How To Choose A Futon

It can be a couch, it can be a bed or a chair or a comfortable floor pad – there is, perhaps, no more versatile piece of furniture than the futon. However, you definitely want to make sure that you get the right piece for your home so you can use your futon to its best advantage! Here are a few things to consider.

It's easy to think of futons as a staple of a college student's dorm room, but futons can be incredibly useful in every home.

Futons, as opposed to mattresses or regular couch cushions, are known to hold their shape better over the long term, making them excellent choices for regularly used sitting rooms or even bedrooms.

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What styles of futons are there?

Futons come in two basic styles: chair/couch and bed/lounger. Very simply, one is meant to be bent in an upright position most of the time, and the other is meant to lay flat!

To pick the best futon for your use, consider how often the futon will be used and for what purpose. If you're getting the futon for a guest room or somewhere it will be used only rarely, you can likely make a more economical purchase. However, if you'll be using the futon every night, you may want to spend more for more support and comfort!

What are the best futon materials?

Solid Foam

Foam may be cheaper than other alternatives, and it has the distinct benefit of being one piece – meaning that if the cover punctures or slips off, the futon itself will retain its shape. You can purchase foam in differing levels of softness, too; and some futons may even be made from memory foam for a distinct sense of luxury.

Memory Foam Futon Mattress
Memory Foam Futon
Foam and Cotton Futon Mattress
Cold Foam Futon Mattress
Full Size Futon Mattress
Memory Foam Futon Mattress

Simple cotton or wool batting

Wool futons will likely be more expensive than their alternatives, but they are more natural and can offer a sitting experience you can 'sink into' more than you can in a foam futon.

How thick should a futon be?

To answer this question, consider how you'll be using the futon, but also what you want it to look like.

  • If you're going for a sleek, sophisticated look with a subtle frame, then you might want a thinner futon. Thinner futons are typically 4" or less thick and are even pliable -- which can add to their versatility.

  • If you're decorating a larger room and you have a substantial wood frame, a thicker futon may work better. Thicker futons may be as much as a foot thick, and resemble a traditional mattress more than anything else!

What size futon should I get?

There are several different standard sizes of futon, each suitable for different purposes:

  • Chair: As the name suggests, this futon is thinner and meant to be placed on a chair frame. These measure 28" by 54". If you're buying the futon mainly for sitting, a chair or twin size is likely best for you.
Comfortable Futon Chair
Tufted Back Futon Chair
Simple Chair Futon
Tight Back Futon Chair
Simple Minimalist Futon Chair
Big Twin Futon Chair
  • Twin: These futons are approximately the size of a twin mattress, or 39" by 54"---a little bit wider than a chair. Equally good for sitting and to use as a small bed.
Memory Foam Twin Futon Mattress
Twin Size Futon Chair
Twin Cotton Futon Mattress
Twin Size Cold Foam Futon Mattress
Twin Size Foam Futon Mattress
Cotton Futon Mattress
  • Full: At 54" by 75", full-size futons generally come in loveseat or lounger forms. The former will be more suited to chair or couch configurations; the latter, sleeping or bed-type arrangements. A full size futon are your best bet if you are going to sleep in it often.
Full Size Futon Mattress
Cotton Full Size Futon Mattress
Cold Foam Full Size Futon Mattress
Memory Foam and Cotton Full Size Futon Mattress
Full Size Futon And Mattress
  • Queen: At a full 60" by 80", these futons are best for large couch-like formations or simply as an alternative to a queen-size mattress. Equally good for sleeping and as an alternative to a couch.

Note that many futons will come in split sizes, meaning that the length of the futon will encompass a chair and an ottoman piece for reclining.

Solid Wood Futon With Queen Mattress
Cotton Queen Sized Futon Mattress
Tight Back Futon And Mattress
Queen Sized Futon and Mattress
Queen Futon and Mattress
Queen Futon with Faux Leather Mattress

How to select the best futon frame?

The frame of the futon will go a long way towards making your futon look high-end or more practical. The most common materials for a futon frame are:

  • Lacquered Metal: For an industrial look, aluminum or steel rods are bolted together for an easily collapsible frame. These frames are often lacquered and painted, meaning you can have it in any color you choose!
  • Wood: Whether you choose an easily available wood like maple or pine or go for a more exotic hardwood like mahogany or teak, wood exudes equal warmth, brings in a natural quality and adds to the elegance of the setup.

    If you're thinking about placing your futon outside, even if it's going to be in a covered place, teak, with its natural waterproof qualities, is by far the best choice..

No matter the material, futon frames come in three formations: bifold, loveseat, and trifold.

  • Bifold and trifold frames fold and extend to form a couch shape or a couch with extendable ottomans – they're a good choice if you see yourself storing and taking out your futon regularly.
  • A loveseat frame is a more permanent couch frame option, typically made out of wood for aesthetic appeal.

A futon may not be the most attractive seating option, but if selected right, it will definitely be one of the most comfortable sleeping choices.