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12 Different Types of Futons (Detailed Buying Guide)

Futons

Quicklist: Types of Futons

  1. Frame
  2. Mattress
  3. Cover
  4. Bifold Futon Frame
  5. Loveseat Futon Fram
  6. Trifold Futon Frame
  7. Wood Frame
  8. Metal Frame
  9.  Traditional
  10. Armless
  11. Lounge
  12. Bunk Bed

We have a futon and it’s been invaluable to us many times. It’s served as a guest bed, yet we use it regularly as a sofa. It’s a large wooden one that takes up quite a bit of space, but makes for a good-sized bed. If space is an issue, you can get small futons, as well.

A futon can be one of the most usefully versatile pieces of furniture you’ll ever purchase. With a range of function and style nearly unrivalled by any other single piece of furniture, we’ve prepared a list of the most important reasons to buy one. 

A second reason to choose a futon has to do with limits as well: they are typically inexpensive, in relation to traditional sofas and beds. While the price can rise dramatically with the most luxurious models, the average, quality futon will set you back less than half as much as an equivalent sofa might.

Another reason a futon can be the right choice is that they are relatively simple and direct in their construction, allowing you to assemble, disassemble, and rearrange them with ease. They typically come in a box, with minimal work required to have a functioning, comfortable piece of furniture in your home.

A final reason ties into the versatility of the futon. You can change its appearance to fit any style room you’d like, with replaceable mattresses — and far easier — mattress covers. Since you can purchase a frame and mattress separately, the combinations can be tailored to your exact tastes. This is something that would never happen so simply with a sofa. The range of futon covers to suit any space are limitless.

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Let’s dig into the range of futons available to purchase!

What is a Futon?

A futon can be a couch and a bed, seating and sleeping furniture all in one piece. It takes less effort to convert from one mode to another than, say, a sleeper sofa, and far less space than having both items in a room. This alone makes the futon an attractive choice for those with limited square footage.

Elements of a Futon

There are three main elements to a futon. These are the frame, mattress and cover.

1. Frame

The frame is the foundation of the futon stucture. A poorly constructed frame will be difficult to convert from couch to bed and will be more likely to break or come loose. Important facets are strength, ease of use and durability. There are many different arm styles and finishes to choose from.

The futon frame is the foundation of the futon. A poorly constructed frame will be difficult to convert from couch to bed and will be more likely to break or come loose. Important facets are strength, ease of use, and durability. There are many different arm styles and finishes to choose from.

See more at Wayfair, Amazon and Houzz

2. Mattress

The mattress is the cushion used for both sitting and sleeping. A great futon should be comfortable in both functions and give years of sitting and sleeping pleasure. Simple cotton or polyester-filled ones will flatten with use, so pressurized foam or coil springs are the way to go.

The futon mattress is the cushion used for both sitting and sleeping.

3. Cover

As the final surface detail, the cover is the most noticeable part of the futon. Here you can choose to coordinate with the surrounding environment and add protection for the futon mattress from dirt and spills. Removable covers can be exchanged to suit the season or the room.

Here you can choose to coordinate with the surrounding environment and add protection for the futon mattress from dirt and spills. Being removable, futon covers can be exchanged during different seasons, rooms, and more.

Frames

There are three main types of futon frames: bifold, loveseat and trifold.

4. The Bifold Futon Frame

The most common futon frame is one in which the futon mattress is folded in half. They are perfect for couch use and everyday conversion into a bed. Bifold futon frames are available in full, queen, and smaller chair sizes.

The most common futon frame is one in which the futon mattress is folded in half the long way. These are perfect for couch use and everyday conversion to a bed. Bifold futon frames are available in full, queen, and smaller chair sizes.

See more at Wayfair, Amazon and Houzz

5. Loveseat Futon Frame

Loveseat futon frames, like the equivalent sofa, are designed for small spaces. These use a two-piece futon mattress to fit a twin or full-size bed into the smallest possible space. Perfect for efficient space usage in guest rooms, home offices, any limited size room, loveseat futon frames are available in twin and full sizes.

Loveseat futon frames, like the equivalent sofa, are designed for small spaces. These use a 2-piece futon mattress to fit a twin or full size bed into the smallest possible space. Perfect for efficient space usage in guest rooms, home offices, any limited size room, loveseat futon frames are available in twin and full sizes.

6. Trifold Futon Frame

Another great option for small spaces, the trifold futon frame folds the mattress in thirds. Because the mattress is folded this way, only thinner models can be used on trifold models. They are slightly more difficult to convert from couch to bed than bifold or loveseat futon frames.

Another great option for small spaces, the trifold futon frame folds the mattress in thirds upon the frame. Because the mattress is folded this way, only thinner models can be used on trifold futon frames. They are slightly more difficult to convert from couch to bed than bifold or loveseat futon frames, as you can see.

Materials

Futon frames are typically constructed from one of two materials, wood or metal.

7. Wooden Futon Frame

Wood frames are by far the most common construction for futons. Versatile in terms of function and aesthetics, a solid wood frame can appear in myriad styles and surface textures.

frame-wooden

8. Metal Frame

A metal frame futon has the benefit of lighter weight and, thus, more portability than a traditional wood frame. They can be molded into unique shapes that are difficult to attain with wood, and can often convert to a bed and back with more ease. However, they are often not as ornate or beautiful as wood, and can be less sturdy.

A metal frame futon has the benefit of lighter weight and, thus, more portability than a traditional wood frame. They can be molded into unique shapes that are difficult to attain with wood, and can often convert to a bed and back with more ease. However, they are not often as ornate or beautiful as wood, and can be less sturdy.

See more at Wayfair, Amazon and Houzz

Styles

Already one of the most versatile, utilitarian pieces of furniture, futons also come in a range of playful styles and configurations.

9. Traditional

The traditionally shaped futon most closely resembles a classic sofa. These will have full arms, with either matching or perfectly paired mattress and frame combinations. Some are fully upholstered for a unified look, completely obscuring the frame itself.

The traditionally shaped futon most closely resembles a classic sofa. These will have full arms, with either matching or perfectly paired mattress and frame combinations. Some are fully upholstered for a unified look, completely obscuring the frame itself.

10. Armless

The number one advantage to an armless futon is, when in sleeping mode, the bed can be far more comfortable for tall folks, or anyone who moves around during sleep. In its bed configuration, the armless futon is similar to a traditional bed. It can also convert into a sleek sofa configuration, fitting multiple sitters with a little more room.

The number one advantage to an armless futon is, when in sleeping mode, the bed can be far more comfortable for tall folks, or anyone who moves around during sleep. In its bed configuration, the armless futon appears more naturally like a traditional bed. It can also make for a more sleek sofa configuration, and fit multiple sitters with a little more room.

11. Lounge

The lounge futon is a more relaxed affair, made for, yes, lounging. These models can supplement more traditional furniture in a living room, or make a relaxing halfway point between sitting and laying down. Many models have multiple notches for varying increments of recline, from upright to fully flat.

The lounge futon is a more relaxed affair, made for, yes, lounging. These models can supplement more traditional furniture in a living room, or make a relaxing halfway point between sitting and laying down. Many models have multiple notches for varying increments of recline, from upright to fully flat.

12. Bunk Bed

Possibly the most innovative, and definitely the most elaborate futon design, bunk beds are a perfect centerpiece for any child’s bedroom or dorm room. Combining the traditional futon setup with a full bunk bed frame, they allow for seating and two full beds in a compact space.

Possibly the most innovative, and definitely the most elaborate futon design, these are a perfect centerpiece for any child's bedroom or dorm room. Combining the traditional futon setup with a full bunk bed frame, they allow for seating and two full beds in a compact space.

See more at Wayfair, Amazon and Houzz

Best Type of Futon for Various Purposes

Best Type for RVs

Arden White Futon Frame with Storage Drawers Queen Size - Solid Hardwood Armless Sofa Bed Frame Construction, Space Saving Design Ideal for RV, Small Rooms, and Dorms

A futon is considered a functional piece of furniture, which makes it an ideal choice for use in a Recreational Vehicle (RV) in order to maximize use of the limited space. The futon’s mat, when flat, functions as a mattress for sleeping, and when folded can be used as a seat cushion.

The best type of futons for RVs are those that are versatile, foldable, and armless, with built-in storage space. They should also be lightweight to avoid adding extra weight that will inevitably use more fuel to move usage. And because this futon will be part of the primary living space in the Recreational Vehicle, make sure the futon cover can be removed and is washable.

Best Type for Sleeping

Mozaic Full Size 12" Thick Futon Mattress, Charcoal Grey

Futons come in a wide variety of options, with mattress quality that differs from brand to brand. If the futon will be your (or someone else’s) permanent bed, it is essential to focus on the quality of the mattress, its firmness, and its thickness which ranges from several inches to twelve inches. Also, remember to make sure the futon’s size is large or long enough for the person who will be using it.

Fortunately, there are futons now available that have been constructed with memory foam or innerspring – which gives you a few options to meet the needs of the futon’s sleeper. Some futons combine both high-density foam and innerspring, which creates a more supportive and firmer platform on which to sleep.

Note, not all futons have the same conversion mechanism (the process by which it turns from a sofa/loveseat to a bed and back to a couch), so it is important to understand how they operate.

Best Type for College Dorm

DHP Lodge Convertible Futon Couch Bed with Microfiber Upholstery and Wood Legs, Charcoal

The best type of sofa bed for a college dormitory would be one that is cost-effective and lightweight (college students often move). Consider choosing a subtle and clean design that is easy to assemble and easy to convert from a seated position to that for sleeping or lounging.

If you choose a microfiber surface, this upholstery is easy to clean — especially after a late-night study session or dorm party.

Best Type for Office

DHP Paxson Convertible Futon Couch Bed with Linen Upholstery and Wood Legs - Navy Blue

A loveseat futon offers great versatility for office use. The smaller size can fit in unique office décors and environments. For extra storage, consider a futon with built-in storage options. 

Office futons are affordable and available in traditional, modern, and even simple designs. Most stylized futons are available in multiple colors to help coordinate the futon with current office décor.

Best Type for Heavier People

Heavier individuals interested in a futon should focus on two primary factors — the weight limit of the furniture and the amount of actual sleeping space. Most futons have weight limits that tend to hover around 600 lbs., although there are quality futons that have weight limits and extra-durable frames that have a limit that goes as high as 750 lbs.

Best Type for Studio Apartments

Furnish Home Store Extra Wide Modern Loveseat Futon for Living Rooms and Bedroom, Removable Back and Seat Cushion, Small Size Furniture for Guest Room Studio Apartments, Black

Living in a studio apartment helps save money but requires careful planning due to space limitations. A futon that opens horizontally is a great choice for a studio apartment because it does not require you to slide the coffee table out of the way or find a storage location for seating cushions used in a convertible sofa.

“The advantage of having a futon is that it is a completely separate mattress.”

Best Type for Floor Sleeping

FULI Japanese Floor Mattress, Futon Mattress, Shiki Futon (shikibuton), Foldable & Portable, Made in Japan (White, Queen)

The futon marketplace offers a wide variety of futons designed specifically for floor sleeping. Some of the most popular types of futons for those who sleep on the floor is the traditional Japanese Floor Mattress, which is portable and available in different sizes — including a queen mattress. The Japanese culture offers a minimalist approach to sleeping.

“Use a tatami mat with the futon to help control moisture, which keeps you cool even on a hot summer evening.”

The versatile folding mattresses offer a comfortable sleep using a three-layered mattress. It is best to cover the mattress with sheets, however, it can be spot-cleaned or dry-cleaned in the event of a stain.

Antique Futons

Antique futon in a hotel room by Lake Toya, Japan. The traditional Japanese style of bedding was originally laid over tatami mats on the floor. 

Best Brands for Futons

Futons are a popular type of furniture that can be used as both a bed and a couch. They are perfect for small spaces or for people who like to have the option to use their furniture in different ways. Futons are typically made with a metal frame and a mattress that can be folded up into a couch during the day.

There are many different brands of futons available on the market, but not all of them are created equal. Some brands offer better quality than others, and some are more affordable than others.

1. West Elm

West Elm futons are made with high-quality materials and construction, and they come in a variety of different styles to suit any taste. They are also very affordable, making them a great option for people who are on a budget.

2. IKEA

IKEA is another popular furniture store that offers a wide variety of furniture, including futons and sleeper sofas. IKEA is known for its simple, functional design. The futons are made with high-quality materials and construction, and they are very affordable.

IKEA’s Balkarp sleeper sofa features an adjustable back and many fabric options.

3. Pottery Barn

Shasta Roll Arm Upholstered Storage Futon.

Source: Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn is a furniture store that offers an array of furniture styles. They have both contemporary and traditional looks. Pottery Barn’s furniture is made of high-quality materials, and they often use reclaimed wood in their construction process. Their furniture is also very affordable, making them a great option for people who are on a budget.

4. Serta Brand Futon

Source: Overstock.com

A Serta futon will be comfortable and long-lasting. The company has been around for over 80 years and is known for their high-quality mattresses. A Serta futon mattress is made with memory foam, which will contour to your body and provide excellent support.

5. Novogratz

Novogratz is a modern brand, with a large selection of futons and sleeper sofas available from their website. Their designs focus on practicality without compromising style.

The Skylar Coil Futon Modern Sofa Bed and Couch is fully upholstered in rich velvet with ribbed tufted cushioned back and gold powder coated metal legs. The split-back design adjusts between three positions: sitting, lounging or sleeping.

Amazon, Wayfair and Walmart are among other stores that carry the brand, and you can find a variety of their futons there. The prices for Novogratz futons range from $200 to $700.

Photo of futon

Tips for Buying a Futon

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a futon. First, consider the size of the room where the futon will be placed. Futons come in different sizes, so you want to make sure that you get one that is the right size for the space. Second, think about how you will be using the futon.

If you plan on using it as a bed most of the time, then you will want to get a thicker mattress. However, if you plan on using it as a couch most of the time, then you can get away with a thinner mattress. Lastly, consider your budget. Futons can range in price from around $100 to over $1,000, so you want to make sure that you find one that is within your price range.

Where to Buy Futons

Futonland

Futonland started out as a small New York store, but has grown to become a major online retailer. When you shop here, you’ll have plenty of futons to choose from. From queen-size futon beds to hardwood futon frames, their selection is hard to beat. 

This store carries products from many brands, including Kodiak and Lifestyle Solutions. Futonland also offers free sample swatches so that you can pick the perfect color for your futon. If you need accessories, you’ll find everything from throw pillows to storage drawers.

Novogratz

Designers Cortney and Robert Novogratz wanted to bring high-end design into ordinary homes. That’s why they launched their own furniture brand, Novogratz. While Novogratz makes all kinds of furniture, the brand is famous for its futons. 

“The Novogratz Brittany futon feels solid and structurally sound,” says Bobby from Sofa Digest. “It’s a great option if you’re on a budget.”

Many Novogratz futons use comfortable materials like memory foam. They offer affordable, easy-to-assemble futons in a variety of colors. If you love mid-century design, you’ll be a fan of their futons.

Emma Mason

Emma Mason sells high-quality futons at warehouse prices. They have their own brand, but also carry futons from brands like Coaster Furniture. This is a great place to find affordable futon frames made from solid wood.

You’ll like the selection at Emma Mason, but you’ll love the service even more. If you need shopping advice, you can connect with one of their specialists. They also offer free white glove delivery on large purchases.

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn carries futons made for grown-ups. All the brand’s futons are well designed, and many offer useful features like storage arms. Futons are also available in a variety of fabrics and colors. 

Not satisfied with the selection at Pottery Barn? There are even more options at Pottery Barn Teen. Shop here if you’re looking for a futon that’s built to last. 

DHP Furniture

DHP, which stands for Dorel Home Products, offers affordable, ready-to-assemble furniture. They make many stylish futons and also offer futon sectionals.

If you want a modern futon at a budget-friendly price, you can find it at DHP. Their futons come in many colors and materials, including velvet and faux leather. Some of their futons even have features like cupholders. 

Target

While Target sells furniture in-store, they have a larger selection online. They carry futons from their own brands and other manufacturers, like Room & Joy. 

“Target is one of my favorite places to shop online,” says interior designer Nina Takesh. “They have elevated, minimalistic items that are extremely affordable.” Want a futon that’s under 69 inches? Target has lots of smaller futons, but also carries larger futons and futon sets. 

J-Life International

In Japan, a futon set includes a mattress and a duvet. You can find Japanese-style futons at J-Life International. You can roll up and store these futons, which makes them perfect for small spaces.

When you order your futon, you can also choose a cover. The covers, available in many patterns and colors, are made from 100% cotton, and are machine washable. 

West Elm

People love West Elm because they make sustainable and stylish furniture. The brand has beautiful futons made out of responsibly sourced materials. 

Some of the futons at West Elm look like luxury sofas. They have leather futons, velvet futons, and so much more. Best of all, when you order your futon, you can pick out the fabric.

Amazon

You can buy almost anything on Amazon, and that includes futons. Amazon carries thousands of futons from brands like Serta, Novogratz and DHP. If you need a futon right away, you can take advantage of their free two-day delivery. Don’t want to assemble your futon yourself? Amazon also offers expert assembly for a fee. 

The Futon Shop

The Futon Shop sells futons made with natural, chemical-free materials. Many of their futon frames use Amish wood. They carry lots of different futon mattresses, including gel and spring mattresses. 

If you have a passion for natural furniture, you’ll love The Futon Shop. They use premium organic materials that are free of pesticides. You can even protect your futon with a cover made from natural materials like cotton and hemp.

Photo of futon

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Are Futons?

Futons double as chairs, sofas and beds. Futon chairs are generally the size of a twin mattress and use a bifold configuration. They measure 28 inches by 54 inches. Futon sofas measure 76 inches by 87 inches for the frame and 75 inches by 54 inches for a double mattress. Futon sofas with a width of 82 inches by 91.5 inches for the frame include an 80-inches by 60-inches queen mattress.  

How Long Are Futons? How Wide Are Futons?

Without a frame, folded futon sizes differ according to the fold (bifold or trifold) and size of the futon. Keep in mind that futons mirror mattress sizes. For instance, twin futons are 39 inches by 75 inches, with the XL coming in at 35 inches by 79 inches.

Full-size or double futons measure 54 by 75 inches with the XL four inches longer. The queen futon is 62 by 82 inches. The California king-sized futon is 72 by 84 inches.

How Big Are Futon Mattresses?

Futon mattresses mirror bed mattresses in width and length. You can order them as thick as you want by customizing your order.

Are Futons Comfortable To Sleep On?

As long as you have a sturdy frame or the floor, futon mattresses offer sleepers decent support. They are comfortable to sleep on.

Are Futons Good For Your Back?

Futons are generally firmer than a bed mattress because they are designed for use on the floor. That firmness makes a futon good for the back. However, for those with chronic back pain, it’s not a good idea. You can always get a memory foam mattress topper that would be good for chronic back problems.

How Much Weight Can A Futon Hold?

Futon mattresses must contain material that’s foldable, such as foam or coil innerspring. Wood or metal frames can hold up to 750 pounds comfortably.

Are Futons Queen Or Full?

Futon mattresses are offered in sizes from twin to full or double, and from queen to California king.

Does Goodwill Take Futons?

Goodwill publishes a list of items they will and will not accept. Futons were not on the Chesapeake Goodwill list of items, although it did say it wouldn’t accept “upholstered” furniture. Your best bet would be to call and ask.

Can A Futon Be Used As A Permanent Bed?

Futons are usually used by students in college dorms or those who live in studio apartments or other small spaces. The misunderstanding comes when people ask if they can sleep long-term on futons.

Yes, they can. I slept on one when I first moved to Maryland and kept it even after I got my own apartment. Futons are made of cotton or foam with technology that makes them long-lasting and supportive. Think about it. They’re made to act as sofas that turn into beds. You sit on a sofa every day. Why not sleep on it, too?

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