Best Mattresses of 2020
We've personally tested, rated, and reviewed over 120 mattresses. See our top picks for 2020!
Can a full-size mattress fit two adults? Yes, if: if the couple is relatively small in height (like how small?), if they enjoy sleeping in very close proximity to each other (does that mean vertically instead of horizontally?), if there is no one else in the bed (what about the dog and the baby?), and if they are deep sleepers (they would have to be).
But seriously, couples sleeping on a full-size mattress was the norm for a long time. If you look at historical photos, or visit museums, you may be struck by how small the beds were before the mid-20th century. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that both queen and king sized beds entered the marketplace.
The full-size, or double bed as it is also called, originated at a time when it was expected that two people would have plenty of room in a 39-inch-wide bed. But keep in mind that people were significantly smaller then. In the early 1900’s, we started growing considerably bigger. Everything from height to shoe size, for both men and women, grew substantially during the first four to five decades of the 20th century. This made it more difficult for two people to sleep in a double bed and consumers started wanting larger models. This was in part solved by a trend for couples to sleep separately in single or twin beds, but that faded after the 1950’s.
Related: Twin vs twin XL
As a couple, you are looking for a bed. Can you get by with a full-size, or do you need something larger? How can you tell?
Although there is a cost difference, full-sized beds cost less than larger models, the primary consideration is this: will you have enough room? Let’s look at sizes and get an idea.
|Mattress Size||Width||Space for Each Person|
|Crib||27 inches||27 inches (assuming one person)|
|Single or Twin||39 inches||39 inches (assuming one person)|
|Full-Size or Double||54 inches||27 inches (assuming two people)|
|Standard Queen||60 inches||30 inches (assuming two people)|
|Olympic Queen||66 inches||33 inches (assuming two people)|
|California King||72 inches||36 inches (assuming two people)|
|Standard King||78 inches||39 inches (assuming two people)|
Single beds are 39 inches wide and considered comfortable for one person. A full-size bed is 54 inches wide, which gives each person 27 inches of personal space or the equivalent of a crib. Every size beyond the full or double size increases by 6 inches, or 3 inches per person for a couple. If you think this through, you might ask yourself, “Could we each sleep comfortably (ignoring length for now) in a bed the size of a crib?” If the answer is yes, then a full-size may work.
The common wisdom, however, is that full-size beds are better for just one person. The cost difference to upgrade to a queen or king is generally worth it. Full-size beds are literally being viewed as larger single beds and are popular for kids’ rooms. In the scheme of bed sizes, the full is a relatively smaller bed, and couples generally get a better night’s sleep with a little more room. Some experts also caution that families tend to expand, (remember the dog and the baby) and you may need more room over time.
There are a number of good reasons to purchase a full-sized bed, and they are still readily available. Here are some instances when full-sized may be just the right size:
Under certain conditions and given certain preferences a couple can fit in a full-sized bed. A larger bed, however, may be a better choice for many reasons, especially needed space. Take a hard look at bed sizes and the amount of room for each individual; consider your budget and your circumstances.