Futon vs Couch: The Great Debate

You’re moving into your new apartment or home and you need a comfortable, yet practical, surface to rest your weary body upon after a hard day. Perhaps, you need a spare sleeping arrangement for the in-law’s when they come in from out of town. Both of these options are feasible, but it really depends on what you are going to use them for. One of them is going to be more comfortable than the other, whereas the other is going to offer more sleeping benefits. Let’s check out what each one is going to do for you and your guests.


The futon has come a long way since the 18th century when they were first produced. At that time, they cost around 1,200,00 yen, which would equal about $10,886 today. Today, however, a futon can cost you as little as $100 in some stores, maybe less if you pick one up at a garage sale. If you’re unsure if this would be the right fit for your apartment or guest room, here’s some details that you can look over.

The Pros and Cons – Futon


  • Affordable
  • Easy to move
  • Folds down into a bed
  • Multiple usage


  • Requires assembly
  • May not be as durable as a couch
  • Mattresses are rather thin


Sure, the futon is cheap, but is it practical? Here’s a scenario for you. It’s 8:00 p.m. and you get a call that your parents are on their way in from out of town and they need a place to stay. You could either:

  • Sacrifice your bed and give it to your parents (probably not)
  • Make up the couch and hope that they fit
  • Pull out the futon!

The futon is definitely the most practical choice on the list. You surely can’t have your parents try to arrange themselves on the couch with such limited room. Not only that, but do you really need a couch in a guest room? Probably not, unless you have a small sitting area that you want to utilize. The fact that this source is not only a bed, but also doubles as a couch, makes it even more practical. When you’re just lounging around, you can leave it in the upright position. When it comes time for bed, simply fold it down into the bed position. It’s that simple!

Saves Space

This type of bed is a great space saver, especially if you’re limited on it. It’s perfect for small apartments, guest rooms or even a kids room. I had a futon for many years and honestly, I was even too lazy to fold it down into the sleeping position, so I used it as a couch the whole time. It gave me tons of space in my room and a cool spot for my friends and I to sit and talk..well..when I had friends.

If you use this in a small apartment as a double for a couch and a bed, it’s actually pretty perfect. You can use it in the living room as a couch during the day and at night, when you’re ready for bed, you can pull it out. Unfortunately, this won’t work well if you don’t have enough room lengthwise. You could probably shuffle some stuff around to make it work, but is the hassle worth it?


Futons, as said above, are generally rather affordable. You can purchase a simple metal framed type for just over $100. For just another $50 or so more, you can choose the bunk bed type for your kid’s room or for a guest room. The thing with futons is that they can come in a variety of sizes and materials. They make some beautiful frames from wood that match any decor wonderfully. You can also purchase separate mattresses that have more cushion or patterns on them to better complement your room. All-in-all, this option is the more affordable one.


Ah, the couch. The place where we sit and watch television, have breakups and makeups, watch the children or grandchildren learn to crawl and walk, and in my house, the place where crumbs and quarters get lost forever. The couch is the staple of every home in America. It’s the one piece of furniture that you’ll find in every living room or sitting room. It may be covered in plastic if it’s in your grandmother’s house or it may be covered in..well..whatever, if it’s in my house. However, is it the right option for sleeping on? Let’s find out.

The Pros and Cons – Couch


  • No assembly required
  • Comfortable for sitting
  • A variety of options available in terms of color, shapes and sizes


  • Not easy to sleep on
  • Heavier than a futon (may he difficult to move)
  • Costly


Let’s go back about 20 years or so to when I was a wee lass. I spent almost every night sleeping on my couch-I loved it! I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Now, fast forward to present time. I tried to sleep on my couch-no bueno. I woke up with a sore neck, my back was stiff and I had a headache. I no longer think it’s the coolest thing in the world, I now find it a punishment after a tiff with the husband.

The couch is best when sat upon, not when sleeping on, unless you have one of those types with the chaise lounge. Those are larger extensions off of one end of the couch that are perfect for sleeping upon. Otherwise, leave the loveseat for recreational use or for when a friend stops by and just needs a place to crash for a day or so.

Space Saving

Yes, the couch does save a ton of space if you are using it for a bed. You aren’t losing multiple feet of length or width of your bedroom or guest room and you aren’t having to fold it out every night, unless you choose one that has a bed built into it. However, you shouldn’t compromise your guests comfort to save just a few inches of space, again, unless you have that chaise lounge. The one thing that you have to remember about a sofa is that they come in different lengths. A loveseat is much shorter than a regular sized couch, which isn’t the best option for sleeping.

A sofa is definitely going to take up quite a bit of width in any room, about as much as a king sized bed would. Futons are smaller and take up less width, but make up for it in length, so you have to choose which one you want to lose.


Believe it or not, a simple couch can cost thousands! Even a loveseat starts at a few hundred dollars. It’s actually pretty ridiculous if you think about it. If you go for a sectional like I did, that’s going to run you even more. Sofas and loveseats are by far more expensive than the average futon. Not to mention, the cheaper ones are probably going to be more uncomfortable and I wouldn’t suggest sleeping on it for long periods of time, for your spines sake.

Futon v.s. Couch Comparison Table

Futon Couch
• Affordable • Assembly required • Many options • Ideal for multiple sleepers • Great for long-term sleeping arrangements • Costly
• Difficult to move
• Not enough room to sleep without the fold out bed option or chaise lounge
• May cause back pain if slept on for long periods of time
• Takes up a lot of width



The difference between a couch and a futon is huge in some ways. A regular couch isn’t good for sleeping on. A futon is affordable, practical, space saving and there’s plenty of room for two people to sleep. Sure, the sofa seems like the best option if you’re going to have just one guest over at a time or if you have relatives coming to visit? This is where the futon trumps the couch. However, the sofa comes with those bed options as well. This is definitely something to consider.