What’s the Difference Between a Double Bed and Full Size Mattress?
The full-size mattress is a perfect size for a variety of sleepers. Full or double beds can work in kids’ rooms, guest rooms, and even some larger college dorm rooms. Some people may get confused when they hear the terms “full” and “double.” Below, we’ll talk about the differences between them as well as who may enjoy this bed size.
Full Mattress vs. Double Bed Size
The terms “full size mattress” and “double bed” actually mean the same thing. While a mattress will almost always be referred to as “full size” in-store or online, the term “double” can apply to the mattress or the bed. For instance, you buy a full size mattress to go on a full size bed frame to make a full or double bed.
The nickname “double bed” comes from the idea that this is the smallest bed size that couples can share. For the most part, this is not true. A few couples who don’t take up much space on the bed and don’t move around a lot might be able to sleep on a full bed.
However, most couples need a bit more width than that offered by a full because they move around or stretch out during sleep. This means most couples will be better off with a queen or even a king size bed.
Even so, there are lots of things to love about the full bed. It’s an ideal size for kids’ rooms or smaller guestrooms that can’t accommodate a queen. It’s also a perfect size for small children to grow into. You won’t have to spring for a new mattress as soon as they become teenagers.
Full size mattresses are also a good choice for single active sleepers who toss and turn so much that a twin bed isn’t comfortable.
Full beds can fit in smaller rooms than queens can. People with older houses that have smaller bedrooms may significantly benefit from this bed size. The general rule is that you need around two feet of clearance around three sides of the bed. That means you’ll need two feet on either side and another two at the foot of the bed to move freely around your room.
Since the full size bed is slightly longer than six feet and precisely four and a half feet wide, you’ll need a bedroom that’s no smaller than nine by eight feet. If you want bedroom furniture like a vanity or dresser, you’ll need a larger room. Ten by ten feet is usually a good minimum if you want a double size bed and a few pieces of furniture.
A double mattress is also a good option for single sleepers who want a little extra wiggle room without much additional cost. The double mattress size is often quite a bit cheaper than a queen size mattress. If you’re going to cut costs but still get a high-quality mattress, a full size bed may be the answer.
The full bed is best for single adults, teenagers, and kids. Kids can grow into this size, while single combo sleepers who like to move around during the night won’t have to worry about falling off the bed. Manufacturers also make full size bunk beds. These can be great for shared rooms or multi-guest rooms.
Occasionally, you might run across a full/double XL. The full XL is 54 inches wide and 80 inches long. Taller single sleepers who want more legroom than the full might consider a full XL. Beware, though. The full XL is not a common bed size. Not only will a full XL mattress be more challenging to find, but full XL bed accessories like sheets and comforters will be as well.
Other Standard Bed Sizes
In addition to the full, there are five other standard bed sizes you might choose from.
The twin size mattress is the smallest bed size at 38 by 75. This is the perfect bed size for multi-kid rooms, dorm rooms, and studio apartments.
Twin XL Mattress
If you’re a taller sleeper with a dorm room or studio apartment, you might consider the twin XL size mattress. The twin XL bed adds five inches to the standard twin bed to create a 38 by 80-inch mattress.
The queen size mattress is the first bed size that is truly comfortable for couples. At 60 by 80 inches, the queen offers each partner 30 inches of sleeping surface. It’s also more suitable for taller sleepers than the full.
For couples who like to spread out or toss and turn all night, the king size bed offers 76 inches of width by 80 inches of length. That means the standard king bed is wider than the full is long, making it better able to fill out larger master bedrooms.
California King Mattress
The California king bed is perfect for the tallest of tall sleepers. At 72 by 84 inches, the California king size mattress offers plenty of width to couples as well as sufficient length for those sleepers who are several inches over six feet.
In addition to the standard sizes, other non-standard sizes include:
- Olympic queen (66 by 80 inches)
- California queen (60 by 80 inches)
- Short queen (60 by 75 inches)
- Texas king (80 by 98 inches)
- Wyoming King (84 by 84 inches)
- Alaska King (108 by 108 inches)
If a standard size bed doesn’t work for whatever reason, one of these could be the right size for you. You just might have to work a little harder to find the best mattress for your needs.
The full bed is an excellent option for single sleepers wanting some extra wiggle room. It’s also an ideal bed for growing kids and teenagers. Just keep in mind when you’re shopping that even though the nickname for a full size mattress is a “double bed,” this size is not the best for couples.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. These terms are interchangeable, and they both mean a mattress that is 54 inches wide and 75 inches long. Shoppers are more likely to see “full mattress” than “double bed.”
Yes. A full XL mattress is the same width as a double size mattress but five inches longer. This can help taller sleepers who don’t have the space for a queen or king bed. However, the full XL is not one of the standard sizes. That means it may be harder to find a full XL mattress. It may also be hard to find sheets or a duvet for this size.
If you’re over six feet tall, a full size bed probably won’t be a good fit for you. However, a lot of people don’t have the space for a king or a California king bed. The good news is there are several in-between sizes that could work for you.
For those with the least amount of space, a twin XL mattress is 38 by 80 inches long. That’s compact enough to fit in a tiny area and long enough that your feet won’t be dangling over the edge. Those who want some extra width to go along with their extra length could consider a queen or a full XL mattress.
If you’re well over six feet tall, even 80 inches might not be enough for you. Those who need the length of a California king mattress but don’t have the space for such a wide bed might consider the California queen. This bed is the standard 60 inches wide, but it’s 84 inches long.
Most of the time, yes. Queens are six inches wider and five inches longer than a full size bed. That means they may not fit in every room that a full mattress fits into, but many rooms that can accommodate a full can also take a queen.
Queens have a few advantages over full beds. Queen size beds are more comfortable for couples. They offer more length to taller sleepers. And they also have a little extra width for very active sleepers. However, queen bunk beds are harder to find and assemble, and queen mattresses also cost more than full mattresses.
So these mattresses might be similar in size, but they each have their own advantages and drawbacks.
Full XL mattresses are not standard, so not everybody is going to sell them. A few online mattress manufacturers offer this bed size, but getting it in-store may be more difficult. If you want a full XL and also want the brick-and-mortar experience, you may need to do some online research before you head out to the store.