What Size Bed Should I Get? Considerations to Make When Choosing Your Mattress and Frame

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Picking the perfect mattress can be a pain. Even before you pick a kind of mattress, you’ve probably started your search with: What size bed should I get? There are so many mattresses, frame, and style options these days that picking the right size bed can be overwhelming.

What Size Bed Should I Get?

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Whether you sleep solo, with a partner, with kids, or even with a furry friend (or three), you should get a mattress that is at least 6 inches longer than the tallest person that sleeps in the bed.

Furthermore, if you sleep with a human partner of adult size, make sure that each of you can lay in the bed comfortably. But, I’m not talking about mattress firmness.

To make sure both people have enough space, lay with your hands behind your head and your elbows out to the side. Your elbows shouldn’t touch. Even if you’re snuggly sleepers, you should have a little space between elbows.

As for answering the question if it’s: what size bed should I get if I sleep with kids or pets? The answer is it doesn’t matter. They will take up all of the bed.

That said, to answer your, "what size bed should I get?" question, you need to consider a few other factors beyond elbow space.

Consider how the bed moves

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True story. My friend bought a house then learned that her king-size bed wouldn’t fit up the stairs and around the corners. That meant she had to rent a crane to move said mattress into her house. Which also means she has to do the same when she moves out!

I think next time she moves, she’s leaving the bed.

It’s a funny story, but one full of lessons. Before you answer,"what size bed should I get?" you should ask yourself, not just about the room size, but the hallways and staircases it might have to travel.

See, the thing about beds is that they aren’t very bendy. That’s a good thing. You want your bed to keep its shape. However, that means beds are hard to maneuver around corners. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It just means it’s harder than you might anticipate.

If you’re thinking you don’t have to worry about turning tight corners because you bought a bed online and it’s coming shipped to you in a box, think again! Once you unroll said mattress, you’ll never get it rolled back up, and you’re stuck with the same how do I get this out of my house problem as someone who bought a traditional mattress.

Common Mattress Sizes

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Before you try to figure out," what size bed should I get?" you should review bed sizes. To keep things simple, I’m only outlining the more common bed sizes.

However, there are actually twice as many bed sizes! That said, the odds are pretty good that you (and whomever else sleeps in the bed) can find the right fit with one of these common bed sizes.

Twin size bed

Twin size beds measure 38 inches wide by 75 inches long. Contrary to what the name implies, this size bed is best for one person.

Said person is usually a child. But, depending on your height, an adult can fit comfortably in a twin bed. For the sake of reference, 75 inches is 6 feet, 3 inches.

Twin XL size bed

A twin XL bed is what the name implies: a twin size bed that’s a little longer than a twin.

Twin XL beds are also 38 inches wide but are 80 inches long, giving you an extra 5 inches of length. This bed size is most common in dorm rooms.

Full-size bed

A full-size bed is also known as a double bed. So, when you’re booking a hotel room, and it says “two doubles,” this is what you’re getting.

A full-size bed is 54 inches wide by 75 inches long. Many couples use a full-size bed, but it’s also a popular size in children’s rooms when the kid reaches an adult height. You can find full-size beds in an XL size at 80 inches long.

Queen size bed

Queen size beds are 60 inches wide by 80 inches long. They are the most popular size bed as it can comfortably fit two people. Queen size beds are also a bit easier on the budget, not to mention easier to move.

King size bed

As the name implies, a king-size bed is as big as it gets. They are 76 inches wide by 80 inches long, leaving plenty of room for two people, a pet, and the occasional kid (trust me) without robbing people of space.

It also gives people the chance to spread out without worrying about kicking someone or falling off the bed.

For some people, though, sharing a king-size bed is a problem. When one person moves, the other feels like they’re in the middle of an earthquake.

Fortunately, a king-size bed is the same size bed as two twin XL beds pushed together. You can buy two twins, place them on the same box spring and have your king-size bed without shaking every time your partner turns over.

California king size bed

If a king-size bed isn’t long enough for you, consider a California King. These beds are 72 inches wide by 84 inches long.

Yes, California kings are more narrow than a king-size bed. But, they are wider than a queen-size bed, which means when Fido wants to sleep with you, you’re not falling off the edge. The extra length is also great for taller folks who don’t like to sleep with their feet hanging off the bed.

Don’t Forget About the Extras

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Even though you know what the commonly used bed sizes are, you still don’t know how to answer: what size bed should I get?

Well, before figuring out what size bed to get, you should consider one more thing.

Holding it up

Most bed places will throw in a bed frame for free, or sell you one cheap. That frame is usually the metal one that isn’t pretty but is sturdy and gets the job done. And, it doesn’t take up much extra space.

But, notice how I said “much.” On many of these frames, there’s a gap at the “top” of the frame -- meaning the part where your head is -- to where the wall is. This gap accommodates a headboard (if you want it), and that's going to add a couple of inches to your bed size.

However, lots of people want their own “prettier” bed frame. Perhaps a sleigh bed? Or a platform bed with drawers? Who knows? The point is, you need to to take this all into account before you say “I’ll take that bed, please,” because every frame takes up space.

What Size Bed Should I Get for My Room?

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So, now that we’ve covered bed sizes and frames, let’s go back to the beginning. Before you try to figure out, "what size bed should I get?" start by figuring out what size room you've got. That will help guide your bed size decision.

While you may love the idea of a king-size bed with a sleigh style frame, you may have a small room that can only hold a full-size bed. Or, you’ve got a larger room, but are worried that putting a large bed and frame will overwhelm the room and make it look like giants sleep there.

Having a comfortable bed is, of course, important. However, so is getting the right size bed for the room. So, consider the following when answering your question: what size bed should I get?

  • If your room is 7 feet by 10 feet, get a twin size bed or a twin XL
  • A full-size bed is best for rooms that are 10 feet by 12 feet
  • Queen size beds can fit in a room that’s 10 feet by 10 feet and up to 10 feet by 14 feet
  • In rooms that are 10-by-12 or 13-by-13, you can comfortably fit a king-size bed
  • But, a California king needs at least 12 feet by 12 feet and up to 14 feet by 12 feet

These sizes are just guides. You need to take into account things like where the doors, windows, and closets are. There’s nothing worse than getting a bed all set up in a room, only to discover you can’t get into the closet.

Also, when figuring out what size bed to get, think about what other furniture will be in the room. Dressers, side tables, chairs, even TVs will impact how big of a bed can go in your room.

Count Some Sheep

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Hopefully, you can now answer, "what size bed should I get?" and can narrow your search. Picking a mattress is never easy. But, knowing how much space you have and need for your bed size will make choosing a bed size easier (we hope)!

Any horror stories about picking a bed size? Did you ever get a bed home, only to discover it wouldn’t get up the stairs? Have you ever successfully re-rolled a mattress? Share with us in the comments.

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