We talk a lot about mattresses: what they’re made of, what size is the best for a particular individual, different price points, and different levels of firmness. But less energy has been spent considering…what lies beneath. And by that, we do not mean the imaginary bogeyman lurking underneath the bed (although that might be of greater concern for the ten-and-under crowd). We mean the structure that supports the mattress that in turn supports you. As was determined by The Princess and the Pea, the foundation below your mattress can be just as important as the memory foam, latex, or coils that perch upon it.

Consider the frame like the foundation of your house. In conjunction with your mattress and bedding, it is part of an integrated system that works to keep your body supported and comfortable throughout your sleeping hours. As much attention needs to be paid to the frame as the mattress itself. Aesthetically, too, you can choose between a legged frame that elevates the bed on risers or a continuous platform-type frame that sits flush on the floor.

There are many types of frames from which to choose, and most of this decision will depend on a few different criteria. If space is at a premium, your primary concern might be storage space under the bed. If this is the case, a frame with a high enough rise to fit sizable storage containers beneath the bed is a great idea. If you want seamless storage that is built-in, a captain’s bed with drawers included achieves the best of both worlds. They can also be very attractive, creating a continuous surface between the edge of the mattress to the floor, eliminating any hiding spaces for those fluffy dust bunnies and escapee lost items that always roll beyond an arm’s reach under the bed.

This informs another crucial feature of bed frames: keeping your sleeping surface off the ground, where (depending on your living situation) there could potentially be dust, lint, hair, pet dander, or worse, mice or other interlopers. A nice, elevated frame keeps you high above the floor where any of those nefarious accumulations might linger (as well as that aforementioned bogeyman, if that’s a concern of yours). A bed frame also encourages air circulation under and around the mattress, especially important if you live in a humid climate where mold is a concern. If sleeping hot is a matter of yours, an elevated frame with clearance for airflow should be prioritized.

Speaking of above ground, some people prefer climbing up into bed, while others like to fall peacefully onto it. If you’re in the former group, a lofty frame can help achieve this, along with a thick mattress. If you’re among the latter, a sturdy frame to cushion your weight is a consideration. Bed frames are typically either wood or metal, materials strong enough to support the weight of the mattress with you and any sleeping partners upon it. If you’ve chosen a platform base, there’s no need for a box spring, as the stability and support provided by the flat surface is sufficient. A slatted bed frame usually requires a box spring beneath your mattress as an added layer of cushion, so either can be customized to create a bed height that is comfortable for you.

This leads us to the final aspect: comfort. Perhaps the most comfortable, most accommodating, and most luxurious option is the adjustable bed frame. An adjustable frame can be positioned to almost whatever a situation calls for… Zoom calls from the waist up, semi-reclined television viewing, fully upright sitting for writing, or degrees of recline to optimize physical processes like digestion or spinal alignment. Adding an adjustable base to your mattress can augment your comfort, creating a life hub by day and a sleep sanctuary by night, all within the confines of your bed.

Despite which frame you choose, it is as important a consideration as the mattress itself. If you’re still not convinced, remember the Princess and that darned pea…. what’s under your mattress can make all the difference.