The most common size for pillows for sleeping in the UK typically measure 20×30 inches. They are rectangular shaped and are designed to be fitted to single and double beds respectively. Standard pillows can be shallow so multiple can be stacked on top of each other to meet the sleeper’s needs, however, some pillows can be adjusted to have more or less filling, raising or decreasing their loft (height or depth), meaning you do not have to purchase different pillows to find the right ones.
However, if you find that standard pillows do not fit your bed or meet your needs, we have outlined some alternative pillow types widely available in the UK below – such as pillows for double beds and larger – so you can find the right type for you.
What are the most common pillow sizes and types in the UK?
As well as standard pillows, you can find pillows that better fit specific bed sizes, and even pillows with unique sizes, such as v-shaped pillows which are good for posture, or body pillows that also come with a number of benefits.
Below, we have highlighted the most common pillows in the UK in size order, their measurements and their functions:
Pillows for children
Children grow quickly as they move through the important early developmental stages of their lives. Therefore, they grow out of their bedding quickly. Cots and cot beds require different mattress sizes:
- A standard cot mattress measures 120x60cm
- A cot bed mattress measures 140x70cm
As your child grows from a toddler, you may want to move them to a single or small single bed:
- A small single mattress measures 190x75cm
- A single mattress measures 190x90cm
As you buy new beds and mattresses for your child, you will need to make sure you choose the right pillow sizes for them to ensure they can sleep with good posture and are comfortable, but that they are also safe and avoid suffocating under a pillow too large for them:
- The typical size for a child’s pillow in the UK is 60x40cm
Child pillows are slightly smaller than standard pillows and will fit better onto the smaller mattress sizes where a standard pillow might hang over the sides or not fit into a cot or bed with raised sides. Also, for younger children; you should avoid giving babies under the age of two pillows and a duvet. However, even for toddlers, an adult-size pillow may be too heavy for them, presenting the risk of them becoming trapped under it as they move around at night. With that in mind, a standard pillow may still be better for a standard single bed as it will fit the mattress’s width better than a smaller child pillow. Consider trying a child pillow first and monitoring how your child adapts to it, and whether they may be more comfortable with a full-sized standard pillow.
Standard pillows fit best on single and double beds.
- A single bed mattress measures 190x90cm
- A double bed mattress measures 190x135cm
On a typical single mattress, one standard pillow will match the mattress width, leaving a small amount of space on either side for movement in the night. On a double bed, two standard pillows placed size-by-size will just about match the mattress width.
- A standard pillow measures 75x50cm
Standard pillows are the most common for UK sleepers, meaning they are the most versatile. Standard pillows come in many different materials, with synthetic fillings and natural feather fillings, or find feather and down pillows for balance. If you are looking for a pillow that offers more support for your neck as you often sleep on your sides, you may want to invest in a pillow with more loft (height), while back-sleepers may find more comfort in a memory foam pillow. There are even some types of pillows that allow you to easily add and remove filling to really customise the loft for maximum comfort.
One limitation of standard pillows arises when shopping for three-quarter mattresses. This is because two standard pillows placed side-by-side will hang over the edges of the bed, while a single standard pillow can leave too much space on either side.
- A three-quarter mattress measures 190x120cm
For three-quarter beds, alternative pillow shapes or a mix of pillows and cushions can help to alleviate this issue. You should experiment with different sizes to decide what you feel the most comfortable with, as every sleeper is different, and in the UK there is no one ideal pillow size designed specifically with three-quarter beds in mind.
King-size and queen-size pillows
A king-size mattress is both longer and wider than a standard double bed mattress.
- A king-size mattress measures 200x150cm
To meet this extra comfort, you should make sure you buy the appropriate pillows for your bed. King-size pillows are larger than standard pillows and are designed specifically for their mattress counterpart. Two king-size pillows can be placed side-by-side, performing the same role for the king-size bed as standard pillows do for double beds, leaving a small amount of space on either side.
- A king-size pillow measures 90x50xm
King-size pillows are also ideal for super king mattresses; the only difference between king and super king mattresses is that they extend longer.
For a queen-size bed – the largest that is typically available in the UK, you might think that a queen-size pillow is best. However, queen pillows in the UK are actually smaller than king pillows.
- A queen-size mattress measures 200x160cm
- A queen-size pillow measures 76x51cm
Sleepers who move around more at night may want to choose queen-size pillows for the extra space they offer, but king-size pillows ultimately fit queen mattresses better.
Also known as Euro pillows, square pillows are usually shorter than standard pillows but they provide more depth. They usually perform a decorative role, like cushions, but are typically more supportive, meaning they can be slept on. This can be better for front-sleepers and those with three-quarter or longer mattresses. Square pillows allow a sleeper to lay further up the pillow.
- A square pillow measures 65x65cm
V-shaped pillows are great for back-sleepers – especially those who struggle with back or neck pain, pregnant sleepers, and those who want to limit how much they move around at night. V-shaped pillows are ideal for three-quarter mattresses and larger and can be placed on top of other pillows to help prop a sleeper up.
- A v-shaped pillow measures 74x74x35cm
Body pillows are ideal for those going through pregnancy as they allow a sleeper to better align their body and improve their posture during a time when this may be difficult. Body pillows are intended to be used vertically and they are just shorter than the height of the average UK adult, meaning they are suitable for any type of bed the size of a single or larger.
- A body pillow measures 45x150cm
Pick the right pillowcases
When shopping for new pillows, you must also make sure you choose appropriate pillowcases – getting this wrong can have the opposite effect on your comfort! On our site, you can find pillowcases to match your fresh new pillows, with all sorts of styles and colours to fit any bedroom aesthetic.
How to choose the right pillow for you
Every sleeper is different and has different needs, meaning it can be difficult to find the right pillows for you. While there are pillows ideal for back, front and side sleepers you may find that you move around a lot in the night and are unsure which to go for. The best way to find out what pillow size and shape is best for you is to try different ones. At Linens Limited, we offer a range of affordable pillows with different filling options, meaning you are sure to find a great quality pillow that is perfect for your unique sleep needs.
Visit our pillow store today to choose the right pillow for you and your bed, or for your family.