What is a Futon & how is it different to a Sofa Bed?

The Japanese word Futon has become synonymous with the concept of a folding bed, and often people confuse a sofa bed and futon for the same thing.

Here’s our guide on the difference between a Futon and a Sofa Bed so that you can choose the right multi-functional furniture for your home.

A Futon is a traditional Japanese bedding and is comprised of a padded mattress, a quilt and a pillow but in modern and western culture the word has come to mean much more.

A traditional Japanese futon is placed directly onto tatami flooring which is a type of floor matting made from rice straw and wood chip. When not in use it is rolled up and packed away or aired and beaten with a futon-beater to prevent the filling from matting together into hard uncomfortable lumps.

The type of futon you have probably encountered is a western take on this traditional item. A western futon is almost always placed onto a metal or wooden folding frame enabling it to double up as a chair or sofa during the day. The western futon mattress is also much thicker and larger than its traditional counterpart, and closer in resemblance to a sofa bed.

Unlike a western futon a sofa bed uses sofa cushions when assembled as a sofa and these are then removed to gain access to the bed mechanism and mattress that is folded away within the body of the sofa. If you don't have a spare room but are looking for furniture that offers the same comfort levels and look as a tradition sofa then a sofa bed might be the best option for you.

If you don’t have the space to accommodate another piece of furniture then a traditional futon might be perfect for occasional guests. You could keep it tidied away in a cupboard or use a shabby chic storage trunk as a handy coffee table, that doubles as futon storage.

If you have a spare room but don’t want it dominated by a fixed bed then a western futon or sofa bed could be your space saving solution. When in sofa mode you can use the room as an extra reception room, office, sewing room, play area etc whatever your family requires.

For even more efficient space saving you could consider a chair bed. We produce a range of chair beds that are generously proportioned giving you ample room to snuggle up in them with a book and cup of tea. If an unexpected guest pops over then simply remove the cushions and extend the chair bed into a comfortable single bed.

For whatever your guest accommodation needs and room size restrictions hopefully we’ve given you some ideas above to help you find a solution more satisfying than the traditional air bed with a slow puncture!

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