When it comes to purchasing a new bed, you’re likely just thinking about color, style, and whether or not you can fit it through the front door. But it is so important to not forget bed height! Getting the right size bed will make a big difference in the way it works in the room – not to mention the potential health benefits. If the bed is too low or too high, the continued strain of getting in and out could cause damage.
If you’re unsure which bed height is best for you, this guide can help.
First, let’s discuss the different bed types out there, when shopping at a standard furniture store.
Platform beds are a lower option, and are typically around 18” off the ground (including the mattress). Platform beds have a very modern feel, which is partly why they’re so popular right now.
Platform beds typically have slats, so they don’t require a boxspring. This is partly why they are lower to the ground. Sometimes the mattress sits level to the edge of the bed, and sometimes it is more sunken in to the frame. If you’re shopping online, take note of the height of your chosen platform bed with and without a mattress, then test out sitting and standing off a surface that is that tall.
Though the standard is 18”, platform beds come in a variety of heights, including more Japanese-style beds that are practically on the ground. Very tall people should probably consider the tallest platform beds, in order to ensure they are comfortable getting in and out of bed.
If your home has lower ceilings, or the bed is in a loft, platform beds are a great choice. A lower bed makes the room look taller, and keeps you from hitting your head every morning when you sit up!
Standard bed frames require a boxspring and a mattress, which makes the typical height about 25” from the ground to the mattress top.
This is right at knee height or slightly above for most people, so it is very easy to get in and out of. This standard height is part of the reason it is the most popular type of bed.
If your home has standard ceilings or taller ceilings, this bed size helps fill the space and makes the room look proportional. Traditional bed heights are great for kids rooms, because you may be able to start without a box spring, then add one as the child grows and can handle the taller height.
Futons and convertible sofas tend to be around 20-21” off the ground, placing them between platform beds and traditional beds. Because they double as a sofa, they are a little lower and may be more difficult to get in and out of.
If your futon is primarily being used as a sofa and only occasionally as a bed, the height is not as pressing. But if you’ll be converting it every night, you may want to apply the same rules as mentioned before.
Older beds, including vintage or antique pieces, tend to be higher up, around 36” off the ground. While that adds a lot of extra storage, it can be difficult to get out of it if you are short or have a bad back or knees.
Bed Height vs Your Height
To start, determine if your current bed is the right height for you. Sit on the edge of your bed. If your needs fall below your hips, your bed is too high. And if your feet dangle, the bed is too high. We’re looking for that Goldilocks position – somewhere in the middle, where your knees are aligned with your hips. Can you sit down and get up easily, without needing to push yourself up with your arms? Then congrats, your bed is the right height for you!
First, find a standard, 18-inch dining chair and sit, then note the angle of your knees to the floor. This is the typical height of a low-standing mattress or platform bed. If you can sit and stand comfortably, that’s a good height to consider.
If that feels too low, try a 24-inch or 30-inch chair or stool. Does it feel like you’re scaling a mountain just to sit down? Then it might be too tall. Remember that the soft mattress will make it more difficult to maneuver in and out of, compared to the arms of a chair.
For most people, knee-level is about 16”-24” off of the ground. At this height, people can usually put both their feet firmly on the ground and push off the bed with their knees bent. Therefore, a bed at that height should be good for the average person.
When it comes to the ideal height of a bed, comfort is key. Everyone has their own preferences and comfort level with beds that are higher up or closer to the ground. You don’t want to strain to get up on a too-high bed, not do you want to struggle to get out of a bed that’s too low.
There is no hard and fast rule on the most comfortable bed height. You really just need to test out different heights and see what feels best! The average bed is 25” high, and should be comfortable for someone of average height. But everyone is different!
If you are considering a platform bed, you definitely want to make sure that it isn’t too low. While these beds are stylish, they can be uncomfortable for those with bad backs or knees, have joint issues, or who are elderly. It’s good to test this bed height out at a store to make sure you don’t invest in a bed height that doesn’t work for you!
If you’re putting a bed in the guest room, a traditional bed height may be a good choice so you can accommodate anyone who stays over. But it’s really up to you and how you want to style your space!
A too short bed with too tall mattress, or a short mattress that gets buried in the deep frame of a bed, are both going to affect the style and comfort of your bedroom.
Most mattresses are around 10-12” tall, but that and vary greatly. Pillow top mattresses are often slightly taller, and some boxed mattresses or foam mattresses are thinner. A natural latex mattress is usually around the same thickness, just a little more dense. Make sure you consider the height of the mattress in addition to the height of the bed when you are designing the room.