provides a solid and stable foundation.

This added support helps alleviate pressure points, promotes proper spinal alignment, and enhances overall comfort during sleep.

If you have a mattress that requires a firmer surface, such as a memory foam mattress, a bunkie board can help optimize its performance.

2. Enhanced Mattress Durability:

Bunkie boards are specifically designed to prevent sagging, which can occur over time when mattresses lack proper support.

By reducing the stress on the mattress and preventing it from sinking, a bunkie board helps prolong its lifespan and maintains its original shape and structure.

It is an excellent investment to protect the integrity of your mattress and ensure its longevity.

3. Space-Saving Solution:

Bunkie boards offer a space-saving solution for those who are limited in their room dimensions or have low ceilings.

Their slim profile allows for more headroom and maximizes vertical space, making them an ideal choice for loft or bunk beds.

By eliminating the need for a bulky box spring, bunkie boards provide a practical and efficient bedding solution.

4. Versatility in Bed Frame Compatibility:

One of the significant advantages of bunkie boards is their compatibility with various bed frames.

Whether you have a platform bed, slatted frame, or even a traditional bed frame, a bunkie board can seamlessly integrate into your setup.

This versatility allows you to achieve the desired level of support, regardless of the bed frame type you have.

Cons of a Bunkie Board:

While bunkie boards offer various benefits, there are also potential drawbacks or considerations to keep in mind.

Here are some cons of using a bunkie board:

1. Minimal Height Adjustment:

Bunkie boards are generally low-profile, adding minimal height to your mattress.

If you prefer a higher bed, a bunkie board may not provide the height you desire.

2. Limited Shock Absorption:

Bunkie boards don’t have the shock-absorbing properties of box springs.

If you’re used to the bounce or give of a traditional box spring, a bunkie board may feel firmer.

3. Potential for Mattress Wear:

In the absence of a shock-absorbing layer, the mattress may experience more wear over time, especially if placed directly on a bunkie board.

This could affect the longevity of certain mattress types.

4. May Not Solve All Support Issues:

If your mattress or bed frame has existing support issues, a bunkie board alone might not resolve them entirely.

It’s essential to assess the overall condition of your bed setup.

5. Not Ideal for All Mattresses:

Some mattresses, particularly those designed for use with box springs or adjustable bases, may not be well-suited for bunkie boards.

Check your mattress manufacturer’s recommendations for the type of support required.

6. Limited Air Circulation:

Bunkie boards provide a solid surface, which may limit air circulation underneath the mattress.

This can be a consideration for mattresses that benefit from airflow, such as those with cooling technologies.

7. Compatibility with Adjustable Beds:

Bunkie boards may not be suitable for all adjustable beds, as some mattresses require flexibility and movement that a rigid bunkie board might not provide.

8. May Not Address Noise Issues:

If noise issues are present in your bed setup (e.g., creaky bed frame or mattress), a bunkie board might not necessarily address these concerns.

9. Cost Consideration:

While generally more affordable than box springs, bunkie boards are an additional expense. If budget is a primary concern, alternative support systems may be considered.

10. No Storage Space:

Unlike some box springs that come with built-in storage drawers, bunkie boards do not offer any storage solutions.

Bunkie Board Size Chart:

Below is a bunkie board size chart, outlining common mattress sizes along with the corresponding bunkie board dimensions.

Keep in mind that bunkie boards are typically designed to match standard mattress sizes, but it’s crucial to measure your bed frame and mattress for accuracy.

Mattress SizeBunkie Board Dimensions
Twin38 inches x 75 inches
Twin XL38 inches x 80 inches
Full/Double54 inches x 75 inches
Queen60 inches x 80 inches
King76 inches x 80 inches
California King72 inches x 84 inches

Choosing the Right Bunkie Board: Factors to Consider

When selecting a bunkie board, there are several important factors to consider.

Choosing the right bunkie board will ensure optimal support and stability for your mattress.

Here are the key factors to keep in mind:

1. Thickness:

The thickness of the bunkie board plays a crucial role in determining the level of support it provides.

Bunkie boards are typically available in thicknesses ranging from 1 to 3 inches.

Consider the following factors when choosing the appropriate thickness:

a. Mattress Type:

Different mattress types have varying support requirements.

Memory foam mattresses, for example, often benefit from a thicker bunkie board (2 to 3 inches) to provide adequate support and prevent the mattress from sinking.

On the other hand, a thinner bunkie board (1 to 2 inches) may be suitable for inherently supportive mattresses, such as innerspring or hybrid mattresses.

b. Personal Preference:

Your preference for the firmness of the sleep surface should also guide your choice of bunkie board thickness.

If you prefer a firmer surface, opt for a thicker bunkie board, while a thinner board may be more suitable if you prefer a slightly softer feel.

2. Material:

Bunkie boards are available in two primary materials: wood and metal.

Each material has its own characteristics and advantages, so consider the following factors when deciding on the material for your bunkie board:

a. Wood:

Wooden bunkie boards are typically made of solid wood or plywood.

They offer a traditional look and feel and are often more affordable compared to metal boards.

Wood bunkie boards provide a sturdy and reliable support surface.

They also tend to have more give or flexibility compared to metal boards, which can contribute to a slightly softer feel.

b. Metal:

Metal bunkie boards are constructed from steel or other durable metals.

They offer excellent durability and a sleeker, more modern aesthetic.

Metal boards are known for their rigid and solid support, making them an ideal choice for those who prefer a firmer sleep surface.

They are also less likely to flex or bend over time.

Consider your personal preference for aesthetics, the overall style of your bed frame, and the level of support you desire when choosing between wood and metal bunkie boards.

3. Size:

Selecting a bunkie board that matches the dimensions of your mattress and bed frame is crucial.

Most bunkie boards are available in standard mattress sizes, including Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King and California King.

Ensure that the bunkie board you choose matches the exact size of your mattress to ensure a proper fit and optimal support.

Some bunkie boards may also come with adjustable or customizable options to accommodate different bed frame sizes.

These adjustable bunkie boards can be convenient if you have a non-standard bed frame size.

4. Additional Features:

Consider any additional features or considerations that may be important to you, such as:

a. Ventilation:

Some bunkie boards may feature perforations or spaces between slats to enhance air circulation and prevent heat buildup.

This can be particularly beneficial for mattresses that retain heat, such as memory foam mattresses.

b. Noise Reduction:

If noise is a concern, look for bunkie boards with noise-reducing features such as foam padding or rubberized coating on the slats.

These features can help minimize any potential squeaking or creaking sounds that may arise from movement on the bed.

c. Certifications:

If eco-friendliness is important to you, look for bunkie boards that have certifications such as CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliance or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, indicating that the materials used in the board are sustainable and meet certain environmental standards.

What’s the Alternative for a Bunkie Board?

If you’re looking for an alternative to a bunkie board, there are several options available that can provide adequate support for your mattress without the need for a traditional bunkie board.

A bunkie board is typically a flat, sturdy platform made of plywood or metal slats that are placed between the mattress and the bed frame to provide additional support and stability.

However, if you don’t have a bunkie board or prefer a different solution, here are some alternatives to consider:

1. Plywood Board:

A simple and cost-effective alternative to a bunkie board is using a plywood board.

Measure the dimensions of your bed frame and have a piece of plywood cut to fit snugly between the mattress and the frame.

Ensure the plywood board is smooth and free from splinters to avoid damaging the mattress.

Plywood provides a solid and even surface for the mattress, offering the necessary support to prevent sagging.

2. Solid Foundation:

If your bed frame comes with a solid foundation or a slatted base, you might not need a separate bunkie board.

Many modern bed frames are designed to provide sufficient support for the mattress without the need for additional boards or platforms.

Check your bed frame’s specifications to ensure it offers the required support for your mattress type.

3. Adjustable Bed Base:

An adjustable bed base is an excellent alternative for providing support and customization to your sleep setup.

These bases can be adjusted to various angles, allowing you to elevate your upper body or legs for added comfort.

Additionally, adjustable bed bases often come with massage features and remote controls, offering a more luxurious sleep experience.

4. Bunkie Mattress Foundation:

Bunkie mattress foundations are specifically designed to replace traditional bunkie boards.

These foundations consist of metal or wooden slats, similar to those found in bunkie boards, but they are built to fit directly onto the bed frame.

They provide excellent support and stability for the mattress and are a convenient alternative to traditional bunkie boards.

5. Solid Slats:

If your bed frame has slats, ensure they are solid and closely spaced to prevent mattress sagging. Slats should be no more than 3 inches apart to offer adequate support.

If the slats are too far apart, consider adding additional slats or using a bunkie mattress foundation to bridge the gaps and provide better support.

6. Adjustable Support Legs:

Some bed frames come with adjustable support legs that can be positioned to provide extra support in areas where the mattress tends to sag.

Adjusting these legs can help level the mattress and alleviate uneven pressure points.

Where to Buy a Bunkie Board?

When looking to purchase a bunkie board, you have several options for where to buy.

Here are some common places where you can find bunkie boards:

1. Furniture Retailers:

Visit furniture stores or chain retailers that specialize in mattresses and bedroom furniture.

These stores often carry bunkie boards as part of their bedding accessories.

2. Mattress Stores:

Many mattress stores sell bunkie boards, either as standalone items or as part of a bed frame/mattress set.

Check with local mattress retailers for availability.

3. Online Retailers:

Explore online marketplaces and websites that specialize in bedding and bedroom furniture.

Popular online retailers, such as Amazon, Wayfair, and Overstock, often have a variety of bunkie boards for sale.

4. Home Improvement Stores:

Some large home improvement or department stores may carry bunkie boards, especially those with a bedding or furniture section.

5. Furniture Outlets:

Outlet stores that specialize in furniture and bedding may offer bunkie boards at discounted prices. Look for local furniture outlets or check the clearance section of larger furniture stores.


A bunkie board is an essential bedding accessory that can greatly enhance the support and durability of your mattress.

By providing a solid foundation and preventing mattress sagging, bunkie boards optimize your sleep experience, ensuring proper spinal alignment and increased mattress lifespan.

They offer a space-saving solution and compatibility with various bed frames.

Consider incorporating a bunkie board into your bedding setup to elevate your sleep quality and make the most of your mattress investment.

With a bunkie board, you can enjoy a well-supported and comfortable sleep surface that keeps even the most sag-free mattress in good condition, night after night.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Sarah Anderson, Certified Sleep Science Coach Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson is a sleep, health, and wellness writer and product reviewer. She has written articles on changing and improving your sleep schedule, choosing the right mattress for chronic pain conditions, and finding the best pillow for you. Sarah Anderson has her Bachelor of Arts degree from Arizona State University in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to working for Zoma, she wrote for a variety of news publications. Sarah's work has been featured on Bustle, PureWow, and other publications.

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