3 Things to Know Before You Buy a Futon

Woman sitting on futon
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Futons started out as simple mattresses in Japan that could be rolled up and stored away during the day, but today the term "futon" often refers to wood or metal frames that support mattresses or futon pads. Before you buy a futon, consider how you will use it, because that will determine what type you need to buy.

Today futons are available in a variety of sizes and because of their flexibility, can be put to different uses in different rooms. For instance, futons are used in children’s rooms, guestrooms, family rooms and dens where they can be interchangeably used for sitting or sleeping. They often serve as beds in apartments or dorms.

A futon is indeed a versatile piece of furniture, but before you buy one, consider these questions:

How Will You Use Your Futon?

How you plan to use a futon will determine which kind you eventually buy. Figure out its primary function first. Will it be used primarily for sitting and lounging, or would it be used for sleeping? Would you want to switch back and forth between the two functions on a daily basis? Do you need it for a child’s room or the guest room?

How you put your futon to use will not only determine the kind of frame you use, but also the quality of the pad. Be aware that if you are going to use it primarily for sleeping, a wood frame can provide a very firm surface. If that is something you don't enjoy, consider a thicker, better quality futon pad, or maybe even a mattress pad on top to make it softer.

If you want to switch back and forth between a sleeping surface and a seat, then you should consider getting a frame that is easier to operate.

What Futon Size Do You Need?

It can’t be said often enough, that measuring your space is one of the most important steps before you buy furniture of any kind. After you know how big a futon you will be able to accommodate, you can choose from different sizes. Futons are available in twin, full, and queen sizes. King sized futons are not very common, but are also available.

Futons take up a lot of room just like beds once they are fully opened out, make sure you have enough space to accommodate the one you are about to buy. For instance, a futon chair can open up to the size of a twin bed. Any other furniture you place around the futon should be easily movable to facilitate opening it, especially if you have to do it frequently.

What is Your Style?

What style are you looking for? Futons frames are available in traditional or more contemporary looks as well as Asian inspired ones. They are available in different materials as both wood frames or metal frames are available. You may even want to go with a combination wood and metal frame.

If you are seeking a traditional look, you may want to consider futons with hardwood frames. Metal frames can offer a more contemporary look. The color of the frame can offer you an opportunity to make your style statement.

Futon covers can also help you further in the direction you want to go. Just as when you pick a fabric for your sofa, consider your needs and preferences when you buy a futon cover. You are not confined to one single style of cover or mattress.