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Are you heading off to college and living alone for the first time? There are a lot of things that you need to consider, but securing your sleeping arrangement should be your top priority. Colleges dorms are designed to save space, while also be accommodating enough for taller students. Start by getting a mattress that fits your college dorm bed size.
The average college dorm mattress size is Twin XL. For bed sheet size, bring one that is 38 inches wide and 80 inches long. Note that these are five inches longer than the standard twin size.
For those who are just shopping for a mattress and comforter for the first time, the sizes may appear confusing. Make sure you get the right items with this complete guide on dorm beds.
What Is the Average Size of a College Dorm Room?
Universities and colleges often receive thousands of students, and many would rather stay on-campus for the sake of convenience. As a result, college dorms are usually not that big because they have to maximize the space. However, it would also depend on the institution and its budget.
Dorm rooms are usually no larger than 130 square feet. This would depend on how many students can occupy the room, though. Single rooms average around 90 square feet. Rooms that house more students would be larger, though, the difference between a two-person and three-person dorm room isn’t that noticeable. Three to four-person bedrooms can be around 140 square feet or more.
For beds, the standard is a Twin XL, and you will notice that the upper bed is noticeably higher than the standard bunk bed. Fortunately, they can be adjusted to accommodate larger and taller students. The lower bed can be around 16 to 30 inches off the ground, and the top bed can go as high as 60 inches off the ground.
The Differences in Sizes – Twin vs. Twin XL vs. Full XL
It’s essential to note that a Twin XL is entirely different from a regular Twin size and a Full XL bed.
Both the Twin and Twin XL have the same width, but the Twin XL has the same length as a Queen. Specifically, Twin size is 38 inches wide and 75 inches long, while the Twin XL is 38 inches wide and 80 inches long. The latter is also suitable for adults or older students.
Meanwhile, a Full XL, or sometimes called Double XL, is wider than a Twin XL, but it also has the same length. A single Full XL would then be 53 inches wide and 80 inches long. For a more detailed description of bed sizes, refer to the table below.
|38” x 75”
|38” x 80”
|54” x 75”
|54” x 80”
|60” x 80”
|76” x 80”
|72” x 84”
Though it is uncommon to find dorm beds larger than Queen sizes, there may be cases where you’ll encounter Full or Full XL beds. Be sure to contact your college residence advisor to be sure.
What Bedding to Bring to College
Your living situation would largely depend on your school, but if you want to cover the basics, consider getting a mattress topper, sheets, and a comforter.
Mattress Pad or Topper for College
Mattress toppers are usually thicker than mattress pads and provide more support. They can also make the standard, old college bed a lot more comfortable and feel like a new mattress. The standard size should be the same as the twin XL bed, which is 38 inches wide by 80 inches long. Check with your college to confirm the exact dimensions.
Types of Mattress Toppers
Depending on how long you wish to stay in the dorm, mattress toppers are great for extending the life of your college dorm bed mattress. Aside from that, dorm bed mattresses are usually around seven to eight inches thick, making them a bit uncomfortable. Mattress toppers can provide additional support and added comfort. They also come in different varieties and materials.
Latex is more firm and excellent for those with joint pain. It is also more durable and absorbs movements, great for those who tend to toss and turn in their sleep. All-natural latex toppers may be a bit pricier, though.
- Memory Foam Toppers
Memory foam is a popular choice because it is soft and molds to your body. It can have a strange smell sometimes, but those like the ViscoSoft 4-inch Pillow Top Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper (view on Amazon) have gone above and beyond to reduce the smell.
- Polyester Mattress Toppers
Polyester mattress toppers are the cheapest ones in the market, but they don’t have as much cushioning. They also deteriorate a lot faster and become lumpy.
- Featherbed Toppers
If you have money to spare, featherbeds are also worth investing in because they are considered high-grade toppers. They are incredibly soft and don’t retain heat, unlike latex and memory foam. Toppers like the Allied Essentials Luxe Goose Featherbed (view on Amazon) are also designed, so feathers don’t poke out. One downside is that the feathers often compress together, so you need to fluff it up every once in a while. Also, don’t get these if you are allergic to birds.
What Size Sheets Fit a College Dorm Bed?
It’s essential to get the size of the sheets right. If they’re too small, they won’t cover all ends of the mattress. Sheets that are too big may rest on the dirty floor. Choose ones that are 38 inches wide by 80 inches long. You should get at least two sets of sheets, so the other one would serve as a spare sheet in case you need to clean your current one.
The comfort level of bed sheets is determined by the number of fibers it has. To find its thread count, search for a number with the unit TPI, which means thread per inch. For a comfortable sleep, the recommended is at least 300 TPI, which is 100% cotton. The Cariloha Classic Bamboo Sheets (view on Amazon) are great because they’re made with bamboo fibers and come in a set with matching pillowcases.
What Size Comforter for Dorm Bed
With sheets and toppers, a perfect fit is necessary, but you can be more lenient with the twin XL comforter size for a dorm bed. Get a comforter that is around 68 inches wide and 90 inches long for your college dorm bed. Larger ones are okay to buy, especially if you will be studying in colder areas. Similar to sheets, you also have to consider the thread count.
Fill Power and Weight
On top of that, there are two additional factors that you have to think of, which is the fill power and weight. Fill power is the amount of fluff inside the comforter, and this determines its thickness. Higher fill power results in a warmer comforter. On the other hand, weight is all about how heavy it is. Note that heavy comforters don’t necessarily mean they would be warmer.
For warmer climates, a comforter with a fill power of less than 400 is best, so you won’t heat up too fast. In colder climates or during winter, a comforter above 600 is better. For a versatile comforter that you can use anytime in the year, you can get one with a fill power between 400 to 600.
Some comforters like the Dormify Scarlett Comforter and Sham Bed Set (view on Amazon) already come as a set so that you can match your covers with your pillows. What’s great about this set is that it’s made with microfibers, which has a longer shelf-life and retains its shape better than cotton.
Bedding can be washed the same way as clothes, but comforters need to be washed separately. For aggressive stains, you can use a water and vinegar solution to get the spots out of your bedding.
Bed sheets need to be washed at least every other week. It may seem like a lot of work, but think about the fact that you sleep in them every night. That means your dirt from the day would stay on your bed until you wash them. On the other hand, comforters need to be cleaned every week, depending on how often you use them.
Why Choosing the Right Bedding Matters?
It may seem trivial to worry about, but the right bedding is essential to ensure you get quality sleep during your college stay. Dorm beds are notoriously famous for being incredibly uncomfortable, but they don’t have to be.
Sleep deprivation isn’t just caused by staying up too late, but uncomfortable beds can also ruin your sleep. Not only do they help you get deep sleep, but they keep your body from aching and hurting every morning, too.
Making your bed comfortable helps you get the best quality of sleep possible. Getting enough sleep helps improve your academic success and enhances your overall college experience. Even if you don’t plan on staying in the dorms for long, you will most likely be staying there for a year, at least.
Summary – College Dorm Bed Size
The standard size for college dorm beds would be a Twin XL so when you’re shopping, make sure that your mattress topper and bedsheets match this exact measurement. Also, don’t just choose the first set of bedding you find because they vary a lot with quality and material. Know what you’re buying, so you don’t get fooled into getting something that feels uncomfortable.