How to Lower a Bed Safely

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On January 18th, 2024
How to Lower a Bed Safely

Key Takeaways

  • Personalization is Key: The ideal bed height varies based on individual preferences, physical considerations, and aesthetic preferences. Tailoring the bed height to your specific needs, whether it’s for easier mobility, enhanced comfort, or a balanced bedroom layout, can significantly improve your overall sleep experience.
  • Safety First in DIY Modifications: Lowering a bed frame involves DIY modifications, such as replacing legs or using risers. Safety precautions, careful planning, and thorough testing are essential to avoid stability issues and potential accidents. If unsure about your capabilities, consulting a professional is a wise decision.
  • Don’t Just Focus on Frame Height: Consider also factors like mattress thickness, box springs, and compatibility with headboards or footboards. This holistic perspective ensures that all elements work together seamlessly to achieve the desired lowered bed height while maintaining safety and functionality.

Lowering the height of your bed frame can provide several benefits. A lower bed makes getting in and out easier, especially if you have mobility limitations. It can also allow you to use thicker mattresses or bedding for enhanced comfort. Lowering the frame can additionally create a more aesthetically pleasing, balanced bedroom layout.

The ideal bed height depends on personal factors. Taller individuals typically prefer a higher bed height that matches their knee level while seated at the edge of the mattress. Someone shorter may opt for a lower overall height for easy accessibility. Health conditions like back pain or injuries can also determine appropriate bed elevation.

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This article will walk you through the full process of lowering various bed frame types. We’ll look at critical steps like assessing your needs, safely preparing the workspace, lowering wooden and metal bed frames, and testing for stability. Additional guidance is also provided on lowering lofted dormitory-style beds and beds for the elderly.

Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary

Best Platform Bed Frame Amerisleep Platform Bed
Best Mattress Foundation Amerisleep Foundation

Assess Your Needs

Start by measuring the current bed height from the floor to the top of the mattress. Decide how many inches you need to reduce to achieve your ideal lowered bed position. The average bed height ranges anywhere from 16 to 24 inches tall, with high bed frames offering more storage space underneath.

Also assess the existing clearance under the frame to ensure enough space for planned modifications. Measure accurate bed frame dimensions, along with measuring the mattress height and any bed foundation you use as well, to determine compatibility with any replacement components.

Take personal mobility limitations, injuries, back pain, and other health considerations into account. For example, the elderly or those with knee/hip issues may benefit from a higher bed that reduces bend at those joints.

If major structural changes like cutting bed legs or welding a metal frame seem beyond your DIY capabilities, consider consulting a professional carpenter or handyman.

Prepare the Bed and Workspace

Start by fully removing all bedding and mattresses from the frame. Thoroughly clear floor space surrounding the bed to allow room for moving components safely.

Gather all necessary tools beforehand, including a tape measure, drill, drill bits, screwdriver, saw, sandpaper, safety equipment, etc. Measure not just the frame but any other relevant parts of the bed height, such as your mattress. Read more about measuring a mattress.

Use a drop cloth or an upcycled old sheet to protect floors from dust or debris. Wear gloves, eye protection, and other safety gear appropriate for your DIY modifications. Carefully unplug any power tools when not in use as an added precaution.

Do You Have a Box Spring? Get Rid of It

If you have a traditional panel bed rather than a platform bed, you may have a box spring tucked away under the mattress, or an alternative mattress foundation. However, this can increase the height of your bed by quite a few inches, so you may wish to forgo it entirely and replace the bed foundation with a set of sturdy slats.

This adjustment not only lowers the bed but also offers potential cost savings compared to purchasing a new frame or even a foundation. A set of bed slats is often quite inexpensive at your local home goods or home improvement store. Just make sure they are spaced to be no more than 2.75 inches apart for proper mattress support across the entire bed.

Panel beds can be easier to adjust this way than platform beds, which can require more significant alterations. See more of the differences between them in panel bed vs. platform bed.

Lower a Wooden Bed Frame

For wooden bed frames, replace the existing legs with a shorter set purchased separately. First, unscrew the original legs, measure carefully, then screw the new legs in place at the desired height. If shorter replacement legs can’t be sourced, carefully measure and mark the existing legs to your ideal length. Use a flat wood saw to cut the legs down to size. Sand any rough edges smooth and apply a protective finish or paint.

Reattach the modified legs securely, confirming they are straight and sturdy. Uneven legs can make the bed unstable and cause tipping hazards. Perform thorough stability checks when the project is complete.

Lower a Metal Bed Frame

Metal bed frames can typically be lowered using bed risers or built-in adjustable components. Bed risers are placed below each leg to raise the overall frame elevation. For lowering purposes, ensure you choose risers short enough to create your preferred bed height. Consider weight limits and verify sturdy construction as well.

Some metal frames have movable internal slats or panels that allow easy height adjustments. Consult your frame manual for customization guidance. If more extreme height reduction is needed, you may require professional help. A metalwork specialist can cut down legs or modify the frame structure itself to specification.

Cushion noise or instability from metal-on-metal contact by adding rubber pads at key points between the bed frame and risers or floor. Maintain safety by checking for sharp cut edges too.

Lowering Lofted Beds

College residence halls often use space-saving lofted beds for dorm mattresses elevated very high off the floor. While this allows room for storage or desks underneath, clambering up onto a loft bed poses challenges for some. Luckily there are ways to lower these dorm-style loft beds too.

Start by confirming adjustments are allowed under campus housing rules. Some schools prohibit unauthorized furniture alterations, while others may walk you through how to do so. If permitted, use tools to detach any sidebar railings so the upper bed platform can be shifted. Identify multiple new screw points at your preferred height and drill carefully to avoid splitting wood.

If the bed can’t be easily modified, consider investing in a small stepping stool with grab bars for secure climbing support. You may also want to reconsider the use of a mattress topper for college.

Lowering a Bunk Bed

Begin by assessing the construction of the bunk bed to understand its features, as the process can vary depending on the bunk bed’s design. Some bunk beds come with adjustable components, allowing for changes in height. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or look for visible mechanisms that facilitate adjustments.

If the bunk bed lacks built-in adjustable features, we suggest seeking professional help from a carpenter or handyman. They can assess the structure and provide guidance on safe modification. Additionally, explore the option of replacement parts, such as shorter bed legs or different support structures, which may be available from the manufacturer or suppliers.

It’s crucial to approach the task of lowering a bunk bed with utmost caution and prioritize safety throughout the process. Bunk beds, designed for multi-level sleeping, require structural integrity to prevent accidents and injuries. Lowering a bunk bed involves tinkering with its original design, and any modifications should be executed meticulously to avoid compromising stability.

A poorly executed job might result in an unstable structure, posing a significant risk of falls and injuries for individuals sleeping on the elevated bunk. Remember, the well-being of those using the bunk bed is paramount, and shortcuts in the modification process can lead to severe consequences.

Lowering Beds for the Elderly

As we age, getting in and out of bed often becomes more difficult due to reduced mobility. An overly high or low bed frame can also increase fall risks for older individuals. However, finding the ideal bed height for seniors is fairly straightforward.

Generally, a height of 18 to 24 inches works well to reduce strain on hips and knees during bed transfers, so keep thickness in mind as you look at mattresses for seniors.

Measure while seated at the mattress edge to ensure feet can rest flat on the floor at roughly a 90-degree knee angle. If knees are higher than hips, a bed height adjustment is likely needed to accommodate the mattress thickness.

For seniors who require more extensive assistance getting in/out of bed, accessories like bed rails with handles offer helpful stability support. Just make sure that after installing bed rails, you test them to make sure they’re secured to the frame.

Items like leg lifters and transfer poles can also compensate for age-related weakness during bed transfers.

Consider Compatibility Factors

When your bed frame height modifications are complete, refit your mattress to ensure it still aligns properly without gaps. Mattresses that are too large or small for the frame can lead to slippage issues.

Also confirm that any headboard, footboard, or bed rails you wish to use will still attach securely at the new, lowered height. Measure carefully before drilling new holes or screw positions to install a headboard or footboard.

Consider replacing ill-fitting box springs as well if needed to achieve your ideal setup. Thinner, low-profile box springs or bunkie boards can make a significant difference in overall bed elevation.

Test for Safety and Stability

Carefully test your lowered bed frame before putting it back into regular use. Apply weight by pressing down or sitting on different corners and edges while checking for any wobbling. Instability while lying down or getting in/out of bed can lead to serious injury from falls.

Make small additional adjustments like tightening screws or using non-slip pads until satisfied with the frame’s sturdy position. Do not use an unsafe bed that could place you or your family members at risk of accidents.

Replacing the Mattress or Bed Frame

In some cases, modifying a taller bed frame might not suffice, necessitating a replacement of either the entire bed frame or the mattress. This solution is sometimes unavoidable, and while it does mean a significant investment, choosing one of the best bed frames can be an effective way to achieve the desired lower bed height.

Replacing the Bed Frame

Consider investing in an adjustable bed frame if your current one doesn’t offer the desired height range. Adjustable frames are versatile, allowing you to customize the bed height to your preference. Ensure that the new frame is compatible with your existing mattress and any additional accessories like headboards or footboards.

Replacing the Mattress

You can opt for a thinner mattress to reduce the overall bed height. Replacing the mattress is a straightforward solution if your current mattress is thicker than desired.

While you can browse thinner mattresses to find ones that suit your bed height needs, be cautious that you’re not choosing a model so then it skimps on much-needed features. The most durable mattresses are often at least 10 inches to properly support the weight of an adult.

Check if your mattress requires a specific type of support. Some mattresses, especially memory foam or latex, may need a solid surface or slats rather than a box spring.


How do I lower the height of my bed?

If you find that your bed is too high and you’re looking to lower it, there are a few practical options to consider. Firstly, if your bed frame is adjustable, you can simply lower it to your desired height. Another option is to replace the existing bed legs with shorter ones, which effectively reduces the overall height. A thinner mattress topper or a thinner mattress can also lower the bed.

Experimenting with these adjustments can help you find the most comfortable and accessible height for your bed.

What to do if a bed is too high?

If you’re faced with a bed that’s too high for your liking, there are steps you can take to address this issue. Replacing the current bed legs with shorter ones is a straightforward way to decrease the bed’s overall height. If your bed frame is adjustable, take advantage of this feature to set the bed at a more comfortable height.

Using a step stool can also be a practical solution, providing assistance when getting in and out of bed, if lowering the bed isn’t an option. These adjustments can significantly enhance your overall sleep experience.

How do you lower a senior bed?

When it comes to seniors’ beds, ensuring an accessible height is crucial for comfort and safety. An adjustable bed frame for seniors is an excellent option, allowing older individuals to customize the bed’s height to their preferences.

Another practical solution is to use a sturdy step stool to facilitate easy access. Some bed frames may have legs that can be replaced with shorter ones, offering an additional way to lower the bed for seniors. Guard rails along the bed frame and a mattress with edge support can also make it easier to move out of bed safely in the morning.

How do I lower my lofted college dorm bed?

Lowering a lofted college bed can be achieved through various methods. For starters, contact university housing to inquire about options for adjusting lofted bed heights within the college dormitory. There may be height adjustment capabilities that dorm management can help you take advantage of, offering flexibility for your desired bed height.

Do adjustable beds raise and lower?

While some adjustable beds have changeable heights, it’s important to note that not all models offer this feature. Verify the specifications of your adjustable bed to determine whether it has height-adjusting capabilities.

If you need to manually lower a bed, explore the available options based on your bed’s features. Begin by exploring the adjustable features and settings on your bed to see if they allow for height adjustments. Some beds may come with adjustable legs, and lowering them can effectively reduce the overall bed height. Additionally, you can consider using a thinner mattress or removing layers to achieve a lower profile.


Customizing your bed height through simple frame adjustments can lead to improved comfort, accessibility, and bedroom aesthetics. But safe DIY modification of too-high beds does require careful planning and execution.

Always double-check your handiwork for stability issues before using a lowered bed frame. Consider consulting a professional if significant structural changes to a bed frame seem beyond your skill level as well. With some thoughtful preparation and the right approach, you can soon achieve the proper bed height for your needs.

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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