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Evolving from the simple Japanese floor mattress on a frame, today’s futons have gained popularity since their American introduction in the early 1970s. Anyone who’s tried to lift and maneuver a full-sized conventional hide-a-bed up a set of stairs or through a standard doorway will appreciate the ease with which a sofa-futon can be disassembled, carried, and moved. Sofa futons are also perfect for small living spaces. They come in several styles and sizes from, a single-bed lounger to king size. When choosing the sofa futon, figure out the size of the area available and compare it to the size of the sofa futon, determine how you’ll most likely use it most (as a bed or sofa), and the differences between the mattress options available.

This model has a bifold mattress and is 82 inches long by 44 inches wide when open. Amazon

Whenever you’re shopping for pieces of furniture, first, determine how much space you have available so you’ll know what size futon you can get away with buying. Keep in mind that a futon will fully extend well beyond its folded-up size as it lies flat as a bed, so compare the “open” measurement to your space. A sofa futon usually features a bi-fold mattress, folding once along its length to form the couch seat. A lounger futon will fold twice to form the seat as the width of the mattress.

This backrests on this steel-framed model recline to 75-degrees and fold flat. Amazon

The great feature of any sofa futon is it is multi-functional, but the best fit for you will depend on whether you intend to use it more as a bed or couch. If you plan to convert it daily as your primary bed you’ll want it to easily change position with the least amount of work.

This model has a sandwiched innerspring foam mattress. Amazon

Choose your mattress carefully, balancing weight and comfort with how well it holds shape. The four most common mattress types are cotton/foam, cotton/polyester, cotton/wool, and innerspring. Cotton/foam and polyester are both lightweight and hold their shape well with little sag. Cotton/wool is a bit heavier and very soft, but less flexible and harder to fold. Many of today’s futon mattresses contain a flexible innerspring sandwiched between foam, which, though it adds weight to the mattress, it gives it a more traditional feel.