Good folding/rollaway bed?
November 7, 2005 7:57 AM   Subscribe

We'd like my wife's 89-year-old mother to be able to stay with us once in a while, which involves making her as comfortable as possible. Our double-bed futon is very comfortable, but it's in the living room and won't fit in the downstairs study/office, so she has no privacy when she sleeps there. We're thinking of getting a single bed to put in the study, but we don't really want to rearrange everything and have a bed taking up half the room in there for a few visits a year, so ideally it would be something we can put away when not in use. But it has to be comfortable (good mattress) and well built and not excessively expensive. Suggestions?
posted by languagehat to Shopping (22 answers total)
air mattress.
posted by CrazyJoel at 8:00 AM on November 7, 2005

The latest air mattresses are actually pretty good. They are not the horrid rubber boats of the 70's. My 70 year old mother with an arthritic back uses one when visiting my brother and his kids with no complaints. I think my brother actually bought his at Target for around $40.

My wife and I also have a fairly cheap model as well as a guest bed. we give guests the choice and the often choose the air mattress. We have had one guest switch to the air mattress for firmer support, but never the reverse.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:03 AM on November 7, 2005

This Ikea pullout model is compact and terrifically comfortable, in either of its sizes, bot as chair/sofa and as a bed. Maybe it'd fit without substantial rearranging?
posted by piro at 8:05 AM on November 7, 2005

What about a Murphy Bed for the office? Unfortunately, the mechanism isn't all that cheap (around $800 for queen, if memory serves) but it does take up minimal floor space in the room. I've got several purveyors linked in my delicious account here.

It's what I'm planning on installing in my first-floor office, since my parents have health issues that make climbing stairs to the second floor difficult.

I think the only downside to the Murphy Bed is decorating around it without spending a ton of dough. I've heard some folks hang curtains from the ceiling to hide it. Ikea has a ceiling-mounted wire rod system called the Dignitet you may want to check out if this at all interests you.
posted by Sully6 at 8:09 AM on November 7, 2005

Problem with an air mattress is she'd have to sleep on the floor, and get up off the floor in the morning.

I'm going to throw out an idea I've never tried myself: Murphy beds.
posted by Hildago at 8:11 AM on November 7, 2005

Not all air mattresses are flat on the floor.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:16 AM on November 7, 2005

Sleeper Chair

A Better but more expensive Sleeper Chair

yet another sleeper chair

The problem with the cheap ones is that they fold out flat on the floor, so they might be hard for an older person to get into and out of easily. The more expensive ones fold out more like a fold-out couch, but are, well, more expensive.

then there is this crazy thing

or maybe a Day Bed would work for you?

There are also some nice folding cots on the market

Airbed Options and more Aerobed options
posted by anastasiav at 8:18 AM on November 7, 2005

depending on your sense of style, fold-away sofabeds are pretty repugnant, but that's what my parents used in this situation. they have the height necessary - sofabeds and air mattresses typically don't.

do you have a downstairs bathroom? that gets to be important too. also, sounds like you're already aware of this, but remember it's probably only going to be possible to do this for a few years (although i hope she manages for as many as possible).
posted by andrew cooke at 9:03 AM on November 7, 2005

argh, futons and airbeds don't.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:04 AM on November 7, 2005

Aerobed - the double decker one, is several feet high... I love it... and I've never had a complaint except that it isn't as warm as a regular bed.
posted by ewkpates at 9:36 AM on November 7, 2005

I second the sleeper chair suggestion.

Look at for a less expensive option. (I can't post a link because it times out, but search for sleeper chair.)
posted by Sheppagus at 9:58 AM on November 7, 2005

I have a super single airbed,and what made it the bomb was adding a 2 inch memory foam topper,warm,soft, zzzzzzz.
posted by hortense at 10:21 AM on November 7, 2005

C'mon folks, we're talking about an 89-year-old lady here, not your ex-college roomie. An air mattress? A futon? Treat her well. Give her your own bedroom. Or put her up in a hotel.
A day bed is a nice compromise
posted by sixpack at 10:45 AM on November 7, 2005

Ditto on sixpack's advice. I can't imagine why you wouldn't give up the bed for your old MIL. If it is just for a few days here and there I assume you can better handle a little discomfort better than she can. If it was for a long term visit then I could see setting her up comfortably elsewhere but not for a couple of nights.
posted by JJ86 at 11:32 AM on November 7, 2005

I STRONGLY second the sofabed suggestion. and IKEA, among others, has decent and even quite good ones. for reasonable prices.
two words, languagehat: divano-letto
posted by matteo at 12:37 PM on November 7, 2005

I can't imagine why you wouldn't give up the bed for your old MIL.

Gee, we never thought of that!... Actually, our bed is upstairs, and she can barely manage the stairs. (We're knocking out an interior wall so she can use the tiny bathroom off the study more easily.)

Some great suggestions here, folks; we'll be looking through them carefully, and I'm deeply grateful for the work y'all have put in. My wife and I have gotten some excellent stuff from IKEA (suck it, haters!) and just wish there was one within a reasonable distance of Pittsfield.
posted by languagehat at 1:21 PM on November 7, 2005

(suck it, haters!)


posted by matteo at 1:43 PM on November 7, 2005

Air mattresses can get very, very cold. (I spent a night on one once and I was miserable!) A couple of my friends had good luck fixing the cold problem with a foam egg crate thing under the fitted sheet.
posted by clarahamster at 2:22 PM on November 7, 2005

Two air mattresses stacked on each other make a bed at a decent height (saw it on a home show on HGTV). I've also seen chair-beds that are more futton-ish but have no idea what terms to use Google-wise.
posted by deborah at 2:29 PM on November 7, 2005

Air mattresses can get very, very cold

You need to insulate between the floor and the mattress, and then again between the mattress and the sleeper. Normally a wool blanket or rug on the floor (rather than just on bare floor), then a mattress pad or flannel sheet on top of the air mattress will do the trick.

There is a scientific explanation for this having to do with equalizing temperature in the unused airspace, and something about steaming cups of tea, but I'm not scientific enough to explain it.

Two air mattresses stacked on each other make a bed at a decent height

Again, folks, check the newer raised Aerobeds (please click on the link and look at the picture) (and other brands) are just as high as a regular bed, but pack away very small. I'm not trying to sell languagehat (or anyone) on that item in particular, but be aware that air mattress technology has progressed a huge amount since the old flat yucky air mattresses from even ten years ago.
posted by anastasiav at 3:30 PM on November 7, 2005

Maybe a foldout chair. You could put an air mattress on top if you need height.
posted by theora55 at 8:47 PM on November 7, 2005

We're using two air mattresses stacked, as per deborah's suggestion, and my mother-in-law loves it. Thanks, all!
posted by languagehat at 8:20 AM on June 28, 2006

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