California King Mattress, the Choice of Celebrities, Athletes & Pop Stars

California King Mattress, the Choice of Celebrities, Athletes & Pop Stars

California dreamin’ is within reach when you opt for a royally sized mattress

There’s only one thing better than a spacious king-sized bed–an even bigger bed. A California King mattress ups the King by being 4 inches longer, making it the longest mattress–a whopping 84” long–you can get without going the custom-made route. It’s a favorite among professional athletes, especially basketball players, and celebrities alike.

You may recall that superstar Rihanna sang about her California King in her 2011 hit, “California King Bed.” She lamented, “In this California King bed, we’re 10,000 miles apart.” That’s not true. Sleepers can stretch out over 72” in length, but twosomes will be a bit closer widthwise since a California King is 4” narrower than a regular king mattress (sometimes called an Eastern King). But let’s not the facts get in the way of a catchy song…

For tall types with big bedrooms to fill, a California King mattress is an ideal choice. You can’t be too shocked when you learn that its origins can be traced back to California–but how did it all begin? One tale says that it was stars from the silver screen of the 1920’s and 1930’s, demanding more space for all that glamorous lounging in silk pajamas. While reading scripts in bed with an assistant to pour martinis, of course.

Others say the sinful 1960’s were to blame. A Los Angeles-based furniture company started making them at the request of its celebrity clientele who wanted bragging rights for owning the biggest bed on the market. Its success led to it being rolled out to a mass market.

There’s also a shakily sourced story about a man named David Bergeson from Concord, Calif. He allegedly had unusually long legs that dangled off the end of a regular king. He also had equally unusually short arms that made it difficult for him to reach over to snuggle his wife. Clearly something had to be done so he asked a bed maker to create something that would support and strengthen his marriage.

Whatever anecdote you’d like to buy into is up to you. We can tell you with certainty that California King mattresses have always had a sexy image. They make regular appearances in racy romantic novels, which might have fanned the flames of passion for the giant beds.

If you’d like to have this sexy bit of west-coast royalty in your own home, here’s what you should know before you buy.

6 things to know before you buy a California King mattress


  1. Make sure you can get it into your house. Want to see homeowners cry? Watch them as the truck disappears with their brand new California King mattress because the delivery guys couldn’t twist and turn it to make it fit up the stairs and into their bedroom. Measure, measure, measure–doors, entryways and staircases to ensure there’s ample room.
  2. Check to see if you’ve got the real estate to accommodate one. A California King may look good in theory, but you’ll have to measure floor space You’ll need at least 2 feet of space on all 3 sides of your mattress, so that you can walk around it easily and change sheets without whacking your elbows on the wall. If the shape of the room is longer than it is wide, a California King could work since it is not as wide as a regular king.
  3. Be prepared to make a ‘split’ decision. Let’s say it’s a good news/bad news scenario and your California King mattress can be squished and bent to get into your house, but the box spring can’t because of its rigid nature. You may be able to order a split box spring, which has two parts to it and makes it easily to maneuver.
  4. Go sheet hunting before your bed arrives. Your local big-box store may not stock sheets that will suit this size of mattress. A better bet is to go to a specialty linens store or source them online.
  5. Choose the right headboard. No news flash here, but a California King is big, so you’ll need to think about getting a headboard of a suitable scale. If it’s too flimsy and small, it will look weirdly out of place. Go big, go bold and make it the centerpiece of your bedroom by commanding attention with a great design. Think upholstered, think wide wood planks or a one solid piece. This isn’t the time to be dainty.
  6. Understand the value of size. A California King isn’t the cheapest option to furnish your bedroom. A big bed naturally carries a larger price tag. It’s not the type of bed you’d put into a spare bedroom–unless you’re already sleeping on one. Make sure you’ve got money in your budget to buy sheets, pillows, duvets and blankets, which will all cost more.