Bed Sheet Sizes Explained

When you go shopping for sheeting, sure they have it all organized by size and it says Queen on the packaging, so it should fit a Queen mattress right?!  Well not necessarily.  Just like bedding, we have to keep in mind the size of the mattress, including the depth, to ensure that the sheets we are buying will fit the mattress appropriately.

Lives Dive In!

Sheet Charts-01So, step one is always to remember the item you are covering, which is the mattress. Below is the mattress sizing for easy reference.

Step dos is to think about the depth of your mattress.  A traditional mattress depth is about 10 – 14 inches.  This is the average coil type of mattress depth.  If you know your mattress is über thin, it may even be 8 – 10 inches.  For a traditional pillow top mattress, they can range from 15 – 22 inches.  If you aren’t home and able to measure, aiming for the 18” mattress depth for a pillowtop is a great idea.

Now on to the Fitted Sheets!

Below is a grid of fitted sheet sizes I recommend based on the size of your mattress.  If you go too much bigger than this in width and length, your sheet will be too oversized and easily come off of the mattress. Unfortunately, the equally annoying alternative is a fitted sheet that is too small which will also not stay on properly and will pop up at every movement.  For a general rule of thumb, getting a fitted sheet that has the same width and length measure as your mattress is ideal, leaving only the depth up for analysis.

Sheet Charts-02

Now the tricky part… fitted sheet depth.  Before I was in the industry, the part that really confused me was the depth size.  If I have an 18” mattress, shouldn’t I get an 18” deep sheet? The answer is actually no. In terms of actual product dimensions, a 16” deep fitted sheet will fit an 18” mattress with no problem.  So, keep a window of about 2-3” of additional space that a sheet can fit based on its product dimensions. For example, an 18” deep sheet can fit up to a 21” mattress due to the elastic in the sheet. Most sheets by default are made to fit up to about a 14-15” mattress. If they fit larger than that, they will typically promote that information outwardly so pay attention to how large of a mattress the sheet claims to cover when shopping.

Flat Sheets

Flat sheets due to how they are typically tucked in and folded are always oversized in comparison to the mattress. My rule of thumb is about 15” extra on each side for maximum tuckability. Due to the nature of the product, sizing is generally not an issue.

Bed Skirts

Source: West Elm

Bed skirts follow a similar measure protocol as the fitted sheet as they must fit the size of the mattress pretty closely in order for the skirt to drape in line with the edge of the mattress. Below are some sizing guidelines based on mattress sizes.  The depth of the bed skirt will depend on how far off of the ground your mattress is located.  An average bed height on a basic bed frame is about 5-7 inches off of the ground. Tall platforms are about 10-12 inches.  A bed skirt typically covers the box spring and the bed frame.  A box spring can range from 8-11” in thickness, then add in your bed frame height.  Most bed skirts drape to about 14-15” in length which is usually ideal for most scenarios;  however, if you do have a tall platform, longer bed skirts may be hard to come by so you may want to steer clear of this accessory if you can.

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Source: Amazon

Now, pillowcases… ahh, the bane of my existence! I have never understood why the pillow guy never calls the pillowcase guy. They really should have more conversations because very rarely are they on the same page.  I have found fantastic pillows that are ideal thickness and quality and go to place my pillowcase on it only to find that the pillow is 6 inches shorter than the case.  As much as I enjoy the eagerness of the pillowcase guy, I didn’t need this amazingly large pillowcase that drapes in the most unattractive way.

Most standard pillowcases are 20″ x 30″, while most king pillowcases are 20″ x 40″.  However, please keep in mind, if your pillow seems to be a bit on the smaller size, as many are, you may be better with a pillowcase width that is a bit smaller.  You will reach pillow bliss when you find the harmony between the pillow and pillowcase sizes.


The main aspects I would keep in mind when sheet shopping are mattress depth for the fitted sheet size and the pillowcase size. Not thinking about those two elements when shopping may leave you a bit ticked when you go to put on your new beautiful sheet and find the sizing to be wonky. A lot of times I find if I cannot find a sheet set where the sizing completely fits my needs, that open stock is the way to go. Open stock is when all of the elements are sold individually such as one single flat sheet, one single fitted sheet. If you do purchase open stock, keep in mind that if you are buying across multiple brands that colors matching may be an issue. White is not always white as crazy as that may sound. Having several shades of white on your bed may trigger an internal OCD police you never knew you had and that will drive you up the wall. #BeenThereDoneThat.

Image Sources:
Flat Sheet: Amazon | Bed Skirt: West Elm | Pillowcase: Amazon

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