We all know that they are big, but how big is a king size bed really?
King size bed dimensions can vary depending on where in the world you are, but in North America, a standard king size bed is usually 76 x 80 inches. If you prefer metric, that’s 193 x 203 centimetres.
This makes the king size bed 16 inches wider than a queen mattress. The typical queen measures 60 x 80 inches, or 152 x 203 centimetres.
Reasons to Buy a King Size Bed
Does anyone really need a bed that big? That’s the question most people have when they are looking at buying mattresses.
Many couples do just fine sleeping on a queen, but there are a lot of reasons to want a bigger bed.
Maybe you've simply outgrown your current bed ...
Or maybe you believe bigger is better.
For many years in the late '40s and '50s, mattress salesmen would push the saying, “Sleep Bigger, Sleep Better.”
While the phrase may sound like a catchy slogan, there is some truth to the idea.
A king size mattress’s width is 76 inches, which means if you sleep with a partner, each person has 38 inches of personal sleep real estate.
That happens to be the exact same width as a twin sized mattress ... the smallest size that most adults would want to sleep on.
When you sleep on a queen size bed with a partner, each person has 30 inches. That’s only three inches wider than the average crib mattress.
The more space you have, the more likely you are to sleep without disruption.
More space between you and your partner means more room to stretch out, roll over, and generally get comfortable.
Wild sleepers—you know, the ones with the Jimmy Legs—are also less likely to wake their partner at night in a king bed. That’s because they have more space to move around, and there is usually less motion transfer in a larger bed.
History of the King Size Bed
For much of human history, beds were small and partners had to cozy up. So, when did bigger beds become more popular?
It dates back to the mid-century after WWII. Until then, most North American couples slept on a double bed, also known as a full size bed. These are 54 x 75 inches, giving each sleeper just 27 inches of their own space. That happens to be the exact same width as a crib mattress.
The decision to make beds larger was influenced by the fact that North Americans were simply bigger than they had ever been before. Both men and women were statistically growing taller than they had in previous decades.
Different Types of King Beds
All kings are not the same. In addition to a standard king bed, there are a number of different types of king size beds.
It is a common misconception that the California King is larger than a regular king mattress. In reality, the California King is 4 inches narrower than a traditional king.
It is, however, 4 inches longer.
That extra 4 inches makes this an excellent choice for anyone over six feet tall.
The bed’s unique name comes from its popularity among West Coast celebrities after WWII. The theory is that the larger bed was built to better fit the decadent, large-house lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Because of all of their affiliation with celebrity, California king mattresses are considered a luxury item in the mattress world, and they tend to cost more than a regular king size mattress.
The Alaskan King is truly unique, measuring 9 x 9 feet. Yes, you read that right. The Alaskan King is massive.
It was designed for co-sleeping. So, if you like to sleep with your young children or pets, this might be a good choice for you and your family.
The downside to the Alaskan King is finding the accessories to go with it. Because it is such an unusual size, it can be difficult to find sheets and bed frames to fit.
You may need to purchase custom bed frames and sheets, which can make these items a bit more costly than a more traditionally sized mattress.
The Split King mattress dates back to before WWII, but it never gained a lot of popularity. Essentially, the split king is two twin mattresses pushed together.
The downside of having this kind of mattress is that there is a divide between the two mattresses, which can lead to a fair bit of motion transfer.
The upside of this mattress type is that it can perfectly accommodate two people who have radically different sleeping styles.
For example, if you like to sleep on your side, and you need a softer mattress, but your spouse sleeps on their back and needs a firmer mattress, no problem. Your half of the bed can be a marshmallow-like memory foam while your significant other can choose to sleep on a much firmer high-density latex mattress.
A split king mattress is also far easier to move from one house to another as it can be moved in pieces.
Quick Tip: To eliminate motion transfer, just pull the two mattresses apart a couple of inches and make it up as one bed.
What size rug should I put under a king size bed?
As a general rule, a rug that is 9 x 12 feet fits well underneath a standard king size bed. The rug will be wider and longer than the bed, providing a nice border around the mattress.
It’s aesthetically pleasing and means that every time you hop in and out of bed, your feet will land on a soft plush mat rather than cold hardwood. That sure does make it easier to get out of bed during the long, cold Canadian winters!
As you pick out your rug, keep in mind these helpful tips and tricks:
- Keep a minimum of five inches between the edge of the rug and the walls of the room.
- Avoid having the edge of the rug bump up against any large furniture pieces in your bedroom. Instead, try to leave a couple of inches around key furniture pieces, or pick a rug that is large enough for the furniture to fully sit on top of it.
- Ensure that doors have enough clearance to open. Some doors are pretty close to the floor, and the thickness of a rug can be enough to cause friction.
- If you have hardwood floors, you may need to pick up a non-stick, rubber mat to go underneath your rug. Not all rugs have a nonslip layer on the bottom, and you don’t want your rug to shift or bunch up every time you walk on it.
How much does a king size bed cost?
Buying a king size bed sounds expensive. Yet, the price of king size beds can vary considerably.
This is mostly influenced by the style of mattress you choose. There’s a big difference between the cost of a traditional coil spring mattress compared to a memory foam option.
Not sure which bed size you need?