Determining the number of patient rooms for an acute care (medical-surgical) patient unit is a challenge for both healthcare architects and hospital administrators when renovating or designing a new patient tower or wing. Discussions on unit bed size and its impact on hospital operations in healthcare design literature are isolated, and clearly there is opportunity for more extensive research. Finding the optimal solution for unit bed size involves many factors, including the dynamics of the site and existing structures. This opinion paper was developed using a "balanced scorecard" concept to provide decision makers a framework for assessing and choosing a customized solution during the early planning and conceptual design phases. The context of a healthcare balanced scorecard with the quadrants of quality, finance, provider outcomes, and patient outcomes is used to compare the impact of these variables on unit bed size.