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Twin vs. Full Size Mattresses: What's the Difference?

April 25, 2021

Author: Josie Sivigny

We all like a little extra space when we sleep, but sometimes, there just isn’t enough room for a King- or even a Queen-size. If you’re looking for a new bed for your growing teen, a college dorm room, or simply trying to maximize space in your new apartment, a smaller size bed might be your best option.

With so many mattress sizes to choose from, we’ve created a simple mattress size guide to help you understand the bed dimensions so you can choose between a standard Twin vs Full size bed.

The Difference Between Full and Twin Mattresses

Standard Twin and Full beds are both great space savers compared to King- and Queen-sized ones. Both are less wide than a King and Queen and are the mattresses of choice for single sleepers.

If you’re considering investing in a smaller bed, the first thing to know is that Twin and Full mattresses are not actually the same size. Twin beds are a few less inches than Full-size beds, and are most commonly found in children’s bedrooms and dorm rooms. Full-size beds are slightly longer than Twin-size beds, and are generally seen as the best option for taller teens and adults.

Twin-Size Beds

Commonly referred to as single beds, Twin-size beds are the standard option for children after they have grown out of their cradle or crib mattress. Not only are Twin-sized beds a great option for growing kids, but they can also function as space savers, making them the perfect choice for bunk beds in vacation homes or for small guest rooms and lofted spaces. Sometimes, smaller sizes are the better option!

Twin Bed Dimensions Mattress = 38 x 75 inches

Child reading in bed

Full-Size Beds

Full-size mattresses are often called Full beds or Double beds, but contrary to their name, they are best for single sleepers. That said, some couples (especially those living in smaller spaces) find Full-size beds to be a cozy and comfortable option. Full-size beds are also a great choice for single adults and growing children who may need extra leg room in the future.

Full-Size Bed Dimensions = 54 x 75 inches

The Third Option

To make things a little more confusing, there is another single-size bed called the Twin XL that is a different size from both standard Twin and Full mattresses. Twin XL beds are significantly longer than Twin-size mattresses and a little wider too. As a result, Twin XL mattresses are a great option for adults who have a small bedroom but still require the length of a Queen-size mattress.

Twin XL Mattress Dimensions = 39 x 80 inches

Mattress Considerations

Consider Your Space

The first thing to consider when choosing your perfect bed size is the layout, room size, and measurements of your bedroom, studio, or vacation home. As important as sleep is, a bed that is too large can suffocate the space in your bedroom, leaving you without the room you need to move around and, more importantly, relax.

Think of the Sleeper

If you’re purchasing a new bed for your child, it might be wise to invest in a bigger sleep setup that they can grow into. Similarly, if you are choosing a bed that a couple might sleep in (like a guest bed, for example), it’s usually better to opt for a wide option, such as a Full or a Queenmattress.


Even if you have space for a Full bed you might want to consider a Twin- or a Twin XL-size for its price point. Not only are standard Twins more affordable than double beds, they also leave you the extra space you need to move around in the bedroom.

Parent and child cuddling in bed

The Breakdown – Twin vs Full Bed vs Twin XL

Now that you have all the information you need to choose between a standard Twin-size, a Twin XL, and a Full mattress, we are going to break down the differences between Full and Twin and Twin XL to make your decision a little easier. Here we go…

Should I get a Twin, Twin XL or a Full Bed?

Choose a Standard Twin-Size Mattress if:

  • You’re shopping for your child’s first “big kid bed”
  • You have a bunk bed setup in your kid’s bedroom or vacation home
  • You have a small sleeping area and you don’t need a ton of leg room
  • You want a more affordable option than a Twin XL or Full bed

Choose a Twin XL if:

  • You don’t have a ton of space in your bedroom but you *need* that extra legroom
  • You need more space for your kid to grow into the bed but you’re not quite ready to invest in a Double or a Full
  • You want to set up your teen with a fresh mattress for their dorm room
  • You’re a couple who wants to sleep separately but you still want the same amount of legroom as you had with a Queen-size
  • You want a more affordable option than a Full

Choose a Full Size if:

  • You want to opt for a bed with more inches that your teen can grow into
  • You don’t have enough space for a King- or Queen-size but you like a little extra width on your sleep setup
  • There’s going to be two people sharing a bed but you don’t have the space for a larger one
  • You want a more affordable option than a King or a Queen

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Bed Size is Just the First Step of the Journey

Once you figure out your perfect mattress size, the fun begins. Not only do you get to choose the perfect one for your sleeping type, but you also get to shop for sheets, a comforter, and a sturdy bed frame or box spring to support your mattress. Happy hunting!

If you’re looking for mattresses for an adjustable bed frame, or two different style mattresses to create a perfect King-size bed, we’ve got your guide here.

Curious about the bigger beds to fill out your master bedroom? Learn all about the history of custom beds and the celebrity favorite California King here.

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