Sofa Bed and Futon Buying Guide
Sofa beds are incredibly useful and they’re great if you need to save on space. But with so much choice out there, it can be difficult to know where to start your buying journey. That’s why we’re here to help!
By following our simple step-by-step sofa bed guide, you’ll know what to look for when choosing a sofa bed. We’ll take you through:
- How to measure your space for a sofa bed
- What size sofa bed you need
- Which type of sofa bed is best for you
- How much care each type of sofa bed or futon requires
To find out everything you need to know about sofa beds, carry on reading, or jump to the specific section you need below.
What is the difference between sofa beds and futons?
If you’ve been trying to buy a sofa bed online, you may have noticed that the terms ‘sofa beds’ and ‘futons’ are often used interchangeably. This is because ‘sofa bed’ is an umbrella term for both sofa beds and futons.
Below we explain the differences between traditional sofa beds and futons; however, please be aware that manufacturers use these terms loosely.
What is a sofa bed?
Traditional sofa beds either fold out or can be extended into a bed through the use of a metal frame. Some sofa beds can sometimes come with a mattress which unfolds to rest on a metal frame.
What is a futon?
Instead of having a mattress that folds out to create a bed, futons use the seat cushions as a mattress. Typically, the backrest of the futon extends backwards and joins with the seat to become the sleeping surface for your guests. This is the most common form of sofa bed and these beds are extremely popular.
How to choose a sofa bed
Now that we know the difference between the two main types of sofa bed, we need to figure out how you can choose the best one for your needs. We’ll walk you through how to measure your space for a sofa bed and explain all the different types of sofa bed you can choose.
1. Measure how much room you have
Unlike measuring for standard beds and sofas, there are a few extra dimensions that you need to take into account - which will be the sofa bed’s measurements when extended.
The three main things you must measure are:
- The space you want to put the sofa bed in
- Any doorways and halls on the way to your chosen room
- The potential size of the sofa bed
How to measure your room
Before beginning your search for a sofa bed or futon, you need to choose where you’re putting the sofa bed.
Once you’ve decided on a space, you need to measure the space’s:
The length and width measurements will determine the size of the sofa bed when it's in ‘sofa form’. The depth will show the amount of space you have once the sofa bed is extended.
These three measurements will show you how much space you have to work with when browsing.
You should also measure the width of any doorways and halls on the way to your room of choice. This is because you don’t want to buy a new sofa bed that’s too big to be moved through your house!
How to measure a sofa bed
When you measure a sofa bed, you need to measure the:
- Length of the sofa
- Width of the sofa
- Height of the sofa
- Depth of the sofa
- Length of the sofa bed when extended
- Width of the sofa bed when extended
- Depth of the sofa bed when extended
Taking these measurements will stop you from being caught out when you extend the sofa bed for the first time.
2. Decide what size sofa bed you want
The next thing you need to decide is how big your sofa bed needs to be. Will it only be used by one guest at a time or does it need to be big enough for two people?
Small sofa beds
If you need a sofa bed to sleep just one guest, the following types of sofa bed are best for you:
These sizes can vary depending on the size of each sofa, but standard futons are usually either the same size as a single mattress or slightly smaller.
2-seater sofa beds
2-seater sofa bed sizes can change depending on the size of the sofa, but most are ideal for one person and are usually a similar size to a single mattress, or slightly bigger.
Double sofa beds
If you're looking for a sofa bed for two guests, these types of sofa bed will be more suitable for you:
3-seater sofa beds
These sofa beds are closer to the size of a double mattress and can sleep two people. However, this can change spending on the size of the sofa.
Corner sofa beds
Corner sofa beds are the biggest sofa beds that you can buy and will comfortably sleep two people, like a double mattress. Again, the sizes may vary with different brands.
These sizings are only rough guides. Please check the description of each sofa bed to ensure that it is the correct size for you.
3. How often will you use it?
You also need to take into consideration how often your sofa bed will be used by your guests.
Certain designs are more suitable for only occasional use whereas other more premium options may be more durable and offer higher levels of comfort for more frequent use.
|Sofa beds suitable for occasional use||Sofa beds suitable for more frequent use|
|Futons||2-seater sofa beds|
|Chair beds||3-seater sofa beds|
|Clic-clac sofa beds||Corner sofa beds|
|Leather sofa beds||A-frame sofa beds|
|Velvet sofa beds||Pull-out/roll-out sofa beds|
|-||Wool sofa beds|
|-||Linen sofa beds|
Sofa beds suitable for occasional use
These types of sofa bed are super easy to set up, but they aren’t as durable as other options. However, they are the perfect choice if your guests are only sleeping on the sofa bed for the odd night.
Sofa beds suitable for more frequent use
These sofa beds are more durable than fold-down options. They are also very easy to clean and can often sleep two people. If you’re looking to host longer-term guests, treat them to any of these sofa beds!
4. Choose a type of sofa bed
Now you know all of the important things you need from your new sofa bed, it’s time to pick one!
There are a lot of different choices out there, so we’ve narrowed it down to the main types of sofa bed and sofa bed mechanisms. This will help you to determine how easy each type of sofa bed is to set up and how each type of sofa will look in your space.
The best type of sofa bed to buy is one that perfectly suits you, your space and your guests. Remember to take your time and consider how much space you have and how much space your guests may need.
Different types of sofa bed
Below we briefly explain the different types of sofa bed.
As explained above, futons are a type of sofa bed where the backrest collapses to form the bed. The seat cushions act as the mattress rather than having a standard mattress that unfolds from the sofa.
2-seater sofa beds are sofas that have two seat cushions and seat two people. They’re ideal if you’re short on space and often host only one guest at a time.
3-seater sofa beds have three seat cushions and are a similar size to a main daytime sofa. These sofa beds normally fold out into the size of a double bed.
If you’re looking for a large sofa bed for your visitors, then a corner sofa is the best option for you. They also make a fantastic main living room sofa in the daytime and fold out to the size of a double mattress at night.
Storage sofa beds are extremely practical as they also come with drawer storage for you to put away any extra bedding and pillows you may need for your guests.
Chair beds are the smallest type of sofa bed available. They’re very comfortable as seats and are perfect for unexpected visitors on short notice!
No matter which type of sofa bed you choose, we can guarantee that your visitors will have a great night’s sleep. Browse our selection of sofa beds and find the perfect one for your guests today!
Again, please be aware that the sizes provided are only guides. Please check the product description for the size of the bed and sofa.
Different sofa bed mechanisms
Each type of sofa bed comes with a different mechanism to extend the sofa into a full bed. Below, we break down the different types of opening mechanisms and how easy they are to use.
Clic-clac sofa beds are one of the most common types of guest bed. With a simple, minimalistic design, the backs of these sofa beds fold down to create a sleeping surface.
They’re called clic-clac beds because they make a ‘click-clack’ sound when you extend them, and they’re very quick and easy to set up.
A-frame sofa beds are one of the most durable types of sofa bed. This is because the front of the sofa is attached to a metal frame that pulls out. The backrest then folds backwards to form the bed. The metal frame structure provides greater support, making them ideal for longer-term guests.
Although this sofa bed takes a little more time to set up, it is still fairly easy to use.
Similar to an A-frame, pull-out sofa beds have a metal frame that you pull out and extend to create the bed. The difference is that the backrest of the sofa stays in place rather than folding back.
Pull-out sofa beds are easy to set up for your guests, too.
Rather than pulling the bed out of the sofa, the bed rolls out or folds out from underneath the cushions. They can also come with a metal frame to support the bed frame.
Roll-out sofa beds are also really simple to prepare for your guests as well.
5. Choose a type of upholstery
The type of material your sofa bed is made of is really important. This is because some upholstery can be more difficult to clean than others and some materials can feel warmer than others, which can affect sleep.
Leather sofa beds
Leather sofa beds are very stylish and work great in office guest rooms. However, they can be quite difficult to clean and can get very warm when you sleep on them. This makes them best suited for occasional use.
Linen sofa beds
Linen is also a fantastic material for a sofa bed. Like wool, it’s breathable and durable and very easy to clean. We recommend choosing a linen sofa bed for regular use.
Wool sofa beds
Wool sofa beds are a great all-rounder. They’re very durable and breathable, which makes them the perfect option for regular use. However, wool can sometimes be difficult to clean.
Velvet sofa beds
If you’re looking for a fashionable and contemporary sofa bed, you should choose a velvet option. You should be aware that velvet can be more difficult to clean and can be very warm to sleep on. We suggest purchasing velvet sofa beds for occasional use guests.
Now you know about all the different options, browse our selection of sofa beds to find the perfect sofa bed for you!
6. Consider how much care it needs
The last thing you should take into account on your sofa bed buying journey is how much care it may need.
Here are our top tips for caring for your sofa bed:
- Keep fabric sofa beds out of direct sunlight to avoid the colour fading
- Regularly plump seat cushions if they are used as a part of the bed
- Mop any spills with a damp cloth - but check the care instructions first
- Invest in arm caps to protect armrests
- Use scatter cushions for protection and decoration
- Air out the bed by extending it every few weeks when not in use
- Regularly vacuum the surface to get rid of any dust and hair
We hope you now feel confident to buy the best bed for your guests with our sofa bed guide! Check out our sofa bed collection today and find the perfect match for you.
Or if you’re looking for a different type of bed, our advice page on guest beds can help you out.