Sofa Bed Buyers Guide

You’ve made the decision and it’s been a long time coming: you will not put any more overnight guests through another sleepless night on your old and uncomfortable couch. It’s time to make a stylish, yet wise, furniture upgrade.

There are a variety of factors to consider before making a final decision on your new sofa bed. Cost, design, durability and functionality all play a factor in making the perfect decision, but where to start? We have compiled some information to help guide you towards your new purchase.

Different Types

Traditional Pull-outs

Traditional pull-outs are traditional couches that are convertible into full or queen-sized beds. They are usually pretty comfortable as regular sofas and have the potential to be comfortable beds, with the right mattress. These sofa beds allow you to remove the cushions and pull out the bed, by means of some sort of handle, to create a full (or queen) sized bed.

Unfortunately, an all too common problem is that the mattresses included with pull-outs are often too thin. Potential sleepers end up with a metal bar in their back instead of a dream-filled night. When deciding on a sofa bed, make sure to check out the included mattress and take note of whether you will need to upgrade it.


Futons are a more affordable type of fold-down bed and they are made of either a wood or metal frame. The mattress sits on top of the frame and can be folded up into a sitting position or down for sleeping by way of a folding mechanism, generally called a “Click-clack” mechanism. Futons most often follow a clean and simplistic design element.

They are easy to fold down and are easily transportable, making them a favourite for college students. Futons are also great for limited spaces and are an affordable option. They can tend to be uncomfortable, though, with their mattresses often made of just cotton batting and will wear down over time.


These beds are great if you plan to use your sofa for sleeping on a regular basis. They come in twin or full size and are fairly affordable. They are generally enclosed like a sofa, but leave you more decorating options.

Mattress Materials

Cotton or Polyester Fill

Cotton and Polyester blends are usually used for futon mattresses and can be uncomfortable if they are too thin. It is best to get a mattress made of these materials in at least eight inches thick.


Foam mattresses have become very popular lately and they are now used for futons, sofas and even regular beds these days. The key to foam mattresses is their density and thickness; especially if you are considering a pull-out sofa bed, make sure you get a very thick mattress as sofa beds usually only come with a 3-5-inch mattress.

Memory foam, made from viscoelastic, tend to offer great support and mould to each individual body for great comfort. They can easily be folded and moved about and come in materials that are hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.


These traditional spring mattresses have greatly improved in the recent years - they are now made much more durable and with more comfort in mind. These are mattresses with inner coils, covered with a quilted fabric. The more springs, the more comfortable innersprings are.

Look for at least 600 springs that are “stress-relieved-treated” for maximum comfort.

There are innerspring mattresses that each have a spring in its own fabric pockets, allowing for individualised conformation to each person's body weight. They are available in a variety of tensions and are highly durable.

Pocket Memory

Pocket Memory mattresses are a hybrid of foam and innerspring mattresses. These mattresses combine pocket innerspring technology topped with a layer of memory foam, so they are highly comfortable and durable and give maximum comfort.

Air-over Coil

This is a new type of mattress that has gained in popularity; they are comprised of a traditional innerspring design, but with an air mattress added to the top of the mattress. The air mattress is aired up when the mattress is folded out, adding another 3-5 inches of comfort. Additionally, the top of the mattress can be deflated before folding the couch back in.

Factors to Consider


You will need to access the area that you have to accommodate your new sofa bed. Will the piece you favour fit into the area? Will it look good and fit the area well? Make sure to measure the area you will be using and comparing it to the piece you are looking at.

Also, consider the weight of the piece you are considering. Will you be able to move the piece around, or even place it into the room you have for it? If the piece is too heavy and you are looking to place it on the second floor, will you be able to move it there?


Picking the best type of sofa bed to fit your needs is important. If the sofa bed will be used often, you might want to get a more comfortable piece.


You also have to consider your budget - if you aren’t using the sofa bed regularly, maybe you don’t have to spend high dollars on a piece that won’t be used that often.

Care and Cleaning


Keeping your sofa bed clean is important because there can be mechanisms used in the sofa bed that can become dirty and non-operational if you allow dirt and grime to build up in the bed. Use a vacuum to clean any particles and dirt from the outside of the bed and then remove the cushions to vacuum the inside, as well.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding cleaning the upholstery of your sofa bed. Using an upholstery cleaner is a great way to clean the upholstery of the sofa. For the frame and non-upholstered areas, use a damp cloth to clean and dust needed areas.

Mattress Cleaning

To clean the mattress, start by vacuuming the surface then use a damp cloth to spot-clean any areas needed.

A great way to keep a mattress fresh is to sprinkle your mattress with baking soda before placing clean sheets on it; add some crushed lavender or vanilla for extra freshness. Allow it to sit for several hours before vacuuming off, or just use an over-the-counter spray freshener, as well.

Mattress Rotation

It is important to rotate your mattress every 6 to 8 weeks in every direction and way as this will keep your mattress even. Use the handles installed on your mattress to do so.


It can be confusing picking how firm your mattress should be - the firmer the mattress, the more spring back you will feel from it, while the softer the mattress, the more flex you will feel.

While some prefer a firmer mattress, others want a softer sleep experience. But, support is a feature that every sleeper needs to get through the night without tossing and turning. Proper mattress support will give you the thickness and durability needed for your body weight. This should be the main concern when choosing a sofa bed mattress - foam mattresses fit this need very well.

Since sofa bed mattresses tend to be thinner than conventional mattresses, make sure you look for a high-density foam mattress to avoid a bar in the back feeling. There are a variety of firmness options for foam mattresses designed to meet your custom needs.


Whether you have a small area or large, or need an elegant piece of decor as opposed to a piece of dorm furniture, there’s a sofa bed out there for you. Do your research and take into consideration all the factors before going into your new purchase.