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Sofa Beds buying guide

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 Sofa Beds Guide - An Introduction

A sofa that doubles as a bed is not a new idea, it’s been around since the mobile sixties generation had to find ways to save room in their tiny bed sitters. What is new is the variety and quality of sofas on the market today, such as the extensive range of Italian Sofa Bed styles. It used to be easy to spot a Sofa Bed by its clunky design and slightly sagging seat, but today’s models can boast about their sturdy Sofa Bed Frame as well as their superior kinds of Sofa Bed Mattress and style, with models like the Black Leather Sofa Bed and a Chaise Longue Sofa Bed adding to the overall décor of a room.

No home ever has enough beds or places to stretch out full length to rest, as we find out when relatives, unexpected guests, or the festive and holiday seasons fill our houses to bursting point. Our homes seem to have become smaller, too, as the population moves to urban areas in search of jobs, there’s a trend for new smaller living spaces which need to make use of every inch.

A bed that doubles as seating saves space by making the largest item of furniture do double duty. This is particularly important for small flats, but also offers home offices the chance to become guest rooms and the Sofas Bed give children a larger space to live in, when their bedrooms become studies.

If you are considering locations for sofa beds, our home decoration experts came up with a few suggestions. Large upstairs landings that accommodate a seating area may also be a great place to stash an Ottoman Sofa Bed, or even a Large Sofa Bed, if space permits. Dens are particularly good places to find room for an Double Sofa Bed or two and even outside rooms can become bedrooms for a night, weather permitting, with the addition of a Small Sofa Bed or Inflatable Sofa Bed.

Being faced with a vast choice of sofa beds can make it hard to choose between a Chair Sofa Bed for the office or a classic Leather Sofa Bed for the lounge, so our guide is ready to help you pick the best option by explaining the kinds of sofa beds available, offering some advice to help you choose and defining terms in the Jargon Buster section.

Types of Sofa Beds

Which type of sofa bed you choose will depend on its location, how often it will be used and its size. There are four main types of sofa bed and many variations.

  • Fold out sofa beds
  •  Flip-over sofa beds
  • Click-clack or A-frame sofa beds
  •  Drop End sofa beds

Fold out styles are the most advanced of sofa beds, offering the biggest variety of styles and largest sizes, ranging from a luxury leather covered Contemporary Sofa Bed  through the elegant Chaise Sofa Bed to chintzy floral styles. Mattresses for these top of the range sofas are typically high quality interior sprung or durable foam styles. There is one to match every lounge or family room or grace a small flat to gain space. To open a fold-out sofa bed, look for a lever that releases the mechanism usually located under the center of the seat.

The bed is supported on legs that fold down from the bed base. Under the mattress there will be a support system of wire mesh, thin wooden slats or webbing. Choose a mesh system if the sofa bed will have an occasional occupant or the stronger wood and webbing systems for use every night.

Flip over models vary from the handy Flip Sofa Bed or chair to ottomans and pouffes that convert quickly into single or double beds and are usually made of covered foam and rest on the floor. They have no separate mattress, since the seat area of the chair or sofa becomes the bed base. These economical and comfy styles are great for children’s rooms, friends staying the night and a place to take a quick nap as an alternative to your main bedroom. They are not suitable for elderly persons who have difficulty getting up and down, since they rest on the floor. One of the smaller models will fit in almost every room, since the required floor space is minimal.

A Click Clack Sofa Bed or A-frame sofa bed uses the back and seat to make a comfortable bed for one or more persons, some with the added advantage of storage space underneath for the bedding. As with all larger sofa beds, these models need space to expand for sleeping, usually up to 2 meters, so make sure to surround them with lighter furniture such as coffee tables that are easily moveable. Some models come with quilted covers which may be used as a duvet and if you also use the pillows provided, this offer a quick way to make up a spare bed.

Drop End sofa beds suit small rooms and flats, since they make a comfortable single or smaller sized double bed when the sides are lowered. Some models feature variable heights for the sofa arms, making it possible to recline to watch TV or read a book.

Brands of Sofa Beds

The Slumberland Sofa Bed comes from the manufacturers of La-Z-Boy chairs and Sealy mattresses, a household name associated with good quality beds. When they turn their hands to making a sofa bed, the same attention to detail and great mattress choices are there, making the choice easier for customers who know the company’s products.

No matter what size sofa bed you need, Slumberland has a model to suit you. They range from the most compact single Slumberland Kip Bed Sofa Bed which looks like a footstool or small coffee table when folded up to the full double sized bed Slumberland Volterra Corner Suite Sofa Bed that emerges from a stylish and space saving corner suite counch, with added storage space for the bedding, underneath.

Their Como Sofa Bed line features up to the minute design with an armless modern style that fits well into smaller spaces. (For more details, see our review of them in the Best Buys Section) The A frame styles quickly convert into beds with the preferred slatted wooden base and comfortably interior sprung mattress.

Darlings of Chelsea have over 40 years of experience in offering top quality furniture in all imaginable styles from period looks recommended by BBC Homes and Antiques to all the classic styles frequently reviewed in magazines such as Homes and Gardens and fun bean bag models than convert to two single beds in less than a minute. We particularly liked their strongly coloured Leather Sofa Bed and the fact that they use UK craftsmanship in the majority of their products.

The Flame Sofa Bed company has been recently been making a name for themselves with their range of sofa beds from the Scoop Sofa Bed in a choice of tough micro fiber covers or classic leather looks. The Diana Sofa Bed and Marcel Sofa Bed ranges also offers armless models that are so popular because of the ease with which they fit into corner and tiny spaces. For a spiffy corner suite, the Max Sofa Bed models offer elegance at a surprisingly low price, in a different designs to suit all tastes.

 Best Sofa Bed buys

We start off with the Slumberland The Como One Seater Sofa Bed because it offers a quality interior sprung mattress for every night use in a stylish armless design that is a useful and attractive addition to any home. The 30 different colours ensure there will be a match for all your existing décor choices. The single or double bed is quickly available for use; we timed ourselves at less than a minute. This sofa bed is a quality item of furniture from a trusted name to last for years and represents good value at well under five hundred pounds.

Our second choice of sofa bed suits the tiniest spaces imaginable, as well as anywhere you need a very unobtrusive extra bed for daytime naps. The Slumberland Kip Bed Sofa Bed which masquerades as a footstool or even an occasional table is a very comfortable single bed in disguise. Measuring only 45cm by 80cm by 80cm, it becomes a 80cm by 195cm bed in seconds. Colour options are sufficient to match any room and the price at under £250 will match even the tightest budget.

For a quality sofa that also doubles as a bed, the classy Gainsborough The Edinburgh Sofa Bed features a 10 year guarantee on the frame, which is hand made and a 5 year guarantee on the interior of the seats. This is the rare sofa that functions perfectly well as a bed and a sofa. The superior sprung mattress can be upgraded to Visco Memory foam, which remembers the shape of your body. The three available sizes, from small, medium and large ensure one will fit your room dimensions. Priced at the same level as a quality counch without an added bed, this offers the best value in its class.

A fun but very ingenious offering from Darlings of Chelsea is their bean bed. This casual seating item is unlike any other bean bag in filling and function. The double bag hides two single mattresses filled with silent and comfortable shredded polyurethane, and is available in many colours in styles such as denim, corduroy, faux suede and fur covers. A perfect solution to crowded spaces where informal seating needed, the bean bag bed gets our vote as the most innovative way to hide one or two extra beds.

Tips to consider before buying your Sofa Bed

  • If you are ready to replace your lounge seating, consider the benefits offered by including a sofa bed in the re-decorations. Models like the L Shape Sofa Bed and Chesterfield Sofa Bed are perfect for these areas and will always be put to use.
  • Most sofa beds can be re-covered to match your existing decorating scheme.
  • To cut down your short list ask yourself what the primary function of your new sofa bed will be, bed or couch?
  • Measure the available space at least twice, before buying. Most sofa beds are less than 2 meters in length, but remember to add walk space to this figure, in smaller spaces.
  • Any furniture that needs moving to extend the sofa bed should be lightweight and not block the exit to a room.
  • A Loveseat Sofa Bed a Corner Sofa Bed  and the Futon Sofa Bed are good alternatives to larger models, such as a 4 seater Sofa Bed, in smaller rooms.
  • A bright sun lit room will fade the upholstery, so choose a lighter shade of covers for this location.
  • Match any sofa bed’s size to its occupant, to ensure a comfy fit.
  •  Take into account the extra weight and bulk of a sofa bed on the journey to its final resting place, such as your spare room, all the way up those stairs.
  • Match the covers with your lifestyle by thinking about who will be using the sofa bed.
  • Plan where the extra pillows, blankets and sheets are to be stored. If you are short of space, consider the type of sofa bed that allows for folding up with them all inside it.
  • Check you have an extra set of bedding in a suitable size available to make up the new Sofa Bed. This includes pillows, sheets and blankets. Some models use a non-standard size Sofa Bed Matress.

Jargon Explained

Leather-matchThis is one of the leather and vinyl fabrics for covering a sofa bed which offer the luxurious look of leather while being very tough and wear resistant.
Fold-out sofa bedThe largest and most varied type.
Flip-over sofa bedMedium and small styles with foam mattresses.
A-frame or click-clack sofa bedA-frame or click-clack sofa bed: Larger models, an alternative to fold-out sofa beds.
Drop-end sofaMedium and small models
Wire mesh A support system under for larger sofa beds.
Wooden slatsA tough support system for larger sofa beds.
WebbingMay be combined with wooden slats to support the mattresses in large sofa beds.
Corner sofas Space saving seating for right or left hand corners of a room.
Modular sofasA number of units that can be moved around to form a seating or sleeping area.
Semi-aniline leather Leather that features slight differences in shade.
Corrected top grain leatherThick and strong leather for very hard wearing covers.
Bi-cast leather A heavily coated and highly glossy covering.
Suede effect furnitureSynthetic or treated leather covers that look like suede, but are more durable.
Foam cushions Firm support and easy maintenance cushions and mattresses.
Fiber cushionsSofter support from natural a filling
Feather cushionsThe softest and most comfortable cushions.
Open CoilA spring system that gives even support all over the body.
(Memory Foam Sofa Bed): A sofa bed featuring a mattress that moulds to the shape of your body.
Sprung EdgeA mattress with extra support and comfort.
Pocket SpringMattresses with springs which act independently of each other to give maximum comfort. 

Buying Guide to Sofa Beds
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