What is the California King Bed?

Chances are you’ve heard of the California king bed for being the largest bed size available. The space feels endless, the mattress is large and comfortable, and multiple people can sleep on it too. This versatile and luxurious king-like bed is anyone’s dream. But would this bed fit in your room? Is it too expensive for your budget? How do you know where you can buy California king mattresses, bed frames, and bed sheets? The change is big but worth it. Read on to see the answers to all these questions and more.

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California King Bed Sizing

A California king bed is categorized for its size. There’s several other sizes to choose from, with each having different dimensions:


Twin sized beds are the standard in college dorms and children’s rooms. You likely had one when you were younger! They are also the typical size for bunk beds.

Dimensions: A mattress is 38 by 80 inches, a fitted sheet is 39 by 80 inches, a flat sheet is 66 by 96 inches, a duvet 72 by 96 inches, and a bed skirt is 38 by 80 inches.


Full is the next size up from twin beds. If you are a single person who wants some extra space but doesn’t want a queen, full is a good medium. It also works for couples who have less room. This bed size is sometimes referred to as a “double.”

Dimensions: A mattress is 53 by 75 inches, a fitted sheet is 54 by 75 inches, a flat sheet is 96 by 102 inches, a duvet cover is 93 by 96 inches, and a bed skirt is 53 by 75 inches.


Queen is a standard bed size in hotels and is actually the most popular bed size in the United States. This size is called “king” in the United Kingdom, so that’s important to note if you are from the UK. A queen bed is a versatile size because it accommodates both single and couple sleepers comfortably.

Dimensions: A mattress is 60 by 80 inches, a fitted sheet is 60 by 80 inches, a flat sheet is 96 by 102 inches, a duvet cover is 93 by 96 inches, and a bed skirt is 60 by 80 inches.


A king bed is one of the largest bed sizes and is also referred to as “eastern king.” Most people believe that California king (or “western king”) is the widest bed size, but it’s actually the king at 76 by 80 inches! This bed size is perfect for more than two sleepers, tall single sleepers, or just anyone who enjoys the extra space. Another variation of this size is the split king mattress, which is a king mattress that is split evenly down the vertical middle to make two mattresses that are intended to be put next to each other. Each of these two mattresses are the size of a twin XL.

Dimensions: A mattress is 76 by 80 inches, a fitted sheet is 76 by 80 inches, a flat sheet 102 by 112 inches, a duvet cover is 96 by 109 inches, and a bed skirt is 76 by 80 inches.

California King

Finally, California king is the newest and longest bed size. In a Cali king bed, 4 inches are taken off of the standard king size’s width and are added to the length of the California king bed, so it is slightly narrower but longer than a king sized bed. This bed size is perfect for tall sleepers or who don’t like the feeling of their feet reaching right at ends of their bed or dangling off.

Dimensions: A mattress is 72 by 84 inches, a fitted sheet is 72 by 84 inches, a flat sheet is 102 by 112 inches, a duvet cover is 96 by 109 inches, and a bed skirt is 72 by 84 inches.

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A History of Luxury

What’s the purpose of this huge bed? Nothing but luxury, comfort, and suitable height adjustments. California king beds began in Los Angeles where they were specifically manufactured for celebrities and their homes. After this, they grew in popularity among the general population and are now sold in almost every mattress and home décor store. Some also say that a man in California designed this bed because he was too tall for the other sizes.

California King Bed: Is There Anything Bigger?

While California king is the most popular large bed size, there are actually a few rarer and larger bed sizes out there, albeit it is much more difficult to seek out bed linens and frames for these sizes. A Wyoming king is the next size up measuring 84 by 84 inches. It is the same length as a California king, but in terms of width is 12 inches wider. A Texas king is 80 by 98 inches which is narrower than a Wyoming and Alaskan king, but it is 14 inches wider than a California king. The largest bed size you’ll likely hear of is the Alaskan king, measuring a whopping 108 by 108 inches. These so-called oversized mattresses are mainly intended for families sleeping on a single bed or multiple people. They are more square-like than rectangular.

Cost of California King Size Mattress

The average Cal king mattress will range anywhere from $900 to $3000. It really is difficult to provide a smaller price range because many factors go into each individual mattress brand, including warranty, reputation, quality, where the product is made, extras for comfort, and where it is purchased (online or in-store retailer). You can compare this to the average of about $1000 for a queen-sized mattress, although it’s common for them to cost much higher than that. Extras were mentioned — some mattresses contain extra components or use special, patented technology, or include special, expensive materials that will set them apart from most mattresses but also raise the price. Let’s go over a few so you can decide if you’d be interested in a mattress with any of them.

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California King Mattresses We Like

Memory Foam

Memory foam is a standard when thinking of a luxury mattress. It provides support for those with back pain and a substantially notable increase in overall comfort. A memory foam still has springs and regular foam (although you likely don’t feel them), but they are combined with a special type of foam that was actually developed by NASA, known as visco-elastic foam. It was originally designed for astronauts, and it’s made from polyurethane. So what does this special foam actually do? Without noticing, you tend to sleep in similar positions every night. Memory foam “molds” with the pressure and heat from your body every night to create a custom set of perfect ridges, bumps, and dips in your mattress for optimal comfort. While the foam does slowly surface after the pressure is removed, the reason it is called memory foam is because as time goes on this mattress actually continues to become more comfortable as it “remembers” your regular sleeping positions and molds more easily. If you can’t invest in a memory foam mattress, there are also memory foam pillows and mattress toppers available.

Memory Foam Mattresses We Like

Classic Brands Chill Memory Foam Mattress

by  Cool Gel 

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Adjustable Mattresses

An adjustable bed or an electronic bed can be controlled with the press of a button to align to different heights and positions that are most comfortable for you. Adjustable beds may also be helpful to those with disabilities or pain when sleeping. It can help prevent the muscle strain and stiffness that happens when you sleep on a flat or hard mattress. Some adjustable mattresses also come with extras like foot massage options and head or feet elevation control. These are typically paired with an adjustable bed frame, also called an adjustable bed base, and are available in all different sizes (including California king). If you’re looking to level up your sleep not only in terms of mattress size but also in terms of remote/button controlled comfort, this is the perfect type of mattress for you.

Water beds

Water beds have gotten less popular over the years since they were all the rage. However, many people opt for a waterbed for an unorthodox but comfortable sleep experience that will truly make you feel as if you are floating. They serve as a medical aid, and they help with calmness and easy sleep. It is a vinyl mattress that is filled with water tubes that actually contain water, and some of the higher-end ones also have temperature control that can warm up the water if you wish. The upside to these mattresses is that they are self-sufficient and do not require another frame. Additionally, Cal king is a common waterbed size, while king is less common, so you are more likely to find a cheaper California king sized waterbed.

California King or King: Which Mattress Should I Get?

Once again, the topic comes up: king or Cal king? Is one bigger than the other? Why are these two options available and which suits who? A king sized bed measures 76 by 80 inches, while a Cal king measures 72 by 84. A king bed has a larger area than a Cal king, but Cal king beds are seen as larger due to their extra length (king sized beds are the same length as queen sized ones). So in terms of size, the difference is more in shape and height. The king bed is more square-like, while the Cal king takes away 4 inches from the width of the king bed and applies it towards the length, so it is narrower and longer. A king bed’s length is the same of that of queen, which is why some felt it was necessary to manufacture another size that is longer.

It is recommended that people 6 feet 4 inches and over opt for a California king bed rather than a king one. Additionally, if you are a single sleeper, this narrower and longer bed is generally a better option than the wider and shorter king bed that may be a better fit for couples. The shape of your room also plays a part. If your room is square, a king may fit and look better, but if your room is rectangular or narrow, a Cal king will fit more.

In terms of accessibility, Cal king mattresses, linens, and bed frames are more difficult to find than its king-sized counterparts. If you’re someone who wants to be able to easily purchase and select from the widest range of products possible, you may find more options with king. Because of the rarity, California king products and mattresses may be more expensive, so king is a better choice if you are on a strict budget.

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What Do I Need For a Complete California King Setup?

You know you need a mattress, but what other purchases should you begin researching before planning your new bed setup? There’s many options, and you can pick which items you feel that you need.

Mattress Pad or Protector

A mattress protector helps prevent any possible spills from seeping through into your mattress. It absorbs spills and also provides better comfort by acting as a fluffy top layer. It goes beneath the fitted sheet. A mattress pad looks similar but will generally be cheaper and won’t help with spills (it is intended to bring more comfort to those with back problems or hard mattresses). This purchase is optional, but it is a good idea because it will cost a lot more to replace a permanently-stained mattress than permanently-stained mattress protectors. Make sure that you search for mattress toppers in California king size.

California King Bed Frame

A bed frame is also called a bedstead, and you will place your mattress on top of this. It’s critical that you have the correct size bed frame for your mattress because otherwise there will be too much extra room on the sides or the mattress will be too large for the frame. The purpose of a bedframe is to lift your mattress off the ground. They come in different styles, colors, heights, and materials. Some examples include fabric, wood, and steel.

A floating bed frame has no legs or hidden legs, and can be anchored to the wall. Sleigh bed frames are expensive but luxurious; these have curved foot and head boards similar to a sleigh shape. Trundle bed frames have room for two mattresses. One fits in a drawer underneath the first mattress and can be pulled out to sleep another person, although they will be closer to the ground. Bunk bed frames are also stacked, but unlike trundle beds, both frames are off the ground and do not need to be pulled out. It is difficult to find bunk beds for Cal king mattresses because they are generally intended for children’s rooms. Daybeds are versatile in the sense that they can be converted to a couch. The frame doesn’t look like a bed frame, and you can put pillows against the wall and sit on it horizontally like you would with a couch. Then at night, you can just remove any pillows and sleep on it vertically, and it will look like a bed. This is a good option if you want to save space in a room but still want both a couch and bed. A murphy bed frame is pulled out from a closet or wall, so it saves a lot of space during the day because it can be pushed back up easily and stored securely.

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Bed Linens

You can choose from a comforter or duvet — a duvet has two parts (insert and cover), while a comforter is a one-piece blanket. Both serve the same purpose, to be a top blanket on your bed. Then, you will also need to purchase a set of linens including a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and pillowcase(s). You can also purchase a bed skirt or set of matching pillow shams to flair up your bedding setup. Make sure to buy these in the correct California king size so that they will fit on your mattress.


All in all, there’s a lot that goes into changing up your bed set up to a new size. California king may be the perfect next option for you. The California king mattress has dimensions similar to that of king, but it is four inches longer and four inches narrower. It suits single sleepers, couples, very tall sleepers, and anyone who wants the luxurious comfort of a huge bed in their home. Additionally, you can order special mattresses like water beds, memory foam mattresses, and electronic adjustable mattresses to suit your needs. When compared to a king bed, Cal king is generally rarer, so it may be more expensive. If you do make the decision to continue on with your new California king mattress, you’ll also want to take a look into getting your favorite type of bed frame, duvet set or comforter, mattress cover, and bed linen set to truly personalize your setup.

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