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Is It Okay to Not Have a Bed and Just Put My Mattress on the Floor? Why Do People Buy Beds Anyway?

Bedroom with a vaulted ceiling and a mattress on the light hardwood floor.

Yes, it is absolutely for you to put your mattress on the floor if that is how you sleep best or for reasons of necessity. People may buy beds for many reasons, the most common being that they are used to sleeping on a mattress with a bed frame.

At the same time, many cultures throughout the modern world don’t use a bed frame or even a mattress. The Japanese use futons (not the American kind), and in Mexico and Venezuela, they use hammocks.

Little Seeds Rowan Valley Skyler Kids Metal House, Twin Size Frame, White Bed

For small children, sometimes a mattress that is on the floor or certainly lower on the ground is more suitable to prevent them from falling off and injuring themselves. There was a trend recently where the mattress was almost on the floor, separated only by the frame that was flush to the floor’s carpet. In general, this type of house-shaped bed seems to be more popular for girls than boys. Fairy lights are optional.


Dorel Living Harlan Wood Loft Bed with Ladder and Guard Rail - Twin (White)

The reverse is also an option in the form of a loft bed for older children who need more space for bookshelves and desks. A desk usually fits underneath the bedframe.

The Pros and Cons

Spacious bedroom with a mattress against the concrete wall.

If you are trying to decide whether you want to try a mattress on the floor or stick to a traditional bed with a frame and a mattress, then you should weigh up the pros and cons carefully to see what the most suitable choice for you is.

One of the most obvious cons of using only a mattress is the amount of floor space you will be unable to clean or at least clean easily. A single or twin bed mattress is quick and easy to lift and prop against a wall, but anything bigger than that becomes an exercise all on its own. Using a mattress on the floor as a couple may work for you if you use the European tradition of using twin beds pushed together. Then the mattresses will be easy to raise.

Another con to switching to a mattress on the floor is two-fold. It is an adjustment, and it will feel different no matter what anyone says. The other part of this is how easily you can stand up in the morning. I wouldn’t recommend a mattress on the floor to anyone who has significant hip or knee issues or someone who is older and struggles to stand up easily in the morning due to age. Low blood pressure might also count against you if you want to try a mattress on the floor and you tend to swing out of bed quickly.

A final consideration includes the climate. Cold air descends, and hot air rises. If you come from a cold environment, you are likely to feel colder sleeping on a mattress on the floor, while in a hot climate, it will be cooler closer to the floor. Similarly, not all floor types are suitable for mattresses, where this is not a concern with a bed frame.

The pros of using a mattress on the floor may include that it is more economical to buy a mattress rather than a mattress and a bed frame. Based on the premise that your floor should be flat, it is more supportive for your back and can reduce back pain and improve posture. As mentioned previously, children also won’t fall out of bed on a mattress. A mattress on the floor styled correctly can contribute to the overall aesthetic of your home if you tend towards minimalism and the way of Marie Kondo.1

Why Do People Buy Beds Then?

A man lifting the mattress off the bed frame.

Let me reiterate, a lot of what we do is knowingly or unknowingly informed by the culture we live in and the norms and values we abide by. If you have spent your whole life sleeping on a mattress with a bed frame, then sleeping on a mattress on the floor may seem strange or only suitable when you are camping. Interestingly, in parts of Southern Africa, a normal bed frame may be raised using bricks to prevent the tokoloshe from climbing onto your bed.

More practically, if you are prone to allergies, a mattress on the floor might exacerbate this, particularly if you are sensitive to dust. If you live in an area with creepy crawlies, a raised bed is safer.

Another reason for using the bed frame is circulation. We sweat and perspire, which will affect your mattress in the long run, even if you use a mattress protector. By placing your mattress on a bed frame, airflow allows circulation and thus prevents or prohibits mildew and mold from forming. Mold is a health hazard to avoid, and it is horribly unhygienic.

The Takeaway

Bedroom with deep blue and brick walls, and a mattress on the hardwood floor.

In summary, it is perfectly acceptable to use a mattress on the floor instead of using a bed frame. Conversely, many people buy mattresses with bed frames because it is what they know best and suits them. The next time you have an opportunity to sleep on a mattress on a floor, consider it and see how it compares to your mattress with a bed frame.  

Your takeaway should be that it is a personal choice that requires a bit of forethought. The only real requirements are whether it is suitable for your lifestyle, health, and home.


Happy Beds: Around the World in 80 Winks: Different Beds in Different Cultures

Quora: Why do we need bed frames? What’s wrong with having a mattress on the floor?

The Sleep Judge: Can You Put A Mattress On The Floor? Assessing the Risks and Alternatives

InsideBedroom: Is Sleeping on A Mattress on The Floor Bad For You?

Nolah Mattress: 8 Things you Should Know Before Sleeping on a Mattress on the Floor

Terry Cralle: The Mattress on Floor Vs. Bed Frame (Pros And Cons of Each)

Collins Dictionary: tokoloshe