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Unlike sleepers, which typically have a pull-out mechanism that transforms the sofa into a bed, futons usually have back cushions that can be pushed all the way down, creating a makeshift bed. This couch-sleeper combo is perfect for those with limited square footage and is on a budget because futons tend to be more affordable than sofas.
When making a futon purchase you need to make sure that both the seated and sleeping part is comfortable. "Although sometimes a sleeper, the primary use of these pieces is typically still seating, so comfort is a must," says Michelle Castagna, president of the International Furnishings and Design Association, Florida chapter.
We researched the best futons, considering assembly, comfort, and configurations. With that in mind, our best overall pick is the CosmoLiving by Cosmopolitan Liberty Sectional Storage
Here are more of the best futons on the market today.
Best Overall: CosmoLiving by Cosmopolitan Liberty Sectional Storage Futon
Size: 84 x 60.5 x 32.5 inches | Materials: Solid wood frame, velvet upholstery | Cushions: Polyester foam | Sleeper Size: Twin
Great for tall people
Multiple position split-back
CosmoLiving's Liberty Sleeper is a couch, a chaise lounge, a storage compartment, and a bed in one. The legs and frame are made of solid wood, and the upholstery comes in your choice of chic velvet or chenille in a variety of colors. The chaise can be reconfigured to either side of the couch for ultimate convenience, and the roomy 7-foot length makes this a great sleeping option for tall people.
What really sets this futon apart from the rest is that it is both comfortable and can be configured for many needs or various new living spaces over the years.
Best Budget: Serta Rane Convertible Sofa
Size: 66.1 x 33.1 x 29.5 inches | Materials: Chrome and wood frame, polyester upholstery | Cushions: High-density foam | Sleeper Size: Twin
High-density foam cushions
Easy to set up
Doesn't fit standard bedding sizes
Weight capacity is only 300 pounds
On a budget? You can't go wrong with the Serta Rane. This sleek convertible sofa boasts clean lines and a modern silhouette, and it comes in four neutral colors. With high-density foam cushions and a backrest that folds completely flat, it's a couch by day and a bed by night. And thanks to Serta's Click-Clack technology, it's easy to set up and even easier to convert into a sleeper. Just take note of the weight capacity and the fact that it only folds down to one position.
Best Bunk Bed: DHP Twin-Over-Futon Convertible Couch and Bed
Size: 78 x 54.5 x 72.5 inches | Materials: Metal frame | Cushions: Not listed | Sleeper Size: Twin
Ladders on both sides
Doesn't come with mattress
Full assembly required
If you want to create a cool space for your kid's room, check out the DHP Twin-Over-Futon. This bunk bed-style option accommodates a twin mattress on top and has a standard-sized futon on the bottom, so your kid can hang out during the day and have a spot for an overnight guest at night. With ladders on either side and a guard rail up top, it's easy to climb and offers security for sleeping. The mattress is sold separately, and be aware that mattress height should not exceed 6 inches.
Best Japanese-Style: MaxYoyo Japanese Floor Futon Mattress
Size: 80 x 60 x 4 inches | Materials: Microfiber cotton cover, memory foam core | Cushions: Memory foam | Sleeper Size: Twin, full, queen, king
Lots of sizes and colors
Memory foam fill
Bulky to store
Unlike sofa bed futons, Japanese futons are plush, quilted sleeping pads that can be placed directly on the floor, no frame necessary. MaxYoyo's Floor Mattress is one of the best options out there. Filled with ultra-plush and supportive memory foam, this 4-inch futon is great if you already have a non-sleeper sofa and don't like the feel (and effort) of an air mattress. It comes in four sizes and a bunch of different colors and can simply be folded and stored away when not in use.
Best Chair: Gold Flamingo Teen Clarissa Pillow Back Futon Chair
Size: 32 x 36 x 32 inches | Materials: Solid wood frame, polyester upholstery | Cushions: Foam and polyester | Sleeper Size: Twin
Solid wood frame
More expensive than sofa-size options
If you're working with limited square footage, consider this clever convertible chair from Wayfair. The Clarissa has a solid wood frame, tear-resistant upholstery, and foam-filled cushions with sinuous springs, resulting in a nice-looking chair that secretly functions as a bed. Whether configured as a chair or unfolded into a bed, you and your guests will be comfy and supported.
Best Leather: Urban Outfitters Greta Recycled Sleeper
Size: 82 x 41.7 x 30.8 inches | Material: Recycled leather upholstery | Cushions: Foam | Sleeper Size: Full
Multiple recline options
Recycled leather upholstery
Metal frame can be squeaky
Looking for a leather option? You'll love this sleeper sofa from Urban Outfitters. With genuine recycled leather upholstery, a plush foam fill, and pintuck detailing, the Greta is just as cushy as it looks. A sturdy metal frame is completely concealed within the cushioning, offering a unique legless look that minimalists will appreciate. You can use it as an extra-large upright couch, a partially reclined lounger, or a fully flat mattress.
Best with Storage: Pottery Barn Shasta Square Arm Upholstered Storage Futon
Size: 86.5 x 37 x 34 inches | Material: Engineered wood and LVL frame, various upholstery options | Cushions: Polyester-filled | Sleeper Size: Full
Single seat cushion
Lots of upholstery options
Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces
Pottery Barn's take on the futon is this upholstered sofa-style sleeper. The Shasta boasts a durable frame made of engineered wood and laminated veneer lumber and can be customized in a range of colors and fabrics. Underneath the firm polyester-filled cushions is a hidden storage compartment for bedding, blankets, pillows, or anything else you need to keep out of the way. It's definitely on the high-end, but it's worth it if you don't have room for a traditional sleeper but want the same look.
Overall, we recommend the CosmoLiving Liberty Sectional Storage Futon (view at Amazon), for its versatility, style, and relatively affordable price tag. If you're looking for something even more budget-friendly, check out the Serta Rane Futon (view at Amazon), which is durable, comfortable, and priced well under $200.
What to Look for in a Futon
As Castagna mentioned, it's important to remember that you're looking for something that works as both a seating option and a bed. For this reason, adequate cushioning is crucial. We recommend getting a futon with foam or polyester cushions at least 4 inches thick. High-density foam and options with sinuous springs can also offer a comfort boost while enhancing durability.
Solid wood frames are ideal for futons, as they're dependably sturdy and can bear the most weight (a fact that's great to know when you're buying any furniture). Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) can be good for furniture frames as well, as it's exceptionally strong and stable. You'll also find options with frames made of metal, such as chrome or steel. The latter typically offers better durability, though it depends on the design.
Futons typically convert into a bed by folding down the back, creating a fully reclined makeshift bed. If you want something even more versatile, look for a futon with a split-back design or one that folds back into different positions, so you can use it for lounging instead of sleeping.
How do you make a futon more comfortable?
One of the best ways to make a futon more comfortable is with a mattress topper. You can find memory foam, gel, and down-filled options to place over the cushions for another 2 or 3 inches of plushness and support. Another option is to put an air mattress on top, so it's a little higher off the ground. Beyond that, comfy bedding can go a long way.
What size sheets fit a futon?
This depends on the size of your futon—or rather, the size of the "bed" it folds out into. Many futons convert into standard mattress sizes, particularly twin or full, which should be specified in the product description. In that case, you can use the appropriate sheet size. However, some are in between standard sizes, and others are smaller than a twin. If your futon is in between bedding sizes, we recommend going a size up with sheets.
What is the difference between a futon and a sleeper sofa?
"The main difference between a futon and a sleeper sofa is that the sleeper sofa has a concealed mattress in the frame, which is separate from the sofa cushions, whereas the futon uses the seat cushion(s) as the mattress," says Decorist designer Mikayla Keating. Therefore, a futon requires less square footage, making it especially suited to small spaces. Another difference is that futons are typically much less expensive than traditional sleeper sofas, often by hundreds of dollars.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer specializing in furniture, decor, and home improvement. She's well-versed in high-quality furnishings and knows what to look for in terms of materials, construction, and joinery. To write this article, she consulted experts and editors and selected products based on their functionality, design, and construction. You can check out more of Theresa's work on Byrdie, MyDomaine, and Verywell Mind.