About 5 years ago, we stayed at a cabin. We loved everything about it, and then we went to bed. The bed was an old, inexpensive futon. It had a cheap metal frame and a paper thin mattress. I slept terribly on that trip.
So, are futons comfortable? I’ve bought a couple to determine this, and I’ve also connected with an interior designer to get her expert insights on futon comfort.
Are Futons Comfortable to Sleep and Sit On?
Futons can be comfortable if the mattress is thick. It will be uncomfortable if the mattress is thin and lacks support.
Los Angeles based Interior Designer Tina Martindelcampo shares her insights on whether or not futons make comfortable beds and sofas:
“A futon can be comfortable enough as a bed, depending on the quality and the fill of the cushions. If you plan on sleeping on your futon long-term, I recommend purchasing a mattress topper for maximum comfort. It definitely won’t replace a bed, but it is a decent alternative.
The futons of yesterday were not comfortable to sit on due to poor construction, which consisted of a thin mattress and wood frame. Much has changed, however, because most futons now resemble a cushioned sofa rather than a mattress with a wood frame. This construction upgrade makes sitting on a futon more enjoyable.”
Do Futons Work As a Bed?
We used to have two futons. Now we have one. I got rid of an inexpensive, cheap frame futon with a thin, ineffective futon mattress. It was uncomfortable, much like the one at the cabin.
The futon I kept has a gorgeous solid wood frame and a thick, comfortable futon mattress, which is very comfortable. There are many types of futons, including big and small futons.
Cheap futon mattresses are uncomfortable and need an extra layer for sleeping on. Expensive futons are generally more comfortable. But, keep in mind that futon mattresses are quite firm, like a well-inflated air mattress. They’re not squishy or spongy like a foam mattress.
One thing to note about futon comfort is they are not perfectly flat like a mattress. While there aren’t lumps, the surface is a bit uneven. This doesn’t bother me since I sink into it enough to eliminate this, but I could see how this could concern others. If this is a problem, you might find that a sofa bed is better than a futon in this case.
Do Futons Work As a Sofa to Sit On?
Again, it comes down to futon mattress quality. A thick, high-quality futon mattress is comfortable for sitting on. But, it will be firm and you won’t sink into it.
Another problem with this piece of furniture as a sofa is that the futon mattress tends to slip downward, especially if the mattress is a thick, quality mattress. While the mattress folds, because it’s so thick and stiff, it doesn’t fold and fit as tightly as I’d like.
This means I’m constantly sliding the mattress upright when the futon is in the couch position (which it is most of the time).
How to Make Firm Futon Mattresses More Comfortable
Buying a soft top mattress pad is a simple solution to make your futon more comfortable. These are easy to store, fairly lightweight, and the additional comfort will be appreciated by anyone who prefers a softer futon.
Example of a Comfortable Futon
My quality futon is quite old, so I couldn’t find an example of the exact model, but below is one very similar with a sturdy wood frame, thick futon mattress, and sliding drawers underneath.
Yes, it costs a fair amount, but when buying futons, it’s worth spending some decent money because you want a high quality mattress, which makes all the difference.
Please note I don’t own this exact model, but it’s very similar in every aspect, including price, so I suspect it’s decent. I also went to IKEA and tested several futons there, if you prefer getting a futon from that store.
Benefits of Futons
Futons offer many benefits, from its versatility to style and functionality.
Tina shares her biggest perk of having a futon:
“A convenient perk of owning a futon is that it can serve two simultaneous functions. The first being a sofa and the other a temporary or permanent bed. It’s also a wonderful option for a guest bedroom, which doubles as a home office. Guests can enjoy sleeping on it at night and sitting or lounging on it during the day.”
In my experience, here are some of the benefits I’ve enjoyed from my futon. If you can’t seem to decide whether they are the best choice for you, I hope that these benefits can help you make up your mind faster:
- Space saving: When it comes to smaller living spaces, comfortable futons are one of the best furniture choices. They effortlessly transition from a cozy couch during the day to a comfortable bed at night, making them a perfect choice for studio apartments or guest rooms.
- Affordable: Futons are often more budget-friendly than traditional sofas and beds. At the same time, their affordability doesn’t compromise on style, as they come in a wide range of designs, materials, and colors to suit any decor.
- Easy to maintain: This is perhaps my favorite futon sofa benefit. Futon covers are typically removable and machine-washable, making them easy to clean and maintain. This is incredibly convenient for families or individuals with pets with little kids.
- Versatile: They can serve as a guest bed, a lounging couch, or even a makeshift office seat when you need a change of scenery while working from home.
- Portable: Futons are lightweight and easy to move, allowing you to rearrange your living area effortlessly.
Drawbacks of Futons
After the benefits I’ve outlined, it will be no surprise if you’re excited about getting futons. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider before getting one. They include:
- Thin mattresses: Most futon mattresses are thinner than traditional ones, which may not provide the same level of comfort, especially for people with frequent back or joint pain.
- Not very durable: Because their foams are thinner, futon mattresses may wear out faster than regular mattresses. Also, futon frames may not be as sturdy as normal bed frames.
- Variation in comfort levels: The comfort of futons can vary widely depending on the mattress quality. Lower-quality futons may lead to discomfort during extended periods of sitting or sleeping, similar to the challenges I see with daybeds.
- Difficult to convert: Converting a futon from a couch to a bed and vice versa can be tough, especially for bigger models or those with multiple parts.
Should You Get a Futon?
My futon has served me well over the years and still works great. Whether you should get a futon depends on your specific needs, lifestyle, and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if a futon is the right choice for you:
- The size of your living area
- How frequently you have guests staying over
- Your comfort needs
- Your home decor
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Futons as Comfortable as a Bed?
Futons may not offer the same level of comfort as traditional beds. This is because their mattresses are typically thinner and lack the cushioning and support that comes with regular mattresses. While they may provide adequate comfort for short-term or occasional use, they are not great for extended periods of time.
Is It Okay to Sleep On a Futon Every Night?
While sleeping on a futon every night is okay, it may not be ideal for everyone, depending on individual preferences and comfort needs. Because they don’t provide the same level of support and comfort as regular beds, constant usage may not be advisable for people with specific health conditions, such as back or joint pain.
Are Futons Good for Everyday Use as a Couch?
If you are limited on space in your home, futons work well as an everyday couch. I recommend getting one with a thicker mattress so it’s more comfortable and durable.
Futons can be a practical choice if you have limited space, a modest budget, or a need for a versatile seating and sleeping option. However, you should consider factors like mattress and frame quality to ensure the futon you choose meets your specific needs.