moon sleep
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My husband & I live in Kansas City with our rescued cat.  Over the years we’ve had dogs and cats and simultaneously for several years, we had 2 dogs and 2 cats.  More about pets later.  Unless specified otherwise, when I use the term “we” I’m referring to my husband & I.

We decided to give away a daybed we’d used in the guestroom for several years.  Since the room is fairly small (maybe 12’ x 12’) we decided to go with a double bed.  I’m a fan of recycled and repurposed (clothes, furniture, etc.) so, I went shopping at a nice furniture consignment store.  I was delighted to find a beautiful walnut platform bed.  A platform bed is complete with headboard and footboard and the mattress just fits inside it – no box spring necessary since the mattress is supported by wood slats.  I measured the inside dimensions & as I’d been told, this would hold a full size mattress perfectly.

Next, we went shopping at a reputable, local, furniture store chain.  We explained our goal, why we didn’t need a box spring and we selected a comfy Serta or a Sealy mattress along with a couple of bedside tables.

The mattress was delivered on a weekday but we waited until the weekend to wrestle that mattress up onto the platform bed.  I decided to place a comforter over the slats to help preserve the underside of the mattress.  When we put the mattress inside the frame of the platform bed, there was nearly two inches of space all the way around.  You know, enough excess space for someone to break an ankle getting in or out of bed.

bed zzz
© da-vooda iStock

I couldn’t believe it.  Neither could the salesman at the store when I called to report this mattress was NOT going to work.  Granted, many quality mattresses are made by hand so there can be slight variations in size.  A double mattress’ standard size is 54” W x 74” L.  This mattress measured 51” W x 72” L.  (Having sold engineered and see-through plastics that come in sheet form in the past, I immediately calculated the square footage of the mattress.) A standard full mattress is 27.75 square feet.  This mattress was 25.5 square feet.  That’s 2-1/4 square feet less coverage.  I don’t call that slight!

The store, like most, has a policy of not accepting returns of mattresses.  I was clear that I expected a mattress to fit the bed we bought and if it were the correct size, it would.  We were willing to exchange it for another one that was comparable in comfort and price.  Turns out this wasn’t possible because none of their full size mattresses (granted, a less popular size today) measured up.  Not one.  We were credited in full.

So, off I go to a national mattress chain and explained the dilemma.  This salesman knew that those mattresses made by hand have slight variations though he’d never heard of this large a discrepancy.  I was insistent that I wanted a mattress that would it this bed properly.  He was sure he could deliver.

When it arrived, it too, was too small for the platform bed.  It measured 52-1/4” x 73.  So, about 26-1/2 square foot – about 1-1/4 square feet short of the standard.   When I called that salesman who knew my objective and that their national chain hadn’t met it.  He was surprised too.  They only had a few Full mattresses in stock and they measured short.

We kept it.  This appeared to be an unspoken trend most consumers were probably unaware of.  That comforter I used between the slats and mattress was rigged to provide “bed bumpers” if you will so, for the most part the space was eliminated and the bed is safe for guests.  It’s been tried and proven; granted proven by a couple of my sisters but I know they’d tell me the truth.

This writer is not at all surprised that Queen is the most popular mattress size these days.  (People are getting larger but our mattresses are shrinking so, of course, we’re encouraged to buy the next size up.)

FYI:  I wanted to see size charts from different companies and surprise! they vary quite a bit and come with the disclaimer about “slight variations.”

According to The Bedding Experts (aka Mattress Firm) a Full/Double mattress measures 54″W x 75″L. The caption below their illustration reads:   Full size or also known as a ‘double/standard’ was commonly used for two adults 30 – 40 years ago when the homes and bedrooms were built much smaller. Now it is usually purchased for single person use and sometimes smaller guest rooms. It is a tight fit for two adults and the same length as a twin. Two adults sleeping on a full size is equivalent to each person sleeping on a crib mattress (27 inches of sleep space). Most people with a sleeping partner opt for the queen size. Full can sometimes be special ordered in extra long.

According to Sleep Train,  the chart below shows a Full/Double at 54″W x 74″L.

sleep train
US Mattress size chart

And yet another, U.S. Mattress shows this helpful chart: 

Wow! Just look at all the choices.  It kind of reminds me of being in the cereal or toothpaste aisle at a grocery store.

Here’s a NOT TO SCALE sketch I created to “illustrate” the 2-1/4 Sq Ft of space missing from the first Full size mattress that was delivered.  I added a few editorial comments.

I think I’ve made my point.