The Best Sleeper Sofas Are a Major Upgrade From Your Saggy College Futon

The Best Sleeper Sofas Are a Major Upgrade From Your Saggy College Futon

In the prime of your adulthood, you might not be Googling the best sleeper sofas with the fervor you did in college (when brick-like, nearly-scraping-the-floor futons were pretty much the norm). If you have the space and money, you may be thinking that you ought to spring for a straight-up bed for overnight guests, and if you don’t, there’s always the fallback inflatable mattress that can be had for around 100 bones.

Even so, sleeper sofas are still solidly useful for padding out your basement, or for a guest room or home office that’s tight on space. They’re also ideal for adding a makeshift sleeping space in your living room where there is very little room for one. Whether or not you use the bed component, you've still got a solid couch for watching Netflix or kicking your feet up.

The Best Sleeper Sofas Are a Major Upgrade From Your Saggy College Futon

But finding a good one isn't always easy. Traditional sofa beds have long been a burdensome combination of expensive, heavy, and sometimes pretty ugly. On the low end, they retail for at least a couple hundred, and on the high end, you’re looking to spend thousands of dollars (i.e. a lot more than the average mattress).

Pull-out styles are a general pain in the ass to lug from apartment to apartment (queen-size sleeper sofas typically weigh around 180 lbs.), meaning that if you land on a nice one for your place, it’s probably a lifer. And if you’re shopping for a new one, research is key to avoiding hauling that sucker back to a UPS store. At their worst, they also resemble the world’s ugliest Transformer: a hunk of metal emerging from your couch, with a flimsy-looking mattress on top, and a sinkhole in the middle that lands you right on top of the dreaded support bar in the middle.

Low-budget futon sofas, like the ones you owned in college, aren’t that much better. The high-density foam can help with support, but often needs a bit of give and cushion as a counterbalance to keep you comfortable through the night. And if the couch itself doesn’t have the right setup to keep you aloft, you’re going to be a lot closer to the floor than you ever intended to be.

But sleeper sofas have evolved in a lot of ways in recent years. More futon-like options have emerged made from comfy combinations of foam (offering denser support layers and cushier top layers), like the way your favorite Casper or Tuft & Needle mattress might. Made-to-order couch companies like Joybird and Interior Define launched in 2014, offering great customization and enhanced design features so you can build a sturdy pullout from scratch. Couch-in-a-box retailers like Burrow have democratized the concept of the “sofa bed”: Is it a full-on mattress tucked away inside your couch, or is it just a state of mind and a mattress topper on your couch? And with millennial-approved retailers like Floyd offering modular sofas that you can make as long as you want, theoretically any comfy couch can become an elongated sleeper sofa if you want it to be.

What types of sleeper couches are out there?

Sleeper couches can generally be broken down into three categories. First, there’s the traditional pullout bed which usually involves a metal frame tri-folded within the couch, and a thinner-than-average mattress on top of it. Since these have a solid framework to them, the good ones are going to offer exceptional support and durability so you can use them again and again. Since these do pull out an entire queen size bed, typically, they require more square footage to store them. These also tend to be a lot heavier and more expensive than some of their simpler couch counterparts.

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