How To Choose A Sleeper Sofa

Whether you are furnishing a small apartment, a tiny house or a dorm room, sleeper sofas can be a real boon for saving space and having an area that looks like a living space during the day. They are also great for sleepovers and unexpected guests.

With that said, not all sleeper sofas are created equal. Nearly everyone can recall horror stories of sleeping over at an aged relative or a friend’s house and enduring the inevitable bar-in-the-middle-of-the-back sofa bed.

Fold-outs are a great idea, but they do have their drawbacks. Fortunately, you have better choices with modern sleeper sofas.

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What Are Some Common Styles of Modern Sleeper Sofas?

Here are some of the main styles:

Folding Futon

Futons are the quintessential guest sleeper. It can be used as both a futon sofa for sleeping a single guest or unfolded to accommodate taller guests or couples. The cushioned mattress is attached to the frame of the sofa to form the seat and the back of the sleeper.

Futons are ideal for use in a den or spare room as they generally have a casual appearance that may not coordinate well with the rest of the living room furniture. An exception to this may be a boho living area with low line furniture, poufs, and a more relaxed atmosphere.

Velvet Solid Manufactured Wood Gray Twin Daybed
Solid Manufactured Wood Weathered Rye Twin Daybed
Black Metal Frame Twin Daybed
Polyester Solid Manufactured Wood Daybed
Solid Manufactured Wood Twin Daybed
Black Metal Twin Futon Bunk Bed

The Fold-Down Tufted Sofa

A close cousin to the folding futon, these sofas usually have a good comfort level. You do want to keep an eye on the weight limits, however. Most max out at around 350 pounds, so that large-size friend might be better off on a mattress on the floor. At the upper end of their weight limit, the legs on tufted sofa beds tend to dig into floor coverings. Leg coasters are advised.

Solid Manufactured Wood Linen Square Arm Convertible Sleeper
Metal Faux Leather Square Arm Convertible Sleeper
Manufactured Wood Foam Polyester Velvet Square Arm Convertible Sleeper
Solid Wood Fabric Convertible Sleeper

The Traditional Sleeper Sofa

While traditional sleeper sofas have gained a bad reputation for causing back issues due to the stability bar in the middle, modern sleeper sofas typically feature an excellent inner-spring mattress, which can be padded with a memory foam topper. The bar is an integral part of the leg and body structure that enables the bed to fold and to be sturdy when people are sleeping on it.

The beauty of both modern and traditional sleeper sofas is that they do not look like a convertible sofa and come in a wide range of styles and sizes to complement your home décor. Traditional sleepers can take up a significant amount of floor space and may require extra overhead room when unfolding, so they are unsuitable for rooms with limited space.

Choose a plush roll arm sofa with a deep cushion back to create a soft, luxurious headboard for overnight guests. If you have a modern home, try a tight back sofa with clean, sleek lines.

Chenille Solid Manufactured Wood Queen Sofa Bed
Cotton Solid Wood Rolled Arms Sofa Bed
Gray Microfiber Microsuede Solid Manufactured Wood Round Arm Sofa Bed
Blue Linen Solid Manufactured Wood Square Arms Sofa Bed
Genuine Leather Solid Manufactured Wood Rolled Arms Sofa Bed
Polyester Blend Wood Standard Sofa Bed

The Pop-Up Sofa

Pop-up sofas eliminate the need for a mattress as the cushions create a space to sleep. They typically feature easy push mechanisms for a quick transformation and often have extra compartments for storing bed linens and extra cushions.

The added storage and easy configuration make them the perfect option for a small space. They also come in a vast range of styles, which means they can coordinate easily with any interior design.

For a large sleeper to accommodate multiple guests, choose a convertible sectional sofa that can extend to form a Queen or King bed.

Microfiber Velvet Pop Up Sleeper Sofa
Solid Manufactured Wood Polyester Pop Up Sleeper Sofa
Foam Microfiber Microsuede Pop Up Sleeper Sofa
Hardwood Elizabeth Silver Polyester Pop Up Sleeper Sofa

What Sizes Are Available for Sleeper Sofas?

When it comes to sleeping arrangements, size definitely matters. The good news is that modern sleepers come in all sorts of sizes (and styles) ranging from twin-size armchair sleepers to California king.

Keep a close eye on weight allowances on sleeper sofas. If you know that your probable over-night guests might be on the large size, make sure that your sleeper is rated for the big and tall crowd. No one loves having broken furniture or broken guests.

How Hard Is It to Get Sleeper Sofas into Your Home?

As you might guess, sleeper sofas can be heavy. For example, the San Diego 77” Square Arm Sleeper Sofa weighs in at a little over 101 pounds. The good news is that your friend the football player is probably going to be comfortable on this sofa. It has a pop-up seat, plus a fold-down back and is rated for up to 750 pounds. It might be a good idea to have the sofa delivered or to have your friend help set it up.

Futon sleepers and twin-size chair sleepers tend to be a little lighter and might be manageable by a single person or a couple. Still, it is always nice to have a little help when it comes to large furniture selections.

Measure the doors before delivery. Patio doors are often a good choice for bringing home a big furniture item. If you live in an apartment, think about stairs, doorway sizes, and whether or not there is a freight elevator for large items.

Plywood Poplar Metal Manufactured Wood Convertible Sofa
Faux Leather Armless Sofa Bed
Mahogany Solid Wood Polyester Blend Convertible Square Arm Sofa
Brown Solid Wood Metal Faux Leather Convertible Square Arm Sleeper
Polyester Queen Square Arm Sleeper Sofa Bed
Polypropylene Olefin Solid Manufactured Wood Convertible Rolled Arm Sleeper

Which Fabric Should I Choose for a Sleeper Sofa?

As a sleeper sofa has moving parts, the mattress frame may rub along on the fabric, causing the sofa to wear out faster. The fabric of a sleeper sofa needs to be durable and resistant to abrasion as well as flexible to minimize cracking. Most of all, the fabric should be comfortable, so here are a few different fabric options suitable for sleeper sofas.


Cotton is a popular choice as it is easily dyed, giving you a more extensive range of color choices, and it’s breathable for better comfort. It also resists pilling, which can minimize wear and tear.

However, it wrinkles easily, making it an excellent choice for a traditional sleeper, but less suitable for a pop-up sofa or futon where wrinkles are easily seen after the bed transforms back into a sofa.


Linen is smooth and soft and has excellent temperature control properties. It is also the most durable of all the natural fiber upholstery fabrics and is antibacterial to eliminate body odors absorbed by the mattress.

There are one or two drawbacks to using linen. Like cotton, it wrinkles very easily, which can ruin the appearance of your sofa when folded. It also requires professional deep cleaning periodically.


Although more expensive than other fabrics, wool offers several advantages as a sleeper sofa fabric. Aside from being very comfortable, it also has excellent temperature control properties. It won’t fade or wrinkle to keep your sleeper looking as good as new, whether it is in bed mode or sofa mode. Wool is also exceptionally durable, inhibiting wear and tear.

Polyester Microfiber

When it comes to synthetic fabrics, polyester microfiber stands out above the rest due to its hard-wearing and versatile properties. It is also stain and abrasion-resistant and easy to maintain.

However, as it is a highly tensile fabric, it may stretch over time. It is also flammable and, therefore, unsuitable for rooms with fireplaces, electric heaters, or for guests who smoke.

Cotton Oak Brown Red Gray Rustic Round Arms Sleeper Sofa
Bohemian Polypropylene Olefin Sleeper Sofa
Scandinavian Linen Solid Wood Pine Flared Arm Sofa Bed
Polyester Blend Wood Pillow Top Arm Sleeper Sofa
Gray Faux Leather Polyester Blend Wood Sofa Bed
Green Velvet Polyester Solid Manufactured Wood Convertible Square Arm Sleeper Sofa
Blue Microfiber Microsuede Metal Manufactured Wood Standard Sleeper Sofa
Velvet Foam Solid Wood Square Arms Sleeper Sofa

What Would Be a Good Sleeper Sofa for People on a Budget?

The futon styles are usually reasonably priced. If you are on an extremely restricted budget, there are some folding-foam styles that are very reasonably priced. While they are not perhaps the best sort of seating, they are great for kid’s rooms or teen sleepovers. They can even do for adults in a pinch.

Is There a Risk That Children Could Get Pinched or Otherwise Harmed by the Hardware in the Bed?

There is a degree of risk with folding furniture and children. Most couches or beds are completely safe when they are set up. Our suggestion is to know where your child is during the set-up or take-down process, and to never allow children to use the bed as a play area.

If you want a folding bed for a youngster, the memory foam folding cots and chairs do not have any hardware and are usually upholstered with a simple, fabric cover.

Sleeper sofas are an attractive way to allow a room to double as a living room and a bedroom in a pinch. They are also good for the unexpected guest. They can extend living space in dorm rooms, small apartments or tiny houses. Available in a wide variety of styles, prices range from moderate to luxurious. Of course, styles range similarly, but it’s possible to find a comfortable sofa at a reasonable cost.