Battle of the IKEA sofa beds
August 1, 2017 8:28 AM   Subscribe

We're moving soon and want to get an IKEA corner sofa/sofa bed. There are a bunch of decent contenders, and we might not get a chance to try them out in store before ordering - does anyone have strong recommendations between the Friheten, the Vilasund and the Backabro? More details on what we're looking for under the cut.

I've heard that the cheapest of the three (Friheten) is a decently comfy sofa bed, and I know people with one who've had guests both large and tall get a good night's sleep on it. I would assume given that they all seem to be based on the same system that the others will be comparatively comfy.

However, I'm also interested in how comfy the three options are as a sofa, rather than as a bed - I'm going to be sitting on it a lot more often than anyone is going to be sleeping on it, and I have chronic back and joint pain issues. I've sat on the Friheten but not for more than about 30mins at a party, and it looks like it has significantly less back support than the other two models.

I like the price of the Friheten, but I'm also old and broken enough that I don't mind springing a few hundred pounds extra on a couch if it's the difference between "this is okay but not the most comfy" and "this is a really good sofa experience". My budget could stretch to all the models mentioned.

It needs to be a sofa bed as we're not going to have a separate bed for guests at the new place, but we have guests infrequently enough (maybe four times a year?) that I care more about the sofa experience than the bed experience. I've also had bad experiences with more traditional sofa bed styles, where the sofa is lumpy and uncomfortable because there's a steel frame just under the cushion - the IKEA models seem to solve this problem by doing the bed bit differently, but I am also open to "this is just straight up not a comfortable sofa"-type feedback.
posted by terretu to Shopping (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should also add that size isn't an issue, as we're moving to a place that's big enough for all these options.
posted by terretu at 8:30 AM on August 1, 2017

My 95 and 90 year old grandparents slept on the Friheten well, as did a 40 something friend. We bought a padded top to add extra comfort. Everyone was happy. The couch is surprisingly deep to sit on, so depending on your body, that could be a plus or a challenge. Ours is loaded up with pillows.
posted by anya32 at 8:40 AM on August 1, 2017

I have a Friheten, we bought it second hand. It was a pain in the ass to put together, but after that it's been great. There's a slight droop if you lie down on the side with the pull out part, but honestly, I was able to sleep on it with my fiancee without any problems for a night. We both woke up quite refreshed.

The couch itself is fairly comfortable, but you will need additional pillows if you want to lean against the part that is kind of like an arm-rest for the chaise part, we have it in a corner with both that and the real back against the wall. Unlike anya, I don't think it's a sink into the cushions sort of couch, but it is one that I have curled up on quite comfortably for the past month and a half. I don't know how well it will hold up over long term use, but given that we got it used, that is a good sign. The storage area is really good, although it looks like the others are similar.

Looking at the others, I see that they also have pull out parts, so the issue with the droop might be the case with them as well.

The Friheten has been popular enough with a few of our friends that I know of at least one other person who is going to buy one. Admittedly, she, like my fiancee, is a grad student, so getting a lower price is very important.

I can't speak to how comfortable to others are.
posted by Hactar at 8:44 AM on August 1, 2017

I have the Friheten and like it as a couch, but it is very deep. My back is occasionally terrible, so I have found that loading up the couch with pillows is the way to go. If you prefer not having a deep couch/tons of pillows, you may wish to go with one of the other couches.
posted by angelchrys at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2017

We had the Friheten at our previous apartment and remember it fondly as a big, comfy boat of a sofa. We did have some issues with the bed section detaching - when you pull ou the trundle there are two 'hooks' that should connect the trundle to the sofa, and these hooks would sometimes slip, leading to the trundle annoyingly roaming around when the sofa was used as a bed - but I personally chalk this up to operator error.
posted by nerdfish at 9:21 AM on August 1, 2017

We have a Frieheten and I sit on the chaise part almost daily (it is my "spot"). I have never found it to be uncomfortable, and I like stretching my feet out so this is perfect. I don't have any major back issues or anything like that, though. The only thing is I wish we had a C-table or something to go over the "arm" so I could more easily reach my drink ;)
posted by quaking fajita at 9:23 AM on August 1, 2017

Like everyone else on metafilter, I have the Friheten. I've had it for three years, and it's comfortably survived those years with two large dogs and one year now with a baby. The grey color is very, very good for hiding stains.

All the house guests I've had had have said the bed was really comfortable. I, too, think the bed is really comfortable - we pull it out for movie nights, and lounging on it while watching stuff is so nice. I think the main sofa itself is pretty comfy, but as a smaller person I tend to use extra cushions or curl up in the corner in order to achieve optimal comfort level.
posted by Jaclyn at 9:27 AM on August 1, 2017

I bought the Frieheten with chaise for my office/occasionally it has to also be a guest room, and we bought a cushion for the top. I'm really happy it as a sofa, which is mostly what I use it for.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 10:57 AM on August 1, 2017

Apparently the Frieheten is the Official Sofabed of Metafilter? I have one too, and all my guests have reported that it's comfortable. We've taken it apart and put it back together to move twice and it has also held up well.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:56 AM on August 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had a Friheten. I am moving across the Atlantic tomorrow, so I no longer do. I used it as my daily bed for the last year, and as guest bed for 2 years previous.

I found it quite comfortable, both as bed and couch. I particularly liked the chaise part for putting up my feet.

I think Friheten competes with American Leather for mefi pullout couch though, see this recent question.
posted by nat at 6:19 PM on August 1, 2017

We've had the Friheten for a while, and I agree with the other commenters--it's served us well.

The only minor nit we've heard from an overnight guest was that if 2 people are sleeping on it and the person on the inside wants to get out in the middle of the night, they have to climb over the person on the outside or wake them up to move. But that seems like it would apply to the other two Ikea sofa beds you linked to as well.
posted by benbenson at 12:24 PM on August 2, 2017

Response by poster: In case anyone is interested in how this went, we ended up going to the store anyway as they weren't available for online ordering where we are.

We fell in love with the Backabro (both comfort and colour options), but it turns out it's being discontinued and they couldn't offer it with the corner/chaise section, so we got the Friheten instead and so far it is a great couch and seems like a great bed too!
posted by terretu at 3:54 AM on August 31, 2017

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