“Twin bed” isn’t something you hear often in the UK so it brings up a reasonable question: what is a twin bed? And, if it's supposedly the same as a single, are there any actual differences between the two when referred to by different names?
What is a Twin Bed: The Basics
Twin beds are 3 feet wide and just over 6 feet long, although some will be slightly shorter depending on the brand. If those dimensions sound familiar, they are: they’re identical to that of a single bed.
A single bed is designed for use for one person, as is a twin bed, and will accommodate anyone from children to adults.
Twin vs. Single Bed
Since the beds are identical, what exactly are the reasons behind the different names? Well, the names are based on the purpose of the bed.
Who Is a Twin Bed For?
Twin beds are made to be sold or used in pairs. You’ll typically find two identical beds with the same frame and mattress dubbed as two beds. They’re often seen in hotel rooms and dormitories, showing they’re made for people sharing a room but not a bed. You may also find them in guest rooms in households that often have non-coupled guests.
Such beds are fantastic for siblings who share a room. Getting them twin beds ensures there’s no rivalry over who gets the bigger bed or the better mattress. Or the top bunk for that matter.
Lastly, they’re great for couples who like to sleep apart. Studies show that sleeping with a partner leads to better sleep, but not everyone feels comfortable sharing a bed, or at least not every night. So, putting twin beds side by side is an easy way around it: get the benefits of sleeping as a couple but you have three feet of space to yourself.
Who Is a Single Bed For?
Solo children, single adults in small apartments and studios, guest rooms where the guest room isn’t large enough for a double are all people and places that single beds are made for. Single beds are made to come as one bed lacking an identical pair and they work for a whole manner of situations.
These beds can be, but are not intended to be used in pairs—you may also find them in trios in some triple hotel rooms.
Something unfortunate about single vs. twin beds is that you’d think you’d get a discount for going for a pair of twins, over a single. Unfortunately, two singles and two twins will generally cost you the same amount of money—there’s no pairing discount based on your intent with the furniture.
Why the Name Difference?
If the only difference between twin and single beds is the purpose, why is there a name difference at all?
That’s a good question with a simple answer: in the US, single beds are more commonly called twin beds where in the UK we retain the use of “single.”
In reality, the “twin bed” intent for two people comes from hotels. In both the US and the UK, a room with two single beds is often called a twin room. It’s easier than saying “a room with two singles” isn’t it?
Twin vs. Double Bed: Common Misconception
With hotels partly being the culprit here, some people also confuse double beds and twin beds. They assume twin beds are a smaller version of a double, or they think a twin is the same as a double rather than a single. This isn’t the case.
A double room isn’t double beds, it’s one double bed. It’s as simple as that, but apparently, not to everyone.
Different Twin Bed Sizes
Can a twin bed be closer in size to a double than a single? No – but there are some size variants you should know about.
More common in the US, there are “Twin XL” beds which are just slightly longer single beds, made for taller people who find the 6 feet and two inches of room insufficient.
In the UK, the size option is smaller with a “small single” bed that’s only 2 feet 6 inches wide. These are generally best for younger kids, or extremely confined spaces.
A twin bed is a single bed made to be sold and used as part of a pair. There’s no difference size-wise. When deciding between single and twin beds, you need to decipher your needs and purchase accordingly so you don’t accidentally order two twin beds when you only need one and should’ve just asked for a single.