What Is a Bunkie Board?

While you might have enough information about mattresses and all of the different types available, you might not know enough about mattress support. For example, have you ever wondered, what is a bunkie board?

Without adequate mattress support, your mattress will sag in some areas, which will affect your spine’s alignment. This may push you to overcompensate for this lack of support by finding uncomfortable sleeping positions.

Since mattress support directly impacts the life of your mattress and the quality of your sleep, you need to make the right choice. Some well-known mattress support options include box springs, slatted frames, and, apparently, bunkie boards.

You may already know about the first two, but what about bunkie boards? With their low profiles that give you plenty of headroom, bunkie boards are worth getting to know. I’ll give you the rundown of this mattress support system.

What Is a Bunkie Board?

What Is a Bunkie Board?

A bunkie board is a thin flat board or platform made from particle board, plywood, metal, or other composite materials. The bunkie board is cut to your mattress size. Then, it’s covered with fabric so that the mattress bottom doesn’t tear or get stuck when placed on the board.

Without a bunkie board, a traditional mattress supported only by slats is bound to sag. So, it’s placed between your mattress and bed frame to give the former extra support and prolong its life, which renders it a thinner alternative to box springs. Also, it allows you to enjoy better sleep quality.

If you have a box foundation, slatted foundation, box spring, solid platform, or metal frame bed, a bunkie board can work with these bed board types and more.

How Bunkie Boards Came to Be

As you’d expect from its name, a bunkie board was designed as a base for bunk bed mattresses at the start of the twentieth century. The default was to use box springs, which fit traditional innerspring mattresses.

However, you couldn’t place a box spring underneath a bunk bed without the sleeper hitting the ceiling of the upper bed. From that need, bunkie boards came to be. They were 1 to 3 inches (typically 2 inches), allowing users to move and sit and sleep comfortably on bunk beds with sufficient headroom.

Afterward, their flat designs and sizes would become more diverse, providing low-profile support options for both bunk beds and regular-sized beds. Today, you can find them in different thicknesses, lengths, and widths and use them with beds that have no frames or upholstered, metal, and wooden frames.

Bunkie Boards vs. Box Springs

I’ve mentioned how bunkie boards are a compact alternative to box springs, but allow me to elaborate more on that comparison. These types are designed to give mattresses support and added comfort, but that’s as far as the similarities go.

Starting with the obvious, a bunkie board is typically 2 inches high, whereas a box spring is bigger with a standard height of 9 inches. Thickness determines how high the mattress will sit and how easy it is to get in and out of bed.

What Is a Bunkie Board?

Also, the thickness of these support systems makes sense when you consider their construction. Bunkie boards are single sheets, but box springs are fabric-covered platforms (possibly with coils). Naturally, bunkie boards are more portable, lightweight, and easier to store than their counterparts. 

As for functionality, bunkie boards tend to support mattresses better than box springs. To illustrate, box springs don’t offer the needed support for hybrid mattresses and memory foam. It isn’t compatible with most newer models, shortening their lifetimes. 

Finally, bunkie boards are less expensive than box springs if cost is one of your determinants.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Bunkie Boards

You can decide if a bunkie board is the right purchase for you by looking at its pros and cons.


If you get a bunkie board for your mattress, you get to enjoy the following:

1. Premium Support

The main highlight is the amount of support these boards provide mattresses with. According to Claire Davies, a Certified Sleep Science Coach, the longevity of a mattress is “directly impacted by the foundation it’s resting on. A good quality mattress foundation could easily last 10 years and this can, by extension, help prolong the life of your mattress.

In other words, a bunkie board offers additional support. It helps hold the mattress frame, slumping into the gaps between slats. What that means for you is an extended lifespan, a valid mattress warranty, and a mattress that doesn’t sag or feature lumps.

2. Ease of Use

Bunkie boards are easy to use in two ways. Firstly, they’re light, portable, and don’t require much assembly, allowing you to lift them and put them on your bed frame without difficulty.

Secondly, they’re available in numerous sizes to fit any mattress size or type, which renders them versatile.

3. Low Profile

If you want to keep your mattress low, bunkie boards should be your go-to because of their slim design. They allow you to crawl in and out of bed easily. 

Also, this feature is suited for platform beds, as their frames sit closer to the ground than other types. If you opt for higher support options (like box springs), they’ll hide a good portion of the headboard.


Allow me to bring up some concerns about bunkie boards for a more informed purchasing choice.

1. Warping

If you live in a humid area, wooden bunkie boards can suffer moisture damage, specifically warping. So, the mattress won’t rest evenly on the board frame. Luckily, you can opt for other non-wood bunkie boards.

2. Unreleased Heat

When you put a wooden platform between your mattress and bed frame, it’ll lead to reduced airflow. Accordingly, the mattress might trap your body heat, and the high humidity level can make you uncomfortable and promote bacteria and allergens.

Bunkie Board Review: The Wrap Up

Overall, a bunkie board is a flat board made of various materials, which is used to give your mattress extra support. It can be made of particle board, plywood, metal, or other composite materials and covered with fabric. It doesn’t raise the bed too much because of its thinness. 

These aren’t very common nowadays for adult sized beds, but if it’s right for you, a bunkie board can help you protect your mattress warranty, prolong its lifespan, and give it added support! 

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