King vs California King: Differences and Details - Home & Texture
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What's the Difference Between a King and California King?

Before you buy your new big comfy bed, here are a few pros, cons, and things to consider.

January 8, 2024 at 9:50 PM PST

It’s time to upgrade your sleeping quarters. And good news—there may be plenty of room for a king-sized bed. However, before you buy, you faced with the dilemma: should you choose a standard or a California king? Each has their own slightly distinctive features. Here’s what to consider if you’re in the market for a new mattress.

Unmade king bed
Photography Credit: Max Rahubovskiy

King vs. California King

When it comes to choosing the type of king bed right for you, it all boils down to size. Depending on your space, one might be a better fit, literally then the other. But how did the California king even become a thing? It was born out of a need for a different kind of luxury and created in 1960 by a Los Angeles furniture company. It was designed for Hollywood celebrities and athletes. The standard king only emerged after World War II to meet the increasing demand for luxury mattresses in the Eastern United States, fitting perfectly across two extra-long twin box springs.

1. Dimensions Fit for Royalty

  • King: this mattress is technically the larger of the two. It boasts a generous 76 inches in width and 80 inches in length. This roomy option provides ample space for you, your sleeping partner, and even a furry friend or two. It’s perfect for those who crave a sprawling sleep surface, allowing for nights of uninterrupted rest, no matter how much you toss and turn.
  • California king: On the other side, the California king mattress, often referred offers a unique twist on regal comfort. While it may be slightly narrower at 72 inches in width, it compensates with extra length, measuring a grand 84 inches. This makes it a great choice for taller individuals who appreciate the luxury of stretching out without worrying about their feet hanging off the edge. If you often find yourself wishing for a bit more legroom, the California King may be your vibe.
Woman under covers
Photography Credit: Ketut Subiyanto

2. Space Considerations

Choosing between these two majestic options largely depends on your room’s dimensions and layout.
If your bedroom is more expansive in width and can accommodate the broader mattress, you’ll enjoy the abundance of sleeping space it provides. It can turn your bedroom into a true sleep sanctuary.
However, if your room is narrower but longer, the California King is your strategic choice. It offers that extra length, making it the perfect fit for rooms where width is at a premium. You’ll still have ample space for restful slumber without overwhelming the room’s layout.

3. Bedding Dilemma

The King mattress has a distinct advantage here. With its more common dimensions, you’ll find a wide variety of bedding options readily available, making it easier on your budget and convenience.
However, the California king, with its unique sizing, may require a bit more effort when it comes to finding the perfect sheets, duvets, and bedspreads. You might need to explore specialized stores or order custom-sized bedding to ensure a snug fit. If you’re willing to go the extra mile for that luxurious stretch, it’s a minor inconvenience for the added comfort.

Messy bed
Photography Credit: Vlada Karpovich

4. Sleeping Arrangements

If you’re sharing your bed with a partner, it’s important to think about how you both sleep. Do you enjoy cuddling close and sharing body heat, or do you prefer to stretch out like a starfish, relishing your own space?
The king mattress, with its broader width, is an excellent choice for couples who like their space when they sleep.
But, if you don’t want to have to call an uber every time you miss your partner next to you in the same bed—okay, kidding—the California king brings you a few inches closer. The difference might seem minuscule, but with a side-to-side comparison, you’d feel it right away.



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