How to choose a futon bed – Complete Buyer’s Guide

Futon mattress sofa

If you ever tried to buy a futon bed, you might get confused about how to choose a futon or sofa bed. Let’s have a look at the problem together to find an optimal solution for you.

Why do you need a futon?

Why are futons so extraordinary?

Imagine the following situation; I bet it won’t be hard: It’s Holiday Season, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Your loved ones are all in your house. The feeling is excellent, and you can’t compare it to anything else. But you should put everybody in bed after a long day. You might have some air mattresses around, but they take up a lot of space and are very complicated to put away. 

Futons are very easily convertible from a piece of sitting furniture to a bed. You can place them in your study, in your guest room as an extra sleeping place, or even in the kid’s playing room. Today there is a wide range of futons on the market. There are several designs and materials available to decorate any room with them. The price range is quite big, so everyone can find one futon that fits all their needs.

Futons are:

  • Functional – instead of having an extra mattress somewhere hidden in your house, you can have a piece of furniture that looks great and can be used every day for lounging with friends and family.
  • Versatile – they look great in several rooms in your house. Place them in the study, in the family room, in the kid’s playing room, or to the finished basement you can’t make a mistake
  • Comfortable – however, they can’t offer the same what a great mattress of a bed can, but your friends will be grateful if they can skip the neck pain what sleeping on the floor can cause to them. 

A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year.” – Polish Proverb

Futon bed, Sofa bed, Convertible Sofa bed

What is what, and what is the difference between them?

If you already tried to find a futon before, you might get confused with name variations. Sellers are inconsistent, too, in the case of these terms. Try to make it clear:

The sleeping mattress of a futon bed is used as a seat cushion also. When it is in sofa form, you sit on the same mattress, which you will sleep on when you turn it into a bed. A slipcover can be used to protect your futon mattress. In the sitting position, the futon can look like a sofa. You can decorate it with throw pillows, blankets. However, the support structure is visible. Futons usually are cheaper than sofas, but the price may vary on the material (wood or metal) and design. 

The sofa bed has a separate seat cushion used as a couch, and the sleeping mattress is hidden in the structure. The sofa bed in the sitting position looks like just a traditional couch. Sofas usually have armrests and thick cushions for comfort. Turning them into a bed is a bit more complicated but still doesn’t need much effort.

Recently there have been new models on the market called convertible sofa beds. They can be called futons because they use the same mattress for sleeping and sitting, just like a futon. But they look like much more than a sofa bed. 

Sleep fact

Futon (布団) is the Japanese traditional style of bedding.

A complete futon set consists of a mattress (敷き布団, shikibuton, lit. “spreading futon”) and a duvet (掛け布団, kakebuton, lit. “covering futon”). Both elements of a futon bedding set are pliable enough to be aired, folded, and stored away in a large closet (押入れ, oshiire) during the day, allowing the room to serve for purposes other than as a bedroom. (From Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia – “Futon)

Futon vs. Sofa Bed

Comparison between futons and sofa beds

Make a bit of comparison between futons and sofa beds. I didn’t include the convertible sofa bed on the table because I consider their futon. 

Sofa bedFuton bed
More expensiveIt can fit easily in any budget
Nicer look, decorate your room More comfortable
Heavier than futonLightweight, easy to move
The sleeping area is protectedLooks cheaper


If you liked this post, you could access its information; the infographic below contains all the practical info.

Clarify your needs before buying

Consider all potential aspects carefully.

If you already know in which room you will place the futon, measure the available space carefully. If there are more possible locations in your house where you might use it, measure the smallest place. Futons are commonly available in twin, full, and queen sizes. King-size futons are also available but can be harder to find.

Consider the material. The most common material for a futon is wood or metal. Metal is usually cheaper and can look great if it fits your design. Wood looks better in a traditional environment.

Choose the futon’s frame model. You can choose between a bi-fold and lounger frame. A lounger is folded twice and uses the width of the mattress as the couch. A bi-fold is folded once are using the length of the mattress as the couch, providing a seating room usually 2 people. 

Choose mattress type. Very cheap futon mattresses can be so thin that they will not be very comfortable at all. Different materials provide a difference in comfort too. 

  • Cotton and foam mattresses are lightweight and keep they form quite well, not sagging.
  • Cotton-polyester combination is even lighter. They are flexible and soft.
  • Cotton-wool is for you if you are looking for a super soft solution, but they are not very flexible.
  • Innerspring models are much more like traditional mattresses and giving higher comfort, but they are heavier. 

If it is possible, consider a washable mattress cover to protect your investment. If you are in love with a particular model, but the cover is not washable, don’t worry; you can use a slipcover anytime.

I hope you are ready to choose the futon or sofa bed that fits your needs with this guide. To make the purchase even more comfortable, check out the selection of the best futons of 2021.

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