What are Bed Frame Slats?

Bed frame slats are used to support a mattress in certain bed bases. Made from strong wood such as pine or beech, these planks lie across the width of the frame to hold up the mattress. Bed frame slats come in two variations - solid slats or sprung slats

If you’re looking for information on the different types of bed slats or how these bases affect the performance of your mattress, we have everything you need below.

A close up image of sprung bed frame slats
Most bed frames feature sprung slats for flexible support

What are solid bed slats?

Solid slats are made from sturdy, solid wood such as pine. These slats are designed to not bend under your body weight, which means that they provide a much firmer base for your mattress to rest on compared with sprung slats.

These bed slats are ideal if you prefer your mattress to feel a little firmer. For a really supportive sleeping surface, pair your solid slat base with a firm or extra-firm mattress.

You'll find solid slats across many of our wooden bed frames.

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What are sprung bed slats?

Sprung slats

Sprung slats are made from flexible beech wood and are slightly curved. The shape and tension of the planks help to reduce strain on your mattress, improving its overall lifespan.

The bed slats’ bowed design allows them to adapt to your body weight while you sleep. The slats bend slightly more under the heavier areas of your body. This reactive support helps your mattress to relieve pressure from your joints as you sleep.

The overall effect is a more cushioned feel, which is ideal if you prefer gentle support. Pair these types of slats with a soft or medium mattress for a blissful sink-in feeling that offers great support.

Sprung slats are more popular than solid slats and you find them on most of our bed frames.

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How do bed slats work?

The wooden slats that run across the width of the bed frame offer a greater degree of flexibility and gentler support than if the mattress was rested solely on a flat surface.

Solid slats vs sprung slats

Not sure which type of bed slat is best for your sleep needs? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Above we explained how solid and sprung bed slats provide different levels of support for your mattress. Now here’s how they work:

Solid bed frame slats

  1. Each slat spans the entire width of the base
  2. There is an additional support bar that runs down the middle of the base
  3. The slats are straight and solid for a sturdier feel and additional support

Sprung bed frame slats

  1. The slats lie across the width of the bed in two columns, connected by a centre support rail in the middle of the base
  2. The slats curve upwards in the centre to respond to your mattress and body weight for more flexible support

Below we’ve included a helpful table to outline the main differences between the two types of bed slats:

FeaturesSolid slatsSprung slats
Firm supportyes
Softer supportyes
Curved slatsyes
Flat slatsyes
Slats span the width of the bed baseyes
Slats are separated by a centre support railyes

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How far apart do bed slats need to be?

Some mattress manufacturers have specific recommendations for the maximum width between bed slats. This is because a gap wider than the recommended measurement can cause greater wear and tear to your mattress.

See the table below for more information:

Mattress brandMaximum slat gap width
Harrison Spinks7.5cm
Elle Decoration9cm

For more information on manufacturer guidelines, please read our helpful bed base guide.

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How wide should bed slats be?

Similar to the advice above, some mattress manufacturers have recommendations for the maximum width of bed slats. This is because using slats with an incorrect width it can affect the feel of your mattress and could potentially put greater strain on the mattress over time

You should always check the mattress manufacturer’s guidelines before putting your mattress on a bed.

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How much weight can a slat bed hold?

This varies between each manufacturer. Before purchasing your new bed frame, you should always check the manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations regarding the maximum mattress weight that your bed can hold.

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Can you put any mattress on a slat bed?

Yes, most mattresses can be paired with your slatted bed frame.

However, we recommend checking the mattress manufacturer’s advice to ensure that the bed base meets the guarantee requirements for your mattress.

Single-sided mattresses are a popular choice for slatted bed bases. This is because these mattresses often have an additional layer on the bottom of the mattress to protect it from any wear and tear it may experience from both bed slats and solid bases.


Can you put a memory foam mattress on a slatted bed base?

Yes, as long as you have checked that the width of the bed slats and the gap width between the slats are in accordance with the mattress manufacturer’s guidelines.

Can a TEMPUR mattress be used on a slatted bed?

Yes, as long as the gap between the slats is under 9cm wide.

Can I use a Relyon pocket sprung mattress on a slatted bed?

Yes, as long as the gap between the slats is under 6cm wide.

Can you put a Hypnos mattress on a slatted bed?

Yes, as long as the gap between the slats is under 7.5cm wide.

Can I use any mattress with a slatted adjustable bed?

No. If you're purchasing a mattress for a slatted adjustable bed, you'll need a specific adjustable mattress. This is because the adjustable mattress has been specifically designed to move with the adjustable bed.

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How do I assemble a bed frame with slats?

Your slatted bed frame will arrive flat-packed, so you will need to assemble it yourself. 

All of our bed frames come complete with assembly instructions. Simply follow the step-by-step guide to build your bed. 

Below are some examples of the typical instructions you might encounter.

How to assemble a bed with solid slats

If you need a bed that's quick and easy to assemble, consider a solid slatted base. The wooden slats usually come as one full row that crosses the width of the bed base, so you don't have to attach two separate columns of slats.

  1. Take the row of slats and place them across your bed base
  2. Use the screws provided to attach the slats to each side rail
  3. If instructed, secure the slats in the middle with the screws provided
Instructions for assembling a solid slatted bed frame
Assembly diagram for a solid slatted bed frame

How to assemble a bed with sprung slats

Bed frames with sprung slats require a little bit more assembly since each slat needs to be placed into a separate slat holder.

  1. Place all of your plastic slat connectors (E) into the pre-drilled holes on the centre support rail
  2. With your slat arching upwards, slot it into one side of the slat connector
  3. Attach a plastic cap end (D), to the other end of your slat
  4. Push your slat with the attached cap end into the pre-drilled holes on the side rail of your bed frame
  5. Repeat this process until all the slats are in place
Assembly instructions for a sprung slatted bed frame
Diagram for assembling a sprung slatted bed frame

Do bed slats bend up or down?

If you’re assembling a sprung slatted bed, the slats should curve upwards in the centre, as depicted in the image below. This provides optimal support for your mattress.

If the sprung slats curve downwards (with the ends curving up to the ceiling rather than the floor) it could damage both the bed frame and your mattress.

A close up of sprung bed slats so that the upwards arched curve is visible.
Sprung slats should only curve up upwards from the centre, as the image displays.

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How to fix broken bed slats

We don’t recommend trying to fix bed slats back together once they have broken in two, for the following reasons:

1. The slat won’t be as strong as before

Even if you repair the bed frame slat, it will be much weaker than before. This means it won’t be able to support your mattress properly and will be more likely to break in the future. It would only be a temporary solution at best.

2. It could invalidate your mattress guarantee or warranty

If the broken slat damages your mattress, you may not be able to claim your warranty or guarantee (as the mattress has not been placed on a ‘safe bed base’).

If you find yourself in this position, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly customer service team, who will be more than happy to help you out.

How to replace bed slats

If, for some reason, you need to replace your bed slat, you should get in touch with your bed frame manufacturer. They may be able to send out a replacement bed slat for you.

Once you have a replacement slat, follow the bed frame’s original assembly instructions to attach the bed slat to your frame. 

How to stop bed slats from falling out

When you first assemble your bed frame, make sure to securely attach your bed slats to the sides of the bed frame or tightly screw them into place, depending on the type of bed frame you have purchased.

If this problem keeps occurring and the bed frame is still within the manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee period, our customer service team may be able to help you.

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Bed slat FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions we get asked about bed frame slats:

Do slat beds ruin mattresses?

If the bed slats are the correct width for your mattress and you have the correct gap width between each slat, then no, bed slats do not ruin mattresses.

You should also flip and rotate your mattress regularly to prevent the fillings inside of the mattress from settling too much. If this is not done, the fillings could settle in the shape of the slats. This could affect the feel of your mattress when you eventually flip or rotate it.

The only way a bed slat will potentially damage your mattress is if the slat width and gaps are too far apart, which can damage the comfort and support fillings of your mattress.

Do bed slats wear out?

Yes, your bed frame and slats will go through wear and tear over time since you will be sleeping on them every night. We recommend replacing your bed every ten years because of this.

You can reduce the strain on your bed slats by ensuring that your mattress does not exceed the maximum weight for the bed frame.

What wood is used for bed slats?

Different kinds of wood are used for solid and sprung slats.

Sprung slats are usually made from beech wood, as it’s much more flexible. 

Solid slats are often made from pine wood as it is firmer and more durable.

Can you sleep on a bed with a broken slat?

Yes you can, but we do not recommend it. 

Sleeping on a bed with a broken slat can damage your mattress and could potentially invalidate your guarantee or warranty. It may also affect the overall look and feel of your mattress.

Are slatted beds bad for your back?

No, slatted beds are not bad for your back.

If you need more cushioned support for your back, a sprung slat option may be better for you.

If your back needs firmer levels of support, solid slats are usually the better option.

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Bed frames with slats: best sellers

We have a wide range of slatted bed frames available in a variety of styles. Here’s our hand-picked selection of best sellers for you to browse:

Time Living Tetras Metal Bed Frame

Time Living Tetras Metal Bed Frame

  • From £159.95
  • 2 year guarantee
  • Choose from black or silver finishes
  • Sprung slats
A teal coloured LPD Berlin Velvet Ottoman Bed Frame in a grey bedroom.

LPD Berlin Velvet Ottoman Bed Frame

  • From £419
  • 1 year guarantee
  • Choose from teal, mustard or silver colours
  • Ottoman storage
  • Sprung slats
The LPD Pierre Velvet Bed Frame in a white bedroom with a wooden side table - one of our Top 5 Recommended Beds 2023

LPD Pierre Velvet Bed Frame

  • From £359
  • 1 year guarantee
  • Choose from aqua and coral colours
  • Sprung slats
Flintshire Pentre Hardwood Oak Finish Bed Frame

Flintshire Pentre Hardwood Oak Finish Bed Frame

  • From £299
  • 1 year guarantee
  • Solid hardwood finish
  • Solid slats

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We have a wide range of slatted bed frames for you to browse! If you require any help choosing your slatted bed frame, please give us a call and we'll be happy to talk you through them!

If you’re interested in learning more about the other type of bed bases, check out our advice on choosing platform top bases and sprung bases.