It’ll likely come as little surprise, but one of the main considerations you should be making when buying a new bed is the size of your frame and mattress. After all, choosing a bed that’s too small might make sleeping uncomfortable, especially if you share with a partner, while a frame that’s too big might not fit within your bedroom dimensions.
However, choosing the correct bed size can sometimes be confusing, especially if you’re comparing products from different regions around the world, such as the UK, US, and continental Europe.
With this in mind, we’ve taken a closer look at the different bed sizes across America and Europe, to make finding your perfect fit an effortless breeze.
Introduction to bed sizes
Before we delve into the different bed sizes from around the world, it’s important to first understand the impact the right size bed frame and mattress can have on your sleep quality and nighttime wellbeing.
How can bed size affect sleep quality?
The size of your bed is an important factor to consider if you’re hoping to achieve a quality night’s sleep. Typically, bigger beds and mattresses offer a more comfortable and relaxing night’s sleep, which benefits overall wellbeing, simply because you have more room to spread out and find the right position.
This is especially true for couples, who, on top of requiring space to get comfy, also have to contend with the nighttime fidgeting, tossing, and turning of their significant other. In this case, it’s almost always suggested that bigger is better, and to enjoy the equivalent width of two single beds, you should really opt for a super king.
Instances where a bigger bed might not necessarily guarantee a better night’s sleep, though, include planning a small bedroom layout. For example, if you’re aiming to achieve a zen bedroom, it’s often suggested that you choose lower-profile furniture, to complement a sleek and chic design scheme, while feng shui bedroom principles call for a bedside table either side of your frame.
US bed sizes: a closer look
When it comes to US bed sizes, there are a handful of standard measurements:
- Twin (98cm x 189cm)
- Small Double (122cm x 191cm)
- Full (136cm x 189cm)
- Queen (152cm x 203cm)
- King (193cm vs 203cm)
- California King (183cm vs 212cm)
If you’re UK based, the chances are you’re unfamiliar with US bed sizes, which can make it tricky to choose the right fit for your space.
Fortunately, there’s not too much variation between a US twin and full, and UK single and double, respectively. In fact, the only difference is that a US twin is typically a little wider and marginally shorter than a UK single, while a US full is often a single centimetre wider and a centimetre shorter than a UK double.
The confusion comes when we look at a US queen size bed, which is actually a small double in the UK - instead, the equivalent UK bed size would be a king! And to add even more confusion, a US king is even bigger than a UK super king. As far as a California king bed is concerned, though, the closest UK comparison would be a super king, which comes in around the same width, but around 12cm shorter.
For a full breakdown of the US bed sizes vs UK, see our comparison chart below.
Which US bed size is best for children?
Choosing a bed and mattress for children can be tricky, especially if you expect them to see quick growth! However, a twin bed should be sufficiently sized, coming in slightly wider than a UK single – and around 30% wider than a UK ‘small single’.
Of course, if you have teenagers who want a little more room to spread out, you might instead decide on a ‘full’ US size bed, which is similarly sized to a UK double.
Which US bed size is best for couples?
Finding the right bed as a couple is an important joint decision and relies on a number of factors. These include:
- Your overall size
- How much you’d like to spread out
- The amount of space you’d each like
If you’re happy with the equivalent of a UK double, opt for a ‘full’, which comes in roughly the same size. However, if you’re looking something a little more spacious, you might instead prefer a queen, king, or California king, which are equivalent to UK king and super kings.
Which US bed size is best for single adults?
As an adult, you’ll likely want to be able to comfortably spread out, which is sometimes difficult in a UK single or US twin.
Fortunately, some US bedding retailers will offer a size between twin and full, named small double, which is pretty much the equivalent to a UK three quarter bed. Alternatively, you can choose something more spacious, such as a full, queen, or larger.
Continental bed sizes: an overview
In continental Europe, there are typically fewer bed sizes to choose from, compared to the UK and US. In fact, you’ll often find that the choice is limited to single (90cm x 200cm), double (140cm x 190-200cm), or king (160cm x 200cm).
Fortunately, unlike some of the American naming patterns, continental singles, doubles, and kings are similarly sized to their British equivalents, albeit marginally longer or wider most of the time.
Something peculiar about continental bed sizes, though, is that the dimensions are known to differ ever slightly between Northern and Southern Europe. For instance:
- Double beds and mattresses in countries like France and Spain are often on the shorter end (190cm).
- Double beds in more northerly nations, like Germany, are generally 200cm in length.
- Scandinavian nations are known to combine mattresses to achieve a bigger sleeping area, such as positioning two singles to make a queen.
Just like with the US bed sizes above, you can see a full comparison between all international measurements below.
UK bed sizes: an insight
Finally, we’ve also broken down the standard UK bed sizes, to help you choose the right measurement for your bedroom:
- Small Single (75cm x 190cm)
- Single (90cm x 190cm)
- Three Quarter/Queen (120cm x 190cm)
- Double (135cm x 190cm)
- King (150cm x 200cm)
- Super King (180cm x 200cm)
- Emperor (200cm x 200cm)
Of course, while the above are the generally-accepted UK bed sizes, there’s every chance that individual retailers might have slight variations when selling bed sheets, duvet covers, and mattress toppers. So, if buying new bedding, it’s important to cross reference the dimensions with your own bed.
How to convert bed sizes
We’ve explored the various bed size options across the UK, US, and continental Europe. But, to make things even simpler, we’ve also created a handy comparison table for you to quickly identify similar sizes, despite the different naming conventions.
So, whether you’re comparing UK bed sizes vs US, or continental bed sizes against British dimensions, find the right match below.
UK bed size
US similar size
Continental similar size
Small Single (75cm x 190cm)
Single (90cm x 190cm)
Twin (98cm x 189cm)
Single (90cm x 200cm)
Three Quarter/Queen (120cm x 190cm)
Small Double (122cm x 191cm)
Double (135cm x 190cm)
Full (136cm x 189cm)
Double (140cm x 190-200cm)
King (150cm x 200cm)
Queen (152cm x 203cm)
King (160cm x 200cm)
Super King (180cm x 200cm)
California King (183cm vs 212cm)
Emperor (200cm x 200cm)
King (193cm vs 203cm)
With our complete guide and comparison table, you should now be able to confidently compare and contrast different bedding options, including US bed sizes vs UK and Europe, to find the right fit for your home.If you’re feeling inspired to upgrade your own collection, explore our ever-popular range of luxury, eucalyptus silk bedding bundles, or discover even more useful insight from our sleep experts over on the Ethical Bedding blog.