Clever sleep solution or mattress mistake?
March 7, 2011 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Is my idea to turn a couple of twin mattresses into a king-sized bed something I'm going to regret?

My SO and I currently have a full-sized (double) bed. We're neither of us small people, both tend to sprawl out when sleeping, and have a couple of cats that feel entitled to some of the bed space as well. So, I'd like to move us up to a king-size, and the bedroom itself has the space for that. The difficulty is that there's no way we're going to get a king-sized mattress or box spring up the stairs and around the turn on the landing. Even a full size required three or four people and some swearing. It occurs to me that I can move a couple of (long) twin-sized mattresses in with no issue at all. Then I can build and finish the pieces for a platform bed downstairs, move them up and do final assembly upstairs. Then I can strap the two twins together into one with one of the commercially available kits made just for that purpose, throw a memory foam pad over the whole affair, and and I have something that might pass for a king-sized. Ta da.

So, I'm pretty sure that this mechanically works OK. (And thanks to previous AskMe's in that regard, BTW) Also I'm sure it would produce a sleeping space that would be fine for a couple of nights. My concern is that it might not be comfortable enough to voluntarily choose for our long-term primary sleeping space. Would it get uncomfortable night after night? After a month of use, would the joint between the two mattresses collapse into an un-maskable dip? I'd love to ask an actual mattress specialist, but I've no doubt the answer I'd get would have more to do with the store's bottom line and sales policies than with our comfortable nights.

Anyone out there have any experience sleeping on anything like this, or any other insights to offer?
posted by tyllwin to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
King-sized beds typically use two twin box springs. Would you be able to get the box springs up there?

Of course that leaves you with a king-sized mattress or your solution of the two twin mattresses. I don't know about the longevity/comfort of the two twin mattresses. However, if I were you, when looking to purchase a mattress, I'd try to work out with the sales associate some sort of agreement that you may not be able to get the king mattress up the stairs and around the corner. And if that's the case, could you swap it out for the two twin mattresses - at no additional cost/penalty. I'd at least give it a try to get the king-sized mattress up there.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:28 AM on March 7, 2011

Alternatively, you could buy a memory foam mattress, and bring it up the steps. They are non-rigid, so it should be much easier to get around corners and such. Added bonus: Most comfortable mattress ever!
posted by Grither at 7:28 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are special straps you can get to join to twin mattresses together into a king. For example, this. I've slept on a king bed made this way for a few nights, and I thought it was fine. I don't know about long-term use.
posted by medusa at 7:29 AM on March 7, 2011

Friends of mine have a rental property that has two twin beds in one room, and they advertise that these beds "can be converted into a single king-size bed." Granted, that's just for a few nights at a time, but it speaks to the ease with which this can happen.

I've also seen a sort of foam strip advertised once on a while that is made specifically to cover the gap between two twin mattresses shoved together to make "one king size mattress."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 AM on March 7, 2011

Two twins work fine as long as you have something to bridge the gap. I shoved a blanket in there and then covered the whole thing with a king sized pillow top thing. As long as you are using new mattresses they won't sag anytime soon, and as long as you secure them properly on a frame so they don't slide around, you should be fine.

Also most mattress places deliver and their delivery guys are really good at getting things up stairs. You'd be shocked. I'd go for the king and make installation their problem.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:30 AM on March 7, 2011

My sister slept on a King bed made up of 2 Twins for years and was very happy with it. The only thing she did do make it more comfortable in the "gap" in the middle was put a King size foam pad over the bed, under the sheet.
posted by prettymightyflighty at 7:33 AM on March 7, 2011

As an FYI, "king sized" box springs are really just two separate twin box springs so it would be easier to get upstairs than even the full size box spring was. The delivery guys managed to get a king size mattress up my stairs with a 180 degree turn at the landing (that's why I paid them, since getting our old queen mattress up there was a pain in the arse). If you're going to be paying money for new mattresses, it will probably be worth it to buy a king size mattress, the two twin box springs and pay the professionals to do the heavy lifting (and swearing) for you.

I have done the two twin mattresses pushed together (in college, so YMMV with a proper frame, good quality mattress, etc, etc) before. It was fine, but there's a definite seam and the propensity for that seam to turn into a canyon that will engulf unsuspecting sleepers and unaware pillows. I'm going to hazard a guess that your setup will work better, but you might still notice the seam down the middle, even under the pad. That said, rarely does the exact middle of my bed get slept on by the two people that regularly sleep in it, so it might not matter much.

Sum up: it will probably be fine, but you'll almost certainly get a better mattress (and your money's worth) if you buy a king size and pay someone to deliver it.
posted by radioaction at 7:34 AM on March 7, 2011

It will work fine. We have that arrangement. As mentioned above, with a good down pillow top thingie and new mattresses, you probably won't notice. Eventually (and we're probably talking years here if the mattresses are halfway decent to begin with) , as the mattresses start to sag a bit, you'll notice the ridge in the middle, you'll work around it, but it will probably mean that nobody sleeps in the middle and cuddle time is reduced. but this will be a few years down the road and, if you're like most married couples you won't care. (just kidding... :)
posted by tomswift at 7:38 AM on March 7, 2011

Another thought if your floors (and/or lease) allow it: a king-sized waterbed with lots of baffles. Newer waterbeds don't make waves like the empty bladders of yore. You can get in and out of them without bouncing your partner around. If you live somewhere cold you'll love getting in to a warm, supporting environment; set it to body temperature so it feels right year 'round. Use a thick mattress pad to avoid any incidents caused by your cats' claws.
posted by carmicha at 7:46 AM on March 7, 2011

I sleep on the Ikea equivalent of this, a 200cm-wide "mattress" that is basically two 100cm-wide mattresses in a big, structured bag with a little bit of padding on top (not a big foam pad or anything). I don't notice the gap between the mattresses, as they're packed in pretty tightly. What I really like is that I can rotate the mattresses independently, so the wear pattern is a bit more random than just flipping a single big mattress.
posted by neushoorn at 7:47 AM on March 7, 2011

Cruise ships do it all the time; they literally just push two twins together to make a king when desired, and pull them apart when the room needs two beds. IIRC, they don't even bother with the mattress topper, and just leave people to fall in the crack.

I think youd be fine with the your arrangement as specified, if you're planning on moving them yourselves. But as others have noted, the king sized boxpring will be in two pieces irregardless; those buggers don't bend and there's no way they could get up stairs in any other configuration. The mattress portions do have some flex, and hence are easier to move by someone with experience.
posted by cgg at 7:48 AM on March 7, 2011

This way definitely works! Both of my parents have restless legs (really crazy leg bounces at all hours of the night), and they use this setup to avoid waking each other up when the mattress inevitably bounces under their legs. Through conversations with my mom, it seems to have solved their particular problem, and they can't tell the difference between this and their previous king. She also mentioned that although she cannot feel the crack between the mattresses, the cats seem to be able to and LOVE sleeping in it :)
posted by genekelly'srollerskates at 8:07 AM on March 7, 2011

My folks do this at their cottage - they bought a foam T-shaped bit at the mattress store that helps make the gap more comfortable. You won't want to spend time Right in the middle because the edges of the mattresses make it a little uncomfortable long-term. But it works fine otherwise.

Also, make sure the two twins are the same mattress type. For awhile they were wildly different, and that made the gap more noticeable and less comfortable.
posted by ldthomps at 8:13 AM on March 7, 2011

Possible wrinkle, if you haven't used memory foam before: sleeping on memory foam can be really uncomfortable when it's hot out--for some reason it makes body heat build up a lot.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:13 AM on March 7, 2011

I've never tried it, but FWIW it's fairly common here in the Netherlands. It doesn't sound that strange to me at all.
posted by rubbish bin night at 8:17 AM on March 7, 2011

My girlfriend does this in her college dorm. She has two extra-long twins side by side with a king size mattress cover holding them together. On top of that she has one of those foam mattress toppers and you can't even tell it's two separate beds.
posted by rancidchickn at 8:42 AM on March 7, 2011

There's one more small problem with the memory foam (mattress or toppers). They don't offer enough support to acrobatic couples -- too cushy & encompassing (IMO). If that's an issue, watch your thickness. 1-1.5" may be ok, 3" may not be. And there's always the floor.
posted by Kronur at 8:59 AM on March 7, 2011

This is the setup my husband and I have -- minus any kind of special covering. We just have two twin box springs and twin mattresses resting side by side on a king size bed frame and covered by king size mattress pad and sheets. It works perfectly and the seam in the middle really isn't an issue. We each just naturally gravitate to our own side of the bed anyway.
posted by rhartong at 8:59 AM on March 7, 2011

Cruise ships do it all the time

and it is horribly uncomfortable compared to a real king mattress. Might just be that the cruise ship mattresses have some wear to them. The center seam is very, very obvious.

I also tried this when I was a teen, being a restless sleeper who moves all night long. I thought I'd sleep better on a larger bed with more room to move. It was more comfortable to just sleep on one twin than the two I tried to make into a king mattress; the edges of each mattress were much more stiff than the interiors, so it was like trying to sleep on a wide mattress that had an upright 2x4 embedded in the middle. Again, perhaps it's less comfortable once they have some wear. I don't know how old those mattresses were.
posted by galadriel at 9:07 AM on March 7, 2011

OK, thanks to all of you for the advice!

Based on the collective opinion that professional mattress movers can work seeming miracles, I think I'll first go forward with someplace local and see if they can have their guys look at the situation and make the purchase conditional on their ability to successfully deliver it to the room. If they can't (and I'm hopeful but skeptical), then I'll switch back to the original plan, confident that I'm not being an obvious fool in thinking it should work.
posted by tyllwin at 9:19 AM on March 7, 2011

Oh, I've gotta pimp Keetsa here. Not only are their mattresses eco-friendly, they've got a patented process for compressing mattresses down into smaller containers for easier shipping. If you call them, I'm sure they'll tell you the dimensions of a king size box. You don't need a box spring.

We recently got a Keetsa Cloud (memory foam) and it's a fantastic night's sleep. The box was compressed quite a bit.
posted by mkultra at 9:44 AM on March 7, 2011

My current mattress is a pocket spring mattress (no memory foam) designed to ship rolled up. The length of the roll is the width of the mattress. I brought the thing home easily inside my Yaris, and I'm sure I could have fitted a king size one in there just as well.

I've also separately slept on a setup with a mattress laid straight on wooden slats with no box springs at all, something like this bed base.

Both of these arrangements were perfectly comfortable.
posted by emilyw at 10:45 AM on March 7, 2011

There are kits you can buy that let you do this, or make one yourself.
posted by No Shmoobles at 7:02 PM on March 7, 2011

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