Size matters, right? It sure does when making buying decisions about how big or how small your mattress should be
Big, small, tall, king-sized? There are a smorgasbord of decisions to make before you pick the right size mattress for you. High on that decision list will be size. It’s not like you’ve bought a ton of mattresses during your life so take a moment and ponder what works best for you based on the space you have available and who’s in your life. Considering how much time we spend sleeping—or should spend sleeping—we believe it should take longer to buy a mattress than to order a pizza.
Mattress size primer
Before launching into what you need to consider when it comes to choosing mattress size, let’s do a quick review of what’s available, from smallest to largest.
- Twin (38” x 75”)—Chances are you spent your formative years in a twin bed in your childhood home. Some adults just can’t give them up and stick to this mattress size. They suit small spaces and solo sleepers.
- Twin XL (38” x 80”)—If you’re six feet tall or higher, you’ll want to think about going with this longer bed. But not if you have a regular bedmate, pets that sleep with you or children intent on snuggling with mom or dad.
- Full/double (54” x 75”)—This is definitely an improvement over a twin bed with an extra 12 inches of width. It suits couples in a pinch when bedroom space is tight and both partners don’t thrash around or spread out much. Adults sleeping solo are also happy in this bed since there’s still room for an overnight guest and a dog or cat.
- Queen (60” x 80”)—If mattresses could win a popularity contest, this size would earn the crown. It’s the most popular choice among American mattress shoppers. You can see why because it ticks a lot of boxes. It has good length for taller folks and is wide enough for couples who like to shimmy over to their partners for a cuddle.
- King (76” x 80”)—Imagine two twin beds side by side and you’ll have an accurate picture of how big a king-sized bed really is. It’s wonderfully accommodating for couples who like their space, sleepers who flop around a fair bit and don’t want to disturb their bedmates, people who need room for a gaggle of kids to join them, or pet owners who have multiple or bigger-than-a-breadbox-sized dogs. The caveat here is that you need lots of floor space for it.
- California King (72” x 84”)—The Cadillac of mattresses for those who like oodles of sleeping real estate at their disposal. Invite all the pets, all your kids and even the neighbor’s grandkids for a movie night in bed and they’ll still be room for bowls of popcorn and plenty of pillows. Measure your bedroom carefully to make sure you have the space for this behemoth size. You still need a comfortable amount of room on both sides for night tables and unencumbered movement.
What mattress size is best for you and your family?
According to Keith Cushner, general manager of Tuck, the teens and youngsters in your family should opt for either a twin XL or a full, depending on the size of your bedroom. And what about mom and dad? “It depends on whether or not you have pets, little kids, etc. crashing with you,” he says. “Either a queen or a king tends to work best. Some folks prefer a California King.”
With extended families that include grandma or grandpa, you might want to think about a slighter taller bed to make getting out of bed easier – something to think about as they age. Cushner also points out that the bed should be big and tall enough to provide the edge support needed for smoother exits and entries.
Fun and wonderfully useless facts about mattress size
Who knew that there was such a rich history behind king and queen mattresses? Here’s are some trivial mattress tidbits, sure to impress your friends:
- In 1960, a Los-Angeles furniture company introduced the first California king to please its clientele made up of athletes and celebrities. They wanted bigger beds to fill their mansion’s palatial bedrooms.
- King-sized beds were once called Eastern Kings because the demand along the eastern coast of the United States was so large.
- The most famous big bed was The Great Bed of Ware, built in Great Britain in 1596. It measured 11 feet by 11 feet and could accommodate 12 sleepers.
- Is the double dead? Not quite yet, but since 1999, queen-sized mattresses have been outselling doubles.
- Though hard proof is scarce, it is believed that the very first queen-sized bed really was made for royalty – Elizabeth I.
- If you watch a television show or movie from the 1950s, even married couples slept in twin beds. It wasn’t until the 1960s when society loosened up and married folks could be shown in the same bed.
- Beware if you are shopping for a bed in the U.K. Its king-sized beds are a few centimeters smaller than the queen-sized ones in the United States.
Hungry for mattress shopping tips? These links will help!
- The ultimate guide to what’s inside your mattress
- Mattress myths debunked
- 12 simple steps to mattress shopping
- The best size mattress for your body type