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How to choose the best sofa bed for sitting and sleeping

If you're short on space in your home, or you often host more overnight guests than you have spare rooms for, a sofa bed is a must-have. Adding one to your home office can turn the room into a multi-functional space, while choosing a sofa bed that can work as your main settee and then transform into a bed when the occasion calls for it can be a great space-saving solution.

Of course, as there are so many different styles of sofa bed out there, choosing the right one to suit your needs isn’t always easy. So, we've put together this guide that will make the decision process much simpler. We’ll discuss everything you need to think about, from what kind of mechanism you should go for to which size sofa bed is going to work best for your needs. Here are all the points you need to consider.

What’s your budget?

Of course, before making any significant purchase, it's best to set a budget so you know exactly what you can afford. Sofa beds can range drastically in price, depending on what you're looking for, so agreeing on a spending limit can also help you to narrow down your options. However, with furniture, you do get what you pay for.

The sofa beds that we offer here at Sofas by Saxon are bespoke and handcrafted by our team of sofa specialists, which means they're an investment. But the price reflects the quality of our products: the materials and level of craftsmanship that go into making our sofa beds are exceptional, which means one would make a great addition to your living room, home office, or guest room if your budget allows for it.

As a general rule, sofa beds are more expensive than the average settee, because they’re essentially two pieces of furniture in one. So, you will need to budget accordingly.

How and when will your sofa bed be used?

When you’re looking to choose the right sofa bed for your needs, the main things to consider are how — and, just as importantly, how often —it’s going to be used. This is most likely to depend on where you plan to position the sofa bed, as well as how often you have overnight guests.

If you’re after the best sofa bed for everyday or regular use, your priority should be ensuring that the bed component offers plenty of comfort and support. You might be in this position if you’re expecting a long-term house guest, or one of your home’s bedrooms has another function — for example, it might double up as a home office.

Alternatively, if you don’t expect to convert your sofa bed particularly frequently, but simply want to have it on hand just in case, your main focus should be finding one that’s going to work well as an everyday sofa.

Considering the functionality of your new piece of furniture will also help you to decide what kind of covering to opt for. For example, if you’re expecting to convert it from a sofa into a bed and back quite frequently, choosing a particularly hardwearing material will help to prevent a lot of the wear and tear that can be associated with this. Leather, wool, or linen are likely to work best in this situation.

For more information about choosing the right covering for your sofa bed, make sure you read our leather and fabric sofa buying guides

Where are you planning to put your sofa bed?

You’ll also need to think about what room you’re planning to put your sofa bed in, because this will help you to decide what size and style to go for.

If you’re looking to buy a sofa bed for a relatively compact space, like a study or particularly small spare room, you’ll need to ensure you choose one that’s going to fit comfortably. In this situation, you may need to opt for a single sofa bed, as this will help to prevent your room from feeling overcrowded. But, if you have more space or are looking to buy a piece of furniture that’s also going to work as an everyday sofa, you’re likely to find that you have room for a double.

Where you decide to position your sofa bed is also going to affect what kind of design you should go for, because you’ll want it to complement your existing décor. For example, if your living room has a modern design, you’ll want to go for more of a sleek style. On the other hand, a Chesterfield sofa bed can be very versatile and will work with a lot of different styles of décor.

What size sofa bed do you need?

Once you've worked out how your sofa bed is most likely to be used and where it’s going to be positioned, you should be able to decide what kind of size is going to suit your needs best.

Sofa beds are available in a surprisingly wide range of sizes. This gives you plenty of options, meaning you should have no trouble finding one that fits your space perfectly.

If you typically only host one overnight guest at a time, a small sofa bed could work well, although most people will opt for a model that sleeps at least two just to be safe. It's also important to remember that a large sofa bed doesn't always mean that it's going to have a large mattress. So, don't just assume that a 3-seater couch is going to convert into a king-size bed. Always check the size of the mattress yourself and try it out if possible to make sure it's going to suit your requirements.

Of course, you should always measure a piece of furniture that you're looking to buy but, with a sofa bed, not only do you need to ensure the settee version will fit into your desired room for everyday use, but you also need to make sure there's plenty of space in front to accommodate the bed when it's needed. For more information about this, make sure you read our guide to measuring your sofa.

What style of sofa bed suits your needs best?

When shopping for a sofa bed, you’ll find that there are a variety of styles out there, and they all look and work slightly differently. Here, we’ll look at the most common styles and discuss what you need to know about each one in order to choose the one that suits you perfectly.

Futons

A futon is the simplest style of sofa bed and can work well if you’re looking for a very basic, no-frills piece of furniture. They’re typically made up of a large cushion or mattress that covers a metal or wooden frame, which can be folded when you need a sofa or unfolded when you require a bed.
Futons tend to be the most affordable option, but they do have a very casual and sometimes unfinished appearance, which means this style might not work so well if you prefer your interior décor to be on the more polished side.

Traditional pull-out sofa beds

Traditional pull-out sofa beds are arguably the most popular kind, and with good reason: not only can they work very well as settees on an everyday basis, but they’re also very easy to convert into a bed and surprisingly comfortable to sleep on.

Opting for a pull-out sofa bed will give you the most freedom when choosing a style that complements your interior décor perfectly, too. Here at Sofas by Saxon, all of our sofa beds have a pull-out mechanism and you can choose from those in a Chesterfield style, as well as simpler designs, so you should have no trouble finding one that you love.

Day beds

As the name suggests, day beds work more as a bed than a sofa, so they can be great if you’re looking for a piece of furniture that’s primarily designed to be slept on. But, if you’re serious about finding an item that’s going to work well for both sitting and sleeping, a different design is likely to work better for you.

Corner sofa beds

If you have a particularly spacious living room, you might be tempted to opt for a corner sofa that you and the whole family can laze on. And, if you're simultaneously short on spare rooms, you might want to consider investing in one that can also be transformed into a temporary bed when you have overnight guests.

Here at Sofas by Saxon, we can create a corner sofa bed for you through our bespoke furniture service. If you would like more information about this, get in touch to discuss your requirements.

What kind of mattress are you going to opt for?

The quality of your sofa bed's mattress will have a huge effect on how well your guests sleep, so it's well worth putting plenty of thought into finding one that's going to give them all the support they need.

Unfortunately, most low-quality and mass-produced sofa beds come with cheap mattresses that aren’t going to provide your guests with the support and comfort you’re looking for. So, before making a purchase, you need to ensure that any sofa bed you’re looking at comes with a high-quality mattress.

If possible, test the mattress out yourself. When you lie down, you shouldn't be able to feel any bars, slats, or coils that are going to cause discomfort during the night. Fully-sprung or memory foam mattresses are particularly popular when it comes to high-quality and comfortable sofa beds, because they offer the support you’ll be looking for. The main thing setting these two apart is that some people find memory foam doesn’t offer a great deal of breathability, which can mean they get uncomfortably warm. Because you’ll want to cater to guests with a whole host of preferences, this might be something you want to keep in mind.

Here at Sofas by Saxon, all of our sofa beds are equipped with a fully-sprung mattress that has high-quality springs for maximum comfort and support. As a result, you won’t have to worry about your guests sleeping soundly — it’ll be a given.

Which mechanism is going to work best for you?

When you're shopping around for a sofa bed, you'll find that they come with a variety of mechanisms that work in different ways. Because you'll want to be able to convert your new piece of furniture from a sofa to a bed and back again with minimal fuss, it's important that you choose the right option to suit your needs.

Here, we're going to outline your choices and explain why you might opt for one over the others.

Click-clack

Most futons will have a click-clack mechanism, allowing them to be easily moved from an upright to a flat position. Typically, all you'll have to do is push the back of your sofa bed forwards until you hear it click (this means the catch has been released), and then pull it back until it's lying flat on the floor.

Click-clack mechanisms are specific to futons so, if you're opting for a different style of sofa bed, you're likely to find that their set-up is slightly different.

Pull-out

Most modern sofa beds — including those we offer here at Sofas by Saxon — are equipped with a pull-out mechanism, which makes converting them from a sofa into a bed incredibly easy. You'll find this especially helpful if you ever need to prepare your sofa bed alone, or you have guests who decide to stay at the last minute and you need to get everything ready as quickly as possible.

Pull-out sofa beds are particularly popular, thanks to the fact that they’re so easy to convert into a bed and vice versa. So, if you're looking for a sofa bed with a mechanism that has been tried and tested time and time again, this style is a fantastic option.

What kind of filling and construction should you go with?

We’ve talked about the importance of choosing the right mattress so the bed component of your couch is as comfortable as possible, but you’ll need to make some decisions to ensure your new piece of furniture is great to sit on, too. For this, the two main things you’ll need to consider are your sofa bed’s filling and construction.

A sofa bed’s frame is arguably its most important component, as it will offer most of the support whether your furniture is being slept or sat on. It will also help your sofa bed to keep its shape throughout its lifespan. As a result, you’ll want to make sure you choose a piece of furniture with a high-quality and durable frame.

The material your sofa bed’s frame is made of will help to determine what kind of quality it is. If it’s made from cheap wood, it could buckle or break, and certainly won’t stand up to regular use. So, always enquire about what kinds of materials have been used to make your furniture. All of the sofa beds you’ll find here at Sofas by Saxon have been constructed using strong and high-quality beech hardwood that will withstand frequent use, which means they can be relied upon.

How the frame is constructed will also help you to determine the quality of a sofa bed. The best frames are those that have been crafted by hand, as these can be created with a fantastic level of attention to detail. You’ll also want to ensure your furniture has solid jointing, as this will help it to stand up to regular use without buckling. Many cheaper models are constructed in bulk using metal staples, which can easily fall away, creating a weaker frame over time.

At Sofas by Saxon, we build all of our sofa and sofa bed frames by hand, which means we can ensure they’re as strong as they need to be. Every joint is dowelled and glued by hand, so you can rest assured that everything is going to stay in place, and we rigorously check every piece of furniture we make to ensure they’re fit for purpose and going to stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use.

What kind of covering will be best for your sofa?

Much like when you’re choosing a standard sofa for your living room, you’re going to want to put plenty of thought into picking the right covering to suit your needs and lifestyle. It’ll need to work well with your existing décor and you’ll also want to think about how durable and easy to care for certain materials are, so you can ensure you’ll be able to keep your furniture looking its best.

Leather

Leather sofa beds are particularly popular, thanks to the fact that they look great, and are durable as well as easy to clean. However, it’s worth remembering that a lot of cheaper sofa beds are made with low-quality faux leather, which is unlikely to stand up to the wear and tear of regular use.

You won’t find this with the sofa beds we offer here at Sofas by Saxon. They’ve all been made using real high-quality leather that looks incredible. It’s also very robust, so you won’t have to worry about the effects of converting your sofa bed on a regular basis.

For more information about choosing a great sofa bed in this material, make sure you read our leather sofa buying guide.

Fabric

If you’re not quite sold on the idea of buying a leather sofa bed, you’ll want to go for one with a fabric cover, but you’ll have a number of options to choose from. Here at Sofas by Saxon, we offer wool, linen, tweed, and more, so you should have no trouble finding the right covering to achieve the look and feel you’re going for.

Of course, much like with leather, the quality of these fabrics can vary, but we make sure to only source the most high-quality and durable materials possible. This means we can help you to get the look you want without having to worry about the risk of wear and tear.

Want to know more about the different options you have when it comes to choosing your sofa bed covering? Make sure you read our fabric sofa buying guide, which will give you all of the information you need to make the right decision.

When there are so many factors to consider, choosing the right sofa bed can be overwhelming, but we hope this guide has provided you with all of the information you need to make the right decision for your needs. And, if you would like any expert advice on choosing the perfect piece of furniture, don't hesitate to get in touch — we'll be more than happy to discuss your requirements!

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