We Know: All About Buying Sofa Beds

What is a sofa bed?

A sofa bed is a piece of furniture that acts as both a sofa and a bed. Often called a "convertible," the sofa bed can be made up as a couch during the day and then the cushions are removed and the frame pulls out to make a bed.

What should I consider before shopping for a sofa bed?

Before shopping for a sofa bed you should consider a few things that will affect the type of product you buy.

  • Who will use it? Asking this question will save you a lot of time. The person's height and size can dramatically effect the size of sofa bed you buy.
  • What space do I have? Buying a queen-sized sofa bed for a tiny space certainly won't fit! Take appropriate measurements of your space and account for the unfolded bed part of the sofa bed.
  • What fabric best suits my home? Besides choosing a color and style, you need to consider the type of fabric that fits your situation. If you have children or pets, avoid fabrics that are difficult to clean.

What should I look for when buying a sofa bed?

Once you're in the store, be sure to inspect the sofa bed from top to bottom to avoid any uncomfortable surprises once the item is in your living room. Here are a few things to check out.

  • Does the bed pull out easily? If not, move onto the next sofa bed.
  • Once the cushions are removed, can you see wood? You shouldn't. There should be smooth, upholstered material beneath the cushions.
  • Are the cushions comfortable? Take a seat and bring along some friends of various sizes. You want your sofa bed to be comfortable for people of all weights and sizes.
  • Is the mattress comfortable? Once the sofa bed is pulled open, lie down on it. If you feel metal bars poking your back through the foam, it's time to move on. Also, look for mattresses with at least 1.8 pounds per cubic foot of flexible polyurethane foam. A density less than this will not hold up over time.
  • Is the fabric scratchy? If it is, move onto the next product.
  • Is the frame sturdy? Look on the bottom of the sofa bed and make sure the frame is bolted together. Avoid products that use screws or nails.
  • Does it have metal support bars? In older models, a metal bar supported the mattress in a sofa bed. When you'd lie down on these sofa beds, the bar had a tendency to dig into your back. Instead of metal bars, look for sofa beds where the mattress is supported by a synthetic sling.

How much are sofa beds?

Sofa beds can range in price from $100 to several thousand dollars. These prices reflect the various makes of sofa beds. A small loveseat or futon model with metal support bars will be priced on the low-end, while a queen-sized sofa bed with spring loaded unfolding capability and a thick mattress will be on the high-end. The most common sofa bed is the two-cushion model, which is priced around $400-$600.

What are common brands of sofa beds?

Popular brands that make sofa beds include IKEA, Feldman, Berkline and JC Penney.

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