What Is the Best Wood for Bed Slats?

When choosing the ideal bed for you, you should shop around and try out some of the available beds on the market. Some bed frames are made entirely from wood, while others are made from, well, almost anything else! Beds come in all different sizes, shapes, and designs. They can be bought ready-made, directly from the store, or custom-made to suit your lifestyle and space.

Bed slats need to be solid and durable and able to stand the heavyweights placed on them by at least two adults and a mattress. The best wood to use for bed slats is Douglas Fir, Red Oak, Yellow Poplar, Hickory, Southern Yellow Pine, and Beech, as they are strong and flexible.

Another consideration when searching for your ideal bed is the base. For some, a completely hard base is the perfect support for a mattress and offers a good night’s sleep. For others, slats are the only way to go to provide the support that the mattress needs. If you do choose the slats option, what is the best wood to provide the best support?

Can You Use Any Wood for Bed Slats?

If you don’t have a base of some sort on your bed frame, the mattress will simply fall through onto the floor. Bed slats attached to the bed frame offer your mattress support and prevent the mattress from sagging or shifting.

Bed slats help with weight distribution throughout a mattress. Without bed slats, you could end up sleeping on a very saggy mattress instead of a firm one!

These days, many bed manufacturers use bed slats instead of box springs as they are lighter and smaller, making beds easier to package and transport. Many people are replacing their box springs with bed slats as they are more comfortable and easier to replace if they are damaged.

Ready-made bed slats kits are available to fit most standard-sized beds, but if you are a handyman and enjoy working with wood, most DIY stores will stock the necessary wood for building DIY bed slats.

Most bed slats are made from wood and are attached across the width of the bed frame as a series of connected bars. 2X4s are generally used as bed slats as they are better suited for a wood platform foundation, but they should not be thicker than one inch (2.5cms). There are two types of slats available for your bed, each providing different support for your mattress.

Solid Slats

Solid slats are generally made from sturdy wood, offering firmer support than sprung slats. Solid slats are placed across the width of the bed with a reinforced bar that runs down the center of the bed. This solid slat structure provides additional support and creates an even distribution of pressure. A firm mattress should be placed over solid slats.

Sprung Slats

Sprung slats are usually made from flexible wood and are slightly curved, offering a more cushioned, plusher feel than solid slats. Two rows of sprung slats are placed widthways across the bed, connected by a support rail that runs down the center of the bed. The sprung slat structure creates an upward curve that responds to your body weight by mimicking the movement of springs. Sprung slats can considerably prolong the lifespan of your mattress by reducing the strain placed on it. Soft or medium mattresses work well with sprung slats.

Best Woods for Bed Slats

When choosing wood for bed slats, make sure that it is good quality, durable wood. The wood used for bed slats needs to be strong and flexible enough to hold the weight of two adults and perhaps a couple of children and a dog or two! Softwoods are ideal for bed slats, but certain hardwoods can also be used. Look for straight, flat boards without knots that are all the same thickness.

Here are some of our favorite woods for making bed slats.

Douglas Fir Wood (Pine Family)

A light-colored, strong, and extremely durable wood with a vertical reddish-brown colored grain. Resistant to warping, pine is an inexpensive wood and is a good choice for wooden bed slats.

Red Oak Wood (Beech Family)

A solid, abundant hardwood, extremely moisture-resistant, and will withstand crushing and wear and tear. Oak can withstand both fungal and insects attacks. Even though oak is a hardwood, it is ideal for home slatted bed bases.

Yellow Poplar Wood (Beech Family)

Yellow poplar is a light tan-colored, easy wood to work with, very simple to plane and stain. A popular wood often used to construct bed frames, poplar is considered a weak type of hardwood, but because of its resistance to shrinkage, it is considered an excellent strength for bed slats.

Hickory Wood (Beech Family)

A light-colored, shock-resistant, and resilient wood, hickory wood is known as hard domestic wood. Hickory wood is straightforward to work with and is often used to make wooden bed slats.

Southern Yellow Pine Wood (Pine Family)

An extremely strong, durable softwood with a firm grain in yellow, tan, and orange shades. Perfect for using on bed slats as they will not break under the strain of the constant weight.

Birch Wood

Birch is generally used to build bed frames. It is an ideal wood for projects with simple and contemporary lines, making it an excellent wood for bed slats.

Which Wood Is Not Suitable for Bed Slats

Hardwoods are not generally suited for making bed slats, although they can be used if no other type of wood is available. Beech and oak hardwoods are often used for wooden bed slats because of their durability.

Hardwoods are not necessarily harder than softwoods, but they are more durable and more costly than softwoods. Because hardwoods are flowering trees, they grow slower and produce denser wood.

Hardwoods are generally used to make bed frames, so, if possible, don’t use these types of woods to make wooden bed slats:

  • Maple wood
  • Cherry wood
  • Birchwood
  • Mahogany wood
  • Walnut wood


When choosing your ideal bed, do your research first and find what suits you. While a wooden bed with a slatted base could be what you are looking for, unless you know what it feels like to lie down on top of a mattress over the bed slats, don’t buy it!

Wooden bed slats can be replaced when they break or are damaged, and you can add more to your bed frame to increase the mattress support if necessary.

A bed is a long-term investment for most people and something that you will use every day for a good night’s rest. Make sure that your wooden bed frame and bed slats are made from sturdy wood and can take the total weight of your family.

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