The bed sizes typically available in the United States range in sizes and dimensions and are called the twin or single, double or full, queen, standard King or Eastern King, and California king or Western King.
How in the world is anyone supposed to know the difference between all the mattress sizes and bed dimensions on the market today? Even the sales person in your local department store bed department might not have all the facts. It can be a very overwhelming decision. So, what exactly is the difference between the different bed dimensions and sizes available?
Custom Size Bed
Some manufacturers will custom-cut beds larger or smaller than standard sizes, but beware of these custom made beds. While it may seem appealing to have a custom size bed, you may have trouble finding bedding to fit.
Twin, Single, and Extra-Long Twin Beds
Twin beds are also known as single beds. They are 39 inches wide and 75 inches long (or 80 inches long for XL twin beds). They're the most common choice for children's rooms or multi-use guest bedrooms. These beds are narrow and fit easily into the smallest bedroom. Often twin beds have a "trundle" underneath to accommodate a sleep-over or second guest. Twin beds are used for bunk beds too.
Twin Bed Dimensions
- Overall dimensions: 39 inches wide x 75 inches long
- Width per person: 39 inches
- Pros: Because of its small size it will fit easily into smaller bedrooms. Twin sheets are the least costly of all sheet sizes and are available in lots of patterns. It's easy to make a twin bed.
- Cons: A standard size is too short for many adults.
XL Twin Dimensions
Twin Extra Long beds are 5 inches longer than a standard twin, but the same width, making them 39 inches wide and 80 inches long. They're often used in college dorm rooms to accommodate tall teens.
- Overall dimensions: 39 inches wide x 80 inches long
- Width per person: 39 inches
- Pros: The longer length is good for taller teens and adults. It's easy to make since it's narrow. If you need flexibility in a guest room, two extra-long twins are a good choice. They can be used as singles or pushed together to form a king-size bed.
- Cons: Bedding is difficult to find and not available in every pattern.
Double/Full Beds and Queen Beds
Any of these sizes fit in a normal room, but many couples feel that a full or double bed (they're essentially the same thing) is definitely too narrow for anything more than an occasional night's sleep. A queen-size bed gives each one a bit more room without taking up too much more floor space.
Double or Full Bed Dimensions
Double or Full beds are 15 inches wider than twin beds at 54 inches wide and 75 inches long, but if two share the bed, each has only 27 inches of personal space—much less than a twin! Double beds (also known as full) were the most common for two to sleep in until the 1960s. At 75 inches long, a full-size bed may be too short for some taller adults.
- Overall dimensions: 54 inches wide x 75 inches long
- Width per person: 27 inches
- Pros: Fits into smaller rooms. Might be just right for a single sleeper who is shorter than 5 feet and 5 inches. Sheets can be less expensive than a queen or king size.
- Cons: Many people find a double bed too narrow for 2 adults, and too short, as well.
Queen Bed Dimensions
Queen-size beds, at 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, are 21 inches wider and 5 inches longer than a twin bed and 6 inches wider and 5 inches longer than a double bed. Though this extra width and length can make all the difference in getting a good night's sleep, each adult still has 9 inches less of width than they would if they slept separately in twin beds. A queen bed works well for guest rooms and small primary bedrooms and is a good choice for couples who like to snuggle.
- Overall dimensions: 60 inches wide x 80 inches long
- Width per person: 30 inches
- Pros: Gives two adults more space than a double. The extra length (5 inches) works well for most adults. Sheets and blankets are easy to find and tend to cost less than king bedding.
- Cons: With only 30 inches of personal space for each person (only 3 inches more than a double), a queen may be too narrow for everyday sleeping for a couple. Some bedding is sold as "full/queen" and doesn't really fit either full or queen perfectly. Check bedding dimensions to be sure that it will fit comfortably. Standard-size pillows or queen pillows work well.
King and California King-Size Beds
With two sizes of king beds and four names, it can get confusing when you go shopping for a king-size bed. A standard king is also called an Eastern king and a California king is also called a Western king. A standard king is about 4 inches wider but shorter than a California king, and a California king is 4 inches longer but narrower than a standard or Eastern king.
Two people sleeping in a king-size bed will get the same amount of personal sleeping space as in a twin bed. In fact, if you pushed two extra-long twin beds together, they'd be about the same size as an Eastern king. For great versatility in a guest room, if you have the floor space, you can use two extra long twin beds separately for singles or push them together to make a king bed for couples.
When buying sheets, you have to be careful to purchase the right size. Flat sheets will fit both sizes of king beds, but fitted sheets are cut to fit one or the other. Before you go shopping for sheets, be sure to measure your bed exactly to be sure to buy the linens that will fit.
Standard or Eastern King Bed Dimensions
Standard King or Eastern King beds are 76 inches wide and 80 inches long, about 16 inches wider than queen beds and the same length. A king-size bed is sold with two box springs or frames and one mattress. This makes it easier to move.
- Overall dimensions: 76 inches wide x 80 inches long
- Width per person: 38 inches
- Pros: As the widest bed commonly available in stores, the standard king is the most comfortable for two adults. The 80-inch length is sufficient for most people. Sheets labeled "king-size" fit a standard king bed.
- Cons: Because of its size, a king bed may not be practical for frequent movers. They're hard to get upstairs, through narrow, winding hallways, and small rooms. A king bed may not be long enough for very tall people. Bedding is often most expensive in the king sizes. The wide bed requires at least three standard or two queen or king pillows, adding to the cost.
California Western King Bed Dimensions
California King or Western King beds are 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, 12 inches wider than a queen and 4 inches longer. This is the longest bed commonly available in stores and is the best choice for very tall people. As with an Eastern king, a California king bed set comes with one mattress and two half-width box springs to be more manageable when moving. Very tall single people can sleep from corner to corner and still be comfortable.
- Overall dimensions: 72 inches wide x 84 inches long
- Width per person: 36 inches
- Pros: A California king-size mattress is wide enough for two to sleep comfortably and is the longest bed commonly available. Its extra length is good for tall people.
- Cons: This very large mattress may be cumbersome to move and may not fit up stairs, through narrow hallways, or in small bedrooms.