College Dorm Bed Sizing – How Big Should You Expect?

So you’re planning for college, or just looking, and want to know how big the beds are going to be. I was in the same position as you, so I did some research in order to figure it out:

What size are college dorm beds? 80% of beds provided in standard college dorms are a twin XL (80″ long x 38″ wide). The other 20% are a standard or custom version of a twin mattress that measure 74″ – 77″ long and 36″ – 38″ wide. Upgraded or private dorm rooms are more likely to offer a full sized mattress (75″ long x 54″ wide).

In addition to the bed sizing, I’ve provided details on how I got this data, and some helpful tips on buying for your first college dorm bed.

How Bigs Are College Dorm Mattresses?

In order to figure out how large college dorm mattresses are (on average) I did a study of the beds offered in college dorms across the 10 largest universities in the United States.

I found that 80% of colleges/universities offer a twin XL in the majority of their dorms. For the other 20%, they offer a “special” version of a twin mattress that deviates slightly from the standard twin mattress dimensions. On average, the primary twin or twin XL mattress were 6-8″ in depth. Nearly all universities have a small number of special dorms, whether “upgraded” or private, that offer larger bed sizing. These were typically full sized beds, and in one case, a queen size bed.

If you are unsure what size to purchase for your dorm, be sure to check with your student housing or check your move-in literature which will tell you the exact size of what mattresses your dorm will have.

Below you can find the results of the research I did. As a reference point, the average size of a twin bed is 75″ long x 38″ wide. A twin XL usually adds 5″ to the end and makes the dimensions 80″ long x 38″ wide.


Primary Bed Type

Primary Mattress Size

Primary Mattress Depth

Other Bed Types
Texas A&M UniversityTwin (Custom)77″ x 36″8″Some dorms/private rooms have Full Beds
University of Central FloridaTwin XL80″ x 38″Not SpecifiedSome dorms/private rooms have Full/Queen Beds
Ohio State UniversityTwin XL80″ x 38″Not SpecifiedSome dorms/private rooms have Queen Beds
Florida International UniversityTwin (Custom)74″ x 36″6″Not Specified
University of FloridaTwin XL80″ x 38″Not SpecifiedSome dorms/private rooms have full XL
University of MinnesotaTwin XL80″ x 38″Not SpecifiedSome dorms are restricted to regular twin or full size
University of Texas at AustinTwin XL80″ x 38″Not SpecifiedNot Specified
Arizona State UniversityTwin XL80″ x 38″Not SpecifiedSome dorms are restricted to regular twin or full size
Georgia State University
Twin XL

80″ x 38″
Not Specified
Not Specified
Univesity of South Florida
Twin XL

80″ x 38″
Not Specified
Not Specified

Can I Bring My Own Mattress to My Dorm?

In nearly all cases, universities will not allow for you to bring your own bed. This is because a college dorm is usually a small, limited space, and all of the furniture is configured to fit the provided bedding size. Also, if you have a roommate, it’s not fair to bring a larger mattress and take up more than your fair share of space.

If you want to bring your own mattress, and it’s the same size of the college dorm bed, you will want to inquire with the student housing department. Unfortunately, they will likely turn it down as they will not have the space for all of the potential excess mattresses. If you’re worried about cleanliness, which is a very valid concern, you should consider purchasing a mattress protector. Click here to see our recommendation on what to buy from Amazon.

Do I have to Buy Special Sheets for College Dorm Beds?

When I looked through all of the dorm bedding sizes for the top 10 universities, I found something interesting. In some cases, the university will actually provide sheets with the bed. However, I totally understand those who want to purchase their own sheets, if it’s an option.

When purchasing sheets for your dorm room, it’s important that you buy sheets that are made for the dimensions of the bed. In the case of special sized mattresses, it’s better to purchase a little larger as you can always tuck more under your mattress.

For those who are buying sheets for a twin XL mattress, it’s important to purchase twin XL sized sheets. If you can’t afford new sheets, you can get by with twin sheets for an XL mattress, but it will likely be an annoyance more than anything. For a comforter or duvet, you can truthfully purchase either, but I’d still recommend purchasing to fit the size of the bed.

Are College Dorm Mattresses Comfortable?

College students generally agree that dorm mattresses aren’t comfortable on their own. Universities will order mass quantities at one time and usually purchase the bare minimum in order to keep costs down. In order to make mattresses more comfortable, I recommend buying a mattress topper.

We did a review earlier this year on the top 3 mattress toppers, and all the details behind them. You can check them out via our recommended products page. You will end up spending a ton of time in your room, and likely sitting or laying in bed, so it’s important to be sure that you make it as comfortable as possible. Remember, sleep will help a ton with academic performance!

How Are College Dorm Beds Setup?

There are two primary ways that college dorm beds are setup, being lofted or non-lofted. A lofted bed is one that is raised, in order to accommodate the use of space underneath the bed. Think back to the era of bunk beds, but imagine the bottom bed is gone and the top bed is still there. This will allow for a student to put a desk, futon, or storage underneath the top bed.

For beds that aren’t lofted, you may find that you still have some built-in storage in the frame of the bed. This is convenient for storing clothes or any other personal items.

We hope that we answered your questions around college dorm beds. Be sure to check out our article about how to prepare for college dorm move-in.

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