What is a Double Bed and Which Bed Size Do You Actually Need?

Most of us have owned, slept in, or at least seen a double bed at some point in our lives. But how much do the majority of people really know about the double bed?

While double beds may be relatively standard pieces of furniture in homes today, this was not always the case. The double bed, as we know it today, has an interesting history that actually began much more recently than you might think.

Moreover, the double bed is defined by a specific set of dimensions and other factors that set it apart from other types of beds.

Read on to learn more about the history of the double bed and what defines the double bed today!

A History of the Double Bed

Before we delve into the factors and features that define the double bed of today’s furniture industry, we thought it would be useful to begin with a brief history of how the double bed came to be.

Now, the bed as an elevated and designated sleeping structure was actually invented by the Ancient Egyptians, although these beds literally took the form of slightly raised pallets that did not feature any real padding. They may not have been comfortable by today’s standards, but it was still better than sleeping on the floor! Usually, however, these pallet beds were approximately the size of a single bed as opposed to a double.

The first known historical example of what we might now consider to be a double bed originated during the Renaissance period. Beds during this period could actually be quite a lot more elaborate than many of us would expect today, with feather mattresses, velvet or silk sheets, and intricately carved frames.

Crucially, Renaissance-style beds were roughly the size of your average double bed, although they still weren’t exactly the double beds we are all familiar with today.

It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century (around 1870) that bed sizes were eventually standardized. What we now know as a double bed was called a full bed, while single beds were called twin beds.

However, in the early twentieth century (1910), box springs were invented by American manufacturer, Tyler Howe. Incorporating box springs into the design of the average bed involved adjusting the measurements so that the springs could be fitted in alignment with the supporting slats.

Thus, the double bed as we now know it was born.

The Double Bed Today

So, now we know how the double bed came to be, let’s talk about the features that define the modern double bed.

The standard measurements for a double mattress are 190 cm in length and 135 cm in width. In imperial measurements, that’s roughly 75 by 53 inches. So, a standard double bed mattress is longer than it is wide by a margin of 55 cm or 21.65 inches.

Today, double bed mattresses can be filled with a far greater variety of stuffing materials than they used to be. While a double feather mattress used to constitute a luxury item, these days, it is standard for a double mattress to be filled with multiple layers of foam (or memory foam) and springs for optimal support and comfort.

The technology involved in the manufacture of double beds has significantly improved, to the point where some double mattresses even incorporate individual, encased springs or specialized memory foam to prevent motion transfer between sleepers.

Double beds certainly have come a long way!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which bed size do you really need and will it fit your bedroom?

Is a double bed the same size as two single beds?

We can see where the confusion comes in with the interaction between double and single bed sizes. While it might be logical to assume that a double bed should constitute the equivalent of two single beds, this is not the case.

A standard-sized single bed, by today’s standards, should measure 190 cm long and 90 cm wide. That’s roughly equivalent to 75 x 35 inches.

Coming back to the double bed measurements we provided earlier (75 x 53 inches or 190 x 135 cm), it’s clear that the sizes don’t line up in the way one might expect.

Of course, the length of the mattress stays the same. However, based on these measurements, if a double bed were twice the size of the standardized single bed, it should measure 180 cm or almost 71 inches in width, which is 45 cm or 17.7 inches off.

Similarly, if a single bed were to be built to half the dimensions of a double bed, it would measure 67.5 cm across or approximately 26.6 inches.

But if a single bed is built for one person to sleep in, wouldn’t it make sense for a double bed to be twice the size for two people? Well, yes, you’re probably right in that respect. This is why couples often choose to opt for larger bed models since double beds can feel cramped for each person compared to a single bed.

Is a double bed the same as a queen-sized bed?

No, a double bed is not the same size as a queen-sized bed. The standard queen-size bed measures larger than a double bed in every direction, at 203.5 x 152 cm or 60 x 80 inches. That’s 13.5 cm longer than the standard double and 17 cm wider.

The queen-sized bed is one of the most popular sizes for couples since it’s larger than a double but not quite as much of a space commitment as a king-sized bed.

Final Thoughts

In summary, a double bed is a bed that measures 190 x 135 cm or roughly 75 x 53 inches.

Beds of approximately this size began to be crafted during the Renaissance era, but it wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that the measurements were standardized. Only in 1910, with the invention of the box spring, was the double bed that we know today finally created.

With that being said, the double bed has continued to evolve in terms of comfort and quality with the invention of memory foam and isolated springs.