Packaging Colour Coding

Bed Size Identification by Colour

Save time. Save money. Make loading and delivery quicker and easier. Reduce errors and costly and unnecessary returns.

Colour coding of sizes isn’t new. Marks & Spencer have been doing it for years. Many people find visual identification by colour easier than reading numbers or letters. For warehouse and delivery personnel, it means fewer errors – especially where a number of packages are required to be picked – for example, separate components for a flat pack bedstead. And while it may be easy to see the difference in size between a single and a double mattress, the difference between a double and a king size mattress is not great and could much more easily be confused.

We know that quite a few retailers are asking their suppliers already for colour coded product identification. And quite a few manufacturers are already using colour coding – particularly on non-transparent packaging. It’s just as applicable for many component suppliers and in the production process, too – whether it’s spring units; pre-cut upholstery pads; pre-cut ticking cases; or pre-measured filling packs.

The National Bed Federation Supply Chain Working Party has spent some time exploring the feasibility of introducing a standardised approach to colour coding for the most commonly used bed sizes in our industry. It spoke to retailers, manufacturers and suppliers and to packaging suppliers, too.

It’s not something to be forced on either manufacturers and suppliers or retailers. Each company must weigh up the relative cost-benefit ratios for themselves. However what does make sense is for the industry to adopt the same colours for the same sizes. We all know how things can go wring and get confusing when we use different names for different sizes. We want to avoid this.

So the NBF is recommending the same colour coding that is already being used by one or two large retailers and manufacturers. Essentially, the colour codes are:

Single beds – Blue
Double Beds – Red
King Size Beds – Green
Superking Beds – Orange

Non standard sizes in each of these categories can be additionally flagged with the letter ‘S’.

How you use the colour identification system is up to you – some will choose to print bags; some will use coloured labels; some coloured tape; some coloured corner re-enforcements. However the Supply Chain Working Party is still hoping to negotiate some good prices from suppliers for pre-printed polythene bags and tape.

In time we believe that colour coding should become widely adopted in the bed and bedding industries as an at-a-glance means of getting the size right and avoiding expensive mistakes.

If you have any questions about the colour code guidelines and their implementation, please contact the NBF Secretariat on