By Camilla Swart

There is nothing more uncomfortable than sleeping on a bed with the incorrect size fitted sheet and/or duvet cover!  Unfortunately, most of us have experienced this.

This situation can befall anyone who has bought bed linen without really knowing their bed/mattress size or has bought a ‘bargain’ which shrank more than anticipated after laundering.

The following guidelines apply –

  • Know your bed sizes – you will need a notebook (or something to record sizes), a tape-measure (at least a 3m retractable), and a little time
  • Measure the width of the mattress first – not at the ends, rather across the middle of the bed. Note the Width
  • Measure the length of the mattress – also in the middle of the length. Note the Length
  • Measure the height (depth/thickness) – at the ends and in the middle. Note the Depth

All bedding measurements are expressed as Width x Length x Depth (where applicable).

Fitted sheets – this is where the depth/height of the mattress is most important.  The product you buy should indicate the depth of the corners of the fitted sheet.  In the past most mattresses were a standard 25-30cm.


However, current mattress depths vary, and it is essential to cover the depth of the mattress with the fitted sheet. At Linen Drawer we like to have a ‘tuck in’ under the mattress on the fitted sheet of between 3-5cm.  This ensures that the fitted sheet fits snugly and does not ‘creep’ up the sides. Linen Drawer products have shrinkage added so that after laundering the product fits properly and does not distort on the mattress.

For purposes of demonstration, I will use a Queen standard mattress (152 x 190cm x 30cm) to calculate the sizes.

Flat sheets – here there are several factors to consider.  What is the depth of the mattress? Do you tuck in your sheets all round or only at the bottom?  How big a turn down do you like at the top of the bed?

top sheet

Your flat sheet should cover the following – depth, width, and length of mattress plus tuck in. A ‘normal’ turn down is 20cm and a comfortable tuck in is 15cm so a mattress of 152/190/30cm (standard Queen size) will need a flat sheet of 242 x 255cm minimum size.

The calculation is as follows:

  • Width 152cm + 30cm + 30cm (mattress depth on 2 sides) +15cm +15cm (tuck in on 2 sides) = 242cm
  • Length 190cm + 30cm mattress depth + 15cm (tuck in) + 20cm (turn down at top) = 255cm

Linen Drawer offers you a 250 x 270cm sized sheet which ensures enough tuck in and ample turn down at the top. 

Duvet inners – you want to cover the mattress plus about 5cm on either side of the mattress.

The calculation for a standard Queen duvet will be:

  • Width 152cm + 30cm + 30cm (mattress depth on 2 sides) + 5cm + 5cm (duvet hanging over mattress on 2 sides) = 222cm
  • Length 180cm + 30cm (mattress depth) + 5cm = 215cm Note – when placing a duvet onto the bed it is common practise that it is positioned about 15-20cm from the top of the bed, so that the flat sheet can turn down over it, and the pillows have a designated space of their                own.

The minimum size of a Queen duvet should then be 222 x 205cm (taken 20cm from length for turn down purposes). As most duvets come in round sizes – therefore a size 230 x 200cm duvet inner will be adequate to cover a mattress depth of 30cm.


Linen Drawer offers duvet covers that are standard sizes to fit standard duvet inners in all the sizes through Single to Super King.

Have a look at the bed linen size chart that Linen Drawer has drawn up to help you.  Remember it is most important to know the size of your mattress – width, length, and depth.

Should you require any special sizes, for various reasons – such as having a very high/deep mattress, or a special sized bed/mattress, please contact us at We would be happy to customise your bed linen for optimum comfort!