Full vs Double Bed: What's the Difference?

Here’s how these two interchangeable terms came into use—and how to decide if a full or double mattress size is right for you.

By Shannon Ullman

Apr 18th, 2023

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In a perfect world, we’d all have king-sized beds with ample room to stretch out and get a good night’s sleep. But in the real world, space is often limited, and budgets are often tight. You might have to consider a more modest-sized bed for your setup, but that doesn’t mean you’re cursed to squeeze into a tiny twin for eternity.

Full beds and double beds offer a generous amount of sleeping room without taking up too much space. They can be great solutions for people who are looking to economize on comfort while still getting their necessary eight hours. But what’s the difference between these two kinds of beds? Let’s explore.

What’s the Difference Between a Full and Double Bed?

Spoiler alert: there is none. “Full” and “double” are just two words manufacturers use interchangeably to describe a mattress that’s sized 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. While they’re two terms for the same thing, there’s a good reason for the confusion.

What’s a Double Bed?

Double beds used to be the standard size of mattress in the U.S. up until the 1940s. Yep, that means your grandparents and their parents all rocked twins and doubles before bigger beds became all the rage.
Even though anyone who has ever shared a double bed will tell you that fitting two people comfortably is a stretch, the term “double” was meant to imply that it was designed for couples. So when manufacturers started rolling out larger queen and king sizes that could more comfortably fit two adults, mattress makers had to switch up their marketing lingo so customers wouldn’t be disappointed by the lack of space.
Thus, the “full” bed was born.

What’s a Full Bed?

The term “full” quickly emerged as the new way of labeling the same old 54-inch by 75-inch double bed—and even started to take on a slightly different (and more accurate) meaning. Now, instead of implying that two people would fit comfortably, the “full” size suggested that a single adult would have more space than they would sleeping on a twin.

Related: Best Full Size Mattress

Today, twin beds are primarily used for older children and teenagers, while full beds are a more popular option for single adult sleepers. However, plenty of couples who are living in small apartments or houses still make full and double beds work.

Pros and Cons of Full and Double Beds


  • Plenty of space for single sleepers: If you’re sleeping solo, a full bed (or double bed) will give you lots of room to stretch out and sleep comfortably.
  • Economical: Full beds are more affordable than other sizes, so they can be a great solution for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Easy to fit into small spaces: Since they aren’t as wide or long as larger beds, full beds don’t take up too much real estate in your bedroom.
  • Easier to carry and move: Full beds are also a great option for anyone who frequently moves since they’re light and easy to transport.
  • Compatible with vintage furniture: If you’re trying to match your bed to your antique headboard or footboard, full beds are the way to go.


  • Tight for couples: Although full and double beds are larger than twin-size ones, two adults will still be a bit cramped in this kind of bed.
  • Less room for pets: If you like to snuggle with your furry friend in bed, a full or double might not give you enough space.
  • Not as much selection: Since they’re not as popular as larger beds, full beds may have options to choose from in terms of comforters, sheets, and mattress toppers.
  • Not ideal for tall sleepers: If you’re over 6′ tall, you might find your feet dangle off the edge of a full bed.

Size of Double and Full Beds

Double and full beds are the same size: 54 inches wide by 75 inches long. That’s about 16 inches wider than a twin bed, 7 inches shorter than a queen, and 22 inches shorter than a king. Larger mattresses are also longer in length, with both queen and king beds reaching up to 80 inches long. So it’s important to take into account the heights of you and your sleeping partner when assessing what type of mattress to buy—taller sleepers might be more comfortable on a queen or king.


You can make it work, but couples will likely feel a bit cramped in a full bed. Queen beds are usually the recommended size for two adults. The only way a double bed will comfortably fit two adults is if both adults are relatively small and short in size.

If you’re a single adult looking for an economical and space-efficient solution for your sleeping situation, a full bed is probably the best choice. Full beds give you more space than a twin, and as long as you’re not over 6′ tall, your feet won’t dangle off the edge.

No, full and queen beds are not the same size. Full beds measure 54 inches wide by 75 inches long, while queen beds are 60 inches wide by 80 inches long. That’s an extra 6 inches of width in a queen, which makes a big difference when it comes to getting enough space for two adults.

Yes—though they’re often referred to by different names, full beds and double beds are the same size. The terms are used interchangeably to describe a mattress that’s 54 inches wide by 75 inches long.

Technically yes, couples have been sharing double and full beds for as long as the beds have been around. However, two adults will likely feel a bit cramped in this size of bed, so it’s not necessarily the most comfortable option for sleeping together. A queen- or king-size bed is better suited for two people—especially if one or both sleepers are over 6′ tall.