Living in an urban metropolis means having to make some concessions when it comes to living room space – and one crucial article of furniture that assists in doing so is the sofa bed. As implied by the name, a sofa bed gives you a place to lounge around during the day, and doubles up as a sleeping surface at night, making it ideal for both personal use and guest accommodation where space is a concern.
However, given the popularity this piece of furniture has accrued over the past decades, the market is now filled with sofa beds in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, materials, prices and so on. So for a rookie, choosing the best sofa bed can be quite a challenge.
Here’s my guide to selecting the right sleeper sofa. It opens with nine reviews of the best sleeper sofas on the market and is followed by an exploration of what makes a good sofa bed for those who haven’t got the time to do all the research themselves!
1. La-Z-Boy Leah Premier Supreme Comfort™ Full Sleep Sofa
Sporting a relatively slim form when folded, and with pillow backs, contouring roll arms, box seats and complimentary accent pillows, the Leah Supreme exudes a welcoming, homely aura. Looking at it from the perspective of a bed, you get a Supreme Comfort™ innerspring mattress that is big enough to accommodate two sleepers.
One thing that genuinely pleased the interior decorator in me was the fact that you can choose from literally dozens of plain and intricate patterns for the sofa cover, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a product that blends well with your current motifs.
The La-Z-Boy is assembled in the US, and comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty – indicating solid quality; but at the price it ships, I wouldn’t expect anything less.
The Leah Premier Supreme Comfort™ is a luxurious traditional pull out sofa intended for consumers who want a degree of elegance in their living room without compromising on comfort for themselves or their guests.
Available in both faux leather (black and vanilla) and linen (navy and grey), the futon’s luxurious upholstery gels nicely with its chrome legs resulting in ample aesthetic appeal – as pointed out by several glowing user reviews.
The futon mechanism means you can easily convert between sleeping, sitting and lounging. To make it even more convenient, the splitback feature allows you to operate its two sides independently. The foam and polyester seat provides a somewhat firm feel.
There have been a few complaints about defective / broken units, but the included 1 year warranty should cover these problems.
The Emily Futon sleeper sofa’s understated modern design gives off an air of luxury that belies its remarkably inexpensive price tag. As such, this sofa bed is great for people who want to complete a stylish, contemporary game room / living room but are at the end of their budget.
The simple outward design conceals a robust kiln-dried hardwood frame, as well as a tempered steel spring mechanism to hold the foldout mattress. The mildew resistant, hypoallergenic fiber padding and HD foam top layers yield slightly firm comfort. The top cover has been quilted for luxury, and the bottom side is abrasion resistant for maximum durability.
The manufacturer has also included three down / feather-filled pillows with the sofa bed, which is itself available in four finishes: Hart Sand, Packwood Grey, Packwood Orange, and Spitzer Grey. This makes it a bit restrictive in terms of customization, but its solid structure, subtly bold aura, and positive user feedback make it good choice for modern households.
As indicated by its name, the Mono Sleeper Sofa’s visibly casual and comforting look is intended to blend into any easy going, informal setting.
Basically, the Eugene consists of a convertible sleeper loveseat accompanied by a couple of ottomans that can be arranged in the various formations described above. In its fully expanded form, it becomes a firm queen size foam mattress that can comfortably hold two individuals.
The velvet upholstery can be removed and washed in cold water, a point to note if you plan to put it in an area that is prone to spills and stains. A 1 year warranty accompanies this product, but I didn’t come across any noticeable complaints indicating its necessity.
The uniquely modular design of the Eugene sleeper sofa lets you use it as a bench, bed or workstation at your discretion – making it especially relevant for people with minimal apartment / office space for redundant furniture.
The traditional design bears polyester microfiber upholstery, with seat and back cushions made out of foam and covered in polyester. As a sofa, it seats three individuals and once folded out into a bed, it can comfortably hold two people. The seating firmness is described as medium firm, but according to consumers, it softens up as time progresses.
You also get a couple of toss pillows containing a polyester blend fill. The frame and legs are made out of wood: although the exact type isn’t mentioned, judging by the sub-$500 price, it won’t be all that durable.
The Minter sofa bed comes with a 1 year warranty, which is tolerable considering the price. Given the fact that manufacturing defects have been reported, it should give you some confidence while making the purchase.
Available in solid shades of crimson red, mocha, sage, dark brown and black, the Minter boasts a classic appeal with its square-tufted upholstery and understated shape – this enables it to fit into any casual aesthetic ranging from a busy living room to a seldom used guestroom.
The clean, arm-free, box-like design of the Demelo lends it to any modern décor theme, but what sets it apart is the movable third section that can slide along part of the base to make room for a temporary shelf in the middle (or on the far side).
This lets you adjust the backs of these two sections independently of each other – so for example, as your partner sleeps on the larger portion, you can lounge back and get some work done on the smaller one! The shelf, meanwhile, can hold a margarita or the latest issue of your favorite magazine in more casual settings.
The sofa features high density foam filling, and is available in brown and black finishes (both with microfiber upholstery). As noted by many reviewers, while the quality of the product is solid, it may be a bit too firm for regular sleep – so it is most suitable for use primarily as a sitting solution with only occasional slumber.
The Demelo sofa bed’s split third section makes it a stylish solution for two individuals with different sleeping / working habits.
The click-clack mechanism lets you quickly switch between three positions: upright, reclining and flat. The arms are removable, and you have a couple of zipper compartments for storage. As a bed, the loveseat can accommodate two sleepers.
The Spirit Lake sports neutral, ash colored upholstery made out of ‘premium fabric’, with a seat and back made out of foam that offers firm comfort. The legs are made out of aluminum.
While no warranty is available with the product, the manufacturer does state that they will replace defective parts in a reasonable period of time. Everything considered, it is a decent pick for young adults who don’t require a super-comfortable bed and/or those who have occasional guests at their place.
With its streamlined, box-like structure and gently tufted upholstery, the inexpensive Spirit Lake loveseat exudes a modern aura that permeates beyond its own presence.
What appears to be an ordinary sofa bed on the surface (thanks to its low-key tufted design with a neutral finish), transforms into a comfortable, deep, full sized bed that yields thoroughly decent sleep quality as attested by multiple consumers.
A reclining position is also available in case you want to lounge about during the day. The upholstery is polyester, with a pocket spring seat design for more targeted back support ideal for extended periods of sitting.
The sofa can hold up to 475 lbs. – roughly three individuals – and has wheels at the back to enhance its portability. While it is a bit expensive, the consumer feedback for this product has been unanimously positive in terms of comfort, utility and durability, which makes it a solid investment if it is in your budget.
Mainstream sofa bed products require you to compromise on either the sofa’s performance or the bed’s – the Long Horn Deluxe Excess attempts to provide a solution that faithfully serves you in both roles.
9. Swiger Convertible Sleeper Sofa
The Swiger is available in five different upholstery finishes (all incorporating high quality fabric), so you’ve got some freedom to choose a variant that matches your existing interior. The sofa occupies little room space so it can fit well in crowded settings such as dorm rooms, play rooms and the like.
The seat fill material uses pocketed coils topped off by 1.8 lb./cu.ft. foam to achieve superior conformity and comfort as compared to the competition. The solid print is complemented by wooden legs with an espresso finish to complete the traditional appeal. Two toss pillows are also included.
Although most users have been happy with its performance, there have been some complaints of unnecessary gaps between the seat cushions and the arms which indicate imperfect design practices. Not exactly surprising for a product at this price, but somewhat mitigated by the 1 year warranty that accompanies it.
The clean, bold edges and slightly curving back of the Swiger Convertible combine to give it a look that lies somewhere between modern and retro, so it fits well with all but the sharpest décor themes on both ends of the scale.
This is the skeleton on which the sofa is built – while metal frames are readily available, the best sofa bed brands will almost exclusively use kiln-dried hardwood because of the superior durability this material affords. Frames made from pine or other more pliable woods will not last.
The frame of a sofa bed needs to be made from a durable material, because it will experience wear and tear as it changes back and forth between its two forms. Additionally, the edges should be smooth – sharp or rough edges could snag the sleeper’s fabric (or even that of your bedsheet or blanket), leading to general inconvenience at best, and rips and tears at worst.
By far the most noticeable component is the mattress, which determines the feel and comfort offered by the product (just as for any other kind of bed!):
Similar to innerspring mattresses, they have a support structure consisting of coils, topped off by a polyurethane layer. They typically yield firm, springy support. The average coil density swings around 345, and anything roughly twice this is considered high quality.
This is a combination of air mattress and innerspring technology, with the spring support core covered by an air mattress to offer somewhat better conformity.
Remember that the thickness / density in which these materials are used will have a significant impact on their performance, durability and price.
There are multiple types of sofa bed styles available, operating on different principles to cater to different needs. Here are the most popular ones:
— Lift And Pull
This is the conventional style of sleeper sofas, typically found in futons and similar products: you lift its seat up at a nearly vertical angle – this releases the lock – and then pull it down again to make up the bed.
Designed for long term, regular sleep use, this type of sleeper comes with a memory foam or innerspring mattress that can be folded out from its base in two motions.
— A Frame
This sleeper requires you to pull forward its lower front panel, which unfolds its ‘A shaped’ structure into a flat sleeping surface. The bed is transformed back into the sofa by means of a cantilever system.
— Clic Clac
This type has the most convenient conversion mechanism: the back is pushed forward slightly to unlatch the locking system, after which you can fold it down to make it into a flat bed.
This is one of the most stylish designs, with an extra platform pulling out from underneath the sleeper and popping up in alignment with the ottoman end, effectively yielding a double bed.
Other Important Considerations
— Primary Usage
What do you intend to use the sofa bed for mainly? If you expect to utilize it primarily as sitting furniture, you’ll need something that takes the pressure off your backside without sinking too far under your weight. A suitable candidate would be a convertible that uses a foam mattress.
On the other hand, if you plan to use the sleeper sofa chiefly for sleeping and / or accommodating guests in the middle of the night, you’ll need to a surface that can handle the sleeper’s entire body weight. An innerspring mattress would do the trick in most cases, but if you require extra conformity, then a memory foam product may also be considered.
Always keep in mind the room you’ll be putting the sofa bed in – both the aesthetics and the physical dimensions of the product will be affected by this. A living room sofa will need to be visually attractive as well as comfortable with upholstery that blends with the rest of the furniture.
For a den or study, you can forego looks in favor of practicality, comfort and economy – for instance, a cheap microfiber sleeper that is geared towards comfort will do fine.
If the room you’re planning on putting it in is a bit constrained, you’ll have to consider a futon or loveseat that saves space. If real estate isn’t an issue, you can go with a traditional sleeping couch that makes for a far comfier bed that allows two people to sleep easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best sofa beds?
That all depends on how you want to use your sofa bed. If you’re in a small apartment and it’s to be your primary sleeping space, you’ll need something that can stand up to daily use, so a coil-spring mattress would be the way to go. If it’s main use is to be seating with the occasional overnight guest, look for a sleeper sofa that delivers a more comfortable seating experience such as one with a memory foam mattress. This important decision will then influence whether you opt for a lift-and-pull model, folding, click clack or A-frame design.
What is the most comfortable sleeper sofa?
With so many great designs to choose from, you should look for a brand and style of sofa that you can customize to meet your individual needs. With the Lay-Z Boy Leah sofa bed, you can opt for sizing that ranges all the way from a twin, to a full and ultimately, a queen-sized mattress. You can also choose between their supreme comfort quilted inner-spring mattress, their slumber air mattress or a memory foam mattress, depending on your needs and budget. With a 25-year warranty that far exceeds other quality brands, this would be a top pick for both comfort and value.
How much do sofa beds cost?
With sofa beds, you get what you pay for and because there is such a wide range of qualities and feature options, there are an equally wide range of prices. Typically, a basic click clack or futon-style sleeper will be priced under $500. As you move up the range, you can purchase a good quality sofa with lift-and-pull mechanism and a basic coil spring mattress for $1,000-$2,000. As you add in features such as a higher coil-count mattress or memory foam and opt for a larger sized configuration, the price can easily exceed $2,000.
How do you clean a sofa bed without a vacuum?
For a quick, yet effective clean up of your sofa bed, you’ll need an upholstery shampoo (for washable fabrics) or a dry-cleaning solvent for when fabrics are non-washable. Use a small brush or dry cloth to remove any dust, crumbs or debris from the surface before you begin. Once done, use a small cloth dampened with either the upholstery shampoo or dry-cleaning solvent to blot-clean those areas in need of spot cleaning. Allow these areas to air-dry completely before replacing the cushions. Bicarbonate of soda mixed with water can also help remove stains and odors from washable fabrics.