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Futon Vs Sofa Bed – Which One is the Better Choice?

Fact Checked
Up to date
Update: May 5, 2023
9 min read

Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Futon Vs Sofa Bed

The skyrocketing prices of properties have made guest rooms, in most houses, a scarce luxury. But we all still require an extra bed to provide sleeping accommodation to overnight guests and those staying for a few days.  

The challenge of lack of space and the need for an extra sleeping bed has been beautifully met by streamlined flexible sleep and lounging solutions. The futon and the sofa are leading the race in these adjustable furniture pieces.  

Both are minimalistic and simplistic statement pieces and similar in function. However, the mattress of a futon is visible in both an extended and folded state, while you cannot view the mattress on a folded sofa. It makes choosing between them a daunting task.  

With that in mind, we are comparing the futon vs sofa bed and compiling a list of their pros and cons. It will help you nail the right flexible furniture based on your requirements. Read on! 

Futon Vs Sofa Beds: Comparison Chart

Check out the differences between a futon and a sofa bed so that you can make an informed decision for your purchase:

ParameterFutonSofa Bed
SizeA futon is light and small in sizeSofa beds occupy more space and are larger in size
WeightA futon is more lightweight than a sofa bedA sofa bed is heavier as it has an extra bedding surface tucked into it
StructureFuton’s adjustable backrest is flattened using a lever mechanism to turn it into a bedA Sofa bed has a pull-out mechanism to convert it into a bed
Cleaning & Maintenance Cleaning a futon is easier because you just have one piece of furniture to cleanCleaning a sofa bed is more complex as it has multiple pieces to clean
Comfort Factor Futons are not as comfortable as sofa beds.A sofa bed is far more comfortable to sit and sleep on
Setting-UpA futon needs a more complicated assemblyA sofa bed comes to you almost pre-assembled
Ease of Converting Into BedsA futon facilitates easier conversion than a sofa bed.Sofa beds can have simple to complex mechanisms for getting converted into a bed
Space A futon is best for cramped spacesA sofa bed requires a larger space than a futon
Blending In A futon offers a better blending-in quotient than a sofa bed.A sofa bed is a statement piece and offers less blending-in quotient
Value for Money A futon is better in terms of  value for money and pricingSofa beds are more expensive but also more durable

What is a Futon?

The modern futon bed can be defined as an open sofa that doubles up as a bed.  

Generally, they do not have an armrest or appreciable height. However, its upholstery and frame are flexible and easily adjusted to create a bed and fold it back.  

Despite being basic furniture, you can choose its mattress in different thicknesses and feel — soft, medium, and hard. They also offer you the versatility of standard mattress size. You can select any dimension.  

They are ideal for small studios and apartments. You can also install them as a couch in your office or den to enjoy the flexibility of a bed when required. Futon edges ahead when you compare a couch vs futon. 

Benefits of a Futon

A futon bed offers you several benefits like: 

  • They can be easily folded into a seating arrangement or spread like a bed without pulling or adjusting any frame.  
  • They are lightweight and offer you effortless mobility.  
  • They provide better sleeping space, especially to tall people, because they lack an armrest.  
  • They are available in various thickness levels and all standard mattress sizes to suit your needs. 
  • They give you a plethora of design, style, and colour options.  
  • They are incredibly budget-friendly. 
  • Futons are ideal for any small space. 

Downsides to a Futon

The flip side of a futon is: 

  • In the seating position, it is less comfortable than a sofa or a couch. It is essentially a mattress and can develop lumps, especially if used for a long time.  
  • Its low height makes it unsuitable for pregnant women or those with mobility problems like back pain or hip pain. 
  • It offers a sleeping surface closer to the floor. It might make you feel colder and make you vulnerable to inhaling dust and triggering allergies.  
  • It can make the space ‘look cheap’ as it is essentially a bendable mattress.  
  • A thinner mattress futon can be uncomfortable to sleep on and sit on.  
  • It is not too durable or long-lasting.  

What is a Sofa Bed?

True to its name, a pull out sofa bed, or merely a sofa bed, is a bed packed inside a sofa or couch. Its metal frame can be extended, and pillows pulled up to transform the sofa into a bed. Its structure is crafted of steel or metal and has a thinner width.  

The sofa is stylish and elegant, and you do not guess about the hidden bed until it is pulled out. Its mattress is generally about four to five inches thick.  

Generally, the two-seater sofa beds pull out into a double-sized bed, while the three-seater transforms into a queen-sized bed. 

This space-saving and functional furniture is often installed in hotel rooms and even your living rooms. It can even be used in dens, offices, studio apartments, etc.

Benefits of a Sofa Bed

A sofa bed offers several advantages like: 

  • Looks like a sofa and does not indicate a hidden bed unless pulled out.  
  • Extremely comfortable as both bed and seating options, especially when compared to futons.  
  • Available in various colours, designs, styles, and sizes to match any décor theme. 
  • It can be minimalistic or in any fancy design of your choice.  
  • Armrests make the bed cosier.  
  • It can even pack some storage space at the bottom, increasing its functionality.  
  • It is cheaper and more affordable than a regular mattress and frame or a Murphy bed.  

Downsides to a Sofa Bed

A few drawbacks of a sofa bed are: 

  • Due to their metal framework and hidden mattress, sofa beds are heavier than even couches. Hence, moving about in the house or elsewhere is difficult and cumbersome. 
  • Compared to futons or couches, a sofa bed occupies more space and even attention in a room.  
  • They can be uncomfortable due to their metal frame and thin mattress. A tall person would be highly uncomfortable due to the constriction by the armrests.  
  • It is also harder to clean than a futon.  
  • They come at an expensive price tag.  

Futon Vs Sofa Beds: Things to Consider While Buying

Both futon and sofa beds offer a sitting and sleeping surface. However, despite the basic functional similarity, there is a distinct difference in their structure, design, and features. Therefore, you can nail the perfect furnishing for your home by comparing a sofa bed vs futon on their features.   

Here, we compare one against the other and see how they stand against each other.  

1. Size 

The size and weight are essential parameters for choosing between a futon and a sofa since you are space-restricted and need a multi-functional piece of furniture.  

Futons are generally two-seaters and offer several narrow options. Most are lightweight. Hence, a futon is your choice if you need something light and small in size.  

In contrast, a sofa bed is available in single-seater to three-seaters and can be pulled out into a single bed to a queen-sized bed. Usually, they are pretty broad and offer you several width options. They are also quite heavy and are roughly the same boxy shape. Compared to a futon, they occupy more space and are larger in size.  

2. Weight

Weight is one big defining difference between a futon and a sofa bed. The weight decides the ease of movement of any furniture.  

A futon is far more lightweight than a sofa bed. A rare futon is crafted of solid hardwood and is heavy. Hence, you can move it quickly around the house.  

In contrast, a sofa bed is far heavier as it has an extra bedding surface tucked into it.  The mattress forms a fold and creates excess baggage, making it heavy and cumbersome to move around.  

3. Structure

Despite the same functionality, the futon and sofa bed’s structures are very different.  

A futon has a simple structure designed as a lounge chair. Its adjustable backrest is flattened using a lever mechanism to turn it into a bed.  

On the other hand, a sofa has a more complex construction. Its sofa construction has a metal or wooden frame under it that has a pull-out mechanism to convert it into a bed.  

Hence, a futon is your choice for simpler construction and constricted space, while you can choose a sofa bed if you don’t mind a complex structure and have a little more room.  

4. Cleaning & Maintenance

No matter what furniture you use, it is vital to maintain and clean it for its upkeep. When compared, cleaning and maintaining a futon is far easier and simpler than a sofa bed.  

In a futon, you just have one piece of furniture to clean. The mattress and pillows are one piece. Moreover, most futons have removable upholstery. You need to unzip the covers and clean them. 

However, cleaning a sofa is a much more complex job. It also has slip-on covers, but they are so tightly fixed to the sofa that removing them and putting them back is extremely tedious and arduous. Moreover, most of its upholstery needs to be dry-cleaned only, which raises its maintenance cost. It also has multiple pieces to clean to complicate the situation further. 

5. Comfort Factor

Comfortability is another vital factor to consider when purchasing a futon or a sofa. While both are comfortable, its level varies. The comfort level would also depend on the model and the item’s quality. 

When compared, futons are not too comfortable to sleep on. The bed is moderately comfortable though it can be increased by using accessories like a mattress topper and pillows.  

A sofa bed is far more comfortable to sit and sleep on. They do have a thinner mattress but more support beneath. They are also standard bed sizes, making things more comfortable.  

But you cannot change the plushness or firmness of a sofa bed like you can for a futon. Futon edges in customization by easy changing of upholstery if required.  

6. Initial Setting-Up

Assembling any furniture for use is another major concern area for any user. In this department, the sofa bed edges over the futon.  

A sofa bed comes to you almost pre-assembled. All you need to do is attach the original frame to the extendable bottom frame.  

Compared to it, a futon needs a more complicated assembly as you need to set up and fix the slates in position before the futon becomes usable.  

7. Ease of Converting Into Beds

Both the futon and the sofa bed need to be converted from a seater to a sleeping bed. But a futon facilitates easier conversion than a sofa bed.  

With a futon, you do not need to pull different levers or slide different parts together. Instead, you simply need to unlock the lever and pull the backrest down or pull the front to make a flat surface.  

Sofa beds can have simple to complex mechanisms for getting converted into a bed. It often requires taking off the cushions to pull out the mattress. You might also need to rearrange the cushions to form a part of the mattress. Some sofa beds also require you to add additional legs for support. 

While a single person can convert the sofa bed, physical exertion might not be the cup of tea for all. Automatic sofa beds are also available but are highly expensive and not affordable to all.  

8. Space

A sofa bed requires a larger space than a futon. Moreover, it is more difficult to move and adjust a sofa bed than a futon.  

A futon is best for cramped spaces, while you can use a sofa bed for comparatively larger areas.  

9. Blending In

A futon offers a better blending-in quotient than a sofa bed.  

With a boho design and structure, a futon is small and minimalist in style. Its upholstery is easily changeable and can easily be made to blend in with any décor and theme. 

In contrast, a sofa bed is a statement piece by itself. Therefore, it needs to be purchased or custom-made with the décor of the room in mind. Else, you might need to make changes in the room in which the sofa bed is installed to make it blend in.  

Hence, you need to decide if you want more personality as a sofa bed or a minimalist option like a futon.  

10. Value for Money

Hands down, sofa beds are far more expensive than futons. Sofa beds offer fewer customization options, though they are more durable than a futon. 

Hence, a futon would make more sense if you consider value for money and price point perspective. They are far cheaper to install, offer more customization options and can be easily revamped to a new style. Hence, it works wonders for people who love to change the aesthetics of the room.  

In contrast, sofa beds are far more durable than a futon. It makes it worth the price tag. Hence, if longevity is your aim, nothing beats a sofa bed.


Both futon and sofa beds are excellent furniture in terms of functionality and comfort. Each has its pros and cons. Overall, picking between the two depends on the available space, budget, and personal preference.  

We hope we have been able to help you choose between the two such that it meets all your practical needs.


What is more comfortable, sofa bed or futon? 

While both are comfortable pieces of furniture, a sofa is more comfortable to sit on and sleep in than a futon. It is also easier to get in and out of a sofa bed because of its better height than a futon. 

Is the futon the same as a sofa bed?

Both futons and sofa beds serve the same dual function of a sitting sit and a bed, but both are vastly different in terms of their construction, way of working, budget, convenience, and several other features. 

Is it healthy to sleep on a futon?

A comfortable and good-quality futon would offer both support and cushion. Hence, sleeping on it every day would not cause any health concerns. 

Are futons comfortable as couches?

Good quality and superior-constructed futon can be as comfortable as a couch. But couches are more comfortable to sit on compared to futons. Simultaneously, futons offer a better sleeping surface than a couch.


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Written by

Payal Singh
Content Writer
Bachelor's in English Literature and Health Sciences Previously wrote blog articles for various Doctors for their websites Familiarity with various content management systems and SEO best practices

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