Originally designed to outfit L.A. celebrity mansions, California king beds allow anyone to sleep like a star. Clocking in at 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, California kings are longer than a standard king bed, but also four inches slimmer. The result is a luxurious bed that’s in sync with its West Coast pedigree. Thinking about investing in a California King bed, but not sure it’s right for you? To help make the call, we’ve assembled a checklist, outlining all of the things to consider before taking the Cali plunge.

blue bedroom featuring an upholstered california king bed with a dramatic cutout headboard
Photo courtesy of Kristina Phillips Interior Design

What’s The Difference Between A King And A California King?

Contrary to popular belief, California king beds are actually smaller in surface area than a standard king bed. A king mattress measures 76 inches wide by 80 inches long, forming more of a square. On the other hand, a California king measures 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, forming a rectangular shape.

Simply put, the king bed is wider, while the California king is longer. The difference does make a difference, especially when you consider factors like your bedroom’s layout, your family’s size, and your personal comfort. Below, we delve into some key factors to weigh before making the decision.

In this modern bedroom, Habachy Designs used a California king bed with grey and burnt orange accented bedding
Photo courtesy of Habachy Designs + Atelier

4 Things to Note When Considering a California King

Your Height

If you’re taller than average, a California king might just be your calling card. Those extra four inches can prevent you from experiencing that annoying sensation of having your feet dangle off the edge of the bed, or hitting your noggin on the headboard. In a few words, California kings allow tall people to stretch out, sprawl out, and snooze in satisfaction.

blush pink bedroom designed by Sarah Gilbane featuring a california king white pagoda bed
Design by Sara Gilbane Sullivan / Photo by Brantly Photography

Your Bedroom Layout

Remember: California king beds are longer than they are wide. If your bedroom is equipped with short walls, width-wise, a California king might be ideal. Have large nightstands? A California king might also be ideal so that you can go up to two inches bigger with each nightstand’s width. From a practical perspective, it can be hard to fit the lengthier California king into a more square or more narrow room. A bed with a shorter length (i.e. a standard king) can make a narrow room look less crowded. For that reason, bedrooms with more depth are best suited for California kings.

Taylor and Taylor placed a California king bed with white plush headboard in a orange room alongside a side table and table lamp
Design by Taylor & Taylor / Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Your Family

The California king is also ideal for couples who need a little space—but not too much. Because they’re more narrow, California kings provide plenty of room for each occupant to have their own personal space without taking on their own time zones, so to speak. This also applies to those who slumber with kids or pets and prefer a bit more room for tossing and turning. Of course, a partner isn’t required for a catnap in the Cal King. While the bed does take up more floor space, if you’re all for more sleeping space, why not go for something simultaneously vast yet still modest?

Design by Redmond Aldrich Design / Photo by Laure Joliet

The Cost

Of course, the most practical consideration when deliberating over a California king bed is the cost. Generally, California king beds are harder to locate than standard king beds. Subsequently, searching for a California king headboard, bed frame, box springs, sheets, mattress protectors, and more can be more difficult and more expensive. That being said, Cali love runs deep, and in the entire scheme of things, a California king shouldn’t set you back too much more than a standard king. So, if you love it, we say, go for it!

Lead image: Design by Creative Tonic – Courtnay Tartt Elias / Photo by Julie Soefer


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January 20, 2022

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