There are a surprising variation of bed sizes available in the UK. Your bed base, mattress and bedding sizes (including pillows) all need to match. Not all shops will sell every size and you can’t assume that the single bed sheets you buy from one shop will match the size of the single bed mattress you bought from another. There are some standard names; Single, Double, Queen, King & Super king but their sizes differ in the UK, mainland Europe and America. In some cases extra long versions of each might be available. And of course IKEA like to do things differently to everyone else! Surprisingly bed companies are not very good at explaining these differences so you need to be prepared before you buy. Wikipedia has a brilliant page with every countries sizes listed (refer to it here) we have provided a useful summary below will highlights standard UK sizes as well as US and European sizes which are available to buy in the UK.
If you are starting with an empty bedroom you need to driven by the available space. Bear in mind that you need 61cm (two feet) around the bed to provide space to walk and change bedding etc. 91cm (three feet) is the recommended space between a wardrobe or chest of drawers and a bed. If you are just buying bedding or replacing a base or mattress you need to carefully measure what you have, work out what standard size it is from which region and then buy the right replacement.
Singles, Twins and Bunks
If you’re thinking of replacing your children’s beds, or perhaps want to provide a small bed for guests in your spare room you will be looking at a single bed or two single beds that can be pushed together. In the UK a single mattress will be 90cm by 190cm, compared to a slightly wider 99cm by 191cm in the US, or a slightly longer 90cm by 200cm in Continental Europe. The UK also has a small single size which is 75cm by 190cm but this is very narrow for an adult. So if your sleeper is tall or round then the European or US options could be a better bet, and if you can’t find the sizes near where you live, look online. Websites promoting bedroom related products such as frames and mattresses will usually stock a few foreign sizes for customers that are after a little extra room.
Double or Full
Once again, there are small but important differences in double sizes between regions. The US version is 137cm by 191cm, there’s a smaller 135cm by 190cm in the UK, and larger 140cm by 200cm sizes in Europe. Again, Europe comes out on top in terms of size, but if you’re buying a mattress to fit into an antique frame, for instance, most will only conform to UK’s sizes. The UK also has a small double size which is 120cm by 190cm.
Queens, Kings and Super Kings
Queen-sized mattresses are broadly similar; US & UK are both 150cm by 200cm and Europe it’s 160cm by 200cm.
King sizes; US 193cm by 203cm, Europe 160cm by 200cm and the UK 150cm by 200cm.
In the Super King department, America supersizes to a whopping 203cm by 249cm compared to the far smaller European and British 180cm by 200cm.
Several manufacturers provide a custom service and will make any length or width mattress you need; Bedstar, Made2measure Mattresses and Beds Direct being some of them.
Last, but by no means least we have pillows. In this category there are some pretty big differences between regions. In Europe there are four sizes available; 65cm by 65cm, 65cm by 100cm, 40cm by 80cm and 80cm by 80cm, the predisposition towards certain sizes changing between individual countries. In the US and the UK the standard size is a fair 50cm by 75cm.
Who sells what
Bedstar – Mattresses, bed and bed frames; all UK sizes (including small single and double), all EU sizes, custom sizes. No bedding is sold.
M&S – Beds, mattresses and bedding sold in UK standard sizes only. Sizes are more restricted and they don’t have the less common Queen, and small single/double sizes in everything.
IKEA – Mattresses, bed and bed frames; Single, Double, King and Super King. UK sizes instore and online, EU sizes only online. No Queen or small single/double sizes. Watch your pillows, they like to sell the square pillows favoured on the continent so make sure you buy the rectangular pillows and covers us Brits prefer. Be especially careful to check the pillow sizes sold in bedding sets.