Best Sofa Beds
For most people there are going to be times when you need an extra bed for guests who are staying over but often we are scrambling for space. Not everyone has the room to dedicate a bedroom just for guests. Storing a mattress for moving into a room like the living room is also a hassle if storage space is an issue too. The answer to these issues is the humble sofa bed, also known as a sofa sleeper or sleeper sofa. Getting the right sofa bed for your needs can be a challenge as there is a bit more to think about than just what it looks like. Here are some things to consider if you want the best sofa bed.
Best Sofa Beds
There are several options on the market but the more common types include:
- Pull outs
- European sofa beds
- Chinese sofa beds
Pull out sofa beds
This is the standard sofa bed that people tend to first think of when talking about sofa beds and they have been around for decades. You basically take off the cushions and pull out the mattress inside to change the sofa into the bed.
Advantages to this type are you can get various sizes just with regular beds like singles, twins, full and queens. Smaller than a single are called chair beds or love seat beds. You also have a lot of options in terms of styles and colors, fabrics used and quality.
Disadvantages to this type of sofa bed include the fact that they tend to not be that comfortable in both sofa and bed form! Most have a mattress layer of just an inch thickness so back ache in the morning is common. Another issue is that when in sofa form because the cushions are made to be easy to pull out, they tend to slide out from beneath you when you are sitting on them. For people with less mobility or strength some of these can be hard to pull out especially for the larger beds. Also there is no storage space with this type.
A futon has become almost as well known as the traditional sofa bed. They have a metal or wooden frame and prices can range from as low as $150 up to over $1000.
Advantages to this type are that they are easily available. As you can see they are also varied in price and they start from very affordable numbers. You can get some lovely frames and several cushion options such as cotton, foam, spring and wool.
Disadvantages are this is a futon not a sofa so not seating you would use in your living room. If you want a decent inner spring mattress you have to pay for it, the good quality futons are quite pricey. Compared to European sofa beds you could get a better quality one for less money. They have no additional storage space. Also these have the cushion sliding issue too and need to be regularly pulled up which can get annoying. Finally with many futons you have to buy the structure then buy the cushions.
European sofa beds
One of the best options in sofa beds are the European sofa beds. Real European sofa beds are great beds to sleep in but there are a lot of imitations to avoid.
Advantages to these sofa beds are they are comfortable to sit in and to sleep on. There is no sliding around. You can get models that offer extra storage that is easy to access. They are far easier to use than the traditional pull out beds with an inner spring structure though some come with foam cushions. Also you do not have to buy the cushions and frame separately like you do with the futon.
Disadvantages are that the Europeans like their sofas and mattresses more firm than many Americans are used to so for some the firm sleeping surface and sitting surface will not be to their taste. They do have soft options but what they term soft is probably more like the American mid firm feel. The cushions are not exchangeable so when they start to get old and worn it is not possible to get just new cushions. But with some care these should still last at least ten years as they are well made.
Chinese sofa beds
These are essentially copies of American and European furniture made in China. A decade ago the quality of most of these options was not good but today in some cases they are a bit closer to American standards.
There are not really any advantages to this option. In most cases the quality is lower even if they have improved it is still often not what you want in terms of durability and quality. You might think the prices are a lot lower to reflect that but in fact Chinese sofa beds with storage and inner spring will cost as much as a European one. There is little reason to pay the same amount of money for something that is not well made.
Things to think about when considering the best sofa bed
There are a few things you need to think about or ask yourself before you go out buying something so that you get what you need.
1) What firmness do you want?
If you want something with inner spring this means it will be a firmer bed than if you get a foam one. Usually foam is more comfortable when it is used as a sofa but then less comfortable as bed and it is less comfortable.
2) Will it be used as a bed that often?
If the sofa bed is going to be used daily to sit on as a sofa and only something like once a month as an actual bed you should focus on getting something that is more comfortable as a sofa. That does not mean it has to be unbearable for guests sleeping on it but your focus is not there. However if the sofa bed is going to be used often, even every night you need to focus on the sleeping comfort first otherwise whoever is using it is going to have terrible back pains and will be suffering from lack of sleep.
3) Do you need more storage?
If storage is severely lacking in your home then getting a sofa bed with storage is a must. In that case you would be looking at come Chinese options or European sofa beds.
4) Have you tested it?
Do not buy something without seeing it in person, sitting on it and even laying down on it. Even if you are accustomed with the company or merchandise it is still a good idea to check things out in person. If you want to buy something online you could see if there is something similar nearby that you could test then just buy the one online.
5) Do you know how to install it?
Ideally you want it installed in the home. If it is something you are going to have to set up yourself make sure there are instructions coming with it and that they are clear. It is always nice to have video instructions where possible.
6) Do you know where it was made?
Some consumers think they are buying a European sofa bed but discover when they get home that it is a copy. Make sure you know where it was manufactured and that you are happy with where ever that is.
As you can see there are a lot of things to think about when you want the best sofa bed possible. Just make sure you know what you want from it, what your priorities are, your budget, your style so you can make the best decision possible.