Sofa beds: Think Before You Buy

Sofa beds are a great way to save space and add versatility to  your house. There’s a perception that sofa beds are uncomfortable and an uncertain compromise between sleeper and seating space – but with so many excellent products available, there’s no reason your sofa bed can’t be a stylish, high quality addition to your home. Check out our guide to sofa beds – and find the right model for you!

Non-supported beds:

Unsupported, fold out beds are simple and cheap – and usually consist of small, simple folding cushions double up as a mattress and tuck back into the sofa when you’ve finished using it as a bed. This variety of sofa bed is inexpensive, small and easy to fit in the home – the lack of support offered by the cushioned beds may be uncomfortable for many users. Small, unsupported sofa beds work very well in kids bedrooms, where you’ll be able to save space and allow your kids to have friends round for sleep-overs.

Select a frame:

Frame sofa-beds are generally more comfortable than other varieties offering a supporting mattress frame to aid sleep. They’re strong and durable and available in wood and metal varieties. If you’re opting for a wood frame, make sure it’s been treated to resist moisture, and avoid softer materials such as pine.

The fold-out mechanism of a sofa-bed is a crucial part of its structure – and you should make sure it works smoothly. The bed frame should lift out of the sofa without difficulty – if you hear any suspect noises (clicks or crunches) then it’s probably best to stay away. The mechanism itself should be smooth and safe so that quilts and sheets don’t get caught, torn or snarled up in the bed.

Choose your material:

Like normal sofas, you’ll be able to select your sofa bed from a variety of upholsteries, including leather. It’s an opportunity to match the new furniture to the aesthetic of your home – but keep in mind what you want the sofa bed for and which room you intend to put it in. If it’s going to be used frequently, by a variety of people, then it might be worth avoiding more expensive models – and saving money when the inevitable food or drink spills occur. If you intend to use it in a study or guest room, you may feel more comfortable going up-market.

Check for space:

This is an important step  – but one many people overlook. Sofa beds, by their very nature, change shape and size. Make sure you not only measure the space you’ll be fitting the sofa bed into but take into account other items of furniture or appliances nearby. Beds which fold out next to radiators or low-hanging shelves may result in an uncomfortable night’s sleep . People sleeping in the bed will also need space to get into and out of the bed, so remember to leave enough room on at least one side of the sofa.

Test for quality:

Mattress quality is also going to be a factor in choosing your sofa bed – and crucial to a restful night’s sleep. It’s easy to find sofas with perfectly good quality mattresses but the only way to be completely happy is to try out the mattress before you purchase. Don’t be shy about asking for the sofa to be unfolded in the store – and getting on to try it out yourself!

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