Of all the things that you might have trouble with when you move to Aus, you probably didn’t think it was going to be your bed linen. Getting the correct sheets and duvet covers can be a minefield when you arrive down under.

In the UK, beds tend to come in three sizes: single, double and king – simple enough.

In Australia beds come in Single, Single Long or XL, King Single, Double, Queen, and King.

Want Manchester for your doona?

It’s not only the measurements that will have you stumped when you first start your bedroom shopping in Oz, it’s also the terminology. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Manchester = the broad term for bed linen in Australia, because Manchester used to be the only place Aussies could get it from.
  • Doona = Australian term for a duvet or quilt (no idea about the origins of that one).
  • Bed wrap or bed skirt = valance
  • Sham = Mum has been told that this US term is used in Aus. A pillow sham is an embroidered, often padded, cushion cover. A bed sham is an embroidered cover that is thinner than a duvet, but can lie over the bed or on top of the duvet \ doona \ quilt.

What are the measurements of Austalian mattresses and bed linen?

The following are typical measurements that I’ve found in well known Australian stores. There are bound to be exceptions! For beds, the frame will influence the space you need in a room.

Mattresses in Australia

  • Single 92 cm x 187 cm
  • Single Long 92 cm x 203 cm
  • King Single 106 cm x 203 cm
  • Double Size 137 cm x 187 cm
  • Queen Size 153 cm x 203 cm
  • King Size 183 cm x 203 cm

SOURCE: Forty Winks

Duvets \ Quilts \ Doonas

  • Single 140 cm x 210 cm
  • Double 180 cm x 210 cm
  • Queen 210 cm x 210 cm
  • King 245 cm x 210 cm

For Single Long and King Single beds it’s recommended that you get a double duvet. Super King duvets exist in Australia but aren’t particularly common.

Bed linen \ Manchester measurements in Australia

Flat sheets

  • Single – 195 cm x 260 cm
  • King Single – 200 cm x 274 cm
  • Double 240 cm x 260 cm
  • Queen 255 cm x 260 cm
  • King 285 cm x 260 cm

Fitted sheets

  • Single 91 cm x 193 cm x 40 cm
  • Single Long – 91 cm x 203 cm x 40 cm
  • King Single – 107 cm x 203 cm x 40 cm
  • Double 137 cm x 193 cm x 40 cm
  • Queen 152 cm x 203 cm x 40 cm
  • King 180 cm x 203 cm x 50 cm

Duvet \ Quilt \ Doona covers

  • Single 140 cm x 210 cm
  • Double 180 cm x 210 cm
  • Queen 210 cm x 210 cm
  • King 245 cm x 210 cm

Pillow cases or slips

Standard pillow cases – 48 cm x 74 cm*

*The exception to this is K-mart where pillow cases are 48 cm x 73 cm – is it that one cm saving that allows them to be so cheap?

More about duvets \ quilts \ doonas: have you tried wool?

In the UK we tend to think that a good quality duvet needs to be made from the finest goose down. When we started looking for a duvet in Australia, we realised that feather or down doonas are expensive and they’re not the first product recommended by Aussie sales assistants.

We were convinced by the lady at Adairs to try a wool doona. We got one from the minijumbuk brand. The sales assistant explained the benefits of wool; because it’s naturally breathable, it’s cool during summer and warm during winter.

We’ve been very pleased with our switch to wool, and have since bought the same for the children. Goose down is available, as well as man-made or synthetic materials. We have some great guest duvets that go in the washing machine.

Mum has often thought that when moving to a new country it’s the little things that surprise you, and unexpectedly trip you up; bedding is one of them. I never knew something so seemingly simple could be so complicated, until I tried to buy a new bed and bed linen for my son.

Australian bed and bedding stores

Finally, here are some popular places to buy your bed stuff. If you’ve found some great bed related products since being in Australia (keep it clean and please don’t spam me!) do let us know in the comments below.

Bedstores: Forty Winks, Snooze, Ikea

Bed linen \ Manchester: Adairs, Sheridan, K-Mart

Related articles: A stress-free move to Australia, Australian life readiness test, Ikea in Australia – different country, same Ikea, Renting stuff in Australia – the mini-series.