Every time I’ve slept on a king-size mattress, I’ve thought: This is amazing; I need this in my life. In my New York City apartment, I just didn’t have the space, so I couldn’t even let my mind wander there. However, I’ve now been living on the West Coast in a home where an extra-large bed would fit perfectly (a 12-by-12-foot room or larger is optimal, I’ve learned, but more on that in a moment)—and yet, I still haven’t made the change. 

I think about it daily. A king bed is 16 whole inches wider than a queen—why deprive myself of this distance from my snoring partner? And if we really do spend a third of our lives in bed, wouldn’t this be the best use of my time and money? It’s just that upgrading feels like a lot of work. Buying a new mattress alone is a costly endeavor, but there’s also the bed frame and the linens and the duvet to consider—and do I need king-size pillows, too? And that’s usually where I shut down and take a nap on my too-small bed. 

Then last month I snapped out of a daydream I was having about blissfully sleeping in the shape of an X and decided the time was now. To hold myself accountable, I started my research by crowdsourcing info from friends on Instagram. It turns out that people are passionate about their king-size beds. As a jumping-off point, I rounded up their advice on mattress types and brands, sheets shopping, and pillows. And if more than one person gave the same suggestion, I took note.

From there, I put my market editor hat on and did a deep dive on all the brands they suggested or were just curious about (thank you, Instagram spam). Here are my key takeaways.

Ask Your Friends

I’ve found that if there’s one thing people are thrilled about sharing their thoughts on, it’s sleep. Don’t be afraid to ask people in your network about their experiences. Via this method, I was able to weed out a few brands that they strongly disliked, ultimately narrowing down my personal pool of options to Casper, Helix, and Wink

Identify Your Nighttime Patterns

Start paying attention to your shut-eye habits. Do you rest on your side, back, or stomach? Do you like a firm or soft mattress? Do you run hot or cold? What about your partner (if you share a bed)? Taking some time up front to hone in on these things will help make your decision easier. Not-too-firm, body-contouring mattresses tend to be best for side sleepers, while a firmness level that corresponds to the sleeper’s weight seems most important for back sleepers, and ones made with natural fibers are generally beloved for their temperature- regulating qualities. 

Use Brands’ Resources

Companies from Pottery Barn to Parachute have compiled helpful information, including textile guides, mattress quizzes, and brand comparison charts. These came in handy during this hunt—not as a deciding factor but as a resource to gather further information. Once you’ve identified a few brands you’re interested in, look through their guides and questionnaires to get a better idea about what your options are. I found a multi-brand retailer like Pottery Barn to be superhelpful because you can compare the differences without fear of bias.

Read the Fine Print

The mattress market is highly saturated and not at all easy to navigate. Springs versus latex padding—or a hybrid? Synthetic versus natural fibers? Does the price feel more palatable when you consider cost per use? What is the return policy? Does the company offer a warranty? Is delivery and mattress removal included? Ultimately, I decided that having a mattress made with natural fibers was important to me. So that was my jumping-off point—and then price. The other things, like delivery, warranty, and return policy, were secondary factors, as the difference in those departments was negligible between the brands I was debating.

Size Does Matter

The simplest way to put it: A standard king is wider than a California king by 4 inches, and a California king is longer than a standard king by 4 inches. So think about whether length or width is more important to you when making this decision—and the dimensions of your bedroom. Generally speaking, the mattress and bed frame prices, between the two, are the same, and you can use the same duvet/quilt for both. However, based on my rudimentary research, standard king sheets are easier to come by and sometimes more affordable, as are standard king bed frames. I’ll be going with a standard king for that very reason, just to keep our options broad. 

The Toppings

As an interior stylist who zhuzhes bedding for a living, I’m hyper-aware of the pillow needs required to make a king bed feel complete. You can go with two king pillows or three standard pillows—it’s up to you. Most commonly, I’ve heard the suggestion of using two king-size pillows in the back (up against your headboard), then two or three standard pillows layered in front. I’m 100 percent committed to Coyuchi’s Turiya organic latex pillow, which only comes in a standard size, and I love, love, love a layered look with mixed colors and patterns (Morrow has an especially fun section on its site dedicated to this concept, as does Cultiver), so I welcome the added tier of pillows. Final thought: If you’re purchasing a sheet set, it often automatically comes with king-size pillowcases (unless you’re buying from a brand that sells each element separately, or one like Brooklinen, where you have the choice of building out your set to your exact specifications), so you might as well get some inserts so they don’t go to waste. 

For sheets, be prepared to spend $10 to $50 more than you would on queen or full ones. This was a hard pill for me to swallow, as I love nice bedding and I already have a robust queen collection that I use to mix and match. But my desire for a great night’s sleep prevails, so I’ll just have to build my king bedding collection over time. As with any bedding, just be sure your fitted sheet has deep enough pockets to accommodate your mattress size. 

The Surprise Purchase

This is probably not the first thing you’d think about when changing your bed size, but if you have a rug under your bed, you might want to get a larger one when you make the change—or shift the orientation of the one you already have.

My Final Four

After all this research, I narrowed down my options to four brands, all of which place an emphasis on using natural fibers: Avocado, Birch, Naturepedic, and Nest. And given that two of these offer a one-year trial period, it could be quite a while until I’ve reached a final decision. 

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