Multi-functional furniture is a great option for anyone limited on space. If you’d like to reduce clutter and have your furniture do double-duty, it’s also perfect for those who have room to spare too. For their versatility, some of the most popular multi-functional pieces of furniture are sofa beds, sleepers, futons, and daybeds.

With so many different types of sofa beds, futons, and daybeds, how do you begin to choose? Asking yourself a few questions and thinking about how you’ll use the furniture can help narrow down your choices.

Sofa bed buying guide

Who will be the primary user of the daybed, futon, or sofa sleeper?

Before you make any other decisions, you’ll want to narrow down the main use of your furniture. Will it be a piece of bedroom furniture and you’ll be sleeping on the sleeper sofa every night? Are you looking for a daybed with mattress for your child? Are you interested in a sectional sleeper sofa that will perform double-duty as your living room furniture during the day, but also offer a comfortable mattress for guests to sleep on at night?

If you’re going to sleep consistently on the daybed, futon, or sofa with bed, you’ll want to choose a piece of furniture with a stable, high quality bed frame. Materials like hardwood or metal are both durable and attractive, and they can stand up to daily use.

Do you move homes or move furniture often?

A sofa with bed is bulky and heavy, while a futon is light and easy to maneuver. If you move often, you may want to consider a smaller piece of furniture with a lightweight frame.

Does the main user have special accessibility requirements?

If  the main user of the furniture has difficulty getting in and out of bed or can’t easily set up a bed on their own, you may want to  furniture that’s easy to convert into a bed or easy to climb into.

Do you need a quality mattress to sleep on?

A comfortable mattress makes for a good night’s rest. Some sleeper sofas are able to accommodate thicker or larger mattresses than others. You can also choose the comfort level of your mattress, and the best sofa beds offer you your choice of Queen, Double, or Twin if a larger or smaller mattress is desired.

In contrast, a futon requires a specific mattress to work with the easily foldable system, so you may not have as much choice for comfort level.

What size of space and budget do you have?

Some pieces of multi-functional furniture are perfect for the smallest of spaces, while others can take up a large piece of real estate in your home. If the sofa bed with mattress is going into your living room and you have a large area to cover, you may want to consider a large sectional sofa bed. If you’re adding a spare bed to a tiny guest room, you might choose a daybed with storage.

Price is also a factor when choosing a sofa bed, futon, or day bed. Prices vary depending on what you choose, so be sure to have an idea of both your space and your budget before shopping.

Don’t forget to measure your entries and exits

You’ll need space to move your new piece of furniture into your home, so be sure to measure both the space itself and your entry ways to get an idea of how easy the furniture will be to move.

You should also take into consideration how much space you’ll need to set the furniture up. Opening up a sofa bed with mattress will require more space than just using it as a couch. A futon sits neatly in a small corner until you transition it to a bed, while a daybed with mattress doesn’t change shape until you pull out the trundle.

What type of upholstery or special features do you like?

Choosing a new piece of furniture is exciting. Just like all of your home decor, by selecting a new and unique type of upholstery you can add a splash of colour to a room or design a whole new look. Choosing fabric, material, cushioning, or special features like storage compartments is one of the best parts of selecting your new sofa bed, futon, or daybed.

Now that you’ve asked yourself a few questions and narrowed down your choices, here are the different types of multi-functional furniture you can choose.

The Traditional Sofa Bed

sofa bed buying guide

The sofa bed has been a home staple for several decades. Chances are you grew up with this type of couch or loveseat, or you may have slept on one at a friend’s home.

A sofa bed looks just like a standard couch or loveseat, but when you remove the cushions and use the pull-out mechanism, you’ll unroll a bed with mattress to sleep on.

Traditional Sofa Bed Pros

sofa bedThe best part of a sofa bed is how, when you fold it up, it looks just like a couch or love seat. When you need the bed, just roll it out. When you don’t, you have a sturdy, solid couch to sit on.

The best sofa beds are available in different styles,  so whether you choose traditional, modern, or leather, it’s much easier to match your furniture with a sofa bed. You can choose a style that complements your existing décor or existing furniture perfectly.

Traditional Sofa Bed Cons

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a sofa bed. A sofa bed is bulky and large. Because of the weight of the sofa bed, they are difficult to replace or move.

Sofa beds, especially sectional sofa beds, take up a lot of space. When you open them up into a bed, you’ll need to ensure you have a large enough spot and can move any other furniture to unroll it fully.

The mattress on a traditional sofa bed is unique in that it is quite thin. It has to be thin in order to fold up when you’d like to put the bed away, and some people may find these sofa bed mattresses to be uncomfortable to sleep on. They are also difficult to replace.

Should you choose a sofa bed?

The sofa bed has always been a main-stay in the Canadian home, and it’s still a great choice if you have both the space and the budget to make it work.

If you need a piece of furniture that’s moveable, customizable, or easily replaced, you might want to consider another type of furniture. Or, if you have guests who are staying long-term and nighttime comfort is important, a sofa with bed might not be for you.

The Sofa Bed with Pull-Out Sleeper

If you just walked past one, you might think the sofa bed with pull-out sleeper was a traditional sofa bed, but this type of sofa bed is unique. Often called a Sleeper Sofa or Media Sleeper, it features the same type of pull-out mechanism a traditional sofa bed has. When you unfold it, instead of a bed frame and mattress, you get an extended seating area that’s large enough to be used as a bed.

Sofa Bed with Pull-Out Sleeper Pros

sofa bed with sleeper storageJust like a traditional sofa bed, a sofa bed with pull-out sleeper has many positives. They are strong, durable, and are available in a variety of styles. That makes them easy to match to your existing décor.

This style of sofa bed also comes with its own unique perks. There’s no thin mattress to worry about, so long-term comfort won’t be a problem. You also won’t have to worry about replacing the mattress.

Because they don’t have a hard bed frame hidden inside the sofa, a sofa bed with pull out sleeper is more comfortable for both sitting and sleeping. It actually works as an extension of your sofa, so it’s not just for sleeping. It salso works great for just lounging around.

This style of sofa bed is available in sectionals, and those sectionals include great features like a chaise with storage space for your pillows, blankets, and more.

Sofa Bed with Pull-Out Sleeper Cons

Just like a sofa bed, there are a few downsides to the sofa bed with pull-out sleeper. They are large, take up more space, and the size of the sofa bed makes it difficult to move or replace. You’ll still need to have a large space for when the sleeper is open, and you may need to move other furniture out of the way first.

The sofa bed with pull-out sleeper is also more expensive than traditional sofa beds, so you’ll need to take your budget into consideration.

Should you buy a sofa bed with pull-out sleeper?

If you’re looking for a sofa with bed that’s sturdy, durable, and a permanent addition to your living room or guest room, a sofa bed with pull-out sleeper is a great choice. It’s more comfortable for long-term sleeping and lounging than a traditional sofa bed, and it offers versatility and unique features you’ll love.

The Futon

futon vs sofa bed

Futons are one of the most commonly used pieces of furniture for college students, small studio apartments, and guest rooms. These inexpensive, space saving pieces of furniture consist of a mattress and frame. It folds up to create a small sofa and folds down to create a bed.

Pros of choosing a futon

contemporary futonThe main reason people choose a futon over other types of pull out beds is cost. Futons are the least expensive option, and a futon with mattress is lightweight, easy to move, and easy to clean. They transition quickly and with little effort when you want to move them from a bed to a seat, and they don’t take up a lot of space either. Even when you unfold them, futons will remain small.

There are different types of futon bedding or futon covers, so you can replace the cover and change the style easily. There’s also different types of futon beds, and because they come in different sizes you can choose exactly the style and type to meet your needs.

Cons of choosing a futon

If you enjoy sleeping on a traditional mattress, you may not be as comfortable on a futon. The futon with mattress isn’t as soft to sit on as a full size sofa bed because you’re sitting right on the futon mattress. The mattress may also lose shape or wear out more quickly.

While futons are affordable, they won’t add value to your living room. Put side by side with a sectional sofa bed, the sofa bed would appear much more luxurious than a futon.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, while they are compact, you still need to have extra space to unfold the bed. That may mean moving the futon away from the wall and moving other furniture out of the way.

While futons are lightweight, they may not be as sturdy as a sofa bed would be. Because of that, someone with mobility issues could have a hard time getting in and out of a futon.

Should you buy a futon?

If you are tight on space and you have a limited budget, a futon is a solid choice. They are lightweight enough to move when you need to move them, and they are easy to pull out and fold up. If you’re looking for a comfortable spot to sit and sleep, something that adds value to your living room or guest room, a futon may not be for you.

The Daybed

daybed with trundle

You may have grown up sleeping on a daybed or you had a friend who slept on one. They look like a 3-sided sofa or settee frame, but instead of sofa cushions you sit right on your daybed mattress.

You’ll find daybeds with trundle that slides out like a drawer from underneath the seat, or daybeds with storage so you can use them as a place to put clothes or blankets.

Pros of choosing a daybed

Just like a futon, a daybed is a great choice if you have a small space. If you lack the space to roll out a futon or sofa bed, you’ll love that a daybed doesn’t transition at all. Just roll out the trundle bed or sleep on the top daybed with mattress.

A daybed is more affordable than a full size sofa bed. They take a standard mattress, so replacing the mattress is easier too. If you lack storage in your home, some models of daybed feature under-the-bed storage spaces.

Daybeds have a more sophisticated aesthetic than a futon, and you can find different styles to suit your home or your sense of style perfectly.

Cons of choosing a daybed

daybed metal frameThe size of the bed you need will be a big factor in whether or not you choose a daybed. If you need a larger size than twin or double, you’ll have a hard time finding a big enough daybed to suit you.

Because daybeds have a 3-sided frame, you’ll want to ensure you have a space for them where you can position the bed up against the wall. You’ll also have to buy special bedding or pillows for your daybed, and if you choose a daybed with trundle, you’ll need bedding and pillows for both.

While more affordable than a sofa bed, a daybed is generally more expensive than a futon. Like a futon, they aren’t as comfortable for sitting as a sofa bed or sofa bed with pullout would be.

Should you choose a daybed?

If you want a space saving piece of furniture to perform double-duty without you having to transition the frame, a daybed is a great choice. While it will probably be more of an investment than a futon, you’ll get extra features and a stylish aesthetic you’ll appreciate.

Take the next step

Choosing a piece of multi-functional furniture is exciting because it extends the usability of your home. Check out Best Buy’s extensive selection of living room furniture including sofa beds, sofa beds with sleeper, futons, and day beds, and get ready to enjoy the versatility and style owning a piece of multi-functional furniture will bring.




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