Mattress off or mattress on floor? It's the question that's sparking debate across the desks at Real Homes HQ. While some of us prefer to sleep propped up on a proper bed frame or platform, other members of our team can go without the fuss of this furniture altogether. After all, they are an added cost if you're renting an unfurnished property, or investing in furnishings for your first home.
But. And this is a big but. You've got to know how to style your best mattress on the floor properly. Otherwise, you may get flashbacks of crashing at a friend's house in your mid-teens or look like a lazy grown-up who hasn't got themselves together. Because there's a difference between slubby and unstructured, and just plain sloppy!
Thankfully, we've seen some amazing examples (in real homes) of how this look can be achieved aesthetically. Plus, even some big-name brands have put this task to bed with trendy schemes that are easy to replicate.
Mattress on floor ideas
'There are aesthetic reasons to place a mattress on the floor,' says Daniel Noyed, certified sleep coach, Sleep Foundation (opens in new tab).
'It can help make a room feel larger, an effect that will be particularly noticeable in rooms with low ceilings. It also has a minimalist feel, which works well with certain design aesthetics.'
'The floor can support your mattress well. A floor will provide firm, even support to your mattress, allowing it to properly support your body. In most situations, placing a mattress directly on the floor will not significantly impact its comfort, support, or overall feel. Keep in mind that some mattresses require certain types of support, which the floor may or may not provide.'
1. Dress it up with a canopy
Adding a canopy (secured with a shelf bracket) will add instant drama to a mattress on the floor, upgrading it from sloppy to chic in seconds. Not only does it add airiness, but it acts as a room divider, with less of a hard line of division. This makes it a perfect shared bedroom idea when you have small children staying over on the weekend, but don't want wriggling feet and hands in your bed.
2. Create beachy vibes with white decor
Create an idyllic bedroom oasis by incorporating all-white decor into your sleep space. This white bedroom design by Urban Outfitters is a beautifully breezy space made possible with an exotic palm houseplant, a lightweight and translucent curtain window treatment, and lots of light coming in from outside to create a gorgeous silhouette from the simple pendant light.
An off-white or cream rug will add a tactile feeling to your tootsies... Not too dissimilar to a soft sandy beach. Add some seashells to your bedside table for a laidback seaside scheme.
3. Position your bed near the fireplace for warmth(opens in new tab)
Depending on how well-insulated your home is, and what your central heating setup is like, it can be a challenge to keep yourself warm in your bedroom - especially in the colder months.
Heat rises, but that's no help when you've got a mattress on the floor. So if your best duvet isn't serving you, and you've got a fireplace – pop it in close proximity to your stove. Of course, safety first, so make sure it's at a safe distance so you don't burn yourself or your bedding!
We love this multidimensional scheme that's been styled by Cleo Scheulderman (opens in new tab). High ceilings, a suspended pendant light fixture, and the mattress raised on a higher level than the floor... Dreamy if you ask us!
4. Transform a formal dining area into a bedroom
Recently, the rooms in our homes have dropped their fixed roles and become much more multi-functional. While there's a time and place for formal eating, some dining rooms are seldom used. So, when out-of-town company turns up, why not turn this space into an extra bedroom? That's exactly what Carol, aka @homesbycaz (opens in new tab) did.
She says: 'When your daughter comes to stay and you have no room, your dining room becomes a bedroom.'
To create this comfy space, she used organic textures of jute, wood, linen, and cotton to make this scheme feel super cozy... Because momma knows best right?
5. Frame your bed with wall sconces
When placing a mattress on the floor, you don't want it to look like it's been plonked on your carpet or hard surface with no consideration to the overall space. Position is everything when it comes to perfecting the scheme, so why not 'frame' the bed with wall sconces as part of your bedroom lighting decor? By sandwiching your unraised bed in between, your low-lying bedding will look like it's meant to be there.
6. Swap in curtains for a headboard
If your bed feels a bit 'naked' without a backdrop, create a DIY headboard with curtains. It's a quick way to incorporate texture and color into your space (if you don't opt for a plain white one). Why not be bold and add a beaded curtain to create a beautiful bohemian backdrop.
7. Tuck it into an alcove
Placing a mattress on the floor, in the middle of your room isn't always ideal - especially if your boudoir is bijou. But if you have an alcove in the room, take advantage of this recess and use this space to slot your bed into it like Lauren MacLean aka @livingbylo (opens in new tab) has.
Elevate the look by copying her modern coffee table (Hers is the Elwood, and available from mlt (opens in new tab))
8. Place a rug nearby
Getting out of bed when you've slept on a mattress on the floor can take a bit of time to get used to. However, you can create the illusion of 'levels' with a rug or runner. Place it either at the end of the bed, or adjacent to it, to take away the feeling that you're rolling out onto the bare floor.
9. Create a retro seventies-inspired space
Many mattress on floor ideas can feel a little overstyled or just plain messy. So it's hard to find a middle ground at times. But if you're looking for a simple scheme that looks smart, turn to this sixties-inspired idea for inspiration. The grey and green decor is perfect as a men's bedroom idea without looking messy.
10. Hang festoon lighting overhead
Create an outdoors-in scheme by hanging bedroom fairy lights over your mattress on the floor. This is a fun idea that both adults and kids will enjoy and will bring a balmy festival vibe to the room.
Absolutely everything works in harmony in this bedroom to bring that backyard feel to the space from the voile curtains to the exposed brick wall, the biophilic framed art, and of course, that oversized houseplant. Layer multiple rugs over one another to add depth and dimension.
11. Stack some daybeds
If you're not necessarily going to be using the mattress on floor for sleeping, and just want a squidgy space to slumber with a book - consider a daybed (or two). These Rohini velvet daybed cushions from Urban Outfitters (opens in new tab) come in five different colors so you can mix and match them to add interest to your scheme.
12. Create a guest room in an instant
'You never know when extra guests are going to pop up, particularly during the holiday season. It’s best to always be prepared with a comfortable, space-saving solution that makes hosting overnight a breeze,' says Geneviève Jorn, interior designer at Ikea (opens in new tab).
'A flexible foam mattress folds up easily and can be stored away with a simple DIY cover next to a day bed. When guests arrive, lay out the mattress, push the bed back against the wall and use the cover as a room divider for privacy.'
13. Invest in a folding mattress
'Mom, please can I have my friends round?' is probably a request you've heard time and time over when your son or daughter wants to host their own slumber party. Generally speaking, you've got takeout and entertainment covered - but what about bedding?
If you don't want to buy a blow-up bed, a folding mattress might be a better alternative - especially if your kids' room is on the small size. This SLÄKT folding mattress by Ikea (opens in new tab)is so easy to fold up and put away in the morning.
Should you place mattress on floor?
'Many people prefer the simplicity of placing their mattress on the floor. This is the most affordable route – but it’s not always a good idea. Most mattresses can be put directly on the floor, but whether or not they should be is another question entirely,' says Noyed.
'Most mattresses can be placed on the floor. However, there are some significant downsides to this approach:
- It may void your warranty – be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions and warranty terms
- It may result in mildew or mold, particularly in warm or humid environments
- It restricts airflow around the mattress, which can cause it to feel uncomfortably warm
- It makes it easier for insects, including bed bugs, to gain access to the mattress
- It can lead to an increase in dust and dust mite accumulation in the mattress
- It may make it more awkward to get in and out of bed
Is sleeping on a mattress on the floor good for me?
'One of the large selling points for putting your mattress on the floor is the potential back pain relief,' says Mitchell Tollsen, writer and self-titled sleep expert at Early Bird blog (opens in new tab).
'Sleeping on the floor can help your spine and neck stay neutral and keep your posture healthy. People who sleep on the ground may also see improvements to their sciatica and a reduced chance of developing scoliosis. Due to how firm your sleeping surface is on the floor, it’s best to sleep on your back for the most comfort and back pain relief.'
'Your mattress is firmer when on the floor and sleeping on a firm mattress helps distribute your body weight evenly. This way, there is less pressure on any specific body part, thus allowing your muscles and tissues to receive better circulation during the night. Having good blood circulation helps the body’s major organs function properly, fights off disease, and improves muscle recovery.'