Expat Guide

Beds and Bedding

US and UK bed sizes differ slightly, except for Double/Full, enough so that if you bring US sheets to put on UK beds or buy UK sheets for a US mattress, the fit may be off just enough to be annoying.

Here is a US v UK bed size chart from information on Wikipedia Bed Size:

Mattress Sizes
(US term / UK term)USAUK/Ireland
Single/Twin39in × 75in
0.99 m × 1.91 m
36in × 75in
0.9 m × 1.90 m
Double / Full54in × 75in
1.37 m × 1.91 m
54in × 75in
1.37 m × 1.91 m
Queen / King60in × 80in
1.52 m × 2.03 m
60in × 78in
1.5 m × 2 m
Olympic Queen / -66in × 80in
1.68 m × 2.03 m
King / Super King76in × 80in
1.93 m × 2.03 m
72in × 78in
1.83 m × 1.98 m
California King / -72in × 84in
1.83 m × 2.13 m

Ikea bed sizes may also vary from this as they are European and some have reported the UK bedding doesn't fit these well.

Very often UK beds are only a mattress on a frame without a box spring, but you can also buy mattress and springs sets. With cheaper mattresses, keep in mind that it won't take long for the padding to flatten to the point where you'll feel the springs and it's not very comfortable.

Pillowcases usually come as "housewife" style, with a end flap inside to contain and cover the pillow. If the case has a valance around the edge, it is called an Oxford style.

Typically UK beds are made with a fitted sheet and the duvet, without a flat sheet between. Duvet covers are removable so therefore easily washed. When it is rarely hot in the UK the flat sheet doesn't serve much of a purpose, however, one's toes will easily end up poking out from under the duvet.

Duvets have a TOG rating, which is to measure "thermal insulation". According to John Lewis, tog guidelines for duvets are as follows:

  • Lightweight summer duvet: 3.0 - 4.5 tog
  • Spring/Autumn weight duvet: 7.0 - 10.5 tog
  • Winter weight duvet: 12.0 - 13.5 tog


In the UK, a crib is called a cot, the cradle is called a crib, and a bassinet is called a Moses basket.



Visit our affiliate partner

UK Yankee is a resource and community for expatriate Americans living in or planning to move to the UK, established in 1999. Please join the discussions in our friendly expat community.