Sleeper Sofa vs Futon: What Makes Them Different?

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sleeper sofa vs futon

Sleeper sofas and futons are the necessities of small apartments, especially those with frequent overnight guests. Although many people might confuse them to be the same, they are pretty different. However, both serve the same purpose, i.e. providing additional sleeping space through the hidden mattress. Before you head on to buying a couch for dual purposes, we recommend knowing the differences between the two. Our guide on a sleeper sofa vs futon will help you through the process.

We will first explain what exactly a sleeper sofa and a futon is and then compare their use, functionality and features to help you decide the better option for your house.

What is a Sleeper Sofa?

futon mattress

A sleeper sofa is much like a couch that was later molded to perform as a bed as well. Primarily, sleeper sofas are couches, and their overall construction is much similar to them. It means that working as a sleeper is its second function.

That is why sleeper sofas have an overall look of a couch. They also have a built-in foldable mattress which later opens through the folding mechanism. In this way, it transforms into a bed while sleeping at night.

What is a Futon?

futon vs sofa bed

A futon is a Japanese-style bed. As its primary purpose is to act as a bed, it doesn’t have a sofa construction. However, futons are still ideal for sitting during the day and sleeping at night.

In general, futons have seat cushions, which serve as a mattress for sleeping at night, and the cushions act as pillows. They are also comfortable both for sleeping and sitting.

Sleeper Sofa vs Futon: Key Differences


futon frame

When talking about sleeper sofas, the comfort level is perhaps the most important factor to consider. After all, they are not only meant for sitting during the day but also the night.

As sleeper sofas have a complete bed frame hidden inside the sofa frame, they are much more comfortable than futons. Futons only have one mattress, which is most often thin and prone to wear and tear.

Although futons are ideal for sitting, they might not be the most comfortable option for the night. It all depends on the type of mattresses in both.

Frame Design

metal frame

The frame design of the sleeper sofa and futon makes both of them different. While sleeper sofas have a pull-out design, futons don’t.

The sleeper sofas require you to remove the seat cushions and take out a whole frame from the inside. But, futons have one cushion all over. You mold that cushion into two during the day, and lay the backrest flat at night.

Although both of them behave as regular couches, they have completely different mechanisms. The entirely different mattresses in the sleepers make them extremely comfortable.

Both of these styles are much different, and the option you choose for your living room depends on your choice.

But, there’s much more to unveil still!

Space Saving

air mattress

Although sleeper sofas are adapted to act as both couch and bed, these types of furniture don’t save space. That is why many people consider futons ideal for dorm rooms and small apartments.

As mentioned before, you have to pull out a bed from inside the sleeper. Although sleeper sofas are highly comfortable and offer a dual purpose, they also take much of your room’s space. So, you have to measure the size of the couch when fully opened as a bed. Otherwise, it will come in the way of some other furniture piece.

On the other hand, futons offer comfort while occupying less space. It is because they only have cushions that you reassemble to convert into a sofa. The cushions are soft and fluffy and give you maximum comfort even on a hard surface.

That is why most people consider futons an excellent option for a bedroom or guest room.

Upholstery And Design

same cushioning

The upholstery of both the futon and sleeper sofa are different.

A sleeper sofa is a kind of sofa bed that often has a wooden frame for the couch, but the inside bed has a metal frame. The metal bars make the mechanism robust and durable, and the sofa bed gives the exact feeling of a real bed.

A futon frame usually comprises wood. It has a wooden backrest as well with a hinged mechanism, so you can easily lay it flat. Also, the footrest has a hinged frame, and you can lift it to make it look like a bed.

Although most futon frames are wood, you might also find some with metal frames.

Ease of Transition

The ease of transition from a sofa to a bed is perhaps an essential factor to consider. A sofa bed should not only offer the ideal sitting position to the guests, but it should also convert easily into a bed.

If you frequently have unexpected guests and use the sofa bed often, the ease of transition is the most important factor to consider.

As sleeper sofas have a pull-out mechanism, they are not easy to convert from a standard sofa to a bed. The metal frames are heavy and require labor from your side to take out the frame. Also, as the mattress is inside the frame, it makes it even heavier.

But, futons don’t have such a mechanism. You can easily convert them into a bed without more support. The simple design allows you to lay down the backrest and lift the footrest, transforming it into a bed in no time!

Final Words

The main difference between a futon a and sleeper sofa is the frame design. Both have various styles for upholstery, and you can also customize them.

Although futons look like sofa beds, they aren’t. That is why our sleeper sofa vs futon guide covers the key differences between both.

By reading them, you can definitely decide the better one according to your preference.

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