Sofa Bed Buying Guide

Sofa Bed Buying Guide

Sofa beds are a great addition to your home, ideal for sociable or family-oriented people, and are particularly suited to compact living. A sofa bed converts into an inviting sleeping space to host family or friends when you don’t have a designated guest room, or to use for your teenagers sleepovers. This allows you to have a comfortable room outfitted with a lovely sofa during the day, and a convenient spare bed at night. If you do have a dedicated guest room, you can use a sofa bed in there to allow you to use that room for other things when no guests are visiting.

Are Sofa Beds Uncomfortable?

You may have bad memories about sleeping on a sofa bed in the past where you laid on a lumpy mattress staring at the ceiling, unable to get to sleep, then finally woke up with a terrible pain in your back. Well, that was before. With advances in furniture and mattress construction, those terrible sofa beds are a thing of the past.

No matter your reason for looking into sofa beds, we can help you decide on the size, materials, and various opening mechanisms that are built into these versatile pieces of furniture. Here are some choices that you’ll need to make to find the best sofa bed for your particular situation. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of deciding on a sofa bed, think about how you’re going to use it. Consider the following:

  • How often will it be used? If you expect that you’ll be using it frequently, you need to make sure the sofa bed you select is sturdy enough to take frequent opening and closing.
  • How many people will be using it at once? Do you expect to be using it for only one person or more?
  • How big is the room where you’ll put your sofa bed? You’ll need to measure your room carefully to make sure that the sofa bed will fit without overpowering the room. Make sure to measure the sofa bed in its open position. You’ll need room to be able to walk around it when its opened into a bed. In addition, you’ll want to have enough room when it’s opened to access any drawers or cabinets in the vicinity of the sofa bed.
  • How big does the sofa bed need to be? A large sofa doesn’t always make into a large bed, so you’ll need to look at it set up as a sofa as well as opened up into a bed.

What Size Sofa Bed Do I Need?

Now, let’s talk about the various sizes that are available in sofa beds.

  • Chair bed- This is a small sofa bed and is ideal for helping out if you’re short on space. They provide a cosy and comfortable easy chair with a hidden sleeping area that appears as if from nowhere to make a comfortable bed. These are often found in hospital rooms, when a friend or loved one needs to stay over in the room overnight.
  • Footstool or ottoman beds – Even smaller than the chair bed, this one appears to be a simple footstool, but cleverly hides a sofa bed mechanism and cushions in the base of the ottoman.
  • Two seater – These are great in small or studio apartments. The sofa itself is a two seater sofa and converts into a bed similar in size to a standard double bed.
  • Three seater – If you have a slightly larger room or if you want your sofa bed to be your main daytime sofa, this is the one for you. A little wider than the two seater, this one has ample room for two sleepers.
  • King size or super kings – Although not as popular, these beds are ideal if you have guests staying for more than a night or two, as the bed can provide the additional space to spread out on warm evenings. These are also good if you want to fill up an oversized room.
  • Corner Sofa Beds – Some models are designed to fit into a corner of your room and can really help in a tight space.
  • Storage sofa beds – Some designs include storage areas as a bonus. This is a handy way to store the bed linens you’ll need when the bed is deployed.

Opening/Closing Mechanisms

Different sofa beds have different mechanisms that allow you to transform the sofa into a bed. Each mechanism has its own unique set of features and benefits. Here are the three most common types:

  • A frame – This is one of the simplest sofa bed mechanisms. To open this one up, you just pull out at the front of the sofa, with the sofa back folding down to create the bed and mattress surface.
  • Clic-Clac – These sofa beds are very popular and surprisingly comfortable as a sofa and as a bed. Instead of having the bed portion being folded up inside the mechanism, you simply drop the back all the way down to make a bed, or half way to create a recliner position. It even makes a clic-clac noise as you deploy it, hence the name. If your clic-clac sofa bed is positioned against a wall, you’ll need to slide it out just a tad to make space when converting it into a bed. A bonus of clic-clac sofa beds is that they often come with additional storage under the seat.
  • Neither the A frame or clic-clac sofa beds employ a separate mattress, but they use the padding built into the seating surface and backrest as the mattress.
  • Fold and Roll Out – With this mechanism, you first remove the sofa cushions, then lift and fold out a mattress concealed under the seating surface. Some models even incorporate the sofa cushions into their design, so you don’t have to remove or store the sofa cushions when using the bed. The mattresses in these types of sofa beds are generally thicker and more comfortable than the clic-clac or A frame styles.

Best Types of Sofa Bed Mattresses

Because the mattresses in a fold and roll out type sofa bed have to be folded and compressed into the under sofa storage area when not in use, it’s important to select the right type of mattress, one that will endure the folding and unfolding over and over and still provide a good night’s sleep.

The primary types of mattresses used in sofa beds are memory foam and innerspring or pocket springs. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, so take a look and see which type you think would be best for your sofa bed.

Memory Foam

The main reason for the popularity of memory foam mattresses is that they conform to the contours of your body, reducing pressure on your spine, which means your guests will get the best rest possible. Even so, memory foam is not for everyone. Here are some pros and cons of memory foam mattresses:

  • They respond to heat and pressure to reduce pressure point problems. They help to align the spine, neck, and hips, evenly distributing body weight and effectively correcting a poor sleeping posture.
  • Memory foam mattresses are hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant, which makes them great for people with allergies or respiratory problems.
  • Memory foam is quiet with no squeaks or creaks, and there’s almost no motion transfer from one sleeper to another
  • Memory foam mattresses don’t require turning or flipping, and they don’t sag. A high quality memory foam mattress will usually come with a warranty period of 10 years or more.
  • Memory foam mattresses can be hotter than normal because they conform to your body and the dense foam absorbs your body’s heat.
  • Memory foam is quite heavy, so moving the sofa bed might be problematic.
  • In hot climates, memory foam can be softer and in colder climates, it can be harder than expected.
  • Memory foam mattresses, especially when new, can give off an odour if they haven’t been aired properly.
  • The price of a good memory foam mattress may be significantly higher than a similar pocket spring mattress.

Pocket Spring

Pocket spring mattresses have been around for a long time, and they offer certain advantages over memory foam mattresses. However, they also have some disadvantages, so let’s take a look at both the pros and cons.

  • Pocket spring mattresses are generally more affordable than memory foam mattresses of similar quality
  • Every comfort type can be found in pocket spring mattresses.
  • Pocket spring mattresses are more responsive and have a bouncier feel than memory foam, so they’re well suited to those who prefer a more traditional feel.
  • Innerspring mattresses have been the industry standard for over 100 years, and pocket springs are the most modern version of spring supported mattresses. That doesn’t specifically make them better, but the technology has been tried and tested for decades.
  • Pocket spring mattresses can have a longer lifespan when compared to other types of mattresses.
  • They’re good for hot sleepers, as the coil structure offers ample airflow.
  • Cleaning a pocket spring mattress can be difficult as you can’t remove the cover
  • Pocket spring mattresses offer little protection from motion transfer, so if the sofa bed is being shared, this may be a problem.
  • A pocket spring mattress doesn’t conform to your body as well as memory foam

Browse Our Range of Sofa Beds at Carters Furniture 

At Carters Furniture, we have two large showrooms, we carry a large selection of quality sofa beds from some of the best manufacturers in the world, and we have a highly trained staff than can advise you on the best options for your particular situation. Here are just three of the world class sofa bed manufacturers that we represent:

  • Alstons – This is one of the largest family owned manufacturers in the UK. They pride themselves in producing excellent Britain made furniture. They have a large selection of sofas and sofa beds, made with great care and offering luxury at affordable prices. 
  • Buoyant - Buoyant Upholstery builds over a century’s worth of knowledge, experience, and quality into every piece of furniture they make. They have three guiding principles in their business: make the best products, offer outstanding service, and maintain the keenest prices. 
  • Lebus – Lebus Upholstery was established in 1840 and is one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the UK. They have a dedicated workforce coupled with a strong forward thinking management team, and the resulting products are without comparison. All of their sofa frames are made from selected seasoned hardwoods and composite materials, with all joints glued, screwed, and pinned for triple strength and long lasting rigidity.

When you’re ready to start shopping for your new sofa bed, come see us at Carters Furniture.

At Carters Furniture, we pride ourselves on the vast selection of furniture that we offer, along with our outstanding customer service. Our highly trained staff can provide you with the right advice and information so that you can make the most of your furniture purchase. Because of the special relationships we have with our suppliers, we are able to source furniture from all over the globe, as well as products that are manufactured locally, and we can offer the lowest prices on all of the products we sell. In fact, we have a low price guarantee that states that we will match or beat any competitors price on identical products. We have 2 large showrooms full of the most stylish, practical, and high quality furniture and bedding, and our stores are open seven days a week to serve you.

If you’d like more information about the products and services we offer, visit our website or call us at 01562 540862  (Carters Furniture Store) or 01562 66396  (Carters Bed City). Even better, stop by either of our locations to see for yourself. We look forward to serving you!