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Three Key Aspects To Consider When Buying A Sofa Bed

A sofa bed is a versatile piece of furniture that converts easily from a sofa to a bed. While it's a good option for studio apartments and guest rooms, not all sofa sleepers are created equal, therefore you must consider several factors before making your final decision. The style and design of sofa beds differ greatly, each with its own distinctive advantages. The mattress type and sofa upholstery are other key features to look at.

Here is a closer look at three major considerations for your sofa bed purchase:

1. Choosing the Style and Design

Sofa bed styles range from the small love seats to over-sized sectionals. Depending upon the space you have for placement, there are several options to consider. Here are the popular design choices:

  • The Love Seat Sleeper: This is an ideal choice for those living in small studio apartments or dorm rooms. This option may be used for seating during the day and converted into a sleeper at night. It doesn't take up as much space as traditional sofa sleepers that measure 39 inches in width. However, because it typically measures 26 inches or less, it may not be the best choice for larger individuals.

  • The Futon: This style features a wooden or metal frame and a mattress that folds outward to provide a sleeping surface. Some futons are portable, allowing them to fold easily and be stored away or transported to various rooms of the house. If you're limited on space or you plan to use your sleeper in alternating rooms, this might be a good choice.

  • The Twin, Full or Queen Size Sofa Bed: These options are suitable for most average sized living rooms. The sofa sleeper will be larger than the love seat sofa bed, with dimensions being the same as a standard twin, full or queen mattress. (Typically, 39"-60".) While the twin sleeper is suitable for children and teenagers, you might want to consider a full or queen sized sofa bed for adults and couples.

  • The Sectional Sleeper: A sectional sofa bed is perfect for large rooms. This versatile piece of furniture eliminates the need for additional seating, as the sections are detachable and may be re-positioned as you wish. The sectional sofa bed may feature two or three piece construction. Some feature reclining sections as well.

2. Selecting the Mattress Type

Modern sofa beds offer various types of mattresses to suit many preferences. The mattress type you select for your sleeper sofa can be just as important as the style and size. Your options may include the common innerspring, memory foam and latex foam. To determine which mattress type will best suit your needs, you need to understand what each type has to offer:

  • The Innerspring Foam Mattress: This is the most commonly used mattress in sofa sleepers. The basic design is more cost effective than premium materials such as memory foam and latex. The steel coil innerspring offers support, although the mattress may need to be replaced after a period of 5-7 years. For added comfort, some innerspring mattresses are made with a "pillow-top" construction, which has an additional padded layer sewn into the mattress top.

  • The Memory Foam Mattress: Memory foam mattresses are constructed of a polyurethane material, or what is known as viscoelastic. The foam actually conforms to the contour of one's body. It has a "sink-in" feeling to it, which some find soft and pressure relieving. A sofa bed with memory foam mattress may be a good choice if you suffer from arthritis or any form of chronic pain.

    A drawback to the memory foam mattress is that it retains heat. If you suffer from night sweats or prefer a "cool" mattress, memory foam might not be the best choice.

  • The Latex Foam Mattress: Latex foam mattresses offer the same resiliency, support and pressure-relieving benefits as memory foam. An added advantage to latex foam is its extreme durability. Also, while memory foam is made with chemicals such as petroleum, latex is made of natural or organic materials. This mattress is not suitable for those who suffer from latex allergies, however.

3. Deciding on a Suitable Upholstery

Choosing the material for your sofa bed is another important decision. You'll want your sofa bed to resist fading, stains and rips, as well as provide comfortable seating. Here are some popular choices to consider:

  • Leather: If you want a durable material for your sofa sleeper, consider leather. A quality leather sofa bed will typically command a higher price than other fabrics, but it may be worth the investment, as it is soft and luxurious, as well as being strong.

  • Microfiber: This fabric is soft and durable and may be treated with a stain repellent coating. This is a good choice if you have children or pets. It's also more affordable than leather. Microfiber feels like suede, although it's actually made of polyester.

  • Cotton or Linen: These natural choices offer a clean look and blend well with most home decor and interior designs. Cotton or linen fabric is not as durable as synthetic microfiber or leather. Cotton and linen may also be prone to fading, s keep this in mind if you plan on locating your sofa bed near a sunny window.

You might want to make a checklist before you go shopping for your new sofa bed. Use the above guidelines as your reference point so you won't feel overwhelmed by the choices. For more information about furniture, check out sites like