We spend, on average, about one third of our lives sleeping, so of course our beds are one of the most important purchases we will make. It’s not only the mattress that matters — it’s also the bed itself. There are four standard bed sizes: twin, full/double, queen, and king. The size you pick will be largely dependent on your lifestyle and the size of your bedroom, as well as your preferred sleeping position.
King beds — the largest of the group — are great for individuals who want extra room to stretch and move around while sleeping or for couples sharing a bed. They provide more surface area than a queen bed, which can be beneficial if you’re planning on letting your pets sleep with you (or, inevitably, your children). A California king is similar in size to a standard king, but they vary slightly. Depending on your lifestyle, one may be better suited to your needs than the other.
King vs. California King Sizes
If you’re like me, you might think that California kings are bigger than a traditional king. Technically, the opposite is true: the square footage of a standard king mattress is slightly bigger than a California king. It’s really just the dimensions of each that are different.
A California king mattress (also called a “Western king”) is 84” x 72,” which is four inches longer and four inches narrower than a standard king mattress. This makes it a good option for anyone who is taller and needs that extra legroom, or if your pet likes to take up a permanent residence at the foot of your bed. California king beds may also fit better in a narrow bedroom.
Standard king beds (also called “Eastern kings”) are 80” x 76.” Because they are four inches wider than a California king, they can be more comfortable for sleeping when you need your own personal space or some extra room to move around without waking your partner. If you have young kids who sometimes crawl into bed with you, that extra mattress space can go a long way. Because of their shorter length, standard king beds are better suited to short, wide bedrooms.
How to Choose Between a King and California King
There are several key factors to keep in mind when choosing between the two bed sizes. Here’s a quick breakdown of each.
Are you over 6’ tall? Then you might want to go with the longer California king bed for the extra leg room.
What does your family look like? Do you have a partner with whom you are sharing the bed? Will your kids occasionally join you in bed? If so, a standard king (which is wider) might work better for you.
Shorter, wider rooms are going to be a better fit for standard kings, while narrow, long rooms would be perfect for a California king.
Whether you’re considering a king or a California king, you want to make sure it will fit in your room. Your bedroom doesn’t have to be giant, but you also want to choose a bed that won’t take up the entire floor space. Luckily, there are tons of different layout options that can help make a king or a California king size bed work for your space!