4 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Sleeper Sofa

woman asleep on sofa
Tara Moore / Getty Images

Call it a sleeper sofa, or sofa bed, this is one of the most functional pieces of furniture you can own. Having a sleeper in your living room rather than a sofa might be one way to overcome space limitations, if you have them. It lets you turn any room into a guest room, or even a bed room for yourself if you live in a studio apartment.

Here is what you need to know before you buy one for your home.

It Depends On Who is Using it

While its functionality might be a very important aspect, there are several other factors you should consider before you buy a sleeper. As with any piece of furniture consider your needs. The most important thing to consider whether it will be primarily used as a bed or for seating.

If you plan to use it as the primary sleeping surface for yourself, look into the type of mattress that comes with it.  As you are no doubt aware, sleepers come with many different types of mattresses, some using specialty materials, some come with inner-springs and others are air beds. Try and find one with a mattress type you are happy using. Also look for a mechanism that opens and closes easily.

As there are many manufacturers offering sofa beds, you will notice great differences both in quality and pricing. Needless to say, buy the best quality you can afford. Often sleepers in higher price points are also better made.

Choose Wisely When You Have Limited Space

If you have a very small space then Twin size sofa beds might be the perfect answer for you as these are less than 5 feet wide and they are great for sleeping one person. The mattress for a twin size sleeper sofa is about 39" wide.

Opened up, the length can be around 54 inches wide and 85 inches long.

These sleepers are sometimes referred to as chair and a half beds or chair beds also. Don't expect them to be any cheaper because of the size. They should not be considered for affordability, but for their suitability for smaller rooms.

When Space is Not an Issue

When space is not an issue then you are in luck, as a queen size sleeper sofa is the most widely available. You will be easily able to find queen sized sleepers in different styles and fabrics and with your preferred type of mattress. There is the just a great deal of variety available in this size.

A queen size sleeper sofa can easily seat three, and can provide a comfortable bed for two people. It will measure approximately 84 inches wide and be about 90 inches long when the bed is opened up.

A Little More Room to Stretch Equals Comfort

If the sleeper is going to be used every night for sleeping, a full-size sleeper sofa is what you need even if you have a tiny space. An adult might find a twin-sized sleeper too small and restricting for everyday use, and, in a pinch, a full-size sleeper can even sleep two. But again if two people are going to use it regularly, the full sized sleeper might not be very comfortable or spacious enough.

For sitting, the size of a full sized sleeper is between a sofa and a love seat, rather like an apartment sofa, so it is still a good option for smaller spaces and apartments. You will find that a full-size sleeper is generally about 72 inches wide, and approximately about 90 inches long when fully opened.