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Full vs. Double Bed: What’s the Difference?

Full vs. Double Bed: What’s the Difference?

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Mattress Comparison
Read Time: 7 minutes

Many people hear the words “full mattress” and think they’re somehow different from “double bed.” The truth is these two terms are equal in the sense that they’re both referring to the same size bed.

While the words “full” and “double” mean the same thing, many manufacturers will use only the term “full” to describe their mattresses. Don’t worry, though. If you have a double bed frame or double bed base, any full mattress will fit on it—almost like they were made for each other!

Full Mattress vs. Double Bed

The full size mattress sits right between the queen and the twin XL in terms of size. The full or double mattress is 75 inches long and 54 inches wide. That means it’s shorter and wider than the twin XL, and it’s shorter and narrower than the queen.

What’s the Best Room Size for a Full Bed?

You need two things in your bedroom to accommodate your bed: enough clearance to walk around and enough space to put furniture. To get enough clearance, you need about two feet of space around three sides of your bed. For a full bed, that translates into a minimum room size of nine by eight feet.

However, you’ll need extra space for a dresser/chest of drawers/additional seating. That means you should add a couple of feet of length to your room. For a fully furnished bedroom with a double bed, you’ll need at least ten by ten feet.

How Much is a Full Bed?

The good news about full beds is they offer extra sleeping space for a reasonable price. Fulls are typically a little bit more expensive than twins but less expensive than queens. This gives sleepers on a budget the option to go larger without spending too much.

How much you pay for a full bed depends on its material. Some materials are more costly than others:

Innerspring

Innerspring mattresses are the most affordable of all the mattress types. You should be able to get a decent-quality full size innerspring mattress for just a few hundred dollars.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses can be a bit more costly than innerspring mattresses, but they are still on the more affordable end of the spectrum. It should be easy to find a high-quality full size memory foam mattress for under $1000.

Latex Foam

Latex mattresses are generally the most expensive all-foam mattresses. It will be harder to find an affordable full size latex mattress. Expect to pay close to or even over $1000 for a latex full.

Hybrid

Typically the most expensive of all bed types, hybrid mattresses combine coils and foams to create a combination of responsiveness and cradling. Expect the average cost of a full size hybrid mattress to exceed $1000. Although, in some cases, you may be able to find one for just under this amount.

Who Should Sleep on a Full Bed?

Single adult sleepers under six feet tall may find the full bed is the best fit for them. Those who find themselves frequently falling off or spilling over the side of a twin bed may not have enough room to spread out.

Active/combo sleepers may find they have the same problem if they toss and turn a lot during the night. A full can offer a wider alternative to the twin without taking up too much extra space in the bedroom.

The full is also a good option for kids and teenagers. Small kids can transition straight from a crib to a low-profile full size bed, skipping the toddler bed entirely. This means you won’t have to replace the bed multiple times as they grow. Unless you anticipate your teen will be over six feet tall, they can grow into their full size bed without you having to ever buy a new frame again.

There’s a little bit of confusion surrounding the full bed’s ability to sleep couples. The term “double bed” indicates this mattress is able to take two sleepers. However, unless both sleepers are very small, this isn’t the case.

The average-sized sleeper will not be comfortable sharing a full bed. It’s too narrow for most sleepers. The full offers the same amount of sleeping space to each partner as an infant’s crib (27 inches). That won’t leave much room to spread out or move around. Most couples find a queen or king mattress much more comfortable.

Are There Other Variations of a Full Bed?

Just like the twin bed, the full bed has an XL version. Unlike the twin XL, however, the 54 by 80-inch full or double XL mattress is not considered a standard bed size. That makes it tougher to find than the twin XL. Taller sleepers who want extra legroom may have to special order a full XL online or upgrade from a twin XL directly to a queen size bed.

Other Standard Bed Sizes

Aside from the double size bed, there are five other standard sizes to choose from:

Twin

The smallest of all the bed sizes, the twin size mattress is only 38 by 75 inches long. This makes it a good option for single adults under six feet tall who don’t have much space in their bedrooms/dorm rooms/studio apartments.

The twin bed is also a good option for kids’ rooms. It’s perfect for bunk beds because it’s light and easy to move. The twin size mattress is also an excellent choice for multi-bed guest rooms.

Like the full size, twin mattresses also have another name. You may occasionally see a twin bed referred to as a single size bed.

Twin XL

The twin XL size mattress is a better choice for taller sleepers who need some extra legroom. At 38 by 80 inches, the twin XL bed offers similar compactness to the regular twin, but it can accommodate sleepers over six feet.

Like the twin, a twin XL mattress is a great choice for bunk beds, kids’ rooms, multi-bed guest rooms, and the like.

Queen

Taller sleepers who don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a full XL mattress might consider a queen size mattress instead. Queen mattresses are 80 inches long and 60 inches wide. So they offer single active sleepers tons of room to spread out.

Queen size beds are also the perfect choice for guest rooms because they can accommodate almost all single sleepers and most couples while still fitting into most size rooms.

King

King beds measure 76 by 80 inches, making them the largest standard bed size by total surface area. Couples who can’t handle sleeping in a queen bed should consider upgrading to a king size bed, which will offer more room to move around and spread out.

King size mattresses can also help fill out larger master bedrooms. Queen size mattresses can leave rooms looking empty, but king mattresses take up a lot more space. That means they look a lot better in bigger rooms.

California King

California king size mattresses are the longest of all the standard bed sizes. At 72 by 84 inches, the extra-long California king beds can accommodate extra tall sleepers.

California king mattresses are also a good choice for longer and narrower master bedrooms. Despite being slightly narrower, the Cal king is still wide enough to be one of the best mattresses for couples.

Split King

The split king bed is created when two twin XL mattresses are put together in the same king size bed frame. The split king and the standard king have the same dimensions. But it might be the right size for you and your partner if you have different firmness needs or want to use different adjustable bed settings.

FAQs

Can couples sleep on a full bed?

The full or double bed size is not the best choice for couples. The double bed dimensions are 54 by 75 inches, leaving a measly 27 inches of sleeping space per person. The full size bed is also not optimal for couples with tall partners, as it only offers a little over six feet of length.

If you’re six feet or taller, your feet will probably be dangling over the edge. All this means a queen or king bed is a better solution for you and your partner.

Do manufacturers offer full bunk beds?

Yes. You can get full bunk bed frames in a variety of styles. Keep in mind, however, that setting up full bunk beds can be a problem. Full mattresses are a lot wider and heavier than twins. Even twin XL size mattresses can be easier to move than the full.

That means getting a full mattress onto the top bunk may be difficult, especially if it’s a heavier material like latex. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping for and putting together your new bunk beds.

How big a room do I need to have two full beds?

If you want to do your guest room hotel style, you’ll need lots of space. The minimum amount of space required for one full size bed is 10 by 10 feet. You don’t have to double this space, since you’re probably not going to put two vanities or two chests of drawers in your guest room.

However, you will still need two feet of clearance around three sides of the bed. To get that, you’ll need a room of no less than 10 by 15 feet.

Which is better, a full or a queen?

That depends on what you’re after. If you’re sleeping alone, and all you want is extra wiggle room to move around, a full size bed is likely fine for you. Couples and taller sleepers should stick to a queen. Queens are also better for guest rooms because they can take a wider variety of sleepers.

Do fulls make good children’s beds?

Full mattresses do make good children’s beds. One of the most significant issues with going from a crib to a toddler bed is that kids outgrow them so fast. Lower profile full beds (think platform beds) can be a better option for parents because kids will take longer to outgrow them—if they outgrow them at all.

Bottom Line

Full size beds may not be the best option for couples or taller sleepers, but they do have their place in the standard lineup. They’re perfect for kids’ rooms and single sleepers who need extra width to move around during the night. If you just want a little extra wiggle room, you can’t go wrong with a full size mattress.

Christine Lapp is a full-time graduate student and part-time freelancer for Sleep Junkie. Since she was a little girl on the soccer field, Christine has had a love for sports, and she believes everybody should get up and get moving once a day. Now, she incorporates her love for exercise into her studies, pursuing a degree in exercise physiology. Christine understands that what you do during your waking hours has a direct impact on your night’s sleep. In our better sleep guides, she offers advice for developing healthy daytime habits to nurture a more peaceful slumber.

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