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How to Buy an IKEA Bed

S. Connelly has been an online freelance writer for over four years. His articles often focus on DIY home projects.

Buying an IKEA Bed in the U.S.

Buying an IKEA bed in the U.S. might be something you are unfamiliar with. It will have a few parts, assembly will be necessary, and I think a lot of people do not get all the parts on the first try. So, this article offers a little guidance on all the parts necessary and some advice on choosing which parts to buy.

In This Article

  1. What Are Box Springs and Foundations? Do I Need One?
  2. What Are Slats? Which Should I Choose?
  3. Do I Need the Skorva Midbeam?

Do I Need a Box Spring or Foundation?

Well, first of all, let me explain what a box spring/foundation is. Although they look the same from the side and serve the same purpose of raising your mattress, they are actually two different items. There is one major difference: The foundation has wood boards to hold up the mattress, while the box spring, like its name suggests, has springs where it meets the mattress.

So what does this mean, you ask? Well, a box spring will give you a plusher, bouncier feeling, while a foundation will feel firmer and more solid.

Do I need a box spring or a foundation? No, you can place your mattress right on the slats if you want.

Looking for a Simple Bed?

You also have the option of buying legs and attaching them directly to a foundation, making a simple bed support for your mattress. This of course won't include a headboard, but is an option for a simple bed that might fit your price point/budget.

Slats: What Are They Good For?

Slats are the wooden boards that the mattress, box spring, or foundation rests on. The advantage of an IKEA bed is that you can use slats and a mattress alone, eliminating the need for a box spring or foundation. This is very useful if you are trying to move a bed frame into a tight location, like up a narrow staircase or through a small doorway.

What you should consider when buying a frame is if it has adjustable bedsides. It will say it on the tag and it means you can set your slats lower if you want to use a box spring or a foundation to make the bed higher.

Which IKEA Bed Slats Should I Get?

There are three types of basic slats to choose from:

  • Luroy (Luröy) slats are curved a little and made of birch wood. You would use these with a mattress alone, and they provide a softer feel.
  • Lonset (Lönset) slats feel the plushest, and you would also use these with the mattress alone. Note: These come with their own wood frame, are adjustable, and need to be assembled. They are a lot of work, but if you like the softer feel, they are worth it.

Each slat or slat and box spring/foundation combo can work with any mattress, be it spring, foam, or latex. The thicker the mattress (standard mattress thickness is about 8 inches), the less you feel the slats; the thinner the mattress, the more you have to pay attention to the slat choice. Alright sound good, am I missing anything else?

The Skorva Midbeam: Don't Forget It!

The Midbeam is included in the price of the bed frame, but is a separate part from the bed and comes from a different location in the warehouse. It is a universal part for all the larger IKEA beds (full, queen, and king) that is adjustable to the size of the bed. This is what lies underneath the slats and what supports them. It is a very important piece to the puzzle as the bed can't be assembled without it.

There is only one type of midbeam to choose from, but just don't forget it at the store. If you are ordering online, the midbeam, if needed with your model bed, is included from the IKEA website.

Now You Are Ready

Now that you are ready with all your necessary parts, you will be able to build your bed. I hope you found this breakdown of the key pieces of the bed helpful. Remember that IKEA beds in the US are all standard US sizes, so you can purchase a mattress elsewhere to go with your IKEA bedfram, or purchase an IKEA mattress for a frame you already own.

Good luck building and enjoy your new bed!!

Did You Forget Something?

© 2012 sconnelly711

Guestbook Comments

Kazu on June 16, 2020:

I have an Idea Bed frame that currently uses slats but I'm a bit of a heavier guy so over the year they have lost a lot of their 'spring' and pop out of the rubber/plastic end pieces every now and then.

Would using a Foundation in my frame offer a longer life when compared to the Slats?

tyler on August 19, 2017:

so i bought a bed frame but it only has 3 sides and doesn'tt have the top rail, it only comes with the headboard which i didn't purchase because we have one. How can you sell a bed frame that you cant actually use... especially from ikea which parts are separate. they should tell you that the frame wont work separately..

Akshaya on August 04, 2017:

Hi I have bought a wooden bed with slats.i want to increase the height of my mattress.the box spring that are available in my country are pretty expensive .can I use IKEA slatted base over the existing slatted base to increase the height of my mattress .

Thanks in advance


Alexa Castaneda on July 26, 2017:

From reading around Ikea Malm beds, I think I've gotten more confused than I was before. Here's my list of questions that I have concerning the Ikea Malm beds.

- Are the Ikea Malm bed sizes made to US bed sizes?

- Can I use boxsprings instead of the slats or do I need the basic slats to put the boxspring on top of?

- If I can use the boxsprings, will they fit just right or will they be siding around?

- Talking in the sense of buying online, will the mid-beam be included in the price of the bed frame?

- Can I use a boxspring + mattress NOT sold from Ikea?

- Are Ikea beds of quality enough? (Sturdy, long lasting, valuable for the price, etc)

Any answers would be appreciated, thanks.

sconnelly711 (author) on March 10, 2015:

If you use a boxspring or foundation you should use the basic slats as a base.

Bunnie carlos on November 29, 2014:

so,can you eliminate the slats if you use a box spring or foundation?

sconnelly711 (author) on January 12, 2014:

@gsgordon: Not really, but the least expensive ones are pine and don't have a warranty. The other ones are made of layers of birch wood and and stronger, but softer as well. So if you want the firmest I'd go with pine and although they don't have a warranty it's easy to replace a board from a hardware store or buy a new pair of slats.

gsgordon on January 12, 2014:

I know this is an old post so you might not be reading this. But if anyone is: Do the slatted bases have different weight maximums? My understanding was that the cheapest ones can't support much and break if you, say, plop yourself down on the bed after a long day. Is this not the case?

KathyZ1 on October 17, 2013:

Great lens, enjoy it.

anonymous on May 07, 2013:

Thanks for this! I've been looking for a new bed for awhile, on the (Canadian) shopping cart screen it ask "Are you buying a bed? Don't forget your slats!". Looking at the last page of the assembly instructions for the OPPDAL bedframe, it shows two options for whether or not you're using a slatted base or not. So if I use a foundation/boxspring I don't need the slats?

anonymous on May 06, 2013:

Everything Pam said... long drive... talked to the floor rep (why we knew we needed the slats)... long drive back...SURPRISE!... frustrating experience with an unhelpful customer service ( essentially, "Sorry- sucks to be you"). That last bit was the most disappointing. But disappointed moved into the angry zone when the Seattle store manager we then talked to was not only unhelpful, but wide open rude to my wife. At least the bed was for us and we weren't disappointing someone else as well. (REALLY sorry to hear that, Pam). I like Pam's idea of having the checkout flag the checker to ask if the customer is aware that a midbeam is required. The current situation tells me that IKEA is: 1) criminally oblivious (seems unlikely considering these complaints go back to at least 2009 and these poll results show that as of May 2013only 14% got all the parts needed on the first try), OR 2) IKEA is just flat out mean, OR 3) They're terminally stupid, OR 4) They're stark raving insane. ("Insanity is repeating the same mistake and expecting different results"). How would the Seattle store manager feel if he bought a TV, got it home and then found out the power cord was "a separate item" and he had to drive 8 hours to get one so he could use his TV. I could be totally wrong on this, but it seems to me that anything that is absolutely required to make a purchase usable should be included in the first place. (No... wait.... I don't think I could be totally wrong).

IKEA- Include that part or flag it at the checkout. If someone is purchasing a bed, prompt the checker to see if the customer is aware that slats and a midbeam may be required. Or have that information CLEARLY AND EMPHATICALLY posted on the bed packaging- or at least at the bin. Or how hard would it be to include the midbeam- sounds like that is required whether you use slats or a foundation/boxspring. All I can say is that IKEA lost our good will in a big way over a $10 part. Does that make any business sense in the age of social media?

lens- THANK YOU for posting this. It sounds like you have already helped some folks avoid this trap.

anonymous on May 04, 2013:

Buying a bed from the online store, thanks for this!

anonymous on April 04, 2013:

I wish I had had a better understanding of how IKEA and their bed systems work before I went there yesterday. We drove 3 hours, did our shopping and bought my daughter a new bed for her birthday. Spent the night at a hotel, drove home and started setting up the bed only to discover we had not mid beam. I thought by making sure that I had 1 of 2 boxes that the 2nd box contained the mid beam. NOPE! Do you think the girl at the check out said anything? NOPE! Called customer service and was told (very rudely) that they could not ship one to me. So I am now expected to drive 6 hours round trip for a mid beam. Very disappointed with the customer service. Not a good first impression. This is obviously an ongoing problem that needs addressing. Perhaps a flag from the computer at check out??? So angry and frustrated. Mostly, I feel bad for my daughter.

anonymous on February 14, 2013:

I'm SO glad I saw this before I drove all the way to Houston! I wasn't aware you had to buy the slats separate & I sure as heck wouldn't have known about the midbeam! This is a real eye opener! Thanks so much for taking the time to warn others. Sheri from Texas

sconnelly711 (author) on December 24, 2012:

@anonymous: Yes, the midbeam will ship with the bed and is included in the price. If you are ordering on the US website you can see that the bed price is made up of the bed frame and midbeam by picking buy at a local store, picking a store, and looking at the stock prognosis. It will show the bed frame and midbeam as two items that make up the bed price.

anonymous on December 24, 2012:

I'm ordering a Hemnes queen and king bed online. I understand that I need to order the slats. I cannot find a way to add the midbeams to my order for each bed. If they are included in the price, does that mean that they are shipped automatically? Thanks for this instruction.

sconnelly711 (author) on November 14, 2012:

@MrsPotts: Thank you for the comment :) I hope my lens was helpful!!

sconnelly711 (author) on November 14, 2012:

@cinstress: Thanks for checking out my lens. It might be worth a visit :)

MrsPotts on October 21, 2012:

Bought an IKEA bed recently. Wish I'd seen this lens first, would have been helpful. Great resource lens!

cinstress on September 02, 2012:

I'll have to check out IKEA

sconnelly711 (author) on August 27, 2012:

@anonymous: This instructional is for building a bed in the US. Here IKEA does sell boxsprings and foundations and in fact some beds sold here in the US IKEA stores would look silly without them. You may also just use slates as well though, but boxsprings/ foundations are an option and are sold. If you do choose to use them you will need to place them on the Lade Slates first as described above. Cheers, sconnelly711

anonymous on August 26, 2012:

Buyers should be aware that IKEA beds are designed to be used with mattresses, not with box springs (which they do not sell). There are numerous stories of people who have bought box springs and had them fall off the frame.

All you need is a bed frame, the Skorva mid beam and the Sultan slats of your choice.

Only 3 items (but more than 3 boxes).

sconnelly711 (author) on August 23, 2012:

@AstroGremlin: Well true boxsprings do provide a little bit plusher feel, but that feeling can be replicated with the softer slats. Yes some people do like having a higher sitting mattress, all preference I guess. Thanks for commenting :)

AstroGremlin on August 23, 2012:

I'm not sure why we keep paying for box springs. Basically just a way of raising the mattress off the floor.

sconnelly711 (author) on August 22, 2012:

@anonymous: No Problem, glad my lens is helpful!

anonymous on August 22, 2012:

Very handy tips and suggestions... Thanks for sharing!

sconnelly711 (author) on August 19, 2012:

@Magda2012: Thank you, it is much appreciated

Magda2012 on August 19, 2012:

I am a fan of IKEA. Nice lens

sconnelly711 (author) on August 18, 2012:

@JoshK47: Thanks Josh!

JoshK47 on August 18, 2012:

Useful info!