The Difference Between A King and Queen Bed: What You Should Know

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OK, so you’re in the market for a new bed and it’s time to decide – are you going to choose a Queen or a King?

This may seem like a simple decision, right? Turns out there is actually a lot more to know about each bed and mattress than just the size difference.

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


The Basics

Standard Queen

Standard Queen
Width Per Person30"

Who is this ideal for?

A Queen bed is 5” longer and 7” wider than a Full sized bed. Queen beds are suited for both couples and individuals. Each couple gets about 30” of space to themselves. Because it can work for a single person or a couple, it is the most popular mattress size today. It is often a good fit for smaller Master Bedrooms or in a Guest Room.

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 on their own XL twin 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.

Less Traditional Sizes


Olympic Queen (or Expanded Queen): The Olympic Queen is a full 6″ wider than a Standard Queen but has the same length (80″).

Olympic Queen

California Queen: California Queens are waterbed mattresses and pretty difficult to find these days.

California Queen

Split Queen: This is essentially a Queen bed but split down the middle.

Split Queen
Width30" (each half)


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)

You Might Choose

Queen If…

  • You have a smaller room. Couples working with tight spaces might want to choose a Queen over a King bed. This will allow extra room for furniture. The downside is that you will have less personal space in the bed, as it is significantly narrower than a King.
  • You like to cuddle with your partner. With 30″ of mattress surface per person, it won’t be hard to get close to your partner at night.
  • You’re looking to save money. Queen mattresses are cheaper than their King size counterpart. Not only will you save money picking a Queen mattress over a King, but you’ll ultimately save on the accompanying bed frame, mattress protector (yes, you should get one) and bed sheets.


King If…

  • You’ve got 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 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 if they have the room and can afford it. Each person gets an additional 8″ of space on the bed, which makes it comfortable for each 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. Make sure you can afford a comfortable mattress, as well as a sturdy bed and bed frame and some comfortable King-sized sheets as well.

Things To Consider

There is nothing worse than hauling your new bed into a bedroom, only to realize it doesn’t actually fit. A little bit of research and some planning is the key to ensuring you end up with the right bed for you.

  • Measure your space and leave room for movement. If you are thinking about making the leap from a Queen to a King sized bed, make sure that you can fit it in your bedroom and still have room to move around. An article from Th!ngz Contemporary Living says that most designers will recommend 30″ of space around your bed for movement.
  • Make sure you can get your new bed into your new room. Regardless of whether or not a Queen or King mattress will fit in the room, make sure you can get it up the stairs, through the entryway or wherever else it needs to go before hitting your room. Consider getting others to help you move the mattress, as even a Queen can be difficult to maneuver alone, for some.
  • Consider the accessories you’ll need for your new bed/mattress. You may be excited to upgrade from a Queen to a King (or a Full to a Queen) but remember that you will not only need a new frame to fit your new mattress, but a mattress protector and sheets in your new size will be important too. Make sure to add those to the budget when you’re shopping so you’re not stuck in a beautiful bed with terrible sheets or risking your mattress warranty by not protecting it.

Bottom Line

As with all things sleep-related, your decision between a Queen or King bed will be personal. Take a second to consider all the factors in your life – budget, room, sleep partners, etc. Once you decide on a size, shop around to see what type of bed and mattress will serve you 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.
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