Bed Frame Dimensions Compared to Mattress Size

An inch of clearance around the mattress is usual (sometimes more). January 25, 2013

I'm looking for some basic information on king-size bed frames. We recently built a bed for an eastern-king size mattress that is 76" wide. How much room inside the bed rails should we leave for a 76" wide mattress? Is one inch on each side too much?

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor O:
If this is commission work, ask the designer or owner what type of bedclothes they anticipate. Also measure the box spring if possible - they do vary from any standard you may see. Big fluffy duvets take 2-4" on three sides and quilts take less. You also should take into consideration if there are foot posts and the footprint of those and how much they may intrude into the mattress space.

Too much (within reason) is better than too little. I have made about 20 beds over the years, but made my own bed too tight, and doomed myself to changing sheets for life since it is much harder without the room needed to tuck in sheets, and my wife reminds me nearly every time.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the quick response Contributor O. Long story short this is a commissioned bed and we did not get enough information on bed coverings, etc. We built the bed frame with an extra 1" on each side of the mattress and our client is not happy. He thinks it should have been tight to the mattress and doesn't like how it looks. We are now in the process of considering our options (no good ones yet).

We already have brackets mounted almost flush to the inside of the bed posts and would have to cut the headboard and foot board down to shrink the bed width. I am negotiating with an unhappy client and hoping I won't have to rebuild the bed. My shop manager says that the extra one inch on each side of the mattress is standard. For the process of negotiation I'm wondering how true this is.

From contributor O:

I would consider a 1" clearance to be minimum, unless the client stipulated something else before construction. I would question a client closely should they offer 1" to insure they knew what they were requesting. My normal would be 1-1/2" all around.

Even at 1" things are tight, and changing sheets is difficult. Once normal bedclothes are on and the bed made, that 1" seems like nothing. I would also stress that mattress and box springs are not standard sizes (despite internet searches that offer such info) and future replacements may vary in size.

I have always been very specific about this sizing and dragged unwilling clients through it just to avoid the problem you now have - measure on site, explain the clearance and why, etc. It adds to the costs, but prevents problems and also shows the client the level of care with which we build. Here, despite your best efforts, you appear to be lax to this customer and will have to scramble to repair the relationship.

From contributor H:
We make around a dozen beds a year for the last 30 years. We leave 1" all around and set the box springs 1" below the side rails so linens are not a problem. Most people don't tuck heavy covers inside the rails. If the designer wanted more they should have told you that at the time you did your shop drawings for approval.

From contributor D:
I would have to agree with Contributor H. I've built hundreds of beds, and 1" of space all around is our standard. I've never had a complaint about that. Perhaps for this client, since you can't move the side rails in any closer, some type of molding on top of the rails to fill the gap might work. As a last resort, thicker side rails might work also.