When it comes to bed sizes, perhaps no two beds get confused for each other more than the full and the queen. At a glance, they do look pretty similar. It’s harder to tell the difference between a full and a queen. This is in contrast to a full and a twin or a queen and a king.
However, when you sleep in the bed, the difference between a queen and a full can be readily apparent, especially if you’re sleeping with a partner. Your height and the number of sleepers in the bed can both impact whether you need a full or queen size bed.
Full Size Bed
The full size or double bed is considered the first bed size that can be shared by two partners. However, the full mattress doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for couples or legroom for taller sleepers. In fact, couples only get 27 inches of space per person in a full bed. That’s less width than an infant has in a crib.
Full beds are wider than twin size beds but shorter than twin XLs and queens. At 54 by 75 inches, they offer plenty of room to spread out for single sleepers who are less than six feet tall. Active sleepers may especially enjoy the extra width of a full size mattress over a twin because they can roll around without going over the edge.
Ideal Room Size
The general rule with room dimensions is that you need about two feet of space around three sides of the bed. Fulls are four and a half feet wide by a little over six feet long. That means you’ll need at least nine feet of width and eight feet of length in your room to have enough space to move freely around the bed.
However, you’ll need more space if you want bedroom furniture. For example, you may need to add either a few feet of width or a few feet of length to your bedroom to accommodate a dresser or vanity.
- Price: Full beds are up to a few hundred dollars less than queens. This price difference can put high-quality mattresses within reach of budget shoppers.
- Compactness: Full beds will go in shorter and narrower rooms than queen beds. If you have a smaller guest room or kids’ room, these can be a good fit.
- Good for Kids: Parents who want a bed their kids can grow into as teenagers that also won’t break the bank should consider a full size mattress.
- Good for Single, Active Sleepers: If you don’t need extra length but need extra width, a full is a good option.
- Easy to Move: Since they’re shorter and narrower than queens, fulls make convenient beds for people who move a lot.
- Not Ideal for Couples: Most couples will likely find fulls are just too small. Queen is the smallest bed size that’s comfortable for most couples.
- Won’t Fill Out Some Rooms: If you have a larger master bedroom, you may find a full just doesn’t look right. Some larger rooms look empty without a queen or even a king bed.
- May Not Fit in Smaller Rooms: On the flip side, a full bed may be too large to fit in certain rooms like college dorm rooms or studio apartments.
Queen Size Bed
The larger queen bed is a more comfortable option than a full for most couples. The queen offers sufficient sleeping space for both partners, assuming they don’t spread out too much or toss and turn all night. The queen bed is also a solid option for taller individuals who may not have enough legroom with a full.
The queen offers both couples and taller people a little extra wiggle room. At 60 by 80 inches, it provides 30 inches of sleeping space per person. It also boasts an extra five inches of length over the full bed to accommodate taller sleepers.
Ideal Room Size
Queens are ideal for most rooms in the average suburban home. The same two-foot/three-sides rule applies. That means you need a nine by nine-foot room to accommodate a queen if you want nothing but the bed. Since most people want more furniture than just the bed, a ten by ten or ten by twelve-foot room is probably better.
- Better for Couples: Queens offer six extra inches of width than fulls. This is usually a better minimum width for two partners.
- Cheaper than Kings: Most queens are significantly more affordable than kings, putting them in reach for more couples.
- Ideal for Most Room Sizes: Queens are a good middle-of-the-road size that can fill out larger bedrooms and still fit in smaller ones.
- Great for Guest Rooms: Queens accommodate couples and sleepers of most heights and sleep styles alike. This makes them an excellent option for multi-user situations.
- Won’t Fill Out Every Master: Queen size beds may leave bigger master bedrooms looking empty unless you add a lot of extra furniture.
- More Expensive than Fulls: Queens are cheaper than kings, but they’re still not the most affordable bed. Single sleepers who want to save should consider a smaller size.
- Harder to Move: Both queen mattresses and queen bed frames are bulkier and more difficult to move than fulls. This may be a problem for you if you switch apartments all the time.
Other Mattress Sizes
In addition to the queen and full, there are four other standard bed sizes: twin, twin XL, king, and California king.
The smallest of all the standard sizes is the twin bed. Twin mattresses are 38 by 75 inches, making them ideal for kids and teenagers or single adults with limited space.
The twin XL adds some length to the standard twin size mattress. Twin XL mattresses come in at 38 by 80 inches. This means they’re a good choice for taller sleepers who still need a compact bed.
The standard or eastern king size bed is technically the largest of the bed sizes by total surface area (6080 square inches). At 76 by 80 inches, it also offers couples the most width of any standard bed size.
The California king mattress is the longest of all the standard sizes at a cool 72 by 84 inches. This is a great size for the tallest sleepers who still find their feet hanging over the edge of an 80-inch bed.
Full and queen beds are both perfect, depending on your needs. If you’re a single sleeper of average height, a full might work for you. If you’re sleeping with a partner or need some extra legroom, you’re probably better off with a queen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some couples who are smaller in size and don’t move around a lot may be able to get away with sleeping on a full size mattress. However, most couples can’t handle such a small bed. Full size beds don’t offer enough width for most couples to spread out or move around. This can lead to motion transfer, kicking, and even falling off.
Most couples need a queen size bed at the very least. Couples who spread out a lot or toss and turn all night may even need to upgrade to a king size mattress.
Queen beds are the most popular mattress size on the market. They’re small enough to fit in just about any guest room and large enough to fill out many masters. They’re much more affordable than kings. They’re easier to move. And they’re not a nightmare to flip or rotate.
Best of all, queens offer plenty of sleeping space to couples, tall sleepers, and active sleepers alike. With all that going for them, it’s no wonder they’re the most commonly purchased standard mattress size.
That depends on the couple. Queens offer 30 inches of sleeping surface per person. This is typically enough for most couples to get a good night’s sleep. However, there are a few scenarios where you might need to size up.
If one or both partners are active sleepers, a couple may need a standard king. A king may also be necessary for couples who like to sleep spread out. Couples with one or more partners who are well over six feet tall may also want to consider the extra-long California king over a queen size mattress.
That depends on the size of the guest room. Smaller rooms might not be big enough to accommodate a queen. In that case, a full is your only option. However, if your guest room is large enough, a standard queen size bed is more comfortable for couples and taller sleepers than a full mattress. That means queens can sleep a wider variety of guests and are therefore a better option than the full.
Sort of. Queen sheets are big enough to cover a full bed, whereas full sheets are not big enough to fit over a queen bed. However, fitted sheets need to be tight in order to avoid wrinkles, slippage, and other issues. That means a queen size fitted sheet won’t work with a full.
On the other hand, queen flat sheets, duvets, and other bed accessories may work with a full bed, depending on their thickness and dimensions. In fact, a lot of comforters come in a single size for both fulls and queens.