Attractive and affordable sofabeds?
December 5, 2004 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Sleeper sofas: Can anyone recommend a sofa bed solution that A) looks good and B) doesn't totally break the bank?
posted by o2b to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
by "sofa bed" do you mean just the mechnical sofas that convert into beds, or are you including futons, foam things, etc?

we spent a fair amount of time searching because we often have people staying, but didn't want to have an extra bed. the best looking solution we found was a futon (a very simple one, that just folds down the middle to forma sofa, with no arms).
posted by andrew cooke at 5:16 PM on December 5, 2004

Lots of times sleeper sofas just aren't really that comfortable, and they sure are heavy and terrible things to have to haul around. You can also consider just getting an aerobed (only about $100) and getting whatever type of sofa you really want. Sorry I'm not offering you exactly what you asked for, but consider Plan B, too.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:22 PM on December 5, 2004

Look here. They're probably all acceptable and start at under $300. I can only personally vouch for the Ektorp, which is among the more expensive, but it did great by me and the girl for two nights, and I'm 6'2" and nearly 200 pounds.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:34 PM on December 5, 2004

Response by poster: Clarification: It'll be used primarily as a sofa.
posted by o2b at 5:46 PM on December 5, 2004

Then a futon is, IMHO, perfectly priced for light sleeping usage. Bonus (well, at least in my case): it's not as bulky as a full-blown sofa bed.
posted by Non Serviam at 6:06 PM on December 5, 2004

I went through the trouble of trying to get a decent sleeper sofa for guests, but it is so comfortable to sleep on as a sofa that it hardly ever gets pulled out.

If I were going to do it again, I would have done what I wanted and gotten a futon.
posted by Doohickie at 6:11 PM on December 5, 2004

If you do check out mayor's rec, stay away from the Ekeskog. I bought it and hated it. In fact, it's in my garage and if you want it, email me and you can drive to MN and pick it up. Warning: the cushions slide off.

The key to a comfortable sleeper sofa is the mattress. Pay the extra money to get the uprade, it's worth every penny.
posted by Juicylicious at 6:12 PM on December 5, 2004

The worst night's sleep I have ever had on a futon is better than the best night's sleep I have ever had on a traditional sleeper sofa.

But if it's mostly going to be a sofa, then I suppose you might as well go for it. Get the best mattress you can, as Juicylicious wisely suggests, and get a foam-rubber topper thingie as well if you have somewhere to keep that.

I actually like the Aerobed a lot, and Aerobeds are cheaper than the difference between a regular sofa and a sleeper sofa.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:28 PM on December 5, 2004

1. Futons are nice to sleep on, if you get one with a good mattress, but I've never met one that worked well as a sofa.

2. Sofa beds are nice to sit on, but they are crap for sleeping and woe unto he who has to move the monstrosity (I got a freebie sofa bed from my cousin and just left it in the apartment I moved out of rather than carry its tonnage back down three flights of stairs).

3. Aerobeds are pretty good (the only complaint I've ever had is they are a lot colder than regular beds, so if you're a heat miser, be sure to give your guests some extra blankets).

Ergo, a nice comfortable regular sofa and an Aerobed or comparable inflatable mattress would be my recommendation.
posted by jennyb at 7:28 PM on December 5, 2004

We have this one, in green. It fits one person but it's been fabulous -- both for short term guests and as a place for my mom to sleep when she was relocating and slept on it for a few weeks. And I love having an extra long sofa -- I can spread all of my knitting out on it and still have room for my husband. Heh.
posted by sugarfish at 7:43 PM on December 5, 2004

Another vote for Aerobeds.

At one point, we had a sofabed and a futon. Our regular overnight guests were grateful when we purchased an aerobed. Get a couch you love that's great for sitting and buy an aerobed (a REAL aerobed, not a knockoff).
posted by wallaby at 8:00 PM on December 5, 2004

If you get a futon, get a thick mattress, because the thin ones tend to gradually get the bars of the frame printed on them. You can prevent this by putting a piece of plywood between the frame and the mattress. It worked out rather nicely for us so far. Also makes sitting on the futon more comfortable, though still not as comfortable as a sofa.

You could also get a sofa that's nice to sleep on without pulling out. Steer away from a sofa bed if you can; the difficulty of moving one is definitely not overstated above.
posted by copperbleu at 8:03 PM on December 5, 2004

Futon. We have 2 in our living room. We bought the most expensive mattresses they had available (which were $200 each more than the "normal" mattress), and it takes literally 2 minutes to make a bed for friends. And everyone who has slept on them has loved them.

Also, we bought two ottomans with them. We have both of these against one of the futon frames, with its futon mattress laid flat and extended over the ottoman frames, and with the ottoman cushions acting as backrests. In other words, it's a chaise lounge wide enough for 3 people (but normally just the 2 of us) which is perfect for lounging and watching movies. One of our futons is always configured this way, and the other is in the sofa position.

Someone said futons aren't comfortable as sofas. I think this depends on the quality of the mattress. We love ours.
posted by Bradley at 8:13 PM on December 5, 2004

I agree with jennyb. Sleeper sofas are fine for sitting, no different really than a regular sofa, but they lack support and are generally not that comfortable for sleeping. That being said, I slept on one for five years in an attempt to gain extra space in a small apartment. Good thing I was young, but it may still be the reason my back went out. A Murphy bed probably would have been a better option. Good sleeper sofas are also expensive. Good futons, emphasis on good, can be quite comfortable for sleeping. I have yet to find one that I liked for sitting, at least for any length of time. For temporary sleeping I would go with the sleeper sofa and the best mattress you can get. You can make it more comfortable for someone with a bad back by putting a plywood board the same size as the mattress underneath the mattress. You lose the springs, but they are generally the problem anyway for someone with a bad back.
posted by caddis at 8:18 PM on December 5, 2004

What caddis said. I slept on an expensive ($1K) sleeper sofa for four years, due to a tiny studio apartment. I got the most expensive mattress (inner-spring, which is rare for sofabeds), and it still got pretty crappy, even with a cut-to-fit piece of plywood underneath the mattress. Plus it was very long, awkward, and heavy as hell. I have no idea how a friend and I got it out of an 11th-floor studio apartment, down a twisty hallway, into a freight elevator (perched diagonally vertically so it would fit), through another twisty hallway, down some steps, and into a U-Haul when I moved.

However, it was very comfortable to sit on, or sleep on lengthwise (without unfolding.) So it looks like a tradeoff -- comfortable sitting != comfortable sleeping. Sofabeds offer comfortable sitting without comfortable sleeping, while futons seem to offer the opposite.
posted by Vidiot at 9:28 PM on December 5, 2004

I just wasted close to a grand on a fancy sleeper sofa. I compromised on style and color in order to have a 'bed' for guests and I've noticed the two times it was supposed to be a bed, the guest didn't bother to open it, just slept on the sofa aspect (copious amounts of alcohol might have had something to do with that). It's enormous and now I hate it and want it out of here but that would be a big hassle and I'd need another sofa and ... I'm sorry I invested in this hulk.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:40 AM on December 6, 2004

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