What Height Should My Bed Or Chair Be?
Posted by Mike Phipps on August 19, 2021
Hello! I am Kate Makin, Ability Superstore’s resident Occupational Therapist (OT). I am here to answer your mobility aid queries. I also write articles and guides to assist you in choosing the right mobility aids.
As an OT, I work with a variety of individuals who have various health and mobility issues, are all ages and have many different illnesses, injuries and long-term disabilities.
This article features Ability Superstore’s comprehensive range of bed and chair raisers.
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As an Occupational Therapist (OT), I am often asked, "What height should my bed and chair be?".
Photo by Antonio Caverzan on Unsplash
I find that people think a bed low to the ground will be easier for them to get in and out of, but this is rarely the case. In general, having a higher bed, or chair, will make it much easier to get into, or onto.
A general rule of thumb is that when sat on a chair, or a bed, your hips should be level with your knees.
As there are many different styles of bed and chairs with various legs, feet, or castors, there are equally many different types of furniture raisers available. A lot of these are height adjustable.
It is important to select the right type of raiser, so that they fit correctly and are safe to use. So, as with most independent mobility aids, there are a few things to consider before buying one.
What Are Bed Raisers?
Bed raisers fit onto your average bed to increase the bed height. Most typically, the problem is that the average bed is too low to the ground, making it harder to get in and out of. Bed raisers will either fit on the feet, or legs of your bed, or they will screw into the bed frame, or the sides of platform beds.
There are many different styles and materials the raisers are made from including wood, plastic and metal. The raisers quite literally, once fitted, increase the height of a bed!
To Raise Beds With Legs
Many different bed raisers can be used for low beds with legs. The main things to consider are…
• the size and shape of the legs,
• how many centimetres (inches) you need to raise the bed by,
• and the style of your current bed.
There are Elephant Feet that the legs of your standard bed simply fit into. These are available in grey, or black.
There are Bamboo wooden raisers which also allow the bed legs to slot into. Often, people will choose this style to match an existing wooden bed frame.
Finally, for beds with legs, there is the Langham Linked Adjustable Height Bed Raiser. This consists of two cross-connecting parts that are linked together for extra stability. This mobility aid is available for either single, or double beds, and the height of your bed can be adjusted using the inserts that are supplied.
Other Ways To Raise Beds
To raise divan style beds, you could try the Morris Adjustable Bed Raisers. These can raise a standard single bed, or a double divan bed in 2.5 cm (1 inch) increments.
With this style of raiser, the low bed sits on the bed frame and the bed frame is then secured to the sides of the bed using the screws supplied to increase the bed height. This type of bed raiser has braked castors, allowing for ease of manoeuvrability. Similarly, there is the Morris and Alexander Bed Raiser that can fit single to king-size beds, due to its telescopic design. These are also screwed to the side of the bed frame, or base, or platform bed.
Finally, there are the Alexander Universal Bed Raisers. These are fitted by clamping onto the legs, or castors of your low standard bed.
What Are Chair Raisers?
As with bed raisers, chair raisers fit onto your existing chair, or sofa, to increase its height to make it easier to get on and off. Chair raisers will fit onto the legs, feet, or castors, of your armchair, or sofa.
There are many different types of chair raisers available to improve your comfort. Knowing the best type to choose depends mainly on your chair and if it has legs, feet, or castors. You also need to consider how many centimetres (inches) you need to raise your chair by and what style you prefer to suit your room.
Which Chair Raiser Should I Choose?
For Chairs With Legs
If your chair has legs, you could choose the Panda Bamboo Furniture Raisers. The legs of your chair fit into the recess and there are different heights available. These furniture raisers are popular due to their stylish wooden appearance. Other wooden raisers include the Homecraft Wooden Bed or Chair Raisers.
Another option are the Elephant Feet Style Chair Raisers. These, as the name implies, look like elephant feet, and the chair legs simply sit within them. Similarly, there are the Homecraft Stackable Cone Chair Raisers.
A more discreet option for chairs with legs can be the Leg-X Adjustable Chair Raisers which are moulded sleeves that slot onto the chair legs and can then be adjusted to the correct height.
For Chairs With Castors
If your chair has castors, then the Langham Sure-Grip Furniture Raisers can be a good option. These have a rubber grip that secures the leg, or castor, and has a variable height adjustment. These raisers can also be used on furniture with block-type feet.
There are also the Langham Grip-On Furniture Raisers that are similar in that the rubber flange secures them in place around the chair leg and can be used for both round, square, and castor legs. There are various sizes available and they can be stacked together to increase the height.
Most commonly used for chairs, or other furniture with castors, are the Medeci Furniture Raisers. These adjust in height simply by turning the body of the raiser relative to the base.
For chairs that have push-in castors, the Morris Chair Raiser CR-C2 is ideal, as the castors are removed and the raiser fits where the castors have been. The legs are inclined for maximum stability. There is also the Morris Chair Raiser – Fixed Height that attaches to a chair in the same way.
Other Ways To Raise Chairs
Another style that accommodates chairs with both legs and castors is the Alexander Universal Furniture Raiser MK2 Round Cup. The chair legs, or castors, sit within the cup and are held in place with a small clamping screw and protective cap.
Many chair raisers are very adaptable and will accommodate a variety of chair leg types and styles. For example, the Langham Linked Adjustable Chair Raisers. These consist of four moulded blocks that are linked together by a slotted frame with wing nuts, making them secure. The blocks can accommodate chair legs of various diameters.
How To Raise Sofas And Settees
For armchairs, settees, or sofas with wooden feet, then the Alexander Universal Furniture Raiser MK2 Flat Plate is often chosen. This is screwed securely in place onto the existing feet and its telescopic frame means that it fits on most furniture sizes. This style of raiser is ideal for sofas with big wooden feet for the plate to be screwed into. There are also versions with square cup attachments of varying diameters.
Then there is the Morris Settee Raiser. The sofa sits on the frame at each end and is screwed into place from underneath using the supplied screws. For a larger settee, a third frame may be needed to support the centre section. The raiser becomes a part of the furniture and stays securely in place, even if the furniture is moved.
How Do I Measure For A Bed, Chair Or Sofa Raiser?
It is really important that the height of your bed, or chair, is correct. It needs to be high enough to help you get on and off safely and easily, but it does not want to be too high. Ideally, when you are sat down on the edge of the bed, or you sit on the edge of a chair, with your feet flat on the floor, your hips should be at a 90-degree angle, with your knees and hips at the same height.
How to measure for bed raisers:
1. Sit on a firm chair, such as a dining chair, with your knees and hips at the same height, and measure the height from the floor to the back of your thigh, just behind the knee. This is the standard bed height that you need.
2. Measure the height of your current bed. Measure from the floor to the top of the bed when it is depressed (as if someone is sitting in it).
3. The difference between the two measurements is the amount of raise that you need.
For example, if you have measured that your ideal bed height is 45.5 cm (18 inches) and the height of your chair is only 40.5 cm (16 inches) you would need to raise your bed by 5 cm (2 inches).
How to measure for chair raisers:
1. Again, sit on the edge of a firm chair with your knees and hips at the same height and measure the height from the floor to the back of your thigh. This is the seat height that you need.
2. Now measure the height of your current chair. Measure from the floor to the top of the seat when it is depressed (as if someone is sitting in it).
3. The difference between the two measurements is the amount of seat raise that you need.
For example, if you have measured that your ideal seat height is 45.5 cm (18 inches) and the height of your chair is only 38 cm (15 inches) you would need to raise your chair by 7.5 cm (3 inches).
Having your bed, armchair, or sofa at the correct height should improve your safety, comfort and independence. Furniture raisers are simple and affordable mobility aids that should enable you to continue to use your current seating and bed.
It is often useful for an OT, or another medical professional, to check that you are using the correct chair and bed height.
Some Important Things To Consider
When it comes to choosing the best type of furniture raisers, there are some important things to consider. These are my top tips!
Firstly, consider how many legs, feet, or castors your bed, or chair has. For example, a sofa may have six castors and you will therefore need to make sure all of these are secure.
Secondly, I would always consider the overall weight of the furniture and the user. Whilst most bed and chair raisers will accommodate a high weight limit, it is important to consider how safe and secure the furniture is going to be, particularly if you are wanting to raise the furniture significantly. As an OT, I would be wary of making a bed, or chair, too high, in case it then becomes unstable.
Another consideration is whether you need to move your chair, or bed frequently, perhaps for cleaning underneath. If you do, then it may be better to consider some of the raisers that are fixed in place. It is always best to check that the raisers are still secure before using the bed, or chair, particularly if the furniture has been moved.
My final tip would be to consider whether a hoist, stand aid, or other patient handling devices that go under the bed, or chair, needs to be used. If this is the case, then you would need to make sure that the furniture raiser is compatible with this equipment.
I hope that this article has been useful in explaining how to measure for bed, or chair raisers and to explain the various types of furniture raisers that are available. Generally, there will be raisers available for all types of chairs and beds. The benefit of using raisers is that you can keep using your traditional bed, or existing chair. This is far better value than buying a new bed, or chair!
Having a perfect bed height and chair makes getting in and out of them safer and easier to manage and reduces the strain on your hips and knees.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about these, or any other, daily living aid.
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