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Futon Vs Sofa Beds 2023 [Is It OK To Sleep On A Futon?]

By: Susie
Updated On: September 28, 2023

In the quest for the ultimate space-saving comfort piece, the age-old debate of "futon vs sofa beds" often comes to the forefront. This comparison could be compared to deciding between a versatile Swiss Army knife and a reliable pocket knife.

Each option has unique strengths and drawbacks; understanding these can help you make an informed choice tailored to your needs. Often, people dismiss futons as college dorm room relics or perceive sofa beds as bulky space-eaters. Both can become practical, comfortable options when chosen thoughtfully and used effectively.

Whether you are furnishing your first tiny apartment or looking to add functionality to your sprawling suburban home, these duo-duty pieces can be ideal solutions. Their contributions extend beyond providing a place for you or your guests to rest your heads at night.

What is a Futon?

What is a Futon?

A futon is a versatile piece of furniture that serves dual functions. Originally from Japan, it's a padded mattress that can be laid directly on the floor to be used as a bed, folded, and stored away when not in use to save space.

In Western countries, a futon typically refers to a sofa that can be unfolded into a bed, making it an ideal furniture solution for small spaces or guest rooms.

What is a Sofa Bed?

What is a Sofa Bed?

A sofa bed, also known as a sleeper sofa or pull-out sofa, is a type of furniture that serves a dual purpose. It functions as a couch for seating during the day and can be easily converted into a bed for sleeping at night.

Sofa beds typically contain a hidden metal or wood frame, which houses a thin mattress that unfolds to create the sleeping surface. This feature makes sofa beds an excellent space-saving option for apartments, studios, or homes with limited room space.

Read More: How To Mix And Match Pillows On A Sofa [2023 Styling Tips]

What’s The Difference Between Futon Vs Sofa Bed?

Understanding the differences between a futon and a sofa bed can be incredibly beneficial, especially when maximizing your living space's utility and comfort.

On the surface, futons and sofa beds may appear similar. However, delve a little deeper, and several distinct differences reveal themselves. Let's explore these differences in terms of design aesthetics and comfort support.

Design and Aesthetics

Futons typically embody a more casual and contemporary design aesthetic. They are lighter smaller, and can often be converted into a bed by simply pushing the backrest down. Futons are usually fitted with removable covers, allowing easy and convenient cleaning.

Sofa beds resemble traditional couches when in their default form. They tend to possess a more formal and sophisticated set-up suited to more conventional living rooms or bedrooms. Converting them into a bed requires pulling out the concealed mattress. Their upholstery is often fixed, which might make cleaning slightly more challenging than futons.

Comfort and Support

When it comes to comfort and support, sofa beds generally offer more. Sofa beds contain a pull-out mattress, which provides better cushioning and support than futons. They are ideal for sleeping on for more extended periods or for guests who'll be staying for a few nights.

Futons, while not as thick as sofa beds, can still be quite comfortable. They're more suited to occasional use or short-term sleeping arrangements. Futons tend to be firmer due to the thinner mattress, which might be a preference for some individuals but less comfortable for others.

Ease of Use and Conversion

Both futons and sofa beds can be easily converted from seating to sleeping arrangements, but the process differs.

With a futon, the transition from sofa to bed merely involves pushing down the backrest; it's a simple maneuver that even children can manage. This simplicity means you can quickly create an extra sleeping space when needed.

Sofa beds require pulling out the hidden mattress and frame; this usually takes more effort and space than a futon. While it may seem more complex, most modern designs are relatively user-friendly, allowing you to make the transition with little difficulty.

Durability and Lifespan

Regarding durability and lifespan, sofa beds tend to have an edge. They are typically heavier and more robustly constructed, designed with sturdy frames to support the pull-out mattress mechanism. As such, they can endure more prolonged use and might have a longer lifespan than a futon.

Futons, despite being lighter and simpler in construction, can still offer reasonable durability. Their lifespan depends largely on the materials' quality and how frequently they are used. Therefore, while a futon may not outlast a high-quality sofa bed, it could still serve you well for many years with proper care.

Space and Room Layout

From a spatial perspective, both futons and sofa beds have their advantages. The choice between the two often comes down to the room's layout and available space.

Futons are more compact and versatile, making them an excellent solution for smaller spaces or multi-purpose rooms. They take up fewer spaces when used as a couch, and even in bed form, they tend to occupy less area than a pull-out sofa bed.

Sofa beds, while larger, have the advantage of looking like a regular couch. They can comfortably integrate into the design of your living room or guest room without signaling that it transforms into a bed. However, they require more space for usage as a couch and when converted into a bed because its pull-out mechanism needs extra space.

Budget and Price Range

Futons' simple design and construction often result in lower prices, making them a cost-effective solution for those on a tight budget or looking for a temporary or occasional use bed.

With their more sophisticated design and dual-function capabilities, sofa beds tend to be at the higher end of the price spectrum. The extra investment could offer more comfort and increased longevity, proving them worth the additional cost in the long run. However, prices will vary depending on brand, materials, size, and design complexity.

Intended Use and Frequency

Futons are ideal for casual use, or a temporary bed is required. They're often favored in apartments or studio flats, student residences, home offices, or children's rooms where they can quickly provide additional sleeping space.

Sofa beds are more suited to regular or prolonged use. They are an excellent solution for guest rooms where comfortable sleeping arrangements need to be regularly provided. The bed feature in a sofa bed is generally more comfortable for daily use compared to a futon due to its more substantial mattress.

Personal Style and Preferences

Choosing between a futon and a sofa bed can largely hinge on an individual's style and preferences. Futons offer a modern, minimalistic look, often fitting well in contemporary decor schemes.

With their more traditional appearance, sofa beds can blend seamlessly into conventional or formal decor. They also come in various designs, from sleek modern to rustic, thus suiting different home settings.

Preferences can also extend beyond style, including comfort level, ease of use, and intended frequency. Some prefer the firmness of a futon, while others opt for the more plush comfort of a sofa bed.

Pros and Cons of Futon

When browsing different furniture options, it is beneficial to understand both their advantages and caveats.

Futons offer a colorful array of pros and cons suitable for various consumer needs. Let's comprehensively delve into the pros and cons to help decision-making.


Futons pose as an attractive option due to their unique set of advantages. The pros entail:

  • Sofa & Bed Combo: One of the significant benefits of a futon is its dual functionality - providing both a seating area during the day and a bed at night.
  • Portable & Lightweight: Futons are typically lightweight and can be easily moved around your home to fit changes in layout or decor.
  • Proper Sleeping Space: Unlike sofa sleepers, most futons offer a flat, wide sleeping space resembling traditional beds.
  • Compact Furniture: Their small footprint makes them great for saving space in limited square footage environments like apartments or tiny homes.
  • Easy-to-Handle Mattress: A futon mattress can be folded up easily compared to traditional mattresses.
  • Versatile Frame Options: Futons come with frames made from various materials, giving you various style options.
  • Material & Color Variety: The covers are available in multiple fabrics and colors, suiting everyone's aesthetic preferences.
  • Customizable Mattress Covers: Adding to their aesthetic appeal, most futon mattresses come with removable covers that can be changed whenever you like.

On the flip side, futons also have their share of drawbacks you might want to consider before making a purchase decision.


Now, let's shift our focus to some potential disadvantages associated with futons:

  • Average seating: While they make decent beds for temporary use or occasional guests, they might not provide the same level of comfort as standalone sofas when used for extended seating.
  • Short lifespan: Depending on the quality of construction, some futons might not last as long as you would hope.

As with any purchase decision, your needs and preferences are the primary determining factors. A piece of furniture that offers a world of benefits to one person could present numerous drawbacks to another.

Researching both sides can help you decide according to your comfort needs and space requirements. Please consider these pros and cons carefully before deciding whether a futon would be your perfect fit.

Pros and Cons of Sofa Beds

Diving into the world of sofa beds, you'll quickly discover they offer many advantages, but just like all products, they're not without their downsides.

These dual-purpose furnishings provide daytime accommodations for your lounging needs and transition seamlessly into a comfortable bed for guests or even for you on those lazy evenings. Let's take a closer look to understand this versatile option's main pros and cons.


The allure of sofa beds comes from numerous attributes – they're versatile, stylish, and remarkably practical. Here's what makes them a perfect addition to your house:

  • Customizable Appearance: Sofa beds come in many styles, materials, colors, and designs. The options are vast from leather-clad sleek options to floral fabric upholstered pieces. This range ensures that whatever your home décor style, there's likely to be a sofa bed that will perfectly complement it.
  • Comfortable seating: Unlike futons, which can sometimes feel stiff or hard due to their thin mattresses, sofa beds usually have fuller padding acting as cushions, providing comfort and support while you sit.
  • Versatile size and color: With an array of designs available on the market, you can find something that fits your comfort needs and space constraints. Whether you need something compact or more considerable – there's bound to be an option for you.
  • Durable and robust: Generally speaking, sofa beds tend to be well-built with sturdy frames designed to support weight both in their seating capacity and as a bed.
  • No assembly required: Anyone who’s wrestled with flat-pack furniture will breathe a sigh of relief here; generally speaking, your new sofa bed should arrive ready for action with no assembly needed.


While incredibly practical, sofa beds do come with certain drawbacks which are important to be aware of:

  • Expensive: A sofa bed's versatility and dual functionality often mean it comes with a higher price tag. This investment can be challenging to justify, especially if you're on a tight budget or don't anticipate frequent use.
  • Potential discomfort for sleep: Despite the progress in design, some sofa beds might still lack providing the optimum comfort needed for a good night's sleep. People with back or neck problems may experience discomfort due to the thin mattress or the metal bars running beneath it.

By understanding these pros and cons, you can choose whether a sofa bed is the right option for your home.

Types of Futon

Types of Futon

Futons, being the versatile furniture pieces they are, come in many styles and types. If you want to make your space more functional without sacrificing style or comfort, understanding the different kinds of futons could guide you to find the perfect one.

Let's uncover the myriad futon styles and their unique features, from various frames and mattresses to different cover options.

  • Frame: Like the skeleton that gives structure to our body, a frame shapes a futon. Frames can be made from either wood or metal for durability. With designs from elegant woodwork to sleek metallic finishes, you have many styles to choose from.
  • Mattress: Find the right balance between firmness and softness that suits your needs. Look for quality foam or innerspring mattresses for optimal support and sleep quality.
  • Bifold Futon Frame: Quite common in the US, these frames fold once along their length when converting into a bed. The bi-fold design allows easy transformation from sofa mode to sleeping mode.
  • Loveseat Futon Frame: Ideal for smaller spaces, this futon has an extra deck beneath, which pulls out into a comfortable bed.
  • Trifold Futon Frame: As their name suggests, these fold three times and can be shaped into loveseats or full-size sleeper beds, offering flexibility based on space availability.
  • Traditional & Armless Futons: While traditional designs come with arms that give them a sofa-like appearance, armless futons are sleek and save space with their minimalist design.
  • Lounge & Bunk Bed Futons: Popular among teenagers, lounge futons are perfect as gaming seats by day and cozy beds by night, while bunk bed futons combine sleeping areas with playrooms seamlessly – ideal for children's rooms or dorms.

It isn’t just about functionality; comfortability is equally important. Details like the frame and mattress determine a futon's longevity and comfort.

Shops offer a range of covers from luxurious velvet to durable and stain-resistant microfiber, aiding you to create a personalized look that matches your style quotient.

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Types of Sofa Beds

There's more to sofa beds than just sofas that turn into beds. An array of styles and types are available in the market, and understanding these types can help you pick the one perfect for your space and needs.

There is a wide range, from size variations such as two-seater or three-seater options to functionality-based distinctions like click-clack or pull-out styles. Here's a broad overview:

  • 2 Seater Sofa Bed: Ideal for those tight on space or looking for a bed option for a single guest. While compact, most models don't skimp on comfort.
  • 3 Seater Sofa Bed: Offers additional seating space when used as a sofa and unfolds to provide more sleeping room, making it great for couples or multiple guests.
  • Click-Clack Sofa Beds: Named after the sound made during its conversion process, these are easy to use and generally afford firm support.
  • Foam Fold-Out Sofa Beds: These feature a folding mechanism that transforms the foam seat into a sleeping area.
  • Corner Sofa Bed: Often larger with chic design lines, they provide ample seating and a large sleeping area.
  • Storage Sofa Bed: Equipped with built-in storage compartments, making them practical solutions for smaller living spaces where storage is at a premium.
  • A-frame Sofa Beds: Propelled by an innovative 'A-frame mechanism that turns the sofa into a bed effortlessly within seconds.
  • Pull Out and Lift Up: The traditional sofa bed where the couch cushions are removed to pull out the mattress tucked within.
  • Three-Fold Roll Out: You release the catch and roll out your slumber surface with this type.
  • 1-part Metal Action: Single-fold action pull-out mechanism where seating cushions stay fixed while the backrest is pushed downwards to create bed alignment.
  • 3-part Metal Action: Features a three-fold metal mechanism that supports a deeper mattress, providing a more substantial sleeping solution.

Your choice will largely depend on your usage plans and space constraints. So, take a moment to consider these factors before making your final decision.

Which is better: a Futon or a Sofa Bed?

The choice between a futon and a sofa bed depends on your needs, preferences, and available space.

Futons are generally cheaper, simpler to convert from sofa to bed, and ideal for small spaces. They serve well in situations with frequent transitions between sitting and sleeping spaces, such as studio apartments or children's rooms.

Sofa beds are typically more comfortable for sleeping due to the thicker pull-out mattress they contain. Although they require more space and cost more, their appearance is more like a traditional couch, making them blend seamlessly into various decor styles.

Also Read About What Is A Sleigh Bed? 2023 [Different Types And Pros & Cons]

FAQs about futon vs sofa beds

Are futons more comfortable than sofa beds?

Comfort can be subjective. It depends on the individual’s preference; futons and sofa beds differ in mattress quality and thickness.

Which is easier to convert - a futon or a sofa bed?

Futons are usually easier to convert from a bed into a sofa and vice versa due to their less complex construction.

Can I use a sofa bed for everyday sleeping?

Yes, you can use a sofa bed for daily sleeping, but its comfort will largely depend on the quality of the mattress.

Which lasts longer - futons or sofa beds?

Both lifespans can vary depending on their usage and quality. Typically, solidly constructed sofa beds with high-quality materials tend to last longer.

Are futons cost-effective compared to sofa beds?

Generally, futons are less expensive than sofa beds. However, prices for both can vary widely based on design, materials used, and brand reputation.


The decision between a futon and a sofa bed hinges mainly on your personal needs, style, and budget. Both options come with their inherent benefits and potential drawbacks.

What's indisputable is the advantage of having a furniture piece that doubles up in functionality, providing more flexibility in your living space.

Whether you go for the simplistic versatility of a futon or the sophisticated comfort of a sofa bed, ensure it is an investment that enhances your lifestyle and complements your living space decently.

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