Futon Buyer’s Guide
Futon sales will skyrocket when thousands of college students descend on Chapel Hill in just a few weeks. But what is a futon, exactly — and how do you tell which one is best?
The Futon, Explained
According to one of The Better Sleep Store’s veteran saleswomen, Melanie, the simplest definition of a futon is a sofa that easily converts into a bed.
But don’t confuse a futon with its less comfortable cousin, the pull-out couch. A futon has a single hinge that runs lengthwise along the spine of the sofa. This makes a futon stronger, more durable, and more supportive than a pull-out couch, which requires multiple hinges.
A good futon can be just as comfortable as a standard mattress.
A Buyer’s Guide to Futons
There are three main parts to a futon: the cushion, the slats, and the frame.
1. Cushions vary according to size, thickness, and material quality. A larger cushion will generally be more expensive (e.g., a queen-size cushion costs more than a full-size cushion). Thicker cushions tend to be more comfortable and more durable — though also pricer. Consider balancing cushion thickness with material quality. For example, a thinner cushion with foam layers may perform better than a thicker cushion made from cotton batting.
2. Slats support the cushion. In general, the most comfortable futons will have wide slats placed closed together. Also, wood slats tend to be more comfortable and durable than metal slats. But keep in mind that the cushion and the slats work together. A robust cushion can conceal narrow and widely-spaced slats just as a poor-quality cushion will not make the most of top-notch construction.
3. The frame attaches to the slats, providing structural support. For long-term durability, opt for a hardwood frame. These can last decades of daily use. On the other hand, a well-built metal frame with quality slatting could be equally comfortable, but you may have to replace it a few years earlier.
Making a Decision
Clearly, a lot of factors influence your choice in futons. Fortunately, we carry dozens of different styles at The Better Sleep Store. Come in and try a few!
I think you’ll make the most of your student budget by investing in a futon that will last for years to come. Remember, in many ways, this is a modular piece of furniture. You can always buy a thicker cushion down the road, but a quality frame will stay with you for years.
Dave E. McCord
The Better Sleep Store
Chapel Hill, PA
Photo by Neven Mrgan. Love the Fender P-Bass leaning on the wall.