Can You Put an Air Mattress on a Bed Frame?

Air Mattress on a Bed Frame

Air mattresses are becoming more and more popular, with people using them for a variety of reasons – from sleeping on them every night, to using them when camping, or when guests come over. With this growing popularity, one of the most common questions people ask is if you can put an air mattress on a bed frame.

So can you put an air mattress on a bed frame?

Well, technically, the answer is yes, you can put an air mattress on a bed frame. But this is not as easy as it sounds. Air mattresses are designed to be used flat on the floor or ground. Unless they are modified in some way the majority of bed frames will not provide adequate support for both the mattress and the person lying on top of it without risking the mattress falling to the floor, causing injury to the person using it as well as damage to the air mattress.

In this article, we’ll explore why using a bed frame to elevate your inflatable air mattress usually doesn’t work, things you might be able to do to successfully use a bed frame to raise an air mattress, as well as cover some other options.

Why People Want to Use a Bed Frame to Raise Air Mattresses

There are several reasons people might want to use a bed frame to raise an air mattress. One of the most common reasons is that it is easier to get onto and off of an air mattress if it is elevated, which can be even more true if the person sleeping on the air mattress is older or has some sort of physical ailment. Another common reason is that people want to protect the mattress from dirt and damage by keeping it elevated above the floor or ground.

So let’s explore why using a bed frame to elevate an air mattress is usually a bad choice and find out what you can do to make it work.

Why Putting an Air Mattress on a Bed Frame Usually Doesn’t Work

Thanks to their portability and ease of storage, inflatable air mattresses are popular for use as a temporary bed, for camping, or for people who are traveling. They are usually made of vinyl or polyurethane or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and are designed to be placed on flat surfaces. However, when it comes to putting them on a bed frame, things can quickly go from easy to difficult. These complications can plague both wood and metal bed frames.

Wooden Frames:


Wooden bed frames can be problematic for elevating air mattresses for several reasons.

First of all, most wooden bed frames are made with wooden slats that support the underside of the mattress. These wooden slats will often have sharp edges or splinters that can puncture or cut the air mattress above it. In addition, any metal screws or fasteners that are used to hold the wooden bed frame together can also puncture or cut the exterior of an air mattress if they are not seated beneath the surface of the wood. This risk of punctures or cuts is only made worse if the bed frame doesn’t have any safety rails or edges for the mattress to fit into allowing the air mattress to slide around creating extra friction with any sharp edges.

Beyond the risk of any punctures, rips, or tears, the gaps between the wooden slats don’t provide the same uniform support that an air mattress would receive if it were on the floor in your home or on the flat ground if you were camping. The gaps between the wooden slats will create extra stress on the air mattress, especially on the seams which may result in leaks developing.

So unless you are using an air mattress that was specifically designed to be used on a bed frame with a slatted design and the frame also doesn’t have any sharp edges you probably want to think twice before putting your air mattress on a traditional wooden bed frame.

Metal Frames:

Metal bed frames come with their own set of problems when used to raise air mattresses.

Similar to wooden bed frames, metal bed frames don’t offer support for the entire bottom of an air mattress. The gaps in the supports for the underside of the air mattress will be just as big if not bigger than what you would find on a wooden bed frame putting extra stress on the air mattress design.

Beyond that, the construction of a metal bed frame also poses risks for excessive wear, cuts, and punctures. If the metal bed frame was put together with welds sometimes you will find rough or sharp surfaces where two pieces of metal are welded together. In addition, if parts of the bed frame are connected with nuts, bolts, or other metal fasteners, they can also cause potential damage to an air mattress that comes in contact with them. Lastly, you will want to watch out for the ends of any metal pieces as they can often be pointy or sharp.

Also similar to the problems you can encounter with a wooden frame if the metal frame doesn’t have rails or edges for the air mattress to fit into it can slide around quite a bit increasing the chances for damage to the mattress or falls by the person using it.

How to Successfully Put an Air Mattress on a Bed Frame

One of the easiest solutions to using a bed frame to elevate an air mattress would be if you had a box spring to place on top of the bed frame first and then put the air mattress on top of that as you would with a regular mattress. With the smooth slippery bottom that is on most air mattresses, you still might struggle with the air mattress sliding around on top of the box spring, but most people could figure out how to deal with it. That said if you had a spare box spring sitting around you probably wouldn’t be asking about whether you can put an air mattress on a bed frame, to begin with.

So let’s assume that you don’t have a box spring and discuss what you might be able to do that would allow you to use a bed frame to get your air mattress on the ground.

Put a Piece of Plywood Over the Bed Frame

If you’re still keen on using a bed frame to give your air mattress, add a sheet of plywood on top of it to create a more even uniform surface that is capable of providing support for the entire underside of the mattress. Do this by cutting a piece of plywood to the dimensions of the bed frame. Depending on the exact construction of your specific bed frame you may want to use some hardware (screws, nuts, bolts) to secure the plywood in place so it doesn’t slide off the bed frame.

In addition to adding some plywood to your bed frame and making sure that it is secure and stays in place there are a few other things that you can look for or do which will allow you to successfully pair your air mattress with a bed frame.

Pay Attention to the Size of the Bed Frame

When it comes to using a bed frame to raise your air mattress off the ground, size is key. Bed frames come in many sizes. So you want to make sure that your frame is neither too large nor too small for your mattress – this can cause problems with slippage.

Look for Frames with Rails

If you don’t have a bed frame and you’re planning to buy one specifically to use with an air mattress, look for one with rails on the sides and ends. The rails don’t need to be very high, but having a bed frame with rails will really help keep the air mattress in place and avoid it slipping when it’s on the frame.

Use Velcro

If you are having problems with the mattress sliding around on the bed frame, which is pretty common especially if the bed frame you are using doesn’t have rails, you could consider using Velcro to help stabilize it. Stick one side of the Velcro to the bottom of the air mattress in a variety of places, and secure the other side to your bed frame. Not only will this help keep the mattress in place, but it will also help minimize the chances of the mattress getting cut or punctured by any sharp edges on the frame.

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Placement of Bed Frame and Air Mattress Matters

If you are having trouble with the air mattress sliding around on the bed frame you can also try positioning the bed frame against the wall or better yet in a corner. This will minimize the amount of room your mattress has to move around the bed frame and will help to minimize the chance of any unnecessary movement that might cause your bed to shift in the middle of the night.

How High Should I Raise My Air Mattress off the Floor With a Bed Frame?

There isn’t really one uniform height that beds should be off the floor. Between differences in heights of bed frames combined with box springs and mattresses of varying thicknesses, there is quite a range of heights of the sleeping surface of beds. Then when you add in the large number of people who enjoy having a mattress topper the possible range of heights only increases.

That said, the height of the sleeping surface of most beds will be in the range of 16-24 inches off the ground. Taller people will probably feel more comfortable with heights at the higher end of the range and shorter people will usually prefer beds at the lower end of the range. Most people who are in the middle in terms of height will feel very comfortable with beds that are 18-22 inches off the ground.

So as it relates to using an air mattress with a bed frame many people might feel that the top of the mattress is too low – especially if you don’t have a box spring to put between the frame and mattress. Two ways to get around this problem would be to buy a thicker mattress (if you don’t already have an air mattress) or to add risers underneath the bed frame.

Last update on 2024-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Alternatives to Using Bed Frames With Air Mattresses?

So as you can see, you aren’t doomed to sleep on the floor if you are using an inflatable air mattress. There are several things you can do to raise the sleeping surface of an air mattress off the ground. You aren’t just limited to using a bed frame. That said if the reason you want to raise your air mattress off the floor is to prevent it from getting dirty or damaged there are some easier and cheaper options that you can consider first.

Clean and Vacuum the Floor

Air mattresses work just fine being placed on the floor. So if it is being used indoors and the person who will be using it is physically able to get onto and off of the mattress, all you need to do is pick up the kids’ Legos and clean the floor or vacuum the rug or carpeting, and you’ll be ready to go!

Put the Air Mattress on a Rug

No matter if you’re using your air mattress outdoors on rough terrain or indoors on smooth, slippery floors, placing a rug underneath your air mattress can help you out in both situations. The softness of the rug will protect the bottom of the mattress from punctures, as well as provide traction on smooth flooring to reduce any chances of the mattress sliding around.

Buy a Thicker/Taller Air Mattress

If you don’t already have an inflatable air mattress you might be happier buying a thicker mattress rather than trying to place a thinner mattress on a bed frame. Not only can you find inflatable air mattresses up to 22″ tall, but these thicker mattresses are often more comfortable and will not bottom out as easily as thinner ones.

Final Thoughts

Whether you sleep on one every night or you just bring them out for the occasional camping trip or when you are hosting guests, one of the questions that are asked most frequently about inflatable air mattresses is if they can be used on a bed frame. As we discussed in this article, technically you can put an air mattress on a bed frame, but it’s not as easy as just throwing your air mattress on just any frame. Without some modifications, the majority of bed frames will not provide the support needed for both the air mattress and the person lying on it.