Shopping for a new bed

Shopping for a
new bed

Bed Buyers’ Guide

Before you go shopping for a new bed, think about what you want from your bed. Here are a few general points to consider:

What type of bed do you prefer?

Type of bed

What sort of style do you prefer? What do you like or dislike about your current bed? Do you prefer a firmer or softer feel?

The price is right

Always shop for the best value not the lowest price. Of course, there are some perfectly acceptable, lower priced beds available (far preferable to an unhygienic second hand bed shaped to someone else’s body), but the better the construction, the better the support and comfort and the longer the bed will last.

Best value beds

Size matters

With a larger bed you are less likely to disturb your partner. You should be able to lie side by side, with your arms behind your head and your elbows out, without touching. Your bed should also be 4-6in (10-15cm) longer than the tallest partner – anyone over 6ft (1.8m) tall should consider a bed longer than standard.

Many manufacturers make beds up to 7ft square as a matter of course; others will make special sizes. Also consider the bed’s height – many contemporary styles are low, while those with storage drawers may be much higher.

Typical UK Bed Sizes

Small Single

Imperial Size: 2’6″ x 6’3″
Metric Size: 75 x 190 cm


Imperial Size: 3’ x 6’3″
Metric Size: 90 x 190 cm

Small Double

Imperial Size: 4’ x 6’3″
Metric Size: 120 x 190 cm


Imperial Size: 4’6″ x 6’3″
Metric Size: 135 x 190 cm

King Size

Imperial Size: 5′ x 6’6″
Metric Size: 150 x 200 cm

Super King

Imperial Size: 6’ x 6’6″
Metric Size: 180 x 200 cm

– Check dimensions

Bed sizes are not standardised and even if they have the same name (e.g. King size) they may not be the same – especially if the mattress and base are not from the same manufacturer. European common sizes are different and many imported bedsteads come in European sizes.

Buy the base and mattress together

Buy the base and mattress together

At the very least, make sure you try mattresses on a similar type of base. The two are designed to work together and a change of base will affect the feel and performance of the mattress.

It can be a false economy to change only the mattress and keep the original base, especially if you are buying a divan set. The old base could reduce the useful life of the new mattress as well as the support and comfort it can offer. It could also invalidate manufacturers’ warranties or guarantees.

Access All Areas

If you are worried about getting the bed upstairs, remember most divans have split bases; while many bedsteads are actually delivered in pieces for assembly in situ. To avoid problems with delivery, you should tell the retailer about potential access problems (narrow staircases, tight corners etc.) before you buy. Check the retailer’s terms and conditions.

Consider bed assembly
After sales service on beds

After sales service

Can’t decide between two or three equally suitable products? 

Think about the retailer’s service – e.g. quick delivery; guarantee or warranty offered; free disposal of your old bed; special offers; or even just the chemistry between yourself and the salesman.

Watch our video on how to choose the right bed for you

Next section

Buying a bed that’s right for you