How To Choose The Perfect Family Size Bed: Get Your Sleep Back On Track!

As a parent of young children, sleep is somewhat of a distant concept. So it’s important that for what we lose in quantity, we make up for in quality. We’ve all found ourselves gripping on to the edge of the bed as the kids invade the bed, giving up room for co-sleeping babies or having a Sunday morning snuggle where the bed’s capacity gets pushed to the limits! Those moments are some of the best memory-making moments, so you want the perfect family size bed that can cope with everything your growing family throws at it, and still leave you space to fit in as well. As a family of five now, we know only too well the difference that decent beds can make in helping you overcome those sleepless nights and lost lie-ins. Here’s how we chose the perfect family size bed to meet our needs, and how you can too!

The Perfect Family Size Bed: What To Consider

When it comes to choosing the perfect family bed, there are a few main things you need to consider: the size of your room, the size of your bed, the type of frame that you’re looking for and your budget. A decent bed can be a sizeable investment at the time but given that you’ll spend nearly a third of your life in it, it’s a worthwhile one. We would also recommend thinking about what’s important to you as a family; are you likely to spend mornings with all of you in the bed, or are you more likely to go downstairs? Are you considering co-sleeping with a baby or child regularly, or is it something that’s likely to happen only in exceptional circumstances? These things can all help to guide you with finding your perfect family size bed.

The Size Of Your Room

It sounds silly but the first thing you need to consider is the size of your room. And more specifically how much of it you’re happy to lose to the bed space. Try to think about how you currently use your bedroom, do you spend much time in there outside of the time you’re physically in bed? Is it purely a space for sleeping or do you tend to use it as a space to relax in as well? Do you need to allocate room for other things such as exercise? When considering the bed size for our bedroom we agreed that the majority of the time in the room is spent sleeping or in bed. We don’t need space for additional furniture or seating as we have a separate relaxing space downstairs. We also didn’t need to consider room for wardrobe doors or drawers to be able to open because our clothes storage is in a different area to the bed. Having talked all of this through, we agreed that we wanted the room to primarily be bed, so based on room size, we could go as big as possible.

The Size Of Your Bed

In the UK, bed sizes are based on the mattress size and look like this:

  • Small single mattress size is 75cm wide by 190cm long
  • Single mattress size is 90cm wide by 190cm long
  • Small double mattress size is 120cm wide by 190cm long
  • Double mattress size is 135cm wide by 190cm long
  • King size mattress size is 150cm wide by 200cm long
  • Super king mattress size is 180cm wide by 200 cm long
  • Emperor mattress size is 200cm wide by 200cm long

Now when choosing the perfect family size bed, we can immediately rule out the first two on that list. And whilst a small double does make an excellent space-saving guest double bed (we used one in our spare room to maximise space in a smaller bedroom), you’ll struggle to fit more than you and your partner, or you and a child in there! For most families, a double mattress sized bed will be where you start, given that it’s the standard bed size for many. So why should you consider bigger? First of all, for those on the taller side, the additional 10cm of extra legroom can make all the difference to comfort levels (just ask my husband!). Secondly, the extra width can go a long way! We found that with two adults and a toddler or baby in the bed, a standard double was fine but cosy. With a second toddler in as well, it was tight. When we considered changing our bed and increasing it’s size, I immediately thought we’d go for a king size, without really understanding that you don’t get much extra – just 15cm across the entire mattress; a measly 7.5cm extra each! In the end, we opted for a super king size mattress and honestly, it’s a little like bliss. We can sleep with a six year old in the middle without even realising, all three can lay in between us in the mornings and I can still end up with my entire body in the bed… it’s a little like heaven!

Given that you now know how much of the room you want to use for the bed, why not try taping out the different bed sizes on the floor with decorators tape, or marking them out with books. It’ll give you an idea of how much space the bed will take up and how easily it will be to walk around it. Don’t forget to add extra to your measurements to compensate for the additional depth and width your frame will add – this can vary massively on the type of frame that you’re looking at, whether the mattress sits on top of it, or within a recess and what your headboard and/or footboard will look like.

The Type Of Frame

Bed frames come in all different shapes, fabrics and styles. From divan bases to wooden frames, ornate metal headboards to pillowy fabric, there are a lot of things to think about! If you’re in a room that’s tight for space due to storage, ask yourself whether a divan base would be better for you, allowing you to potentially use the storage room under the bed rather than around the bed… giving you more room for a larger bed! In a tighter space, think about getting a more compact base, one where the frame either sits directly on top or the lip of the frame around the mattress is fairly small. You also will want to think about the size of your headboard. What does comfy look like to you, is it a footboard that’s high enough for your younger family members to sit propped against it at the end of the bed as well, or would having something there mean that the taller members of the family can’t hang their toes off of the end? A large headboard can make a beautiful statement piece and really bring some life in to the room, but it can also add a lot of extra room requirements to a bed lengthwise, so be aware that there are other ways to make that impact, by decorating the wall behind.

Wood or metal? Fabric or nothing? The style that you go for is really dependent on your own personal choices and the styles that you like. From a family POV, we knew that fabric was the best choice for us with three small children that have a penchant for bashing into things. So soft but not too soft was the aim of our game! Thankfully due to good storage elsewhere, we were able to go for a base that sits off of the floor and helps maintain an illusion of the room having plenty of space by allowing the eye to be drawn along the floor under it. In our smaller room, we’ve opted for a divan storage base which allows us to store huge amounts underneath and save on needing to add other storage furniture in an already crowded room.


Ahhh the biggie! It’s all well and good trying to find the perfect family size bed but you also have to be realistic of budget. Spending a huge proportion of your time in bed means that it’s really worth prioritising the investment, especially in a good mattress, but also in ensuring you have a size that meets your needs. Also think about the cost of fitting out your bed, beyond a frame and mattress, you’ll also potentially need a larger quilt, more pillows and new bedding. Consider availability of that bedding; standard bedding comes in a standard double and king size with many places now offering some super king sizes, each of these get progressively more expensive as the size increases so it’s worth budgeting for that going forward as well. Finally, consider the likelihood of you moving homes in the next few years, if you’re going for a really big bed but are likely to move, it’s going to be another consideration – definitely not an insurmountable one though!

So there it is, all the different elements to think about in choosing the perfect family size bed! Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for, why not try visiting a showroom to get an idea of how things look in real life? Places like Furniture Village offer an excellent range of items both online and in their retail outlets so you can see the size, feel and quality up close. Nothing beats being able to get hands (and bodies!) on with a bed, and especially a mattress! Good luck!

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I'm Hayley and this is us; working parents to three tiny wild ones. Whether it's travel, food, lifestyle or just a healthy dose of parenting reality, there's something for everyone here. So sit back, get comfy and start scrolling!

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