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Are Futons Comfortable as a Bed or Sofa?

A collage of green futons.

About 5 years ago we stayed at a cabin. It was rustic, but on the ocean. When we arrived we loved the setting, the view and the accommodation. Then we went to bed.

The bed was an old, inexpensive futon. The kind with a cheap metal frame and a paper thin mattress. I don’t have to tell you it was a terribly uncomfortable sleep.

We used to have two futons. Now we have one. We kept the better futon and use it plenty to this day. We have it in one of two kids’ playrooms which doubles as a guest room.

What Makes One Futon Better Than the Other?

Picture of light wood futon

Appearance and comfort distinguishes futons.

The one we got rid of was an inexpensive, cheap frame futon with a thin, ineffective futon mattress. It was terribly uncomfortable, much like the one we used at the cabin.

The futon we kept, still have and still use (we’ve had it for years), has a gorgeous solid wood frame, a thick, comfortable futon mattress which is very comfortable. There are many types of futons, including big and small futons.

Are Futons Comfortable to Sleep in And/or Sit On?

As a Bed?

A futon as a bed

As a bed, futons can be comfortable, but some are not.

Cheap futon mattresses are not comfortable. Expensive futons are comfortable. But, keep in mind that futon mattresses are quite firm. They’re not squishy of spongy like a foam mattress. They’re quite firm.

One thing to note about futon comfort, and this applies to most futon mattresses, is they are not perfect flat like a mattress. While there aren’t lumps, the surface is a bit uneven. This doesn’t bother me one bit since I sink into enough to eliminate this, but I could see how this could be a concern for some people.

As a Sofa to Sit On?

A futon as a sofa

Again, it comes down to futon mattress quality. If it’s a thick, high quality futon mattress, it’s comfortable to sit on. But, it is firm. You don’t sink into it.

One other problem with futons as a sofa is the futon mattress has a tendency to slip downward, especially if the mattress is a thick, quality mattress. While the mattress folds, because it’s so think and stiff, it doesn’t fold and fit as tightly as one would like.

What this means is we are constantly sliding the mattress upright when the futon is in couch position (which it is most of the time).

How to Make Firm Futon Mattresses More Comfortable?

A simple solution if you don’t like firm mattresses, is to buy a soft top mattress pad. These are easy to store, fairly lightweight and the additional comfort will be appreciated by anyone who prefers a softer futon.

Do We Have a Mattress Pad for Our Futon?

No, we don’t. We’ve had guests stay and they’ve had no problems with the sleep. A mattress pad is only needed if one really struggles with the firmness of the futon mattress and/or the unevenness.

Example of a Comfortable Futon

Our quality futon is quite old so I couldn’t find an example of the exact model, but below is one very similar to ours with the sturdy wood frame, thick futon mattress and sliding drawers underneath. It’s priced comparably to ours as well. Yes, it does cost, but when buying a futon it’s definitely worth spending some decent money because you want a high quality mattress which makes all the difference.

Comfortable Futon

Source: Wayfair

Please note we don’t own this exact model, but it’s very similar in every aspect including price so I suspect it’s a decent one.