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Your guide to over bed tables

Your guide to over bed tables

An over bed table can be a great option if you or the person you care for spends a lot of time either in bed or in a chair - like a wheelchair or favourite armchair. They have specially shaped bases and are height adjustable, so they can be used with a variety of different seating options. 

Let us help you choose the right one to fit your needs.

Types of over bed/chair tables
Divan

Divan over bed tables are literally tables designed for use with a divan bed. These tend to have a much thinner, flatter base so the legs of the table can fit snugly beneath the bed. 

The tables designed for use with divan beds are unlikely to have wheels, so they can better fit beneath the bed frame.

If your bed is completely flush with the floor, there are over bed/chair table options with a wheeled frame that fits over the top of the bed itself, rather than underneath it. 

    Divan
    Wheeled

    Wheeled over bed/chair tables are able to fit under most types of beds and chairs. The tabletop can tilt on many of the tables and some also include a lip along the edge to help stop things sliding off.

    These tables are more suitable for use with bed frames and chairs that aren’t flush with the floor. 

    The frames on these tables are usually height-adjustable and some are width adjustable too. Some have a u-shaped frame, making them suitable for use with wheelchairs too as they can get in closer to the tabletop.

      Wheeled
      Easylift

      The defining feature of an Easylift over bed table is the one-button lift function that makes it simple to adjust the height of a table.

      Due to this, the frames tend to have a more substantial vertical arm to accommodate the mechanism. The tabletops are also longer. 

      These tables tend to be wheeled, making them unlikely to be suitable for divan beds. There are variations on the frame type that can also make them suitable for use with wheelchairs.


        Easylift
        Top tip from our Occupational Therapists
        Be careful with the tilt on the table, if the angle is too severe, objects may fall from it (even if you have a rubber mat in place or a slightly raised edge).

        Things to consider

        To help narrow down your search for the right table, you need to consider where it will be used. Are you looking for a table that fits around a specific piece of furniture or works with a wheelchair? An Easylift table may be a great option for those who are bedbound, but is likely to be too large and unwieldy for use with an armchair.

        You should also consider the size of the table top - if the person using it is bedbound, a longer table may be more appropriate, for those in a chair looking to use it as more of a raised side table, they may want a narrower table.

        If the table is purely to be used to put food or drinks on then it’s unlikely you’ll need one that tilts.

        If you are planning to use the table over a bed, you may want to look at a table that can tilt so the person using it can rest things against it, like a book while they read. 

        Some over bed tables are designed to be primarily used with one kind of furniture, like a divan bed, and so uses a specific frame design. A frame type suitable for use with a bed will likely not be suitable to use with a wheelchair, for example. 

        Deciding what type of bed or chair you want to use the table with will help to narrow down the options available to you as you will need to carefully consider the frame type on your chosen table to work out whether or not it will be suitable.

        Over bed tables come in a variety of sizes, double-check the measurements of where it will be stored when not in use (e.g. beside the bed itself), as while it could fit perfectly over the bed, you may encounter problems when it’s moved aside.

        Some of the over bed tables can only tilt on one side, meaning that there is only one side of the bed or chair it can go on to be used properly. This doesn’t apply to all over bed tables, but it’s worth checking before you buy to avoid disappointment if it doesn’t fit.

        You may find a non-slip mat useful to have with the table to help stop things from sliding around on top of it. These come in a variety of colours, which can be useful for those with limited vision or who need colour coding to help with their orientation.

        How to get the right over bed frame

        How to get the right over bed frame

        Once you know where you want the over bed table to be used, you need to take some measurements. 

        With a bed:

        • Measure the distance between the base of the bed and the floor - this will dictate whether or not you can have a frame with wheels or one without

        For a chair:

        • Measure the distance between the base of the chair and the floor
        • Measure how wide the chair or wheelchair is. If the chair is nearly flush with the floor then you will need a frame that is designed to go around the chair, rather than underneath it
        Top tip from our Occupational Therapists
        Over bed/chair tables arrive flat-packed. They are relatively easy to assemble but it’s a good idea to have someone on hand to help you put it together.
        Over bed/chair table accessories
        Coasters
        Coasters
        • Protect the tabletop from watermarks and hot drink stains with a coaster. A non-slip coaster will also help to make sure the mug or cup won’t slide around.
        • Shop all coasters
        Lights
        Lights
        • A table or desk lamp can be a great addition to help make sure the person using the table is getting enough light and not straining their eyes.
        • Shop all lights
        Non-slip mats
        Non-slip mats
        • Non-slip mats are a great way to prevent objects from sliding on the table. The mats are available in different colours for easy colour-coding.
        • Shop all rubber mats

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        Why buy from us

        We’ve been working for over 70 years to help people maintain their independence for longer through daily living aids and support from our team of Occupational Therapists. As members of the British Healthcare Trades Association, we abide by a strict code of practice and will never force you to buy a product you don’t need.

        If you need any help in deciding if a product is right for you and your unique mobility needs, please contact our Expert Advice Service.

        Why buy from us