Everything You Need to Know About Today's Sheet Sizes

A diagram outlining the size differences of beds
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

If you are rummaging through a sale bin and find a gorgeous set of sheets without a size marked on them, what should you do? Take out a tape measure, because you can determine the size of the mattress those sheets fit on just by measuring them. This works perfectly whether you find sheets at a garage sale or brand new in the store.

Get the Skinny on Sheet Sizes

Don't know your queen from your full? Here is a guide to help you figure out sheet sizes. These are common mattress sizes.

  • Twin: Approximately 39 inches by 76 inches
  • Twin XL: Approximately 39 inches by 80 inches
  • Full or Double: Approximately 54 inches by 75 inches
  • Queen: Approximately 60 inches by 80 inches
  • King: Approximately 78 inches by 80 inches
  • California King: Approximately 72 inches by 84 inches

Once you know the size of the sheets and the mattress, you can estimate whether or not the sheets will fit your mattress. If you want to be super sure about it, you must either purchase the sheets if they can be returned, or go home and measure your mattress. Few things can be more irritating than spending money on sheets that do not fit your mattress well. 

According to Real Simple magazine, sheets commonly are treated with chemicals that can occur including chlorine, formaldehyde or silicon. Manufacturers coat the sheets to keep them from shrinking, losing their shape or wrinkling. Some are treated with alkalis to give them a sheen.

Consumer Reports says that the Federal Trade Commission wants retailers to stop labeling and advertising rayon textiles as eco-friendly bamboo. This is because the material is rayon once the plant fiber is processed. This means that some sheets are labeled as bamboo but are actually rayon. Organic cotton should not have any chemicals on it. You may want to check out the fabric details when you are choosing sheets and not just pay attention to sizing.

Make sure to wash brand new sheets before putting them on your bed. If there are any chemicals, a wash routine will hopefully get rid of them and soften the sheets for your bed.

Other Tips for Decoding Sheet Sizes

Twin XL and California king sheet sets are usually available with the fitted bottom sheet; the top sheet is usually no different in size from the twin or king. (This explains why the sheet may hang over the side of a twin bed longer than on a king.)

Some new mattresses have a deeper depth than older ones. In fact, many new mattresses are deeper, plus people may add mattress toppers that can add a few inches to the mattress. In that case, you should know that the standard mattress is 7 to 9 inches thick, a deep mattress is 10 to 15 inches, and an extra deep mattress is 15 to 22 inches.