How to buy a futon
A futon buying guide
Futons offer an affordable and convenient way to add extra seating and sleeping space to your home. Knowing which type will best meet your space and comfort requirements takes some research. Consider your space, decor and how you plan to use the futon, along with other factors, to determine how to buy a futon that will work for you.
>> How much space do you have for the futon?
There are two main types of futon: tri-fold and bi-fold models.
Tri-fold frames were the first type that was widely available when futons were new on the market. As the name suggests, these futons fold in two separate places to create three sections: the seat, the back and a lower portion. The best tri-fold frames have legs that pull out from the bottom, and they often provide a large sleep space when folded down into the bed position. This type is useful if you have a lot of space, or if you intend to use the futon for nightly sleeping and need more room to spread out.
Bi-fold futons are the most popular and are easiest to find. They have one crease that folds up or down to create two separate sections. Since they only fold once, they are often found in much smaller sizes than their tri-fold counterparts, making them more compatible for small apartments and other areas with limited available space.
>> How will you use the futon?
Futons are known for their ability to do double-duty as both a sofa and bed. The type of futon setup you need will depend heavily on how you'll use it. For instance, a lower priced bi-fold futon with a standard mattress is probably fine if you'll be using it for occasional extra seating or as a spare bed for occasional overnight guests. Futons that will be used more often as everyday seating or night-time sleeping will need to be more durable and rugged to withstand the added wear.
>> What type of futon mattress will you need?
Your intended purpose for the futon may also dictate which futon mattress you buy, since some are more suitable for frequent use than others. If you'll be using your futon for frequent night-time use, it's important to choose a futon mattress that is designed for that function. Futons used as occasional seating or in spare bedrooms might not require the same attention to comfort over design or price.
Most commonly, futon mattresses are made from some combination of cotton and foam. The foam can be layered, using one of several methods. These mattresses come in a wide range of prices and thickness levels. If you'll be using your futon for occasional overnight guests or living room seating, this type of mattress is likely to be sufficient.
Innerspring mattresses are also available for futons. This is the type of mattress that is used most commonly on conventional beds. If you will be using your futon for sleeping on a regular basis, an innerspring mattress is more likely to hold up over time while providing the support you need.
You can also buy futon mattresses constructed from memory foam. Memory foam mattresses are often the most costly, but they offer excellent support by contouring to the shape of your body to reduce pressure points. If you will be using your futon on a nightly basis and you need more support than a typical innerspring mattress can provide, then this might be the best option.
If you intend to buy a futon instead of a conventional bed for everyday use, it's important that you choose a futon mattress that is as supportive and functional as a conventional bed mattress. You may find that a larger up-front investment rewards you with extra comfort for many years, even when the mattress is used nightly. Try out each mattress firsthand if possible to get a feel for how supportive and comfortable it will be. This will ensure that you get the firmness or softness that suits you best.
>> What frame material is most suited to your needs?
When determining which futon to buy, it's important to keep in mind the various frame material options. Futons come in a variety of frame, finish and material options, and each has unique attributes that may be more suitable for some needs over others.
The most common frame materials are metal and wood, with various sub-types within each of these categories. Both types of material are durable and long-lasting under normal circumstances, so your choice can be based primarily on aesthetics, budget and personal taste. Unlike most sofas, the frames of futons are entirely exposed and visible, meaning that the frame is a significant element of the overall look of the item. This will impact the materials you choose because metal and wood have very different appearances, and they typically coordinate with different decor themes.
You might also consider that metal frames are often less expensive than wood frames. Most wooden futon frames are constructed from high quality timber, which can significantly raise their price.
>> What type of frame will coordinate with your home?
Wood frames are often more traditional in style, although there are contemporary wooden frames as well. If you want to buy a futon that is stylish as well as functional, however, you may find that a wood frame is an ideal choice.
Metal futons are lightweight, inexpensive and often a little more sleek and compact than wood options. This makes them well suited to more casual settings, such as college dorm rooms and children's bedrooms for use as futon beds. Metal frames are typically durable and made to last. Most have a dark finish to match a wide range of decor themes.
Now that you have an idea of how to buy a futon, you can make a choice based on your own personal needs and preferences. While there is no right or wrong way of knowing which futon to buy, by taking the right factors into consideration while making a purchase, you can speed up the process and find just the item that will fit nicely into your home.