How to Choose the Best and Most Comfortable Sleeper Sofa
If your home has limited space say you live in a studio or one bedroom apartment that lacks a dedicated guest room — a sleeper sofa can be a practical and convenient way to add extra accommodations for overnight guests. However, while a sleeper sofa may be a pragmatic choice, that doesn't mean you have to skimp on style or comfort.
In fact sofa beds come in all styles, shapes, and sizes. Whether you love the wooden legs of mid-century modern design, the chrome legs often found in contemporary homes, or simple traditional style, there's likely a sofa out there that will complement both your current decor, as well as the size of your space.
However, style and size aren't the only things you should take into consideration during your quest for the best sleeper sofa. Things like, the release mechanism, the quality of the construction, the fabric of the upholstery and — perhaps most importantly — the type of mattress, are all things you should review before bringing home such a crucial new piece of furniture.
Assess the Mechanism
This point is unique to sofa beds, which have a special built-in mechanism to release and store the mattress. Since you don’t have to take this into consideration for other pieces of furniture, you might not know just what to look for.
In the past, sofa beds were notorious for being clunky or difficult to open and close. Luckily, today’s models, regardless of price point, have better lift-and-pull mechanisms that are easy to use. Shop with these points in mind:
Higher end sofa beds have mechanisms that allow you to unfold the bed by grabbing the back of the sofa to unfurl the mattress. To determine whether the sleeper sofa you’re examining has this feature, pull the bed out in the store to ensure it’s easy and smooth to use.
While making sure you can actually access the bed part of the sofa bed might seem like a no-brainer, you’ll also want to check how the bed lays once it’s been pulled out. While you’re checking for the function, also the base of the bed or the legs to make sure you or your guest won’t be hit your toes and feet on the sofa bed when it’s open.
Check the Construction
Next, you’ll want to ensure the construction of any sleeper sofa is sound and sturdy. Those older, noisy, and rickety sofa beds you might remember from stays with elderly relatives may be a thing of the past, but you still need to be on the lookout for quality construction. Just as with any furniture purchase, keep an eye out for these five key items:
The best sofa beds use kiln-dried hardwood frames. Not only are these frames extremely durable, but unlike metal frames, they usually don’t have uncomfortable bars that can disrupt a peaceful night’s sleep.
While you’re evaluating the durability and material of the frame, also be sure to look for smooth edges on the frame and mechanism. Ensure there are no protrusions or points that might snag pajama fabric or bedding, as this could cause headaches down the road.
The upholstery fabric you select for a sleeper sofa is twice as important as the decision you’ll make for a regular sofa. After all, that fabric has to do double duty as a sofa, as well as a headboard. When looking at sofa beds, keep in mind that microfiber upholstery tends to hold up especially well for sofas that get a good workout day and night.
Again, since your sleeper sofa is both a bed and a sofa, you’ll need to make sure the sofa cushions are extra durable. Look for high density foam seat cushions, as these provide comfort during the day while the sofa will be used for seating — protecting both your bottom and the mattress hidden underneath.
Finally, you’ll want to check if the sofa has a warranty, and if so, what that warranty includes. For instance, some companies will provide warranty protection should anything go wrong with the frame, mechanism or mattress. However, not all warranties are comprehensive, so make sure you know what’s covered before you take the sofa home.
Confirm Seating Comfort
You won’t always need to use the sofa as a bed for guests. Since you’ll also use the sofa as, well, a sofa, you want to make sure it’s as comfortable to sit on as possible.
To ensure you achieve maximum comfort, it’s best to sit on any sofa you’re considering to test its comfort level, just as you would any couch. Make sure the cushions aren’t sitting directly on the folded up mattress, but rather on durable seating suspension material. Regardless of how the cushions are suspended, it should be a little firmer to sit on than a non-sleeper model.
Check Mattress Comfort
While it’s usually a given to check the comfort of a sofa’s cushions in the selection process, sleeper sofas require another level of inspection. Not only do you need to make sure the cushions are up to par, you’ll also have to evaluate the mattress for comfort.
To make sure the mattress is the best fit for your needs, you first need to know what types of mattresses are available, and their pros and cons. In general, you can expect to find three common types of mattresses for today’s sofa beds:
- Traditional innerspring mattresses
- Gel-infused memory foam mattresses
- Inflatable air mattresses over coils (called air-coils)
Innerspring mattresses for sofa beds are more padded than in the past and have improved coils and extra layers of padding for comfort. You rarely feel that “metal bar” in your back when sleeping on a modern sofa bed. It’s best to test all three types to determine maximum comfort.
Measure for Fit
Perhaps one of the most important considerations when choosing any piece of furniture is to make sure it will fit in your space. Choosing a sofa bed is no different. However, you’ll need to keep in mind two different dimensions — the size of the sofa on its own, and the size of the sofa bed when it’s unfolded.
For instance, you might want to select a sleeper sofa with a full-size bed if your living room or den is on the more compact side, while you might want to hunt for the best queen sleeper sofa if you have a larger space.
And one thing that’s important to note: sofa bed mattresses are not the same size as regular bed mattresses. Make sure to measure the true mattress dimensions of any sofa bed you’re considering. For example, the standard mattress for a queen-size bed is 60 inches wide by 80 inches long. However, the mattress size on a queen sized sleeper sofa may reach only 72 inches long, which could make a difference in fit and comfort.
Select the Perfect Sleeper Sofa with Confidence
Whether you have a small space or more square footage than you know what to do with, sofa beds are a smart choice when it comes to both style and comfort. But, knowing whether you’ve chosen the right one might be tricky.
With this comprehensive list you should be able to effectively identify potential sleeper sofa candidates for your home, or evaluate whether the one you’ve got your eye on is a good fit. That way, when you finally get your new sleeper sofa into your home, you can rest easy knowing you’ve made the right decision.