How to Choose the Right Mattress Size

Selecting the right mattress size for you, your space and your budget

Styled bedroom; Fresh wildflowers in glass vase with water standing on a bedside table

When it comes to your mattress, size does matter.

The size of your mattress can have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep, especially for couples. Getting a good night’s sleep every night has long- and short-term health and well-being benefits, making those seven to nine hours much more precious than our bad sleep habits would indicate.

Since you will spend about a third of your life in bed, and the consequences of sleep deprivation are serious, choosing the right mattress size is not a decision to be taken lightly.

How to find the perfect size mattress for you

Before you choose a mattress size, you’ll need to know the dimensions of each size mattress. When it comes to mattresses, the difference of a few inches can have a big impact on your sleeping.

Standard mattress sizes:

Twin 38” x 75”
Twin XL 38” x 80”
Full 53” x 75”
Queen 60” x 80”
King 76” x 80”
California King 72” x 84”

 

You might be tempted to just get the biggest size mattress possible, but mattresses are a lot like diamonds: bigger is not always better. Diamonds have their Four Cs; mattresses have their Three Ss.

Pay attention to the details when choosing the right mattress size

Choosing the right mattress size involves much more than comfort, although that’s certainly an important factor. The Three Ss refer to the other factors to consider when selecting your mattress size: space, sleepers, and spending.

Space

Sleeping on a king size mattress may seem like a dream come true, but if your bedroom is on the small side, your king can dominate the living space. Don’t forget, you do more than just sleep in your bedroom, and you may have other furniture in there as well.

Measuring your room dimensions is, of course, a good place to start when considering mattress size. To get a more realistic picture of your bedroom with a new bed in it, measure out the mattress dimensions with tape on the floor, and clear the space within the perimeter. Then rearrange your other furniture around the “tape mattress” and try out your normal bedroom activities.

  • Is there room to walk around the bed?
  • Can you reach your clothes hamper?
  • Do your dresser and nightstand drawers still open?
  • Does your bedroom door open freely? Can you open the doors to your en-suite bathroom or closet?
  • Can you reach the windows to open or clean them?
  • Is there an easy flow of movement around the room?
  • Is any furniture blocking your HVAC registers and returns?

If you’re adding a bed to a new room or going bigger than your current mattress, an online room planning tool will help you see what’s possible and visualize the best arrangement before you get your heart set on that king size bed. We’re partial to Roomstyler 3D Home Planner because, well, it’s fun! You can add any bed size you want and arrange standard furniture pieces in whatever layout you choose.

Roomstyler 3D Home Planner view
Roomstyler 3D Home Planner

Think your hallways are too cramped for mattress royalty? Think again. While your bedroom size may be a limiting factor, your hallways, stairwells, and doorways are not. One of the magical features of online mattress companies is that they compress their mattresses to fit in handy, very portable boxes. Even king size mattresses are easily transported under low ceilings, around tight corners, and up winding stairways. And they’re delivered right to your door. Yep, like we said: magic. The only thing you might want to plan ahead for is getting it out. Especially if you’re in a temporary rental or planning on moving at some point and taking your mattress with you.

Sleepers

If you sleep alone, consider how you like to sleep. Do you roll over frequently when you sleep? If so, you’re going to need more room than someone who curls up in a fetal position. Maybe you sprawl out like the Vitruvian Man. That means your preferred mattress size may need to be nearly as wide as you are tall.

Vitruvian Man
Vitruvian Man

Finding the right size mattress for couples is a little more complicated. Let’s be honest: a full-size mattress may be fine for newlyweds, but once the honeymoon is over, you both need to get sound sleep consistently. At 53” wide, a full-size mattress gives each sleeper only 27” of personal space, far less than a twin mattress allows a single sleeper. And with your partner only a few inches away, the invasion of your personal space may become unsettling, especially after the inevitable tensions that are part and parcel of relationships. So, unless you want to sleep like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, a mattress no smaller than a queen is the best bet for couples.

Larger than average sleepers may want to consider king size mattresses as long as your bedroom and budget (see below) permit. Queen size mattresses offer additional 5” inches in length and 7” in width over full mattresses but may not be big enough when one or both sleepers are larger than average. A king size mattress offers ample room for both sleeper; in fact, it is the only size that allows each sleeper as much space as a twin offers someone sleeping alone.

In addition, a bigger mattress may last longer for larger sleepers than a mattress that merely fits them. More mattress real estate means more room to switch positions and locations on the mattress. With more of the mattress being used, it is less likely to develop body impressions from sleeping in the same spot night after night.

If you are over six feet tall, the length of your mattress becomes an important factor impacting your comfort. Even if your feet don’t extend beyond the bed, your feet may feel confined by sheets tucked in at the bottom of a full or even a queen size bed. California kings offer tall sleepers four inches more length than a regular king, which could mean the difference between cramped toes and relaxed legs and feet.

Who’s that sleeping in your bed? You wouldn’t be the first parent whose kids or pets like sleeping with the leaders of the pack. If your bed often looks like a den of wolves, a king or California king might be the right mattress size for you. Even when the kids give up this snuggle time, you and your partner will enjoy the additional room as you age and become more sensitive to sleep disruptions.

Spending

Don’t forget your budget! Before you start shopping, decide how much you can afford to spend on a mattress, and don’t be stingy. A $1,000 mattress will cost you about 27 cents per night over a 10-year mattress lifespan. You can’t even buy a pack of gum for 27 cents! And a little more than a quarter a day is a small price to pay for a good night’s sleep.

With the average price of a queen size mattress ranging from $250 to $5,000, there’s a mattress to fit every budget. The important rule here is to get the best quality mattress you can afford. Better quality mattresses will provide the support you need longer than those of lesser quality.

A $1,000 mattress will cost you about 27 cents per night over a 10-year mattress lifespan.

The good news? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a high-quality mattress. You can find premium mattresses online for less than you’d spend at bricks and mortar mattress stores. And online mattress companies offer generous free trial periods giving you plenty of time to try your mattress in your own room, sleeping the way you normally do.

Finally, if you decide on a mattress size different from what you currently sleep in, you will need to buy new bed linens, which will add to the cost of your new mattress. That includes mattress pads, sheets, bedspread or comforter and even pillows for larger sized beds. Be sure to factor those costs into your budget.


Choosing the right size mattress can mean the difference between sleepless nights and blissful, restorative rest. Choose wisely and you’ll be on your way to nightly vacations in La La Land. If you have questions about which mattress size might be best for you, send us a note and we’ll be happy to give you more information and our expert advice.

Sleep tight!