Whether you’re designing the primary bedroom for your brand new house or finally making the bed-size upgrade you’ve dreamed about for years, buying a king-sized bed is an exciting luxury.
However, mattress shopping gets a little more complicated once you see all your options. Even if you’ve already decided you want the largest mattress on the market, it may not be clear if that means a king or a California king-sized bed.
Contrary to what many mattress shoppers believe at the beginning of their purchasing journey, California king mattresses are not “bigger” than their king-size counterparts. At 6,048 square inches, a California king mattress covers less surface area than a king mattress, which covers 6,080 square inches.
If California kings are technically “smaller” than kings, why do they have the reputation of the top-of-the-line option—and the highest price tag?
While they have less surface area, California king mattresses are longer than king-sized mattresses. A California king measures 72 inches wide by 84 inches long, while a standard king measures 76 inches wide by 80 inches long.
Essentially, deciding between a king-sized bed and a California king bed means prioritizing width or prioritizing length.
In terms of total surface area, California king and king mattresses only differ by 32 square inches—but that doesn’t make it easy to choose between the two. To figure out which mattress size works best for you, you’ll want to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.
On the other hand, California king mattress owners tend to note the following pros and cons:
Before making the final choice between a king and California king mattress, you should spend some time browsing both options. Not sure where to start looking? Check out SleepMoment’s top recommendations for standard king beds.
As previously discussed, you and your partner’s height, weight, and sleep habits, such as tossing and turning at night, should all inform your choice between a California king and king-size bed. However, the spaciousness of the mattress top isn’t the only factor to consider when making this decision.
Generally speaking, California king mattresses tend to have a higher sticker price than standard kings. Still, many manufacturers do sell California king and king mattresses at the same price. For those that don’t, the difference typically doesn’t exceed a few hundred dollars.
However, the price difference between owning a king or a California king will be more apparent once you start shopping for accessories. Comforters and sheets for California kings almost always cost more than the king-sized options. Plus, they’re often harder to find in stores.
All mattresses, but particularly king and California kings, are large and wieldy. Moving a mattress of either size is a two-person job at the very least.
Fortunately, both mattress sizes fit through the standard doorway. However, the dimensional difference between a king and a California king may present a challenge when rounding corners or during transportation, depending on your vehicle.
The difference in dimensions between a king and a California king can play a significant role in interior design and furniture placement, depending on the size and shape of the bedroom.
Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll want at least a few feet of clearance along both sides of the bed. Keep in mind that opting for a wider or longer bed may mean you have to rearrange or replace some of your bedroom furniture. You can click here to see a few bedroom designs that use the large bed as the focal point.
Ultimately, choosing between a king and a California king mattress should come down to personal preference. Either bed size will offer an abundance of space for individuals and couples alike. Still, it’s up to you to decide where you prefer the extra room—in length or in width.
The key to finding the right bed size is to consider the decision from all angles, including price, your body type, the bedroom shape and size, and your personal needs for a good night’s sleep.