Here’s How To Choose The Right Mattress Height

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
November 30, 2022
|
8
min read

When picking out a bed and frame that best suits your needs and preferences, bed height may not be something you automatically think about. However, your bed's height can make a huge difference in your sleeping experience.

Bed height can dictate how comfortable you are getting in and out of bed as well as influence the overall look of your bedroom. If you’re unsure how tall your bed should be, this guide will tell you what you need to know.

What Is The Best Bed Height?

The ideal bed height will depend on factors like your age, height, budget, and other needs. That said, the standard bed height is 24 inches, including your mattress. This bed height applies to all bed sizes, from twin to California king. The standard height of 24 inches also adheres to the global average knee height, which is between 16 and 24 inches.

Finding The Best Bed Height

Building the perfect bed setup can be an arduous process. From selecting the right mattress size to picking the appropriate bed foundation, things can feel overwhelming very quickly. With an already long list of considerations, many people forget that mattress and bed height are just as important as any other factor.

You can find the right bed height for you by sitting on the edge of your mattress with your legs hanging over. Your legs should be close to 90 degree angle. It can be slightly more or less, but this is what you should aim for.

Here are additional factors to consider when deciding the right mattress height for you:

 

Your Height

Ideal bed frames should align with your knee height, which varies from person to person. An easy way to measure this is to stand at the side of the bed and observe whether the top of the mattress aligns with your knees. If you want more accurate results, simply take a tape measure from the bottom of your feet to the top of your knee.

You can test for the right bed height by sitting at the edge of the mattress, placing your feet flat on the floor, and checking whether your lap is level with your hips.

Your Age

Younger children will benefit from lower beds because they are easy to climb in and out of. Plus, there’s less risk of a far drop if they fall out of bed.

As you get older and potentially develop joint pain, purchasing a bed with an appropriate height will matter even more. Low beds that require crouching or tall beds that require lifting are detrimental to elderly sleepers in the long run.

Your Partner

If you share a bed with someone else who doesn’t have the same height as you, picking the appropriate bed frame can be challenging. Always consider both of your individual needs. If either of you has joint problems or back pain, consider adjusting more to that person’s requirements.

Alternatively, you can purchase a bed step to make it easier for a shorter partner to get in and out of bed.

Mattress Height

How thick your mattress is will influence what type of bed frame you need. Most mattresses are between eight and 14 inches high. If you have a bed frame that is 16 inches tall and you want a total height of 25 inches, you should purchase a mattress roughly nine inches thick.

Comfort Levels

While most look at mattress types to achieve optimal comfort levels, bed height can also make a difference. A perfectly-raised bed should make getting in and out effortless.

Why Your Mattress (And Bed) Height Matters

Mattress and bed height are important because they can make climbing in and out of bed more difficult than it needs to be.

When furnishing a bedroom, most people do not consider the height of their mattress when buying a bed base or foundation. This usually results in a sleeping setup that’s either too high or too low.

Complete bed height (the total elevation of your mattress and bed frame) matters because it impacts the overall sleeping experience in a few ways beyond just comfort. Here are the three main reasons why your bed’s height matters.

Mobility

Getting in and out of your bed puts a fair bit of pressure on your legs and hips, especially if it’s lower or higher than it needs to be.

Getting up from a mattress that’s too low requires more effort, which may be physically taxing for individuals with knee problems and joint pain. Conversely, you can’t comfortably climb into too-high beds. Even younger individuals with no nagging aches and pains would struggle with such a high loft.

Age

There are two age groups with special considerations regarding bed height: children and elderly individuals.

Younger children need lower beds for two reasons: their height and general tendency to roll off their mattresses. A lower loft would increase mobility while lowering the risk of hurting themselves if they fall off the bed at night.

Elder sleepers benefit significantly from slightly lower beds, also for mobility reasons.

Room Aesthetics

While significantly less critical than the other reasons on this list, bed height impacts how your room looks. Some folks prefer the luxurious image of a high bed while others like the spartan setup of a mattress on the floor.

That said, higher beds may take up more visual space in smaller rooms, making them feel more cramped than they are. On the other hand, lower beds might make larger rooms feel vast and empty.

Different Types Of Platforms And Beds 

One of the best ways to narrow your choices down is to learn about the different types of bed frames and their heights. Below are the five primary types of bed frames and who they are a good fit for.

Not sure what size bed to get? Check out our bed frame sizes guide.

Adjustable

Average height: Varies

Best for: Sleepers who toss and turn or have circulation issues

Adjustable bed heights vary greatly depending on the features you need. As their name suggests, they allow you to adjust your bed’s positioning to achieve optimal comfort. However, you can’t use this feature to change your bed’s height.

Platform

Average height: 18 inches

Best for: Shorter or average-size people with no specific sleep issues

Platform beds can support your mattress without a box spring or other base. They have solid or slatted surfaces and sit lower to the ground than a standard bed frame. 

A platform bed is most appropriate for low-ceilinged rooms, lofts, or minimal setups. But while they provide additional space, they may not be the best choice for taller or elderly sleepers. 

Traditional

Average height: 25 inches

Best for: Average-size sleepers who require healthy support

Most standard bed frames have metal slats and require either a box spring or foundation, measuring up to nine inches high on their own. 

If you decide to use a box spring, you’ll have to pair it with an innerspring mattress, which measures 8-12 inches thick for a total of 17-21 inches. Meanwhile, foundations can support any mattress type, including memory foam (6-14 inches) and latex (6-13 inches) for a total height of 15-33 inches.

Upholstered

Average height: 14 inches (added height depends on whether you incorporate a headboard)

Best for: Sleepers who have specific aesthetic preferences

Upholstered beds are similar to standard frames but incorporate additional materials like suede, velvet, or faux leather. Most upholstered frames sit lower to the ground, though they can sustain an additional layer for extra height. 

Antique

Average height: 36 inches

Best for: Tall people who want extra storage

Antique bed frames are the highest off the ground and perfect for extra storage. However, they may not be appropriate for petite sleepers, kids, and older people.

What Bed Height Is Right for You? High vs. Low

Overall, the average bed height is between 18 and 24 inches. However, depending on your specific needs, you may take better to a higher or lower bed.

For instance, if you are older and have trouble getting in and out of bed, you might consider a bed that sits low. On the other hand, if you want additional storage and are very agile, a high bed might suit you better.

Aesthetics might also play a role in your decision-making process. For example, lower beds create more open space, while high beds might complement a room with a high ceiling.

Why Some Mattresses Are Taller Than Others

Different mattresses contain base and comfort layers of varying thicknesses, which is why some beds are taller than others. The base layer is the foundation for the entire bed and provides rigidity and structure. While the comfort layer is made of sheets of foam, gel, and or plush material.

Thicker comfort layers usually result in more plush sleeping experiences, while thinner ones may feel rather firm. Likewise, chunkier base layers can provide more support, while thinner ones can sag over time.

Pros And Cons Of High And Low Beds

 

 

High beds

Low Beds

Pros

  • More storage space under the bed
  • Easier for taller individuals to get in and out of bed
  • Less bending over when changing sheets
  • Make bedrooms look significantly larger
  • Easy for small children and pets to climb onto
  • Looks more modern

Cons

  • Makes small bedrooms look cramped
  • Unsuitable for pets and small children
  • Difficult for elderly individuals and people recovering from surgery or illness
  • Little to no storage under the bed
  • Difficult to clean spaces under bed frames

 

Final Thoughts About Mattress And Bed Height

Mattress and bed height are among the most overlooked factors when furnishing a bedroom. Despite this, it has a significant impact on the overall sleep experience. A bed that’s too high may be uncomfortable to climb into, while one that’s too low might be difficult to get up from.

That’s why it’s crucial to find the right height for you. At Purple, we have a wide range of comfortable mattresses and flexible bed frames for the perfect sleeping setup. Check out our shop to see what we have on offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are high beds out of style?

No, high beds are not out of style. However, they suit certain interior design styles more than others. For example, high loft beds are suitable for warm and homey rooms but will look entirely out of place in a more modern-looking home.

Is 31 inches too high for a bed?

Generally speaking, a 31-inch bed may be too high for most people, especially if they’re on the shorter side. The average bed is 25 inches, which is roughly knee height for most average-height individuals. That said, taller people may find 31 inches to be a proper bed height.

What’s the best height for beds?

While the “optimum” height for beds is around knee-level, some folks may prefer their sleeping setups to be higher or lower. If you have no joint pain or health issues that complicate getting in and out of bed, it really comes down to your preference.