As anyone who’s spent time across the pond will know, there are plenty of language differences between English and American. Whether you’ve asked for some chips and received crisps instead of French fries, or you’ve seen a confusing sign for the ‘expressway’ whilst driving – for many of us, language barriers can often throw a spanner in the works.  These linguistic differences can even pose challenges when it comes to something as simple as furnishing your home. For many Americans in England – and Brits in America-  trying to find the right mattress size for their bed frame can be a tricky endeavour: whether it’s translating ‘single’ and ‘double’, or ‘twin’ and ‘full’. So, what is the difference between a British mattress and an American mattress? The simple answer is ‘everything’. From size to terminology to the very structure of the bed base, English mattresses and beds can be very different to their American counterparts. The good news is that whatever style, shape or size mattress you need, British or American, you can find your perfect mattress with a bespoke creation from The Odd Company. 

British mattress sizes

To begin, let’s examine British mattress sizes, which for many of our readers may be the more familiar of the two. 

British mattress sizes begin at ‘Single’, a common size for individuals sleeping alone, children or guest bedrooms. The next size in the UK tends to be a ‘Double’: a common choice for individuals who require a little more room when sleeping, or couples who have limited floor space. An in-between mattress size which has gained in popularity in the UK in recent years is the ‘three quarter’, running to 4ft wide by 6’3” – in the middle of the Single and Double size options (see chart below). This ‘three quarter size’, or small double, is ideal for individuals who need a little extra space where a double bed simply won’t fit into the bedroom. 

The next size up after the Double, is the option of the King-size mattress: which, confusingly, bears no relation to the American mattress of the same name! The British king-size mattress is 5’0” x 6’6”, and is a popular choice for couples and those who require an extra few inches of length on top of that offered by the standard Double size. Finally, British mattress manufacturers make a ‘Super King’; the largest mattress commonly offered in England, measuring 6’0” by 6′ 6”.

American mattress sizes

American mattress manufacturers design beds with a very different sizing scale. Starting at ‘Twin’, and ranging up to ‘California King’, the sizes do not mirror English standards at all. The only direct translation is what Americans describe as the ‘Full’-size, which correlates to the standard UK Double. All others, as evidenced by the below table, have very little in common with one another. 

US Size US Dimensions UK Size UK Dimensions
Twin 38” x 75” (3’2” x 6’3”) Single 36” x 75” (3’0” x 6’3”)
Twin XL 38” x 80” (3’2” x 6’8”)     
Small Double – ¾ Size 48” x 75” (4’0” x 6’3”)    
Full 54” x 75” (4’6” x 6’3”) Double 54” x 75” (4’6” x 6’3”)
Queen 60” x 80” (5’0” x 6’8”) King 60” x 78” (5’0” x 6’6”)
King 76” x 80”  6’4” x 6’8”)    
California King 72” x 84” (6’0” x 7’0”) Super King 72” x 78” (6’0” x 6’6”)

As you can see there is very little correlation between the two different sizing standards! American mattresses tend to be either wider, longer, or both wider and longer than their British counterparts, and for that reason it is difficult to establish a true ‘translated’ size. 

Are there any other differences between a British and an American mattress? 

It is common for American mattresses to sit on top of a “box spring”. For those unfamiliar with this terminology, this means that the bed base on which the mattress sits incorporates a spring system similar to those found within the mattress. Known in the UK as a sprung bed base or sprung base divan, this box spring supports your mattress better than a slatted or hard top base, reducing wear on the spring system contained within the mattress and extending mattress life.

Where can I get an American-style mattress and bed base in the UK? 

There are not really direct comparisons between sizes of American and British mattresses. It can therefore be difficult for many people to find their desired American mattress size, shape or style in the United Kingdom!  However, no matter what size, shape or style you want your mattress to be made, a bespoke American-style mattress can be made specifically for your dimensions by The Odd Company. 

At The Odd Company, we are able to create a box spring base and a mattress to all US and UK dimensions. Our box-spring bases can be made as shallow as 4 inches up to any depth required, ensuring your bed is always your preferred height.

Whether you want an American standard size, or something made bespoke to suit your particular needs, The Odd Company are here to help! Simply get in touch with us and a member of our team will be more than happy to discuss your requirements in more detail and offer tailored advice.