15/03: Mattress Sizes: Cutting Through The Misinformation
The Other Stores Just Can't Measure Up
At first glance, mattress sizes look pretty straight forward. That can quickly change once you start shopping for that new set. Queen, king, split foundations, California sizes, twin extra long, queen short. It can be enough to make your head spin, and to make things worse, there are a lot of misinformed salesmen out there. In this article, we are going to lay it all out in a way that is easy to understand. Whip out your handy dandy tape measurer and let's get started.
The Standard Sizes
The four basic sizes are pretty straight forward.
- Twin Size (Single): 39" x 75"
- Full Size (Double): 54" x 80"
- Queen Size: 60" x 80"
- King Size: 76"(wide) x 80"(head to foot)
These are the four basic sizes. There are several things to consider when choosing the right mattress size. Obviously, if two people will be sharing a bed, it needs to be a full size or larger. The next thing you need to determine is how tall is the tallest person that will be using the bed. Generally speaking a twin/full bed will comfortably accommodate someone up to about six feet. Once you cross that threshold, the extra five inches you gain with the king/queen from heat to foot really comes into play.
The Long And The Short Of It
The term extra long can be a little misleading. Most mattress manufacturers offer their twin (single) and full (double) models in an optional extra long size. This simply means that instead of the standard 75" (reference the chart above) from head to foot, they are the same length as a queen/king at 80". This results in the following:
- Twin Extra Long: 39" x 80"
- Full Extra Long: 54" x 80"
These sizes can be especially useful when there is a need for a long narrow bed. The most common application for these sizes is college dorm rooms. It's also worth noting that two twin extra long mattresses size by side make a king. This primarily comes into play when someone purchases a split king configuration.
The queen short is primarily used in campers and motor homes. It is the width of a queen, but the length of a full.
- Queen Short: 60" x 75"
Though not used very often, there is also such thing as a three quarter bed. It measures 48" x 75", and it is typically needed with antique beds. Most manufacturers no longer produce these, and they are quite expensive to special order. In other words, it's time to put Granny's old four post bed on Craig's List.
The California Sizes
You've probably heard about California king mattresses, but did you know that there are also California queens? Most folks think Cal kings are larger, but that's only half true. Let's dig into these odd sizes.
- California Queen: 60" x 84"
- California King: 72" x 84"
As you can see, the California sizes are 4" longer than their regular counterparts. The Cal queen is the same width as a standard queen, but the Cal king loses 4" in width when compared to the standard king. These sizes are obsolete unless you are 6'4" or taller. They are not offered in every model, and finding linens and beds that fit them can be a bit of a challenge.
The Things That The Mattress Usually Sits On
There is a bit of confusion about what most folks call a box spring. In the early days, the mattress typically laid on top of a true box spring. There were springs in there that moved all around and made all kinds of racket once they had a few miles on them. From there, mattress manufacturers began to lean more and more towards a solid platform for the mattress to sit on. We now call that a foundation.
Foundations simply don't have any springs in them. They are usually a solid wood platform that have no give to them. Most mattresses have been redesigned to take that into account. I am asked on a daily basis if a new mattress can go on an existing box spring/foundation. My answer is always, "yes, but I don't recommend it." The reason I don't recommend it is because the foundation can make a big difference in the way a mattress feels. If you purchase a mattress designed to go on a foundation, and you put it on an existing box spring, it will feel much softer and could potentially sag in the middle. Conversely, if you put a mattress designed to be used with a box spring on an existing foundation, it could feel too firm and might have a crown across the top. The bottom line is that the foundation/box spring is a small percentage of the set price, and I always recommend buying in sets. If you ever have an issue that might need to be covered under warranty, the first thing the manufacturer will look for is if the mattress was purchased as a set. Some manufacturers will void the warranty if you put their mattress on a different foundation.
The foundation can be quite important when it comes to the overall height of the mattress set. I frequently have customers come in measuring our mattress sets, eliminating certain sets from the hunt based on overall height. That is not the thing to do. You should always buy a mattress set based on your budget and comfort level. We stock standard and low profile foundations in every size ranging from the standard 9" thick all the way down to 1" thick on the super low profile. We will help you find the comfort level that is just right for you, then custom fit the height to meet your needs. There is never an up charge at Sit & Sleep for a low profile or super low profile foundation.
Split foundations are another subject of misinformation. Typically, a twin, full, and queen set will have a solid, size-matched foundation. In the case of a king, the foundation always comes in two split halves, also known as a twin XL foundation. It has to be done this way because in a lot of houses, particularly if the bed is going upstairs, a solid king foundation would not make the bends and turns to get to the bedroom. King foundations are always split up the middle to remedy this. In rare cases, a split queen foundation is needed to get the mattress set in the tightest of spaces. By now, I'm sure it's no surprise that we also keep those in stock.
- Split King Foundations: 39" x 80"
- Split Queen Foundations: 30" x 80"
Hopefully, that cleared up any questions you had about mattress sizes, and if it didn't, you are probably taking this mattress buying process a little too far :) If there is any information that you still need, feel free to call me at 912-961-0202 seven days a week. We look forward to earning your business!
President - Sit & Sleep Mattress Super Stores