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. The size of a King bed is roughly the approximate size of two Twin XL beds pushed together – it’s quite easy to understand that these beds are suited for very different people with very different needs – we’ve compiled all the things people should consider when bed shopping.

King Beds And Twin Beds

twin vs king-size mattress comparison

Standard (or Eastern) King:

Width 76″
Length 80″
Width Per Person 38″

Who Is A King Bed Ideal For?

A King bed tends to be particularly 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 both sleepers 8” more space than a Queen sized bed, making it ideal for master bedrooms, but a King may be too spacious for some individuals.

Standard Twin

Width 38″
Length 75″

Who Is A Twin Bed Ideal For?

A Standard Twin is also referred to as a Single bed; twin mattresses and beds are often the next steps for children who have outgrown their cribs. Single beds are also a fantastic option for smaller bedrooms such as Guest Rooms; bunk beds also traditionally come in Twin size.

RELATED: Best Mattresses For Guest Rooms

Less Traditional Bed Sizes

California (Western) King: This type of bed is fairly popular and is narrower and longer than a traditional King size mattress, making it an excellent fit for taller sleepers.

Width 72″
Length 84″

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

Width 39″ (each half)
Length 80″

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

Width 38″
Length 80″

King Beds Might Be A Good Fit For …

  • People who are shopping for a master bedroom. King-sized beds tend to be a particularly great fit for larger master bedrooms where there is a significant amount of space not only for the bed but all the additional pieces of furniture and other bedroom accessories.
  • Those who really value their 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) – on a King, each person receives 38″ of space on each side – that makes it particularly comfortable for couples to spread out or for the youngest family member to hop into the bed during the night.
  • People who can afford a higher price bed. Those who have been mattress or bed shopping lately know that the price can add up very quickly; if someone is upgrading from a Queen or something smaller to a new King bed, they should keep in mind that they’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.

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Twin Beds Might Be A Good Fit For …

  • Petite adults or those who need a bed for children. As we mentioned earlier, Twin-sized beds are essentially 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 particularly tight fit in both directions for an average adult and nearly impossible for a couple.
  • Those who are trying to save money on their bed. If someone has room for a Full/Double bed but can’t really afford the frame, mattress, and sheets, they can consider a Twin (or a Twin XL for more length) – a Twin will definitely be more affordable since they are saving on space – college dorm room beds are often Twin XL and there are fantastic sales on bed sets during Back-To-School season.
  • People who require a bed for a smaller room. A Twin bed will look particularly 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 – such as a kid’s room.

twin bed

Additional Things To Consider When Bed Shopping

Here are some tips and things to think about before making that next bed or mattress purchase.

  • Measure the bedroom space and leave room for movement. If someone is thinking about making the jump from a crib to a Twin or they’re ready to go big and get a King bed, they should make sure it fits it in their 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 necessarily fit – an article from Thingz Contemporary Living reports that most designers will recommend 30″ of space around the bed for movement – that means that a King mattress size will be best for a large master bedroom.
  • Consider how to get the bed into the roomTwin 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 maneuver into a bedroom.
  • Shop seasonally for beds if possible. There are times during the year that mattresses and beds will be significantly cheaper – those who are on a budget but want to upgrade to a bigger bed should wait to make a purchase during that time – for mattresses, Labor Day weekend is often an excellent time for sales.


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

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Katie Golde

Katie previously managed 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.