Difference Between a Single, Twin, Full, Queen and King Size Bed

Your bed is the most important part of your bedroom decor; on average, most people spend 8 hours a night or day in bed. Choosing the right bed is not just about choosing which mattress you like, but about finding the correct fit for the way you sleep. Bed dimensions refer to the mattress size alone, a typical frame adds 3 to 4 inches in both length and width to your mattress, sometimes more, depending on the style of frame.

English country style bedroom
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Queen bed in bedroom.

Singles and Twins and Extra Long Twins

Hotel room
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Twin bed in hotel room.

In the U.S., a single and a twin are the same size at 39 inches wide and 75 inches long. An extra long twin is the same width, but contains 5 inches in length at 80 inches long. A twin takes up the least amount of space, but only has room for one person. A twin bed is an ideal choice for younger children or smaller, single adults. The extra long twin is commonly used in college dorms where the compact size with added length is good for taller students.

Full and Double Beds

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Double bed in hotel room.

Full and double beds are the same size, measuring 54 inches wide by 75 inches long. As the smallest bed capable of sleeping two people, the space provides 27 inches per person, which may not be comfortable for two larger adults. Taller sleepers may find they also don't have enough length in a standard double or full bed. Though rare, double beds can be found in extra lengths as well. At 80 inches long, they present an ideal choice for larger single adults. When purchasing bedding, some comforters and duvets are sized for both full and queen -- usually listed as full-queen on packaging -- which provides a slightly more generous coverage on the smaller full-sized bed.

Queen Beds

Female hat on bed in hotel room
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Queen bed in hotel room.

At 60 inches wide by 80 inches long, the queen-size bed is both large enough for two adults and still small enough to fit in most bedrooms. A queen offers 30 inches of room per person when two sleep in the bed, and the added length for taller people. The queen size bed is the most common size sold in the country. Duvets and comforters labeled "full/queen" are sized for the larger, queen-sized beds, but for more coverage look for bedding that just says "queen" on packaging.

King and California King

A king size bed
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King size bed in hotel room.

A king size bed is the largest bed available. The standard, or Eastern king, is the widest at 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. A California king is narrower at 72 inches wide, but longer with a length of 84 inches. A standard king gives each sleeper the equivalent space of an extra long twin, while a California king offers additional length, but only 31 inches of width per person. King beds require a room big enough to accommodate them, with at least 2 to 3 feet walking room around the bed, at minimum. When selecting bedding, choose the correct size for your bed, as those labeled "king" are for the standard king.

Considering Sizes

Middle-aged couple sleeping in bed
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Couple sleeping next to each other in bed.

Choosing the right bed size is a balancing act of room space and sleep space. It may be necessary to compromise on sleep space in smaller bedrooms. Sleep style is another important concern. A single sleeper who likes to sprawl, or toss and turn, will be more comfortable in a double or even queen size bed than on a twin. A couple who sleep close together might be comfortable on a queen, while a pair who like to sprawl will find it cramped quarters.

Measuring Beds

Assembly of the bed
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Large empty bed frame.

If you already have a frame, but don't know what size mattress it requires, measure the inside dimensions of the frame, where the mattress would rest. A bed frame usually has about an inch clearance on either side of the mattress dimensions. When buying bedding, ensure you know not just the size of your mattress, but also the depth to get fitted sheets with a deep enough pocket. Measure your mattress from the bottom edge of one corner to the top edge of the same corner for this measurement.