Sleeper Sofa for Grandparent Use - Biden Buck$ edition
March 18, 2021 10:45 AM   Subscribe

We are converting a small basement into a guest room for older grandparents when they come to visit to take care of grandkids, so we need a comfortable sleep solution for them. We're based in the USA. Snowflake details inside.

Grandparents will be staying with us 5-10 days at a time, every couple of months to help care for a new baby.

We don't have the space to dedicate the basement to being a full-time guest room, so I don't want to devote a full-time bed for that space - when it's not a guest room, it's going to be a play area for our other child / hang out space, so a sofa would be nice.

We've ruled out a murphy / wall bed installation, in that the walls are irregularly shaped (the bottom half of the wall juts out about 6 inches) and I don't think we have ceiling clearance.

I do want something that would be comfortable for two folks in their 70's to sleep in, and our budget limit is probably $3,000 USD, accounting for shipping and installation. Is there a pull-out sofa bed that truly is comfortable? Some other solution I'm not thinking of?
posted by WedgedPiano to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: How do you feel about a daybed? My parents have a daybed from IKEA that looks like a twinsize during the day, but turns into a king-size at night. It's quite comfortable with pillows on the back as a couch.
posted by notjustthefish at 11:00 AM on March 18, 2021

It might be too low to the ground, and definitely benefits from additional padding (you can buy custom foam nearly everywhere for not too much), but the Ikea Vallentuna works reasonably well in my office for guest folks (including 70+) up to two weeks so far (note: I got extra foam, which I roll up and stash away when it's not in use by those who need it).

Added bonus: you can expand each sleeping module independently, so the size of the "bed" is variable.
posted by aramaic at 11:09 AM on March 18, 2021

The inflatable mattresses/aero beds (especially the ones on their own bed frames that basically set up themselves) are far more comfortable than any sofa bed I’ve ever slept on
posted by raccoon409 at 11:15 AM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My wife and I frequently travel to visit and care for the grandkids. We have used a large number of “sleeper sofas” over the years and, truly, they all have sucked. The problem is that many have thin (4+ or less) mattresses.

As @raccoon409 states above, air mattresses are much better (but still get uncomfortable after a couple of days - they’re just not firm enough, imo).
posted by sudogeek at 11:18 AM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Could you do 2 day beds (set up like a sectional) with large throw pillows and use them as couches? I see some pretty nice ones often on craigslist. You could do a couple large drawers, stashed underneath where they could leave clothes so they just need to bring their toiletries.
posted by beccaj at 11:23 AM on March 18, 2021

an avenue to investigate - when we purchased our murphy bed, we discovered they also come in a new kind of format that doesn't involve a wall mount - a cabinet bed?

In general, for most kinds of temporary sleeping solutions we've ever used, I would HEAVILY prefer two smaller beds, one each, instead of a queen or something we would sleep on together. Especially air mattresses - pretty comfy to sleep on alone, horrible to end up smooshed together in the night with your hot spouse.
posted by euphoria066 at 11:25 AM on March 18, 2021 [7 favorites]

As an old guy with a bad back, if faced with sleeping on a pull out sofa bed, regardless of cost/quality, I would take that mattress and lay it on the floor. Get a day bed with a trundle or an air mattress (or two).

Parenthetically, what we did was we gave the master to my (ex) wife's parents and we slept on couches. Much easier on us young uns (at the time) than on 70 year old grandparents. It also seemed to help kiddos. They were in familiar surround when brought into our bedroom with the rocking chair.
posted by AugustWest at 11:31 AM on March 18, 2021 [4 favorites]

My FIL who has a terrible back has his pick of the beds in our house, and his favourite is the futon. It's a good quality one (made by futon makers as opposed to from a big name store).

I used to keep it on a frame like this one which kept it from being too lumpy in the middle. Some of the other frames keep the futon at too square an angle, and then you get the lump.

If it's too hard, get a memory foam.

The only issue I could think to mention- its low so might be too low for them to stand up from easily?
posted by Ftsqg at 11:32 AM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've found the ones that are couches by day and fold down two connected twin size beds are more comfortable than the pull out ones. Also, we have foam and feather bed toppers, each under $100 that added a really surprising amount of support - we use one or both depending on the season and the softness preferences of our guests. Or I guess we did, it's not like guests have been here for a while. Something like this plus a foam topper like this is going to be more comfortable than anything that's just a pull out, although it's a bit more work in the morning to take the topper off.
posted by true at 11:35 AM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: They are at the top end of your price range, depending on fabric choices, but I've heard good things about the platform style sleeper sofas from Room and Board.
posted by mcgsa at 11:35 AM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

My parents have something like this although not that specific brand. It's similar to a futon, but it's two independent pieces. Not having to bend in the middle allows for a firmer and thicker mattress. They've had guests in their 60s also on it without issue and I've also slept in it and found it comfortable. They got theirs from a furniture store local to them that specialized in this sort of thing. Again, not sure of the brand, but I think the bit that matters is the two separate pieces
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 12:03 PM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

What about a combination daybed and trundle that converts to a king sized bed? One of my childhood friends had a day bed that had a trundle beneath it that could also pop up so it was at the same height of the day bed. We'd put the two mattresses together and share the now king sized bed at sleepovers.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 12:08 PM on March 18, 2021

Another vote for a cabinet bed. Sofa beds are terrible sofas and terrible beds; inflatable mattresses are often too low to the ground and unstable for grandparent-aged people.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:16 PM on March 18, 2021

Best answer: I'm surprised no one has mentioned this already: The one exception to "sleeper sofas are awful" is American Leather. After learning about them here on Ask Metafilter, I promptly purchased one and guests who have slept on it (in the Before Times, of course) have raved about its comfort and compared it to a regular mattress and box spring. They are not, however, cheap: mine was about $3K in one of the lower end fabrics.
posted by DrGail at 12:33 PM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might want to look into European-style sofa beds. They're really comfy and tend to be nice and firm. Instead of some complicated rickety wire/spring contraption where you pull out a mattress, they just fold down flat into a sleeping surface. Like this kind of thing (not recommending this specific model, it's just a good illustration of how they work).
posted by omnie at 12:33 PM on March 18, 2021

We have a day bed in our daughter's room that is also a trundle. We got thick firm memory foam mattresses for both beds, and my in laws regularly sleep on the top twin bed. I would get two such daybeds/couches before trying to go the sleeper sofa route. We have also used the air mattresses, and they are pretty great, but when people are staying more than a night we kick the kids out of their beds and let them use the air mattress.
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:49 PM on March 18, 2021

Best answer: Seconding both Room & Board platform sofa beds mentioned by mcgsa and the American Leather ones mentioned by DrGail. They both use a similar system that provides a solid platform under the mattress. Every single person who has slept on the one that I have has said it is the most comfortable sofa bed they have ever slept on and that it was as comfortable as a regular bed.
posted by bedhead at 12:52 PM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I did some research on this awhile back (but never bought), and came to American Leather as mentioned above. Crate and Barrel has a collaboration with them, which is helpful for getting an idea on pricing. (The link goes to all Crate and Barrel sleepers, but the first ones should be what you're looking for.)
posted by another zebra at 1:28 PM on March 18, 2021

We have one of these sofas as a spare sleeping place, and have been very happy with it. I agree that pull-out sofas are torture devices - this is actually really comfy to sleep on, even for my wife who has a lot of back problems.
posted by chbrooks at 2:53 PM on March 18, 2021

I bought a crate and barrel trundle sofa almost a year ago. I got the Lounge II Petite. We use it as our primary sofa and it’s pretty comfortable, definitely a firm sofa. But on the weekends, we pull the trundle out and lounge like kings on it. It is a super comfortable as a bed. I think all in, it was about $2600, and it took about three months from ordering to delivery. Crate and barrel customer service leaves a lot to be desired, but I am beyond thrilled with this sofa purchase.
posted by August Fury at 3:00 PM on March 18, 2021

Definitely a cabinet bed-we bought one for occasional use-and then our daughter lost her house in a fire and she and her bf slept on it for five weeks. Zero complaints (and they just went and bought a sleep number after a few months on an ikea foam mattress so they are at least a little picky).
posted by purenitrous at 7:03 PM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all! We will investigate some daybeds and the high end American Leather platform sofa beds that you recommend. I’ll report back when we settle on a decision and how it worked our. Marking as answered for now.
posted by WedgedPiano at 6:57 PM on March 19, 2021

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