The search for beds and mattresses can leave the best of us drained. There are tons of options, countless retailers, and plenty of guides to help. One of the most important aspects of bed or mattress shopping is being aware of the different bed sizes and mattress sizes to avoid making a costly mistake. In this article, we outline the standard bed and mattress sizes, their differences, and some key considerations to make before you pull out your credit card.
Bed Size vs. Mattress Size: What’s the Difference?
Arguably the most important consideration to make to make when picking out a bed or mattress is to stop and make yourself aware of some basic dimensions. This may seem arbitray—even silly—but will help throughout your entire shopping process. We’ve hammered through plenty of mattress reviews to find the best mattress in each category but all will be for naught if we can’t help ensure you order the right size for your bed! Below are some of the simplest of these ideas with a bit of elaboration to help understand why they’re so important.
Mattresses are Smaller than Bed Frames
In most cases, you’ll find that mattress dimensions are going to be less than bed frame dimensions. This means king size bed dimensions are slightly larger than king size mattress dimensions. This difference in dimensions can be understood by noting mattresses fit inside bedframes. You’ll find this to be the case even with such designs as platform beds and murphy beds.
Box Springs Raise Mattress Height
Many shoppers complain of their mattresses being either too low to the ground or too high from the ground. In most cases, this issue can be resolved through the addition or removal of box springs. Box springs are usually offered as an add-on by mattress retailers but rarely included. Box springs have a very negligible impact on overall mattress comfort so if you’ve already got a set—use those for your new mattress! Just know; a mattress you’ve tried in the store may not have the same height in your home without box springs.
Exact Bed Dimensions May Vary
Bed frames aren’t governed by as rigid of sizing guidelines as mattresses. The overall dimensions of a bed frame may vary wildly between design and manufacturer—even for the same size bed frame. That means that the king bed dimensions from one furniture brand may be entirely different than the king bed dimensions from another. Don’t stress about this—unless otherwise stated each bed frame size has been designed to accommodate that size of mattress, regardless of that bed frames specific dimensions.
Bed Frames Come In Adult And Kids
You aren’t likely to find this written anywhere on a retailer’s website, but bed frame designs aren’t always available as King, Queen, Twin, and Full sizes. In many cases, manufacturers design bedroom collections for either adults or kids—kids furniture is often referred to as a ‘youth collection’ by designers. Before you get your heart set on any bed design make sure it is available in a size that will accommodate the mattress you plan to use it with.
Bed Size & Mattress Size Comparisons
Below you’ll find an outline of different mattress sizes and common bed frame sizes to compare against. Mattress sizes have, more or less, the same width and depth dimensions regardless of brand. Height (thickness) often varies and the addition of box springs can affect this greatly. Bed sizes, depending on the manufacturer and design, will have the width, depth, and height dimensions that vary tremendously. The bed frame sizes listed here are rough estimates based on an average of several different designs. The largest variance in dimensions, for both beds and mattresses, is seen in the height dimension. This is easily understood when one considers that many different beds are many different heights and that many different mattresses are many different thicknesses (heights).
California King Size
The California King bed is an often misunderstood bed size that’s actually slightly narrower than standard king size beds but four inches longer. This bed size first became popular on the West Coast of the United States as a custom-designed size popular among movie stars and the Hollywood Elite. After several decades of marketplace evolution the California King, Queen, and King size mattresses have all become standard options in the bedding industry. Read our article California King vs Regular King: What’s the Difference? for a complete overview of what makes this mattress and bed size unique.
Bed Size: 80.5″ x 89.3″
Mattress Size: 72″ x 84″
The King size mattress and bed is was developed in the late 1950’s as an upsell to the then-standard Twin size. This was marketed alongside research suggesting that Americans, as a collective, were growing taller on average. The King size mattress was heralded as a refinement suited for modern families in a modern society. After another decade of support from such groups as the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers, the King size bed was officially mainstream and rapidly-growing in popularity. Today, the king size is regarded as a standard option for both beds and mattresses.
Bed Size: 79.5″ x 88.9″
Mattress Size: 76″ x 80″
The Queen size mattress also became standardized during the late 1940’s and 1950’s alongside the king mattresses. The Queen size was a considered a hefty upgrade for single sleepers and simpler alternative to putting two twin mattresses side-by-side, a common practice by couples of that era. While many custom mattresses existed at the time, the standardization to Queen and King allowed furniture makers to offer commercial options. For example, placing two twin size mattresses together would offer couples a wider sleeping area but they were unlikely to find a bed frame to cater to that size.
Bed Size: 64.5″ x 86.125″
Mattress Size: 60″ x 80″
The Full-size option is popular for adults, that sleep by themselves most nights when space is a key factor. For example, a full-size mattress is six inches narrower than a queen and six inches shorter. For people of average and below-average heights, this bed size is often an attractive choice. There are fewer beds and mattresses on the market for this size but not so few that one should feel discouraged from looking. This bed is often referred to as a “double bed” and is a popular choice for teenagers and college-aged adults.
Bed Size: 79″ x 88″
Mattress Size: 39″ x 80″
Twin Xl Size
The Twin XL is nearly identical to regular twin size beds—the only difference being an extra six inches in overall length. Twin beds are the go-to choice for youth beds, including most bunk beds, but are often abandoned in late teenage years and early adulthood. College dorm rooms utilize the Twin XL for two reasons; the first being their smaller width and the second being a suitable universal length to simplify the procurement process across campus. After all, it’s much easier for colleges to manage to order 20,000 of the exact same product rather than catering to 3-4 different sizes.
Bed Size: 79″ x 88″
Mattress Size: 39″ x 80″
The Twin size is the standard youth mattress and is a popular choice for kids around the world. This bed and mattress size is common to trundle beds, bunk beds, and even day beds. These mattresses were popular for adult sleepers in the early parts of the 20th century but, as the average size of Americans started to increase, were replaced by the newly-popularized King and Queen size beds. In today’s world, twin size beds are seen almost exclusively in kids rooms.
Bed Size: 44″ x 88″
Mattress Size: 39″ x 74″
When shopping for a new mattress there are several questions that we find often pop up. These may be related to mattress sizes, bed sizes, or box spring sizes. From time to time, we find that our readers run into the same problems. In such cases, we try to build resources to better understand specific issues. This article was one such effort, but we felt charts and explanations of bed and mattress sizes didn’t fully address common concerns. Below, you’ll find several common questions and concerns that often plague the mattress-buying process.
Can I use Twin size box springs for my King Size mattress?
King size mattresses can accommodate non-King size box springs sometimes. The Twin size mattress is exactly one-half the width of the King size mattresses but 6″ shorter. The Twin XL mattress is one-half the width and also the same length which means two Twin XL box springs can be used instead of a King size set of box springs. Just to be clear—two Twin boxsprings do not equal a king size box spring. The width is correct but the length is wrong. One must use the Twin XL size box springs to substitute for a king size box spring.
Can I flip my Mattress Over?
Maybe. Some mattresses are designed to be flipped over. They feature comfortable materials on both the top and bottom, often in varying degrees of firmness. Layla Sleep’s two-sided memory foam mattress is a good example of one such design. You have a layer of memory foam on top designed to provide a medium-firm feel and one layer of memory foam on the bottom designed to provide a firm feel. Most memory foam mattresses have a much denser base layer of foam on the bottom that would not be comparable to the comfort of the top layer. However, this layer would still be somewhat sleepable in our opinion, if you were in a pinch. Other mattresses, such as traditional spring mattresses, aren’t designed to flipped and often contain very uncomfortable materials on the very bottom. Sleeping on the bottom side of a one-sided mattress could damage the top side. Always check with the manufacturer.
About the Measurements
The bed and mattress measurements that were included in this article are to provide an average illustration of dimensional differences between standard sizes. It’s important to recognize the context of these numbers, and that bed sizes vary much more so than mattress sizes. For example, each mattress we compared for this article had the exact same with and length/depth measurements for the available sizes. The height/thickness measurements varied considerably but, as a general rule, mattress sizes are the same regardless of brand. On the other hand, beds and bed frame dimensions can vary wildly between different brands. Much like mattresses, bed frames are usually most different in their height, but overall width and depth/length varies considerably as well. As a general rule, look at the specified size of a bed rather than the actual dimensions to be sure that your mattress will fit. For example, never mind that a certain Queen bedframe measures an overall width of 96″—it’s still only going to accommodate a 60″ wide mattress!
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