Will King Sheets Fit a California King Bed?

White Bed Sheets, Pillows, and Blanket

A fairly simple inquiry that most consumers ask is, “Will King sheets fit California King beds?” In truth, there is no single direct reply to this question. Contrary to what many people think, this query is not that easy to answer, as bed covers differ per country and region. Sometimes, they even differ per manufacturer. This whole confusion with bedding sizes is what brings us to the contents of this article.

Will King sheets fit a California King bed? Yes and no. Fitted sheets and right-size comforters are not interchangeable. But comforters with drops, quilt covers, bedspreads, coverlets, and flat sheets can be swapped between a standard King and a California King bed.

Beds are meant to give you and your guests a good night’s sleep. They can only do so if they have proper layering and are comfortable to the touch. A bed with perfectly outfitted bedding will have no problems accomplishing this, as long as you get the sizing right. Swapping bedsheets between King and California King beds may not be the best solution, but it can work to an extent, as you will later learn in this article.

Will King Size Sheets Fit a California King Bed?

To answer this, we will first define what is meant exactly by “sheets.” This term can mean different types of bedding. For instance, some people say sheets but may actually refer to a bedspread or a quilt. Various beddings do have different thickness and are made of different materials. Not to mention that same-size beds could have different depths, which would require different bedding sizes. As such, not all kinds of king-sized “sheets” are guaranteed to fit either an Eastern King or California King bed – unless you are referring to oversized bed sheets created for Alaskan King beds.

Bed Sheets, Defined

To clarify this subject, let us go ahead and do a quick read on bedding definitions. Note that the info below is not exhaustive and will only cover bedding types that are commonly confused with a bed sheet:

Bedspread

Technically, a bedspread is a lightweight ornamental cloth cover for your bed during colder months and your main cover during warmer weather. It is almost similar to a coverlet, except that it extends to your bedroom floor. Some sleepers use this as a blanket as it covers the entire bed space and feels more comfortable than a regular blanket. But out of all the other beddings, it is the least likely to be confused with a sheet as bedspreads are only commonly found in hotels nowadays.

Comforter

It is one of the bedding pieces everyone loves. This thick, quilted, fluffy blanket keeps sleepers warm during winter and makes for an extra comfort layer in the summer. It is commonly filled with insulative materials such as wool, down, feathers, cotton, or synthetic fiberfill stitched to secure it and keep it evenly distributed. This stitching gives comforters a nice texture and makes them obviously different from a bedsheet. However, some use comforters for that purpose due to the added comfort.

Coverlet

Pottery Barn’s Executive Vice President, Monica Bhargava, aptly defines a coverlet as a lightweight layer that can be made into the bed, between the sheet and duvet, and act like a blanket, or fold at the bed’s foot for an extra layer of warmth or decoration. In layman’s terms, it is the thinner version of a comforter and is often used in warmer weather.

Fitted Sheet

Also known as a bottom sheet, this type of bed sheet is what covers the mattress. It features an elastic hem that makes your mattress fit snuggly into the bed sheet. Sometimes, the edge of the sheet contains a drawstring, allowing for use on a wider range of mattress thicknesses. Fitted sheets are gaining popularity with consumers due to their ease of use. They are included in bedding sets sold in the United States, Canada, and China.

Flat Sheet

Unlike fitted sheets, a flat sheet does not have elastic hems. It is one flat piece of bedding, usually rectangular in shape, overlocked around the edges to form four seams, and has two sides – one is plain, and the other is printed. This provides extra warmth and also serves decorative purposes. The flat sheet is quite special, as it is the first covering over the fitted sheet that touches your body and provides a hygienic barrier between you and other bed coverings. You place this on your bed with the printed side face down and the top edge folded towards the foot of your bed to show off its design.

This video by VeroLinens discusses the most common types of materials used for bed sheets, a few of their pros and cons, and tips on what to consider when selecting beddings:

Bed Sheet Measurements 

Out of the five kinds of beddings mentioned in the previous section, the last two are the only ones technically classified as bed sheets. Now that we know this, let’s find out if king-size versions of these sheets can fit a California King bed. Here are the most common sheet sizes for reference:

Type Inches Centimeters
California King Width x Length x Depth (Pocket Height)
Fitted Sheet 72 in x 84 in x 15 in 183 cm x 213 cm x 38 cm
Flat Sheet 110 in x 114 in 280 cm x 290 cm
Quilt 90 in x 112 in 229 cm x 284 cm
Comforter (w/ 12″ drop) 96 in x 96 in 244 cm x 244 cm
Coverlet (w/ 16″ drop) 104 in x 100 in 264 cm x 254 cm
Bedspread (w/ 21″ drop) 114 in x 120 in 290 cm x 305 cm
King
Fitted Sheet 76 in x 80 in x 15 in 193 cm x 203 cm x 38 cm
Flat Sheet 110 in x 114 in 280 cm x 290 cm
Quilt 90 in x 106 in 229 cm x 269 cm
Comforter (w/ 12″ drop) 102 in x 92 in 259 cm x 234 cm
Coverlet (w/ 16″ drop) 110 in x 96 in 280 cm x 244 cm
Bedspread (w/ 21″ drop) 120 in x 110 in 305 cm x 280 cm
Queen
Fitted Sheet 60 in x 80 in x 15 in 152 cm x 203 cm x 38 cm
Flat Sheet 92 in x 108 in 230 cm x 260 cm
Quilt 90 in x 90 in 229 cm x 229 cm
Comforter (w/ 12″ drop) 84 in x 92 in 213 cm x 234 cm
Coverlet (w/ 16″ drop) 92 in x 96 in 234 cm x 244 cm
Bedspread (w/ 21″ drop) 102 in x 116 in 259 cm x 295 cm

Will a King size sheet fit a California King bed? Based on the measurements above, it is impossible to interchange fitted sheets and comforters of a King bed and a California King bed. But for a flat sheet and all other types of bedding, it is. However, you may find a standard King coverlet too wide for a California King bed since the latter is narrower. Similarly, a California King comforter may be too long for an Eastern King bed.

Other Considerations 

Pocket Size

You would also need to take note of different mattress depths and their corresponding sheet pocket sizes, as follows:

DepthPocket Size
Standard Mattress7 to 12 inches high
Deep Mattress13 to 17 inches high
Extra Deep Mattress18 to 25 inches high

Additionally, remember that mattresses, as well as manufacturer allowances, vary by brand. If you are unsure, check the size of your mattress before making any purchase.

Thread Count

By definition, thread count is the total number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric. In essence, it also indicates the durability and softness of the fabric used to make the bedsheet. A higher thread count makes the fabric more durable and softer. Experts recommend bed sheets with a thread count between 200 and 800 when researching the best options on what sheet to get for your bed.

This video by Architectural Digest discusses thread count in more detail (timestamp @ 0:35), along with other factors he looks into when buying bedsheets:

Fabric Type

The most common fabric types used for bedsheets are cotton, polyester, bamboo rayon, Jersey knit, and microfiber – to name a few. While most of these fabrics provide extra warmth and have a natural stretch, their different thickness would also need to be noted when determining, “will California King sheets fit a King bed?” For instance, a flat sheet made of cotton may meet your expectations of a 12-inch drop, but a quilt made of Jersey knit of the same size may have a slightly shorter drop due to its thickness.

  • Cotton Sheets: These sheets are a favorite as they are breathable and wicks moisture away from the sleeper. However, exact-fit comforters and fitted sheets made of cotton can never interchange with sheets meant for other bed sizes. These two types of beddings are tailored-fit to the dimensions of the mattress. And because King beds are wider but shorter and California King beds are narrower but longer, these sheets can never be swapped out with each other – regardless if they are made of Jersey knit or Egyptian cotton.
  • Polyester: These sheets, known for their durability and stain resistance, are made from a synthetic fiber found in most bedding products. They may not be as soft and breathable as other fabric options, but they are wrinkle-resistant and more economical. They have almost the same thinness as cotton. So, unless your bedsheet is an oversized comforter or bedspread, do not expect to be able to interchange sheets between an Eastern King bed and a California King bed.
  • Microfiber: Sheets made of microfiber are very comfortable and warm and made from either tightly woven synthetic fibers, nylon polymers, polyester, or wood pulp. Its composition makes it a thin yet strong linen and one of the best materials for beddings. Apart from flat sheets, microfiber coverlets, quilts, and bedspreads designed for King beds can all be fitted into California King beds and vice-versa.
  • Bamboo Rayon: These sheets made from a unique material of chemically treated bamboo are perfect for any time of the year, as they can regulate temperature and wick away moisture, thus improving your sleep quality. They are treated the same way as microfiber, cotton, and polyester fabrics – meaning that they would fit either a standard King or California King bed unless they turn into fitted sheets or tailored-fit comforters.

Weave

Weave not only affects how a bedsheet looks and feels but also its thickness. Plain and intricate weaves, such as Percale sheets and satin, respectively, are quite similar to cotton and polyester as they are thin. As a flat sheet or a bedspread, they would fit both Eastern King and California King beds. But as a comforter or fitted sheet, they cannot be substituted by different-size beddings. The same goes for Jacquard (view on Amazon), damask, and twill weaves.

Choosing Right-Size Sheets

Woman Lying on Bed with White Sheets

The standard mattress size label attached to beddings is a great place to start if you want to ensure that you select the right sheet size for your bed. Make sure to jot down your bed dimensions before you shop for sheets, and factor in any comfort layers you may have when calculating depth.

You can find the right width for your Winter White Comforter (view on Amazon) by adding the length and the thickness to each side of your bed. For instance, if your mattress is 12 inches high, you should choose a comforter at least 24 inches wider than the bed width. A quick measurement will ensure your bedsheets fit your mattress comfortably. Similarly, you can get your maximum bedding width by measuring the distance from the top of your bed to the floor, doubling it, then adding the width of your mattress.

Take fluffiness into account as well when using down comfort layers. It increases your bed’s thickness and may cause your flat sheet to have a lower drop to the sides. Similarly, you may need a fitted sheet with more pocket depth when using down comforters to offset the trench effect on old mattresses.

Comforters and pillow tops also come into play. If your comforter is on the thicker side, you ideally add two more inches on top of the bed width. You may notice that some beddings are labeled as “oversized,” designed to accommodate mattresses with pillow tops and extra comfort layers. So, if you have a thicker mattress than average but do not wish to go one size up with bed covers, then getting an oversized King bed comforter will do the job. You get to enjoy the additional width without the unwanted length. Plus, your oversized comforter is still guaranteed to fit both a standard King or California King bed.

Bear in mind that you may have room for error when it comes to duvet covers and duvet inserts, but never for fitted sheets. How much allowance you have depends on how far the top of your bed is from the floor. Never skip on taking down bed and mattress measurements before purchasing bed covers, as bedding that is too wide will drape onto your bedroom floor and collect dust and dirt.

Conclusion – Will King Sheets Fit California King Beds?

While it pays to be pragmatic, having right-size bedding is not something you short-change yourself with. Aside from making your bed more visually appealing and comfortable, proportionate beddings provide enough coverage during sleep and prevent the unnecessary bedsheet tug-of-war with your partner. Using the recommendations in this article as a guide will surely help you choose the most appropriate bedsheet size for your Eastern King or California King bed, if not to enable you to purchase dual-purpose beddings for the price of one.

Kris Peter

I am a lifelong advocate of sleep, continually learning, and striving to be better than I was yesterday.

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