High vs. Low Bed: How High Should A Bed Be?

High vs. Low Bed

No one shops for a new mattress and asks how high should a bed be from the ground. Mainly, we are focused on the design, materials, and performance of the mattress itself. Its height, or thickness, may come into consideration. But the other height—the distance between the surface of your bed and the floor—can be just an afterthought.

Yet, it turns out, height does matter. Your comfort and wellbeing can be affected by how low or high your sleeping space is. Getting in and out of bed can put a strain on your body,  especially if your own height does not match the bed’s height. And for some other reasons, like psychological and spiritual, you should look at that vertical space your bed is consuming.

Dip into this guide if you are off to buy a new mattress, or even a new mattress and a new bed frame/foundation. Go through the checklist of things you should consider, as well as your options. You can complement this knowledge with our mattress and bed frame reviews (you’ll find those links in the section related to them).

How High Should A Bed Be?

5 Things to Consider

In our guides, unless indicated, we use mattress and bed interchangeably. What we are referring to is actually the mattress sans the bed frame or foundation. But here, when we say bed, we are referring collectively to the mattress and base. It follows that the mattress and the base/frame/foundation are called their respective names.

Height

The standard distance between the top of the mattress and the floor ranges from 16 to 24 inches. How can you tell which exact height suits you? Here’s what you should do. Sit at the edge of the bed. You should be able to plant your feet flat on the ground. Your knees should be at the same level as your hips, making a straight line.

If your knees are below that level, your bed is too high. If they are at a raised angle, your bed is too low. If you’re buying a replacement mattress, measure your current mattress’ thickness. Then measure the height of the bed from the floor. Total height – mattress thickness should give you the baseline figure to work on. 

Then estimate how many inches should you add or subtract from the thickness of the new mattress you’re shopping.

Age

Your age also affects your overall comfort in connection with bed height. How is that? Some aspects of your physicality and physiology are defined by age. For instance, a kid may need to jump in and out of bed if it’s too tall. An older person may strain their body if the bed is too low. In either case, the bones and joints can be hurt. Getting in and out of bed should be easy and feel natural, like breathing.

Since your height can correspond to your age, use the tips shared above when checking what is the right height for you. If you co-sleep with someone, though, you may need to factor in both of your age and height. For example, if your partner is tall, then you may have to adjust to climbing in and out of a high bed. Sleeping with a small kid? Go low.

Mattress Type & Model

Since you’re looking for a specific thickness (we assume you didn’t skip Factor #1: Height), some mattress models you’re eyeing must’ve been eliminated. However, that’s not the end yet. If your top choice is too low, you can consider adding a box spring or mattress topper. If it’s too high, well, there’s not much you can do about it. Would you chop off the legs of your bed frame?

There are cases, though, where you’ll have to go for a thicker mattress even if it’s above the vertical limit. One would be if your doctor advises you to use one for your recovery or relief from a condition. Those who are on the heavy side should also shop for a model that is thicker than the usual. 

But for those whose manufacturer requires a box spring to go with their mattress, they should check out other options. A box spring will elevate the mattress even more. Not everyone will benefit from that extra height.

bed height

Feng Shui

Some people may believe in the Chinese concept of putting the self in harmony with its surroundings: feng shui. This means that you can arrange your bedroom a certain way to maximize energy flow. Those who practice feng shui may need no further explanation. But for those hearing about it for the first time, it deals with the chi or energy and how it flows in space. 

On a practical level, this method of organizing the bedroom is said to impact mood and wellbeing. To help improve these aspects, you should snooze on a mattress that is balanced. It should not be too high so as to keep the energy levels high, leaving you restless. It should also be not too low as to block the energy flow.

Aesthetics

Last but not the least, you have the concept of beauty to guide you in choosing the right height. Your bedroom theme may be Scandinavian or minimalist, which taps the platform bed as the ideal option. A platform bed has a low profile and little to no storage space underneath. While it’s almost close to the floor, it creates the illusion of more space. 

Meanwhile, if you pick a high mattress or bed, you’re probably thinking of the under bed storage area you can take advantage of. This can work if you have too much stuff kept in the bedroom and want to organize all of it by concealing some.

Read: How Can I Create A Minimalist Bedroom Design?

What Are Your Bed Options?

Platform Bed

As mentioned above, a platform bed is a low-profile type of bed base which is typically made of wood or metal. It’s designed to lift and support a mattress. You don’t need to place a box spring above it and below the mattress. That would be counterintuitive as the platform bed is meant to be closer to the floor. It is ideal for use in minimalist-themed bedrooms. Its lines seal the clean, clutter-free look.

But this option is not just about being pretty. It is also sturdy and durable. Since it is going to be an investment piece, make sure to find a mattress that perfectly fits your needs and the platform bed’s purpose. 

Tall Bed Frame

For those who need a tall bed, you can start with a tall bed frame. This style can typically accommodate medium to tall mattresses. It’s supportive enough, making it easy for you to get in and out of the bed. You can sit at the edge before and after drifting off. And nobody has to worry about adjusting their knees (unless you’re a kid) when their feet hit the floor. 

Another perk of a tall bed frame is the space it creates for storage. We already mentioned this earlier. There’s also the protection it provides from dust, dirt, and pets who like climbing things at home (not that it’s a guarantee your dog or cat won’t attempt to do so).

Futon Mattress

How tall is a mattress for you to consider it ideal? Well, in some cases, it should not be tall at all. In fact, it can be in close contact with the floor. We are talking about the futon mattress. This one is often laid on the ground—a bed frame or foundation is not necessary. It’s based on the traditional Japanese practice of sleeping on the floor.

This style is said to have some health benefits. Some people report it relieves their back pain. It can also improve blood circulation and correct posture. All of these need more research for validation, but anecdotal proof can be applied to different individuals. 

Check out our bed frame reviews and mattress reviews for more information.

Conclusion

How high should a bed be? By now, you must have a better idea of how to answer this question. Knowing how to determine the standard height is a good place to start. Then, making adjustments accordingly should follow. Factor in most or all of the considerations we shared to arrive at the best possible option.

Your comfort and well-being are the top reasons you should not take bed height for granted. Make sure to ask for measurements when you are shopping in a store. If you’re buying online, go over the specifications on the product page. Buying a new mattress and a new bed frame is an investment. So the more returns, the better.

In the long run, the right bed height can help you achieve quality sleep. That is the most important effect to go after. And you can get there by having a bed that is easy to get in and out of. Your body does not need additional effort or strain. So keep it balanced. Don’t go too high or too low.