Do You Need A Mattress With A Futon?

For many people setting up a futon for the first time, it can be hard to know exactly what you need to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.

Futons come in all shapes and sizes and some include small mattresses, while others may just be a frame.

Do you need a mattress with a futon

Ensuring that you are able to use a futon correctly relies on you having a mattress that fits the frame properly to ensure a safe and comfortable night’s sleep, however finding a mattress that works well with your futon can be difficult.

It’s also worth noting that traditional Japanese futons don’t tend to use large folding frames, and are quite different from western-style futons, and as such there can be a lot of confusion about what you do and don’t need.

In this guide, we’re going to look at whether or not you need a mattress, as well as the different types of futons there are, and how you attach a futon mattress to a frame to ensure that it’s as comfortable and secure as possible.

Are There Different Types Of Futons?

There are a few different types of futon to be aware of, aside from the traditional Japanese variant.

For western futons, there are three major archetypes to be aware of, which can affect both the type of mattress used as well as the functionality and convenience of the futon overall.

The first type of futon is bifold, which is the most common form of futon and is usually folded in the middle to work as both a sofa and a bed when unfolded. They are very convenient and can be available in various sizes, from full queen-sized options to smaller more convenient versions.

The next style is the loveseat, which is similar to a bifold but more akin to a low armchair and unfolds into a single-sized bed.

These are perfect for smaller spaces and rooms and can work well in offices or guest rooms to save on space but still allow guests to enjoy a comfortable night sleep, as well as a comfortable seat in the daytime

Finally, there is the tri-fold frame, which is also great for small rooms and spaces, as the mattress and frame fold up into thirds. These are a little more difficult to convert into a bed or chair but are very comfortable and flexible.

Do You Need A Mattress?

Yes, you definitely need a mattress for your futon bed, whether it comes with one included or not. Trying to find a mattress with the proper fit can be difficult, so it’s best to buy one with a mattress included if you can. 

The mattress is important as it adds comfort and cushioning to the uncomfortable bare frame, allowing you to use the futon as both a chair and mattress when it unfolds into the bed format.

Buying a proper mattress is key to ensuring your futon is comfortable, but also convenient, as these mattresses are designed to be able to fold away easily into the chair format or even into storage, as futons are designed to be very flexible and practical for all kinds of situations and homes.

How Do You Attach A Futon Mattress To A Frame?

Attaching a mattress to a futon correctly is key to ensuring that you’re comfortable and safe while using it! Noone wants to fall asleep onto the floor as they move during the night… as this is a very rude awakening.

Attaching a mattress to a futon depends on the functionality of the futon, the brand as well as the mattress, and the type of folding mechanism the futon uses.

Some futons don’t use any attachments, and simply lay on top of the futon relying on gravity, the weight of the  user, and a little luck to ensure that no one slides off the mattress, and that the mattress doesn’t slide away from the chair.

This isn’t ideal, however, so some brands use attachment techniques, such as straps or even sheaths to allow you to slide certain parts of the mattress onto the futon to secure it in place a little better to prevent easy slips and slides away from the frame which can be dangerous.

It can be useful to install a grippy rubber or synthetic material to certain areas of the futon frame to increase grip and prevent the mattress from moving around too much while in use which can be uncomfortable

Can I Use A Regular Mattress On A Futon?

It may be possible to use a small standard single mattress on a futon frame, but generally its only possible to do this on a futon which is left in the bed position, as the chair format requires a mattress which can bend and hold a shape, as well as be fastened to the chair, and most normal mattresses aren’t able to do this, as they are designed for flat fixed bed frames.

The flexibility of a futon mattress is one of the most important aspects of the futon overall, and in a pinch you may be able to use a normal mattress on a futon bed, it isn’t recommended and certainly isn’t ideal.

Are Futon Mattresses Made of Different Materials?

Generally yes futon mattresses are made of different materials such as foam or polyester, and are often much thinner than standard mattresses to allow greater portability, flexibility, and ease of use, allowing the mattress to be used for the chair format, as well as the bed format.

Futon mattresses don’t typically use springs as springs would render the mattress far less convenient with only a minor improvement to the overall comfort of the mattress.

Often the covers of futon mattresses are also removable and easy to clean, further increasing their convenience after heavy use, a big bonus over traditional mattresses.