A sofa bed by any name -- sleeper, sleeper sofa, sleep sofa -- is one of the most versatile and hard-working pieces of furniture you could own. It has come a long way from being the uncomfortable, insomnia-inducing nightmare it used to be. As a matter of fact, some quality sofa beds are as comfortable as a regular bed. You can turn any room into a bedroom or guest room by furnishing it with a quality sofa bed.
When shopping for a sofa bed, it helps to remember that it will most often be primarily used as seating. So, it makes sense to look for the same features you would in a regular sofa, such as a design that fits your needs and style preferences. The only difference is that you will be looking for a comfortable mattress and efficient operating mechanisms as well.
1. Look for a Hardwood Frame
The strongest and most durable frames for any type of sofa, including sofa beds, are those made of kiln-dried hardwood or a combination of kiln-dried hardwood and furniture-grade plywoods. Avoid buying frames made of softer woods such as pine.
2. Look for a Good-Quality Open-and-Close Mechanism
The mechanisms in a good sleeper should lift up and out in one smooth motion without squeaking or sticking. Look for units designed with a lock-down bar to ensure proper closure as well as easy opening. Inspect carefully to make sure the opening mechanism is put together well, and parts will not break or come loose easily.
3. Feel for Smooth Edges on All Inner Mechanisms
All parts of a sofa bed’s inner mechanism should have smooth edges so that sheets and blankets don’t snag and rip as a result.
When you are using a sofa bed in your own home, and even on ones with the best operating mechanisms, it’s always a good idea to remove sheets and blankets before closing the unit. That way, it will not cause the alignment on different parts to shift.
4. Check Mattress for Quality
A quality mattress makes for a good night’s sleep and will comfortably support the body at the shoulders, hips, and lower back.
A thicker mattress is not necessarily better; a thinner, better-built one might offer better support. You can also consider using a comfortable mattress pad on top when you use the sofa bed for sleeping.
5. Test It
It’s always a good idea to test a sofa bed before you buy it. Try opening and closing it to see how it feels. It should be easy to operate, and you shouldn't have to strain to open it. Open it and lie down to see how the mattress feels.
6. Measure It
Always make sure that you measure your sofa bed before you commit to buying. Don't neglect to find out what the measurements will be when it's opened all the way. Remember that it needs as much room as a bed or more when fully opened. If you are planning to place any pieces of furniture in front of it, be sure they are light and easy to move so that you can easily lift them out of the way before opening the sofa bed.