UK bed sizes explained

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There are six typical bed sizes in the UK. A small single bed measures 2'6" x 6'3". A single bed measures 3'0" x 6'3". A small double measures 4'0" x 6'3". A standard double bed measures 4'6" x 6'3". A king size bed measures 5'0" x 6'6", and a super king measures 6'0" x 6'6".

When it comes to choosing a new bed, size matters. Sleeping apart can lead to a better night’s sleep. When choosing your new bed, it is important to consider whether there is enough sleeping space for each person.

happy young family eating breakfast in bed

There are six typical bed sizes in the UK:

 Imperial sizeMetric size
Small single2’6” x 6’3”75 cm x 190 cm
Single3’0” x 6’3”90 cm x 190 cm
Small double4’0” x 6’3”120 cm x 190 cm
Double4’6” x 6’3”135 cm x 190 cm
King size5’0” x 6’6”150 cm x 200 cm
Super king size6’0” x 6’6”180 cm x 200 cm

Because there is no UK standardisation, bed sizes may vary between retailers. It is important to double-check your dimensions before ordering.

The general advice is to choose as big a bed as the room allows. But, you will also need to consider other factors, such as:

  • Who the bed is for. Is it for a single person or two people sharing?
  • The amount of room space available.
  • Body size and shape. Where two people are sharing, there should be enough room for each person to lie on their back with their arms behind their head and elbows out without touching. The bed should also be at least 4 to 6 inches longer than the tallest person.
  • Access to the room the bed is intended for. This will determine the size and style of the bed you choose.
  • The type of mattress you choose. Some mattresses may result in ‘roll-together’. Investing in a bigger size will give you more space, and you’re less likely to disturb your partner.
  • The weight of the mattress. Larger mattresses may be harder to turn and move.
  • Your budget. Larger beds usually cost more money, and you may also need to budget for new sheets, mattress protectors and headboards. That said, with beds, you generally get what you pay for, so you should always spend as much as you can afford.

Small single bed size

A small single bed measures 2’6” x 6’3” (75 cm x 190 cm). This size bed is ideal for smaller rooms or for a small child moving out of a cot into their first bed, as the bed provides more sleeping space and better support for their growing bodies.

A small single bed will usually cost the same as a standard single bed (90 cm x 190 cm).

small single bed sizes
Dimensions of a small single bed.

Single bed size

A single bed measures 90  cm x 190 cm (3’0” x 6’3) and is suitable for a single person.

For couples who prefer to sleep in separate beds, twin beds (two singles) are popular, particularly among older adults. The beds can be positioned side by side in one room or moved into separate rooms where necessary.

single bed sizes
Dimensions of a single bed.

Small double bed size

A small double bed, also known as a three quarter size bed, measures 4’0” x 6’3” (120 cm x 190 cm). 4’0” beds are ideal for a young adult moving out of a single bed or for sleeping partners that don’t mind getting cosy with one another.

4’0” beds are usually the same price as a standard double bed (135 cm x 190 cm). Fitted bed sheets for a small double bed may be a little harder to find.

small double bed sizes
Dimensions of a small double bed.

Double bed size

A standard double bed measures 4’6” x 6’3” (135 cm x 190 cm) and it is suitable for two adults sharing a bed, where room space is limited.

Most couples still sleep in a double bed. However, when two people share the bed, this only gives each person 2ft 3 inches of sleeping space, which is less than a baby in a cot.

While this is fine for sleeping partners who like to get cosy with another in bed, they may find that they constantly disturb each other in bed.

double bed sizes
Dimensions of a double bed.

King size bed size

A King size bed measures 5’0” x 6’6” (150 cm x 200 cm). King sized beds are longer than single and double sized beds and are ideal for taller people requiring more legroom.

The extra width you get from upgrading to a king sized bed can make a big difference compared to a double bed.

It usually doesn’t cost much more to upgrade the bed from a double to a king size. Some manufacturers may even have an upgrade offer, allowing you to buy the king size version for the same price as the double.

Some king sizes mattresses are available in a split tension. This means that each half of the mattress can be made in different firmnesses, such as one side in soft, the other in medium, or one side in medium, the other in a firm. Split tension mattresses are ideal for sleeping partners of different weights or comfort preferences.

king size bed sizes
Dimensions of a king size bed.

Super king bed size

It goes without saying we need bigger beds for better sleep. A super king size bed measures 6’0” x 6’6” (180 cm x 200 cm).

It is the largest of the UK’s typical bed sizes and is perfect for couples that value their sleeping space. There’s plenty of room to stretch out, and sleeping partners are less likely to disturb one another in bed.

Keep in mind that super king size mattresses are much heavier and harder to turn and move. If you’re considering a super king bed you should also ensure that there is suitable access to the room the bed is intended for to avoid problems with delivery.

super king size bed sizes
Dimensions of a super king size bed.

Zip and link

Another option is to consider a zip and link bed which allows two single beds to be zipped together to create a super king size bed. Zip and link is a versatile option that will enable couples to sleep together or apart.

The zips typically sit lower than the sleeping surface, so you won’t feel them whilst you’re sleeping.

Since the mattresses are separate, each person has a choice of mattress tension depending on their comfort preferences and support needs. This is particularly beneficial for couples with a significant difference in body weight.

For instance, one person could have a soft mattress, the other a firm mattress. Also, there is no movement or ‘roll-together’ as each side is independent.

As the beds split into two, it is easier to turn the mattresses and move the beds for cleaning. Zip and link beds are popular for homes where access is limited, where a one-piece mattress would generally be out of the question.

Bed base sizes

Bed base sizes should correspond with the mattress size they are intended for. For example, a double bed frame will hold a double mattress.

The dimensions of the base will vary depending on the style of the bed you choose. Sleigh beds that feature a curved headboard and footboard can significantly increase the overall length of the bed, in some cases adding up to an extra foot in length.

A divan bed base is usually the same size as the mattress it is paired with. But if you have drawers in the bed base, you will need to allow extra space for opening the drawers and fitting a headboard to the bed.

New mattresses are sometimes shorter in length than expected due to how the mattresses have been stored during transit. This is no cause for concern, and the mattress should return to its normal dimensions with use.

You may also find that there is a slight gap between the mattress and the outer frame when pairing a mattress with a bed frame.

Regardless of what style of bed you choose, it is important to double-check your room sizes.

Bed height

The importance of bed height is often overlooked. For older adults or those with mobility issues, comfortably getting in and out of bed may be a priority. Younger adults may prioritise the style of the bed over its comfort.

A lower bed may be more suitable for a child moving out of a cot into their first bed in case they fall out of bed. A lower bed may also be easier to manoeuvre when it is delivered.

What size is queen size?

Queen size often causes confusion within the UK as the term is not commonly associated with any specific UK bed size. It is a term used in the United States to describe mattresses that measure 150 cm x 203 cm. The closest equivalent in the UK is a king size (150 cm x 200 cm), and this is likely where the confusion arises.

Some UK retailers may refer to their mattresses as ‘queen’, but due to the inconsistencies with sizing, it is best to double-check the exact size of the mattress before ordering.

How big is an emperor size bed?

An impressive centrepiece for a spacious bedroom, an Emperor sized bed measures 7 feet square (215 cm x 215 cm).

There are only a handful of bed manufacturers that provide this size. If you’re looking for a luxurious bed with plenty of sleeping space, an emperor size bed is an excellent choice.

Final thoughts

Bed size matters because it can affect your sleep quality, particularly when sharing a bed with a partner. Before choosing a new bed, it is essential to measure the space correctly to avoid problems down the line.

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About the author

About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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