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Understanding Bedding Sizes

By Edited Aug 18, 2016 5 10

Bedding Sizes

Should you buy a King comforter or a California King? What's the difference between a comforter and a duvet and why does it need a cover? Why don't fitted sheets really fit? Here's the answer to these bedding questions and more.


A duvet IS a comforter. On this side of the pond a duvet is often a plain white affair made of down, batting or other stuffing. It is generally designed to be slipped into a duvet cover, which is nothing more than a pretty fabric sack. It may have a zipper, Velcro, button, or other closure. One of the biggest inconveniences of a duvet and cover is that the comforter slips around in it's casing, so it never looks as perfect as it does in bedding ads. Solutions include using Velcro, buttons, or zippers inside the cover to secure it to the duvet. Of course, the big appeal of the duvet cover is the ability to take it off and toss it in the wash.


When it comes to bed linens, not all manufacturers adhere to standard sizing, especially bargain bedding. This can lead to dust ruffles that drag the floor, comforters that don't completely cover the top mattress, and sheets that won't stay put. Knowing standard U.S. sizes will help you to make the right bed linen purchases. Make a note of them and take them with you when you shop. Most sheet, comforter, and blanket packaging will list linen sizes in inches. If you know the measurements of your bed, you may be able to avoid having to return items.

Mattress Sizes
Twin 39"x75"
Twin Extra Long 39"x80"
Full 54"x75"
Queen 60"x80"
King 76"x80"
CA King 72"x84"

Comforter Sizes
Twin 68'x86
Twin Extra Long 68"X92
Full 86"x86
Queen 90"x95"
King 106"x98"
CA King 106"x98


If your fitted sheet package is marked for a King bed, it should hug your 76"x80" king mattress, right? Unfortunately, the thickness of the mattress is a consideration too because not all mattresses are the same depth. Pillow-top and other styles have changed what was once an industry standard. Some sheet manufacturers now include the mattress depth on their packaging, a big help to shoppers.

The Drop

The distance between the top of the mattress and the bottom edge of the comforter is commonly referred to as "the drop". A respectable drop is 13 inches, but only if the mattress is standard size. If you have one of today's deep mattresses that measure 13 inches or more, the comforter will be too short to cover it completely. Many people with deep mattresses have to buy over-sized bedding. Since box springs often are proportionate to the top mattress size, bed skirts are affected by mattress depth, causing them to hover too far above the floor.

Shorter bed frame legs can ruin the aesthetic proportions of bedding too. If you've ever tried setting up a twin bed in a guest room to be used by adults, you may discover that the bed seems much too low to the floor. That's because some twin bed frames are made with shorter legs for childrens rooms. Standard comforters and dust ruffles on those beds tend to drag the floor.

Custom Bedding

With all these size problems it's no wonder there are so many articles written about how to make your own comforters and bed skirts. It's not all that difficult and it's something to consider if you can't get the fit you like. If this sounds like too ambitious a project for you, most fabric shops can refer you to a designer who will make custom bedding for you.


Jun 27, 2010 6:03pm
Very good information about bedding sizes.
Jun 27, 2010 6:10pm
I was always curious about this topic, so i went and measured my own bed...54 x 75 so i guess its a full...awsome article, it was informative, and it obviously had its practical uses for myself
Jun 27, 2010 11:18pm
Oh, you cleared up so many queries I had. Thank you for your wisdom and willingness to share this great article.
Jun 28, 2010 4:38am
Thanks for the tips!
Jun 29, 2010 4:00pm
Great information. I did not know there was so much to learn
Jun 30, 2010 8:55am
Thanks for the info on bed sizes. I may come back to check this again or send people here if they have questions.
Jun 30, 2010 2:15pm
great advice about understanding bed linen and duvet comforter sizes, so frustrating sometimes
Jul 13, 2010 9:25am
This is excellent information which should help many people select the correct size bedding!
Jul 23, 2010 7:24am
oh this is JUST what i needed. very timely. thanks for this.
Feb 25, 2011 7:49pm
Great post, this should clear things up for lots of people
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