Sleep is one of the most important things the human body can do. A good night's sleep leaves you refreshed and happy, where a bad night's sleep quickly wears a person out. We want to be getting the best sleep possible, all the time.
While we may all love spending time with friends and family, more than a few of us dread the discomfort that comes with an overnight trip. The odd sleeping angles necessitated by a terrible sofa bed can leave you waking up more tired than when you went to sleep. If you like having guests over, you want to provide them with a night's sleep that will keep them coming back.
Futons might have a bit of a bad reputation as dorm room furniture, but that doesn’t mean they have to be uncomfortable. A good futon works as both a bed and a sofa, and is comfortable for sleeping and sitting. They even work for regular usage, and can replace a clunky bed in a small apartment.
OUR TOP PICK
If you’ve never bought a futon before you may be surprised by the range of attractive designs around. The Ivana sofa by DHP stands at the top of the pack, with an exceptional design that works perfectly with function. This is a futon you want to have in your house. That it can be used as a bed is just a bonus.
The split back cushion of the Ivana is perfect as it allows you to use the sofa in multiple ways. Whether that’s for sitting, lounging, or sleeping - the cushion moves as you want it to. Wonderful for small homes that don’t have space for multiple items of furniture.
The comfort level is generally good, although you may want to supplement it with a few cushions. Luckily, the sleek design begs for embellishment. The arms make it extra comfortable for sitting, but can be frustrating for sleeping. It’s 81.5” long overall, and 73” long for sleeping (with a width of 44”).
The velvet fabric isn’t the most traditional of futon fabrics, but it does lend the Ivana an extra stylish edge. The tapered wooden legs finish the sofa beautifully, and are padded underneath to prevent scratches. It’s also part of a set. So if you like your furniture matching, this is the eye-catching centerpiece of the wider Ivana range.
- Design - The tufted cushions, elegant arms, and wooden base combine to make an attractive futon with a luxurious vintage look.
- Easy assembly - The Ivana can be assembled quickly, even by DIY newcomers.
- Easy delivery - DHP deliver in one box, for a fuss-free and uncomplicated process.
- Frame position - The position of the hard frame means this futon could get uncomfortable after prolonged use as a bed.
The words compact and multi-functional rarely signal elegance, but the Novogratz Tallulah is overflowing with all three qualities. From the rounded lines to the sloping wooden legs, this is a functional futon that you’ll be excited to have in your home.
Encased in the soft velvet outer layer is high-density foam and memory foam, to give an extra layer of comfort. The split back cushion allows you to recline in luxury. The Tallulah can be used for sitting, sleeping, and lounging.
For sleeping, the futon is 73” long (83” total). This makes it comfortable for the average person to sleep on, although taller guests may feel a little confined. The memory foam softens out the harder mattress of a futon, allowing you to relax better.
The Tallulah comes in a fairly wide color range, all of which work well with the luxury silhouette. The button details are a really nice touch, as they emphasize the vintage aspects of the design. People often mistakenly assume futons are plain, but the Tallulah is full of flair. It can easily become the focus of a room, without overwhelming a small space.
If you’ve found your design aspirations have been hampered by a lack of space, then look no further than the Tallulah.
- Easy assemble - The Tallulah can be assembled by almost anyone, and Novogratz provide a helpful video to show just how easily.
- Design - Everything from the splayed legs to the velvet finish has been chosen with an impeccable eye for design.
- One box delivery - It’s shipped to your door in just one box.
Foam - The memory foam description might let a few people down, as the futon mattress is thinner than traditional memory foam bedding.
For a small space and a small budget, you can’t go far wrong with the DHP Emily Futon. The design is basic, whilst remaining stylish, and it’s multi-functional. Perfect for even tiny living spaces!
Without any arms, the Emily is perhaps not the most comfortable seating option available. However, it does come with a split back, allowing you to sit, recline, or lie down, as the moment calls for. It is only 71” long, which is slightly smaller for a futon. However, without the arms there’s no wasted space.
Despite the simplicity, this is still an attractive futon. The chrome legs give it a splash of dazzle, and help it fit onto the modern home. There are multiple colors and fabrics to choose from, from faux leather to velvet. This takes it a step above some other budget options, which don’t allow for customization.
The Emily is fairly firm, but the addition of a mattress topper will add some softness. Without any arms there’s less confinement as well.
Living in a small space, it can be difficult to invite guests over. DHP’s Emily futon slides easily into corners, is comfortable for sitting and reclining, and the lifted chrome frame provides an additional storage space. You don’t have to compromise on guests, and they’ll be impressed with how attractive your futon is.
- Fabric range - There are multiple colors and textures available, something to suit every home.
- Low profile - A modern design that’s both attractive and functional.
- Part of a set - If you want matching furniture, the Emily is just one item in a wide set.
- 71” length - This is a slightly shorter futon. Great for small spaces, not so good for sleeping.
There are a few features that set the Milemont apart from other futon sofas. The first is the reclining armrests. This is a clever piece of design for an already multifunctional futon. They can be down for lounging, up for sitting, and even used to hold pillows. Armrests are difficult on futons, as they aid sitting but hinder sleeping. Milemont have neatly navigated that particular problem.
The second feature is the memory foam. Constructed using 2.5 inch memory foam to provide better support, this is more comfortable than the average futon.
The major issue is that the Milemont comes in a very limited design. Other than black faux-leather, there are no fabric choices. The tufted seat and back gives it a pleasantly vintage appeal, but it won’t match every room.
This futon is on the smaller side, at only 70” long, and with a reclined width of 41.5”. This is a pro or a con, depending on your space. If you have limited room, then the Milemont provides a comfortable and functional piece of furniture. However, guests may find the size restrictive.
With clean lines and chrome legs, the modern features of the Milemont are reflected in the design. The reclining armrests could have become a gimmick, but instead they’re a real feature. However, the Milemont is a futon to fill a space, rather than a sofa you design a room around.
- Retractable armrests - This added bonus makes the Milemont multifunction more comfortable. Armrests can be up for sitting, and down for sleeping, or however you desire.
- Memory foam - The memory foam padding molds the futon to your body, for a more comfortable experience.
- Easy assembly - This can be out together in minutes, simply by attaching the legs.
- Limited design - The Milemont has only one fabric option, which won’t be right for everyone.
Despite the fact that more and more people are living in apartments, it can still be difficult to find stylish multifunctional furniture that matches. The Brittany range has this covered. The futon is just one part of a large collection, all designed with a boutique look.
There’s much to be said for the look of the Brittany. The rounded edges soften the design, and the wide track arms create a welcoming feel. The slanted oak color legs carry the elegance across the furniture. With a linen finish, available in multiple colors, it’s certainly a stylish futon.
Linen isn’t just attractive, it also cleans easily. For a small space, this is a surprising blessing. An item such as a futon needs to adapt to multiple uses. This may mean being a sofa, a bed, and sometimes a place to eat. With a linen finish, you don’t have to worry about your futon getting marked by general wear and tear.
The Brittany has a split back design, which allows the cushions to be reclined and laid flat. This is another area where you can see how closely design has been considered. The Brittany will easily fit into almost any living space, and can be either the center of attention or a stylish extra.
- Linen covering - Easy to clean, stylish, and comes in a range of colors. This will work for almost any home.
- Split back design - It can be used to recline, sit, or sleep.
- Part of a range - If you like to match your furniture but don’t have much room, the Brittany means you don’t have to compromise.
- Sturdy frame - This does mean your futon will hold up to use, but a sturdier frame is harder to sleep on.
Best Futon Sofa Bed Buying Guide
Futons are often bought to fit small spaces, so the dimensions are incredibly important. The width, length, and even height, all play a part in how the futon fits in a room.
The majority of futons will come with two dimensions for width. This is seating width, with the back cushions up, and sleeping width, with the back cushions down. This will also lead to two heights.
Futons with armrests will also have two lengths: the overall length and the sleeping length. Overall length measures the futon from end to end. Sleeping length is the length of the cushions without the armrests. This will be smaller. When deciding how to fit the futon into a room, you must consider the overall length.
Also, be aware of the weight limit. This is often somewhere around 600 pounds.
Mattress and cushions
We want different experiences from sleeping and sitting. When we sit, we often desire something incredibly soft, that we can sink into. For sleeping, we need something firmer, for support throughout the night.
Before buying a futon you absolutely must be aware that the sleeping experience will be different. Futons are designed to be lightweight, and they were originally intended to be folded up between usage. If you’re used to regularly sleeping on a thick, Western-style, mattress, then a futon may initially be a surprise.
Before purchasing your futon, check to see what materials the cushions are padded with. For some it may be memory foam, and for others it may be a firmer foam. Look for thickness as well. For the most comfortable experience, you want it to be a good few inches thick. Some futons use springs in their cushions, which give a different sleeping experience. These are responsive to movement, but can seem firm.
If you intend to regularly sleep on your futon sofa, it is worth purchasing a futon mattress. This will be a lightweight layer that provides extra protection. Alternatively, a mattress protector can be used for some padding.
Fabric and Finish
Futons are no longer limited options for budget living. Nowadays, they come in a range of fabrics and finishes. The ideal fabric for a futon is breathable and durable, to withstand sitting and sleeping.
However, you also want a design that will match your living space. Many futons now come in a range of colors and finishes. This allows you to make a choice that matches your home. A futon doesn’t have to be a second-rate choice, it can be a stand-out design that enhances your decoration.
Futon frames are generally made out of wood or metal. With a futon, the frame is often exposed in areas (particularly legs) This is part of what makes it lightweight and adaptable. For this reason, you may want to pay more to get a frame that works with your other furniture.
Metal frames are generally cheaper, but are less adaptable. A cheap metal frame might not have a great finish. This leads to them standing out, and not in a good way.
Wooden frames are a bit more expensive, but do tend to look better. The wooden slats also provide better support, as they’re less rigid.
The frame supports the hinged movement of the futon. It’s better to pay more to get a futon that will continue to fold even after consistent usage.
The design of the futon affects not only how it looks in the home, but how it adapts for comfort and usage. Important things to look for include the backrest and armrests.
The backrest of a futon may be bi-fold or even tri-fold. The majority are bi-fold, where the back cushion is split down the middle. A tri-fold futon will have two splits, and three areas that can be folded.
The armrest is a divisive part of a futon. A futon functions better as a seat with an armrest, but better as a bed without them. Which you choose will likely rely on personal preference. However, those without an armrest fit better in smaller spaces.
A final design feature to look for is the positioning of the backrest. While the backrest of a futon will generally be able to fully recline and sit upright, many also have an in between option. This partial recline is good for lounging, especially for long evenings in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better, futon or sofa bed?
In general, sofa beds are the more comfortable option. The design allows for a deeper mattress, which many prefer for both sleeping and sitting.
Futons are generally smaller, so better designed for limited spaces. They also tend to look more modern and streamlined. Some people prefer the firmer mattress of a futon.
Is it OK to sleep on a futon every night?
It is OK to sleep on a futon every night, but you should invest in a high quality futon if that’s your intention. Futon mattresses are thinner, for better breathability and transport. Some find this uncomfortable.
A good futon mattress will offer both support and comfort, but won’t be as plush as a full-size mattress.