What is the Best Bed Height?

The answer to this question is somewhat arbitrary because the best bed height for you depends on your own height and certain medical conditions you may have. The ideal bed height is generally somewhere around knee height. But, of course, everyone’s knees are different heights. So you may have to use other factors to determine what’s right for you.

Average Bed Height

A bed’s profile can range between 18 and 36 inches, depending on what kind of bed it is. Platform beds tend to be lower profile, while antique beds are much higher. You can also customize the height of your traditional bed a bit. You could get a thicker or thinner mattress, and box springs/mattress foundations can have several profile options.

Antique Beds

Antique beds are the tallest beds. These are statement pieces meant to convey luxury, elegance, and style. These beds stand at an average of 36 inches tall. They also usually come with elaborate decorated headboards and footboards that demand attention. They may have features like a canopy, and they’re best suited for large master bedrooms with high ceilings.

Taller sleepers might appreciate the height of antique bed frames. A height of 36 inches puts them just above knee height for extra tall people. On the other hand, people might not enjoy the nightly chore of clambering into bed.

Platform Beds

Platform beds are the opposite of antique beds in just about every way. Instead of the high-profile, vintage opulence of the antique bed, platform beds offer sleek modernity. Platform bed profiles are usually around 18 inches.

These bed frames also don’t typically draw attention to themselves. They might or might not have headboards/footboards. And they usually pull focus to the bedclothes themselves. These beds are great for shorter sleepers or those looking for a minimalist or industrial style.

Traditional Beds

Traditional beds have an average profile of 24 inches, which comes close to the average person’s knee height. It might be just above or below yours. Traditional beds are more what you would think of as an everyday bed frame. They’re normally affordable, and they’re more stylistically versatile. Just about every conceivable design can be found at traditional bed height.

Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds usually have a similar height to a platform bed, ranging from 12 to 18 inches. It’s not uncommon for an adjustable bed to come with height-adjustable legs, so you may be able to change the bed’s height to suit your preferences. Some adjustable bases also have a zero-clearance design that lets you slip the base inside a pre-existing frame in place of a traditional mattress foundation.

Low-Profile Beds

Those who want a sleeker, more modern look often consider low-profile beds. Platform beds are the most common low-profile frames because they have slats and thus don’t require a set of box springs or a mattress foundation. Platform beds come in a wide variety of materials, from wood to cast iron and steel. You can also get storage platform beds.

If you already have a bed frame you like, you can also lower your bed’s profile with low-profile box springs or a low-profile mattress foundation. These bed bases have a height of two to six inches instead of the standard nine inches. Combining this with a thinner mattress (around nine inches) can cut up to 10 inches off the profile of your bed.

Raising the Bed’s Height

Just as you can establish a lower-profile bed, you can also take steps to raise a bed that’s too low for your liking. One inexpensive method is to use a set of bed risers, which usually raise the bed by an inch or two but can raise a frame by as much as 12 inches. This method also increases the amount of under-bed storage space you have.

You can also consider mattress thickness and ask yourself if your bed is tall enough. As a reminder, we always recommend mattresses that are at least 10 inches thick for adults. Thinner mattresses may give out sooner, due to the decreased amount of materials.

If your mattress is uncomfortable after years of use, you can revive its feel with a mattress topper. A mattress topper typically adds 1 to 2 inches of height and brands usually offer an array of mattress topper sizes suitable for most mattresses.

Considerations

When deciding on the best bed profile for you or your kids, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Height

Taller people need taller beds, and shorter people need lower beds. When searching for a new mattress or bed frame, measure your leg from the floor to your knee. Keep your number in mind while shopping.

Remember, your bed being an inch or two above or below your knee is not something you’re likely to notice. But you will notice several inches of difference. Also, remember the full height of your bed will be your frame’s height, your bed base’s height (if applicable), and your mattress’s height combined.

Age

Of course, kids will grow, and their height needs will change. If you have younger kids and don’t want to keep replacing their beds, you might consider getting them higher beds than what they need right now and purchasing steps to help them get in and out of bed while they’re small.

Elderly people might also need to think about their bed’s height. Arthritis and other age-related disabilities can make it seriously difficult to get in and out of bed. That means it’s even more important to get the bed height correct. Typically, if you can sit on the edge of the bed with your feet flat on the floor and your thighs horizontal (or close to it), you have the right bed height.

Even if you don’t have mobility problems now, as you age, you might develop them. So you might want to consider adjusting your bed height appropriately before you get to that point.

Disability

Those with mobility issues have a more limited range of what their proper bed height can be. Non-disabled young people can bounce in and out of beds with lots of different profiles. However, those with limited mobility need to make sure their bed is knee-high and passes the sit test. Couples with one disabled partner should tailor their bed height to fit that partner’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best height for bunk beds?

With bunk beds, the bottom bunk is typically low-profile to make room for the top bunk. You’ll need to think about both the top bunk’s height and your ceiling height. Generally, you need no less than 33 inches between the top bunk’s mattress and the ceiling, so there won’t be any nighttime head injuries.

That means if you have eight-foot ceilings, your bunk beds can be no taller than 63 inches to leave enough room to sit up in the top bed.  Keep in mind this height is measured from the top of the mattress and not from the rails, which are normally higher than the mattress.

Can bed height make it hard for me to get in and out of bed?

Yes, it can. If the bed is too high, you might have difficulty climbing into it. You might also have to slide or even jump out of it. If it’s too low, it could put excessive muscle strain on your lower body to get in or out of bed.

Struggling to get in and out of bed night after night can have a negative impact on your health. It could lead to strains, joint or back pain, and general discomfort. That’s why it’s so important for you to have a suitable bed height for your needs.

Should I change my bed’s height?

There are a couple of ways to tell if your bed’s height is ideal for you. If your knee is within an inch or two of the same height as the top of your mattress, you don’t need to change your bed height. If you can sit down on the bed with your feet flat on the floor and your thighs in a horizontal line, you also don’t need to change your bed height.

However, if you find your legs angling sharply downward or upward when you sit on the edge of your bed, you may need to alter its height accordingly. You may also need to change your bed’s height if you find yourself struggling to get in and out of it.

Does mattress thickness impact bed height?

Yes. Your mattress height is a big part of your bed’s height. Depending on its thickness, your mattress can add anywhere from nine to 15 inches to the overall height of the bed. That means if you have an 18-inch bed frame, a nine-inch foundation, and a 12-inch mattress, the overall height of your bed will be 39 inches. You’ll need to add all three components together to get the total height of your bed.

What can I do to raise my bed height?

If you want to raise the height of a lower bed, there are several things you can do. Bed risers are plastic blocks you can put underneath your bed frame’s legs. This option can raise the total profile of your bed up to a foot without you having to get a new mattress or bed base.

Other options to raise your bed height include buying a thicker mattress or a taller mattress foundation/box spring. You might also consider a mattress topper if you only want to add an inch or two to the height of your bed. If all else fails, you might just have to purchase a taller bed frame.

Bottom Line

The height of your bed is more important than you might think, but it also doesn’t require a lot of overthinking. As long as your bed is around knee-high to you and you can comfortably sit on it with your feet on the floor, you should be fine.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.

Andrew Russell, Wellness Writer Andrew Russell

Andrew Russell is a part-time writer and full-time sleep enthusiast. At Zoma, Andrew lends his sleep expertise and writes many of our “better sleep” guides. Outside of Zoma, Andrew puts his advice to the test, always trying new ways to get deeper, more restorative sleep. We appreciate Andrew because he doesn’t give advice that he doesn’t follow himself, so you can feel confident his solutions for better sleep really do the trick. Andrew's work has been featured on Ladders, Bright Side, and several other publications.

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