How to Choose a Comfortable Futon for Your Space

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Minimalists love futons because they serve a dual purpose and take up less space than traditional beds. They make the perfect addition to home offices, bedrooms, living rooms, and dorms. A futon frame and mattress typically cost less than a traditional bed and sofa too, making them a great piece to choose if you’re on a tight budget.

What is a Futon?

The futon concept originated in Japan. Simple design often couples with function in their homes. In the 80’s, futons hit the American market, but they weren’t available in the array of styles and sizes as they are today.

Traditionally a futon consists of a frame and a mattress. However, thickness and mattress material varies as does frame design. You even have the option of purchasing or making separate mattress covers at a lower cost than it would be to reupholster a traditional sofa.

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Benefits of Picking a Futon

• Saves space
• Lighter than a sleeper traditional sofa
• Easier to move
• Versatile
• Cleans easier than a traditional mattress or sofa

How to Choose the Good Futon to Fit Your Needs

Your needs matter the most when deciding on a futon. Consider your plans for the piece. Will it need to be a bed and a sofa? Are you planning to use it daily or frequently? Do you simply want a fun, convenient way to disguise an extra bed for overnight guests?

After you discover your needs, you will move forward to the allotted space you have available. Futons require room to unfold, so you need to carefully measure your space to ensure it will fit.

Interested in learning how to choose the good futon? Let us explore the different styles and materials available on the market. From there, you can learn which futons could suit your needs and those to avoid.

Popular Styles of Futons

Futons come in an array of styles to match nearly any décor style.

Shiki

The Shiki futon is the original Japanese-style futon, which features a low floor profile and a thin but comfortable mattress. In Japan, people might fold down their futon into a bed or move their mattress to the floor, depending on their preference.

The sofa typically has no armrests, and the frames are lighter, less bulky compared to other styles. The mattresses are different as well and range from 3-4” in thickness. Shiki futon mattresses and their covers come in 100% cotton or a cotton blend of natural fibers. They don’t contain foam or synthetic threads.

Love Seat

Love Seat

As the name implies, a love seat frame futon is a smaller version of the traditional futon. Aesthetically speaking and size-wise, it’s more like an oversized chair. It folds down into a bed slightly wider than a standard twin, but manufacturer’s do vary; be sure to check measurements.

Trifold Frame

Trifold Frame

Another futon chair, this style mimics a lounge. It offers a rustic beauty to rooms, but it can be difficult to fold down into a bed. This is due to the style having more moving parts than other futon chairs.

Bunk Bed Futon

Bunk Bed Futon cinnamon-futon-bunk-cherry

The top bunk is a traditional twin size mattress, but the lower portion offers seating area or additional sleeping. Most styles place a full size futon frame and mattress on the lower bunk, but you can occasionally find queen sized too.

Futon bunk beds are perfect for teen and children’s rooms where they want extra seating space when entertaining friends.

Traditional Sofa Futon

Traditional-Sofa-Futon-2 Traditional-Sofa-Futon-1

Convertible sofa is another name for this style. If you want the appearance of a real sofa, the traditional style might be a good choice. You will see these styles with fully upholstered arms and frame. Say goodbye to heavy and uncomfortable sleeper sofas if you choose this style to suit your needs.

One notable feature of this style is that it offers a higher weight limit (upward of 600lbs) than other futon styles. The recommended weight limits do differ, so be sure to double check.

Lounge Style

Lounge-Style-Floor-Furniture-Reclining-Japanese-Futon-Sofa-Bed-Modern-Folding

The back of a lounge style futon reclines at an angle for maximum comfort. Some models allow you to adjust it too, so you can set it where you like it or move it to a traditional angle.

Outdoor Futon

Outdoor Futon freedom-chaise-java_lrg

Both the frame and the mattress of an outdoor style can withstand various weather conditions without risk of damaging or ruining it. They come in various styles and sizes and make interesting and comfortable space saving outdoor seating for patios, decks, and balconies.

Frame Style: Metal, Wood, or Combination?

Wood and aluminum futon frames are the most common. Some styles will mix materials for aesthetics, such as a metal frame with wooden accent trim. Of course, you can find fully upholstered models with hidden wood frames.

Aluminum frames tend to be lightweight, which makes them easier to move. They can cost less than solid wood frames too, but they’re not without downsides. First, they can’t hold as much weight as a wooden frame. Second, they can feel less sturdy and make noise.

Wooden frames, including upholstered models, generally will hold upward of 600lbs of weight. This allows adults to sit or sleep on the futon without risk of bending or breaking. A wooden frame is also more durable than aluminum. The downsides to wooden and upholstered wooden frames are cost and they’re generally heavier.

Questions to Consider When Purchasing a Futon Frame:

• What’s the frame’s weight limit?
• How often do you plan to move it?
• How often will you sleep on it?

Mattress Size and Thickness

The frame you choose dictates your mattress size. For example, a chair futon is comparable to a twin. However, you can find sofa styles in full, queen, and both California king and king.

Some futons come with a mattress, but you can purchase them separately too. This can be a plus side, especially if your mattress wears out, but your frame is in good working order.

It can pose a problem if you fall in love with a frame, but you hate the mattress it comes with. Buying a new mattress might be an option, but keep in mind that most frames will only hold a certain level of thickness. Unless a manufacturer provides a range of sizes that their frames hold, you might wind up with a mattress that doesn’t fit.

Conclusion

If you have a small space or you’re looking to introduce minimalist design on a budget, purchasing a quality futon might be your best bet. Many styles are available on the market today, making it easier to find one that suits your needs.

Source: The Better Sleep Store

Dave E. McCord
Dave E. McCord
I’m a dad, data geek, runner, blogger. Most other stores sell mattresses. We sell sleep.

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