King vs. Twin Beds: What Makes Them Stand Apart?

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At first glance, there is an obvious difference between a Twin bed and a King bed: the size. In fact, a King bed is roughly the same size as two Twin XL beds put together. So it’s easy to see that these beds are suited for different people with different needs. We’ve put together all the things you should consider when looking at both a Twin bed and a King bed.

The Basics

Standard (or Eastern) King:

Standard King
Width Per Person38"

Who is this ideal for?

A King bed tends to be best suited for couples. In fact, it is the equivalent of each person sleeping in their own Twin XL bed (pushed together). The King bed offers each person 8” more space than a Queen sized bed. This makes it ideal for Master Bedrooms. It may be too large for some individuals.

Standard Twin


Who is this ideal for?

A Standard Twin is also known as a Single bed. Twin mattresses and beds are often the next steps for children who have outgrown their cribs. They’re also a great option for smaller bedrooms like Guest Rooms. Bunk beds also traditionally come in Twin size.

Less Traditional Sizes


California (Western) King: Fairly popular and is narrower and longer than a traditional King size mattress.

CA King

Split King: Similar to a Standard King (but 2” wider) and split down the middle.

Split King
Width39" (each half)

Twin XL

Twin XL: The Twin XL is the same width as a Standard Twin but it’s about 5″ longer, making it the same length as a Queen or King. It is a nice option for college dormitories or taller children who may have smaller rooms. You will also see them in hostels where multiple beds are in one large room.

Twin XL

You Might Choose

King If…

  • You’re shopping for a Master Bedroom. King sized beds tend to be the best fit for larger master bedrooms, where there is plenty of space not only for your bed but all your additional pieces of furniture and accessories.
  • You like your personal space. While it comes down to personal preference, many couples opt for a King size bed over a Queen (or a Full for that matter). In a King, each person gets 38″ of space on each side. That makes it comfortable for couples person to spread out or for the youngest family member to hop in during the night.
  • You can afford it. If you have been mattress or bed shopping lately, you know that everything can add up. If you are upgrading from a Queen or something smaller to a new King bed, keep in mind that you’ll more likely than not need to purchase a comfortable mattress, as well as a sturdy bed and bed frame and some comfortable King-sized sheets as well.

Brentwood Home’s Cedar mattress (King) – check out our review, here. 

Twin If…

  • You’re a petite adult or child. As we mentioned earlier, Twin-sized beds are sort of the next step up from a crib mattress. A Standard Twin is 38″ x 75″ (sometimes it’s measured at 74″). This could be a tight fit in both directions for an average adult and nearly impossible for a couple.
  • You’re trying to save money. If you have room for a Full/Double bed but can’t afford the frame, mattress, and sheets, you can consider a Twin (or a Twin XL for more length). The Twin will definitely be more affordable since you are saving on space. College dorm room beds are often Twin XL and there are good sales on bed sets during Back-To-School season.
  • You need a bed for a smaller room. A Twin bed will look very small in a Master Bedroom (unless it’s a smaller bedroom). A Twin will probably fit well as a replacement for a crib in a nursery or a smaller room that maybe two people share – like a kid’s room.

Things To Consider

Here are some tips and things to think about before you make your next purchase.

  • Measure your space and leave room for movement. If you are thinking about making the jump from a crib to a Twin or you’re ready to go big and get a King bed,  make sure it fits it in your bedroom. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in an impulsive shopping moment and end up with a bed that doesn’t fit. An article from Th!ngz Contemporary Living says that most designers will recommend 30″ of space around your bed for movement. That means that a King size will be best for a large Master bedroom.
  • Consider how you’ll get your bed into the room. Twin or Twin XL beds and mattresses won’t be too difficult to get through doorways or upstairs, but a King mattress may take some maneuvering (and another set of hands) to get into a bedroom.
  • Shop seasonally if you can. There are times during the year that mattresses and beds will go on sale. If you’re on a budget but want to upgrade to a bigger bed, it might be worth waiting to make a purchase during that time. For mattresses, Labor Day weekend is often a good time for sales.

Mattress Size Guide


There will rarely be a time when you’re trying to decide between a King or a Twin for the same bedroom. They each have their own pros and cons. Whatever you decide, shop around for a good deal and make sure to plan ahead and ensure that it’ll fit in your space comfortably.


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Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news.She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.