When choosing a new bed, it’s easy to prioritise comfort and design and ignore something as mundane as the height. However, contrary to popular belief, bed height is actually pretty important. The height of your mattress, in addition to your bed frame, can contribute significantly to the look and function of your bedroom, not to mention your overall comfort when getting in and out of it every day. Whether your bed resembles the 20 mattresses in ‘The Princess and the Pea’, or consists of a measly mattress on the floor, its height can significantly affect you.
Comfort in bed
Possibly the most important justification behind the significance of bed height is that it affects your comfort and wellbeing on a daily basis. How easy it is to get in and out of the bed is obviously dependent on its height. You don’t want to strain your legs having to lift yourself out of a really low bed. At the same time, you don’t want to have to hurdle your way into bed every night.
Sleep experts say the average person usually needs a bed at a height of 25 inches (including bed frame and mattress). However, this could differ with each individual, dependent on their height or age.
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Bed height should correlate with your height and adjust accordingly if you’re fairly short or tall. Most mattresses are 16 to 24 inches from the floor; to judge which end of the spectrum your bed should be, sit at the edge of the bed. If your feet are flat against the floor and your knees are in a straight line with your hips, your bed is the right height. If your knees are above the hips, the bed is too low and if your feet can’t reach the floor comfortably, the bed is too high.
However, if you live with a partner who is significantly taller than you, you can compromise by adding a handy step that blends nicely with your bedroom décor. It can give a sense of opulence and regality. On the other hand, having a short bed can make you feel grounded. The Japanese have been fans of low beds for centuries, in fact they’ve gone as far as creating the ‘Shikibuton’, a traditional bed that almost becomes part of the floor. It’s meant to connect the spirit to nature, but be careful if you have a bad back!
Your age is also likely to affect the bed height you require. An older person needs a bed that they can easily get in and out of without straining their body. A bed that is too low will be a struggle for joints, whereas a bed that is too high will require jumping onto the mattress each evening. If this applies to you, correlate the bed height to yours to ensure maximum comfort.
For children however, bed height and ease of getting in or out is less of a priority. If, like a lot of children, your child is adamant to get a bunk bed, do not fret. Bunk beds are an easy way of appeasing your child and saving space. The ideal height of a bunk bed is dependent on the floor to ceiling space you have available. It seems obvious, but if you’ve got quite low ceilings, you’ll want a low bunk bed to ensure your kids don’t bump their heads. The height to leave between the top of their mattress and ceiling should be at least two feet (60.96cm), but again, if your child’s particularly tall, there should be more room. For more information on bunk bed dimensions, it’s worth taking a look at House Plans Helper.
Depth of Mattress
Depending on your chosen bed frame, your mattress should comply. If you’re after an extra thick mattress for comfort, opt for a shorter bed frame. Vice versa, if you fancy a tall bed frame with lots of storage space underneath, a thinner mattress is a good idea.
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According to Feng Shui expert Sally Painter, the height of your bed can determine the quality of your sleep, and therefore your mood, by the levels of ‘chi’ permitted. Chi is an ancient Chinese term which can be translated as energy. She suggests the chi needs to be able to flow around your bed. Too short a bed can block this flow of energy, preventing you from a good night’s sleep. Whereas too high a bed can leave you vulnerable to high levels of energy and a restless night. She states: “the key is to go for a happy medium without blocking the space underneath your bed”, so to avoid getting out of the wrong side of bed in the morning, choose a bed that’s the right height.
Finally, bed height is important because it can affect the overall look of your bedroom. For example, a lower bed can make a room look more spacious than a higher bed. However, if you’ve got a particularly tall room with high ceilings, a taller bed would appear more appropriate with the space. As well as plenty of storage, a tall bed offers a sense of refinement. While a short bed is literally more grounded and creates a laidback and minimalist impression.
Interior designer Lisa Keates states:
“When choosing a new bed, the height is a very important consideration.
In terms of styling, higher beds are more suited to a traditional scheme and can also give a sense of luxury. Lower bed heights are more suited to contemporary styling. Also consider the relationship to the bedside tables. These want to be a similar height to the top of the mattress or slightly taller.”
Can you think of any other reasons why bed height matters? Let us know in the comments!