Outfitting your new guest room, helping your son or daughter furnish their first apartment, or perhaps simply sprucing up the décor in some other part of your home? The finishing touch to the project might just be a futon. That’s right, a futon, sometimes called a sofa bed, with a Japanese-style frame, mattress, and cover. Slide it up, and it’s a couch; fold it out for a good night’s sleep.
There’s a lot more to know about futons than just that, however, Here are the different types of futons, including frames, styles, and different kinds of futon mattresses. By the time you’re finished reading you’ll have the information you need to make the best futon buying decision for your lifestyle.
Types of Futon Frames
The first thing to consider when buying a futon is which style frame suits your needs. Here’s what futon frames are typically made from, and some tips and pointers for picking.
Like most things made from wood, wood-frame futons are sturdy, well-built, and typically long lasting under average conditions. Frames of this type are also quite supportive, both while sleeping, or when using the futon as a sofa or couch.
Best for: Some wood-frame futons can be customized with drawers, making them the best choice when space and storage are at a premium.
Futon frames are also often made from metal, and because they’re a little more flexible than wood frames, they’re a bit better choice for sleeping, some say. They also come in a broader range of colors than wood-style frames, matching your decor.
Best for: If you or someone in your household will be frequently sleeping on the futon beyond just an occasional guest, many like the extra give and flexibility provided by a metal-style futon frame.
Bifold Futon Frame
The most basic wood-style futon frame is the bifold. With a total of eight base slats, many find bifold futons more supportive and comfortable to sleep on. There is no headboard at all, and generally speaking the look of the futon is pretty basic, appearing much more like a bed than a couch.
Best for: Bifold futons are a good choice for anyone who likes the wood look, but will be using their futon more for sleeping than as a sofa or couch. The stripped-down look also fits minimal or stripped down decor — our pick for a dorm room or first apartment.
Loveseat Futon Frame
If your futon will spend more of its life as a couch than as a place to sleep, consider a loveseat futon frame. Looking just as its name implies, these are a compact style futon. They are also more decorative than other types.
Best for: These types of futons are on the smaller side — too small in fact for most adults to sleep on. But if you need a futon for the guest room on the rare occasion the grandkids stay over, the loveseat futon frame is without a doubt your best option.
Trifold Futon Frame
The best futons for sleeping probably have a trifold-style frame, folding out three ways rather than just the two, like with bifolds. That way you can customize the futon just how you like to sleep. It also makes it an extra comfortable place to sit. Color options are a bit limited, however.
Best for: Anyone who will be sleeping on their futon more than they’ll be sitting on it, or anyone who needs a lot of options when it comes to their preferred sleeping position.
There are many benefits to choosing an adjustable arms futon frame. First of all, those adjustable arms make it a more comfortable place, and look a bit more like a regular sofa. When unfolded for sleep, they also act as extra cushioning, while providing more space for larger bodies.
Best for: Anyone seeking a futon that looks a bit more like a couch, or anyone who needs extra space, or who likes lots of added cushioning while they sleep.
Different Styles of Futons:
Now that we’ve covered the different types of futon frames, let’s take a look at different styles of futons. They’re more varied than you might expect.
This is the futon you’ve seen a million times in a number of different condos, guest rooms, and apartments: unfold it for sleeping, or fold it up for a couch. Either way, they’re space saving and efficient.
Lounger-style futons are a cool twist on the futon concept. Technically a futon, the lounger looks a bit like a doctor’s chair — always made out into a bed, always ready to sit on, minimal assembly required. Best of all, they look professional.
- Bunk Bed
Bunk bed futons are just what they sound like: a bed on top, and a traditional-style futon on the bottom — great for guest rooms and for children.
Clean looking and easy to set up, armless futons have a modern feel and are simple and convenient to use, particularly if you’ll be regularly making it up into a bed.
Great for patios or sunrooms, outdoor futons are somewhat smaller and more durable with water-resistant covers to handle the elements: great for sitting with guests or catching an afternoon nap in the sunshine.
Different Types of Futon Mattresses
The last thing to decide when purchasing a new futon is which type of futon mattress you prefer. Here’s what to expect:
- Cotton, Foam, and Fiber
Heavy and firm, these are the most common types of futon mattresses, they’re also the most affordable. For added comfort, choose an extra layer of wool, keeping you cool in the summer and warmer all throughout the winter months.
- Innersprings and Pocket Coils
Futon mattresses are also available with innersprings and pocket coils. These kinds are also usually encased around the edges, helping hold the shape. They also offer a regular mattress feel in terms of support.
- Memory Foam
With up to four inches of memory foam over several layers of high-density foam and cotton and batting, memory foam futon mattresses hold their shape, making them a great choice for a heavy-use futon; sat on daily, and slept on almost every night.
For a futon used as much if not more for sleeping than for sitting, a mattress with a latex layer is a good choice for added comfort. These types of mattresses are also helpful for anyone with back and neck pain.
- Foam and Polyester
Premium futon mattresses are made from foam and polyester, offering great support with a comfortable surface. Holding their shape well, and with a high weight capacity, these mattresses are also an especially good choice for larger individuals to sleep on.
Different Types of Futons: Conclusion
Couch-by-day, bed-by-night, futons are a great, space-saving solution for seating and bedding; one purchase required. There’s more than one type of futon, however. In this article, we explained how all the different frames, styles of futons, and even mattress materials affect your futon experience. You now have the information you need to make the best choice possible for an apartment, guest room, office, or wherever you have the need.