The Difference Between A King And Queen Bed – What You Should Know

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Okay, so let’s say someone is in the market for a new bed and it’s time to decide – should they choose a Queen bed or a King bed? This may seem like a very simple decision, but it turns out there is actually quite a lot more to know about each bed and mattress than simply the size difference.

To help customers feel confident about the next bed and/or mattress they purchase, we’ve put together everything customers need to know about Queen vs King bed as well as a few tips and tricks to decide which is a better fit for their bedroom or guest room.


The Queen And King Basics

Standard Queen Bed

Standard Queen
Width Per Person30"

Who Is A Queen Bed Ideal For?

A Queen bed is 5” longer and 7” wider than a Full-sized bed and is best suited for both couples and individuals because each couple gets approximately 30” of space to themselves; because it can work for an individual or a couple, it is the most popular mattress size today, and a Queen bed is often a fantastic fit for smaller master bedrooms or guest rooms.

Standard (or Eastern) King:

Standard King
Width Per Person38"

Who Is A King Bed Ideal For?

A King bed tends to be best suited for couples, and it is the equivalent of each individual sleeping on their own Twin XL bed (pushed together); the King bed offers each person 8” of additional space than a Queen sized bed, making it ideal for master bedrooms, but may be too large for some individuals.

Less Traditional Sizes

Olympic Queen (or Expanded Queen): The Olympic Queen is a full 6″ wider than a Standard Queen but has an identical length (80″); this makes it an excellent option for couples who require more space.

Olympic Queen

California Queen: California Queens are waterbed mattresses and are particularly difficult to find these days; customers might require a time machine to find a California Queen.

California Queen

Split Queen: This is essentially a Queen bed but is split down the middle, making it an excellent option for couples who desire to have the ideal firmness on their side of the bed.

Split Queen
Width30" (each half)

California (Western) King: This size of bed is fairly popular and is narrower and longer than a traditional King size mattress, so people can save a bit of space in their bedroom.

CA King

Split King: This is similar to a Standard King (but 2” wider) and is split down the middle, which makes it a fantastic option for couples.

Split King
Width39" (each half)

People Might Choose A Queen Bed If …

  • Those who have a smaller room. Couples working with tight spaces might want to choose a Queen over a King bed because this will allow additional room for furniture; the downside is that couples will have much less personal space in the bed, as it is significantly narrower than a King.
  • People who like to cuddle with your partner. With 30″ of mattress surface per person, it won’t be very difficult to get close to one’s partner at night; individuals will definitely be sleeping more closely.
  • Those who are looking to save money. Queen mattresses are significantly cheaper than their King size counterpart; not only will customers save money picking a Queen mattress over a King, but they’ll ultimately save on the accompanying bed frame, mattress protector (yes, people should get one) and bedsheets.


People Might Choose A King Bed If …

  • Customers who have a big room to fill. King-sized beds tend to be the best fit for larger master bedrooms, where there is plenty of space not only for the bed but all the additional pieces of furniture and bedroom accessories.
  • Those who value their personal space. While it comes down to personal preference, many couples opt for a King size bed over a Queen if they have the space in their bedroom and can afford it; each individual gets an additional 8″ of space on the bed, which makes it comfortable for each individual to spread out or for the youngest family member to hop in during the night.
  • Those who can afford a pricier bed. Those who have been mattress or bed shopping lately know that everything can add up; customers should make sure they can afford a comfortable mattress, as well as a sturdy bed and bed frame and some comfortable King-sized sheets as well.

Other Things To Consider

There is nothing worse than hauling a new bed into the bedroom, only to realize it doesn’t actually fit; a little bit of research and some planning is the key to ensuring people end up with the ideal bed or mattress for them.

  • Measure the space and leave room for movement. If someone is thinking about making the leap from a Queen to a King-sized bed, they should make sure that they can fit it in the bedroom and still have room to move around; an article from Thingz Contemporary Living says that the majority of designers will recommend 30″ of space around the bed for easy movement.
  • Make sure it is possible to get the new bed into the bedroom. Regardless of whether or not a Queen or King mattress will fit in the room, people should make sure they can get it up the stairs, through the entryway or wherever else it needs to go before getting to the bedroom; consider getting others to help move the mattress, as even a Queen can be particularly difficult to maneuver alone.
  • Consider the necessary accessories for the new bed/mattress. People may be excited to upgrade from a Queen to a King (or a Full to a Queen) but they also should remember that they will not only need a new frame to fit the new mattress, but a mattress protector and sheets in the new size will be important too; they should make sure to add those to the budget when they’re shopping so they’re not stuck in a beautiful bed with terrible sheets or risking the mattress warranty by not protecting it.

Bottom Line

As with all things sleep-related, someone’s decision between a Queen or King bed will be personal – people should take a second to consider all the factors in their life – budget, room, sleep partners, etc. Once people decide on a size, they shop around to see what type of bed and mattress will serve them best.

Featured image: All About Space/Shutterstock

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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.