A sofa bed is one of those awkward hybrid furniture items that’s easy to get wrong. Is it primarily meant to be a sofa with added bed functionality for occasional sleepovers? Or are you looking to buy a bed that can be folded out of the way during the day to double up as a handy sofa?
Chosen badly, a sofa bed can be an unhappy compromise unable to perform either job properly. But chosen wisely, it can be a supremely useful and stylishly versatile piece of furniture that works in every situation. We asked bed and furniture experts Snug Interiors for some professional advice on how to choose the best sofa bed for your living room, guest room or study.
1. Choose a sofa design you love
It’s easy to forget that during the daytime, your sofa bed will be used as a regular sofa. That’s why it is important to choose a piece that looks great and fits with your interior styling, just as you would if you were buying a normal sofa. Pick a sofa bed you love the look of and don’t settle for a less attractive design in order to get the sofa bed functionality. You can, and should, have the best of both worlds.
2. Go for the best build quality you can afford
The most robust and durable frames for both sofas and sofa beds are made of kiln dried hardwood or a mixture of kiln dried hardwood and furniture grade plywood. Don’t be tempted to buy inferior softwood materials such as pine purely on the basis of price. Softwoods won’t be able to withstand the same level of wear and tear so your sofa bed won’t last as long – in other words, you get what you pay for.
3. Pick a smooth operating mechanism
Every sofa bed has a mechanism that converts the sofa to a bed and back again. Test the mechanism to see if it is easy to operate – it should lift up and out in a smooth motion without sticking or squeaking. Crucially, it should also be light enough so one person can lift it easily while the material must be strong and robust enough to do the job. Look for a sofa bed with an easy-to-use click-clack mechanism and with a secure lock-down bar.
4. Test for excellent levels of comfort
Good support and superior levels of comfort are paramount whenever you choose a new sofa or bed. A solid wooden slatted and webbed sofa base will be far better than trampoline type mechanisms. Make sure you try the sofa bed before you buy in both the sitting and sleeping position and ask yourself honestly: Is there enough support to your neck and back while you sit down? Does your body feel supported while you lie down?
5. Check the mattress for quality
A good mattress is key but this is where many sofa beds fall down. For optimum levels of support and a comfortable night’s sleep, I strongly recommend that you look for a sofa bed with a sprung mattress or a quality memory foam mattress. Unfortunately, many sofa beds come with only a thin foam mattress which won’t be comfortable for your guests to sleep on. When you choose your sofa bed, be extra picky about the mattress and don’t be tempted to compromise here.
6. Don’t forget to measure up
Finally, make sure you measure the size of the sofa bed, both as a sofa and as a pulled out bed. The right sofa bed should fit nicely with the size and proportions of the room that it will be used in. 2 seater sofa beds are generously sized for use as a single bed and will fit 2 people snugly. However, if 2 persons will be using the sofa bed on a regular basis, it’s best to get a 3 seater sofa bed with a wider double mattress that will be much more comfortable.
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