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Can You Put a Normal Mattress on a Sofa Bed?

Updated May 24, 2020

Sofa beds have come a long way since the first time people used them and found them highly uncomfortable to sleep on. Today, they have mostly considered a convenient bedding solution for when you’re having friends spend the night or when you have out-of-town guests and no bedroom available for them.

Having a sofa bed can be extremely convenient when you want to fall asleep in front of the TV, binging on your favorite show, but maybe you should consider equipping them with a mattress.

Can You?

Yes, you can use a regular mattress for a sofa bed. However, as you’ll come to learn in the following paragraphs, you should only do so in case of an emergency, because this is not a long-term solution. You can absolutely put a normal mattress on top of a sofa bed provided that the sofa bed is the same size or larger than the mattress itself.

For instance, you can pull it off if you put a Full-size mattress on a King-sized sofa bed, but it won’t work the other way around. Having a mattress placed on top of a sofa bed is an efficient way of providing additional comfort for you or your guests. Should You?

That depends, but the general answer is no. There are plenty of reasons why using a mattress on top of a sofa bed is one of the worst solutions in the longer term. First of all, mattresses need a firm and appropriate surface to stay on. Your sofa bed will most likely be too soft or too wavy to allow the mattress to lay on top of it in an appropriate position. Depending on what your sofa bed is made of, there are chances that the mattress will slide off the surface of the bed.

In fact, when you go mattress shopping and read the fine print, you will notice that plenty of manufacturers will specify the fact that not using the mattress with a compatible bed frame can actually result in voiding the warranty because these beds are designed to be durable and comfortable when used on specific platforms.

Another thing that you have to consider is that mattresses work best when they are placed on top of platforms that allow airflow (this is especially true for memory foam mattresses). There are high chances that humidity will build upon the bottom side of the mattress and when this does, you are basically creating a favorable environment for bed bugs, dust mites, mold, and mildew. There’s a good reason why platform beds with wooden slats that are placed apart from each other are one of the best supports for a mattress.

Then, there’s the commodity factor to be considered. A sofa bed mattress is designed to be pulled out whenever needed, and then folded back into its original
shape the next day. Obviously, if you use a normal mattress on a sofa bed, you can’t fold these two together, which means that you will constantly have to remove the mattress, fold the sofa bed, and then maybe put it back on top of the unfolded bed at the end of the day. That’s a lot of mattress carrying around to be done.

Some sofa beds have arms at the ends, which is also something that might cause the mattress not to fit on top of the bed as well, so remember to measure the sofa bed and the mattress correctly and see if they really match.

Last, but not least, sofa beds may have metal bars that provide extra support as they run along the surface of the bed. The purpose of this bar is to make sure that the mattress doesn’t sag, but this is mostly true for mattresses designed specifically for sofa beds.

A normal mattress might not be compatible with the positioning of these metals bars, which can make your bed feel very uncomfortable. Furthermore, the positioning of these bars in tandem with the weight of the sleepers on top of the bed can put extra pressure on the mattress and damage it.

The Alternative

There are two choices around this problem: you can either buy a sofa bed that comes with a really comfortable mattress or you can buy a separate mattress which is designed to be folded and concealed within the sofa bed.

Layla Sleep Mattress Topper with person showing the under side

You can also buy a variety of mattress toppers that are much thinner and easier to maneuver, but also add a little bit of comfort to firm sofa beds that you just can’t sleep on. A mattress topper is a much more convenient investment, but even in combination with a sofa bed, it probably won’t be able to provide the comfort that a regular mattress does.

Truly the best long-term solution is to buy a normal mattress and a regular platform bed and sleep on those. For out-of-town guests, a mattress topper or a sofa bed mattress should so the trick.

 

Conclusion

Yes, you can put a normal mattress on top of a sofa bed if you need a fast solution and have some guests spending the next couple of nights over. However, if you’re thinking about pairing a normal mattress and a sofa bed and turning it into a permanent bad, that’s a really bad idea.

Not only are you taking chances and gambling with the mattress’ durability, but it’s also very difficult to find yourself in a situation where you constantly have to remove the mattress from the sofa bed in the morning and then put it back at night.