King or California King? How to Decide

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The battle of the king size mattresses: king versus California king. Which one is better? Well, as usual, that really depends on you — the person sleeping on the bed! Here are the big differences between the two mattresses and the things you should consider when you’re deciding between them.

Which mattress is really bigger?

Did you know that a king size bed actually has more surface area than a California king? That might be a surprising fact. A king size bed is 76 inches wide by 80 inches long. A California king, while longer at 84 inches, is narrower than a king bed at 72 inches wide. So a California king measures 6,048 square inches, but the standard king size mattress is 6,080 square inches.

Why is it called a California king?

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California king mattress gets its name from a Los Angeles mattress maker who thought that bigger beds better suited Californians’ big houses and luxury lifestyles. He manufactured a mattress six feet wide by seven feet long — 72 inches by 84 inches — that he called a California king.

Your height and sleeping partner may be the deciding factor

People over six feet tall often enjoy the extra leg room of the California king bed. And those of you who scoot toward the bottom of the bed as you sleep will also appreciate the extra length of a California king.

Another important factor to consider is how you and your partner prefer to sleep. Would you rather snuggle up? Well, the California king’s narrower width gets you closer. If either of you tosses and turns, or if you both prefer a lot of bed space, the extra four inches of width on a standard king bed sound pretty good.

Consider your bedroom size

If your bedroom is narrow, a California king bed might give the room a more balanced look. If your room is wide but short, a standard king bed will look more visually appealing in the space. Think about the rest of your bedroom furniture and how you want to lay it out. It may fit better with a longer or shorter bed.

Find a mattress you love

Make sure that the mattress you love comes in the bed size you want. Not every bed manufacturer makes mattresses in California king dimensions, though many do. And if you have a favorite, can’t-live-without set of sheets, make sure you can get those for a California king bed, too.