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Folding Beds buying guide

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Folding Beds Guide - An Introduction

Throughout history, many people have experienced space shortages in their homes. At times, it was common for homes not to have separate bedrooms, with people sleeping throughout the house. Rooms had to serve more than one purpose, such as converting the dining area to a sleeping room. Folding beds became popular, as they could be foldied out of the way when not in use, letting the room more easily serve its daytime function.

The ‘Murphy Bed’ is one type of Folding Bed, and it was invented by William L. Murphy in 1900. The bed, which is still sold today, featured a folding bed on a steel platform. The bed simply folded against the wall when not in use. Mr. Murphy came up with the idea while living in a one-room flat, as the bed took too much room when he entertained guests. The beds, which peaked in popularity in the 1930s, remain popular to this day, as people in smaller homes or with limited guest space seek to utilize their space to its best capacity.

Murphy Beds have become almost a generic term for any type of Folding Wall Bed. However, they are made in many different styles, sizes, materials, colours, and manufacturers, not just by the Murphy Bed Company. In fact, folding beds had been around for more than 200 years before Mr. Murphy received a patent for his design.

If you wish to buy a folding bed, Price Inspector will help you find the best model for your home. Our buying guide will help you decide what style would work best for you, and then we bring you the best prices in the UK. We compare prices at all the UK shops to make sure you always get a cheap price on the folding bed you want to buy.

Types of Folding Beds

Folding beds come in as many different varieties as traditional beds, helping serve different needs for different homes. An important consideration is what you want to do with the bed when not in use. Do you want to hide it in a closet? Convert it to a sofa? Whatever your daytime needs, there’s a folding bed to match.
  • Wall Beds: Also known as Murphy beds, wall beds have a traditional mattress and frame, and the entire bed folds straight up against the wall, placing the foot of the bed near the ceiling. Because the mattress does not have to bend, these are typically the most comfortable option. 
  • Roll-away beds: This style of bed folds up at the ends, forming a U-shape when folded. The frame is on wheels, letting you easily roll it in a closet or other storage area when not in use.
  • Fold Out Bed is often a couch or Folding Chair Bed that unfolds into a bed for sleeping. Simply remove the couch cushions and then unfold the mattress. Another term for this style of bed is Folding Sofa Bed.
  • Folding Bed Table or Folding Bed Desk serves a similar function, but the bed converts to either a table or desk when not in its bed form.
  • A similar option folds the mattress into a cabinet during the daytime. This is helpful when you don’t need extra seating in the daytime.
  • Folding Camp Bed is a good option for holidays or guests. The lightweight metal frame supports a stretched canvas or polyester sleeping surface. It’s lightweight enough to take on trips, and it folds away so small that you can easily store it when not in use. 
  • Fold Away Bunk Bed looks like a traditional bunk bed when unfolded, but it lets you fold away one or both beds for added space. Unlike traditional wall beds, these fold along the side of the bed, rather than along the head. This option is great for a Childrens Folding Bed because you can leave the top bunk unfolded for daily use, while the bottom bunk is folded to allow more play room. When your child has a sleepover, simply unfold the bottom bunk bed.

Popular Brands

When you have decided on the general variety of folding bed, you can start researching manufacturers to compare features and prices.

  • The J Bed Folding Guest Bed features a sprung slatted base to give you extra support. The frame has a 5 year guarantee. The bed has 360-degree castors to give extra mobility, and the anti-tip legs have a fully automated folding mechanism. The tufted mattress is 10cm deep, filled with Reflex foam, and fibre topped on each side. The mattress comes in either a 90cm or 120cm size.
  • Jay Be Folding Bed is available in either guest bed or sofa bed options. For a sofa bed, a popular choice is the Romola Sofa Bed. This bed has a 10-year guarantee on the frame, and it’s durable enough to use as a permanent sleeper, rather than reserving for occasional use. It has a ‘one fold’ action for easy opening, and it provides storage for your bedding and pillows. The bed features a high-quality spring mattress. When unfolded, it measures 210cm long by 174cm wide. 
  • Another popular option for a Jaybe Folding Bed is the Jubilee Folding Bed. This bed has a 2-year guarantee on the frame, and it features a sprung slatted base. It has a 10cm hand-tufted foam mattress to give you a luxurious feel. The bed has an optional beech headboard, and it ranges from 80m to 120cm wide. 
  • Mayfair Folding Bed gives you a space-saving metal bed; when unfolded, it has a Beech-look headboard. The bed has sprung wood slats and a foam mattress. It comes in either large or small sizes. When folded, the small is 80cm wide, and the large is 120cm wide. 
  • The Super Light Folding Camp Bed from Gelert gives you a strong and sturdy sleeping surface, while still being light enough for portability. The aluminum frame is easy to assemble, and the polyester fabric is durable. The bed comes with a nylon shoulder bag for storing and carrying your bed. Open, the bed measures 66cm by 195cm by 45m. When packed, it measures 95cm by 18cm by 16cm.

Choosing a Folding Bed Mattress

When choosing a Folding Bed Mattress, you will want to consider both comfort and durability. A mattress that only receives occasional overnight use might not require either as much comfort or as much durability, while a bed that will be used frequently needs higher ratings in both areas.

  • You can also consider an Inflatable Folding Bed that can be quickly inflated for sleeping and deflated for storage. These come with an electric air pump that inflates or deflates the bed. These mattresses usually provide good comfort, but you won’t want to have to inflate and deflate the bed on a daily basis, so they are best reserved for occasional use.
  • Folding Foam Bed is both comfortable and hypoallergenic. Foam will be lighter weight than a cotton filling, which makes it easier to move. It also retains its shape and support better than cotton. It’s less likely to have dust mites or bacteria than cotton as well.
  • Some folding beds let you add additional filling should the bed start to lose its cushion. If the bed will be used frequently, this might be a good consideration, rather than having to replace the entire mattress. 
  • A folding camp bed is best used for occasional use or travel. While they are lightweight and durable, they don’t provide the amount of support that most people seek for comfort. They are often smaller than traditional mattresses as well, which is an important consideration for a larger guest or frequent use.
  • Also look at the support bars. Some folding beds have round metal bars for support. While these are durable, they are not always comfortable. Many people find it uncomfortable to have a metal bar positioned under their backs, especially if it’s a thinner mattress. Wooden slats are less durable but usually more comfortable.
  • If you are choosing a roll-away bed option, consider buying a Folding Bed Cover. This is a lightweight cover that slips over the folded mattress while in storage. This keeps dust from settling on the mattress, keeping it fresh and clean until needed.

Tips to Consider before buying Folding Beds

  • If you are a buying a wall bed, it’s important to know what type of folding mechanism is used. Spring mechanisms have heavy duty steel springs. The springs are counter balanced, which makes it easier to lower and lift your bed. The springs might require readjustment every few years because the springs can stretch.

    Another type of folding mechanism for a wall bed is a piston mechanism. These will use either air pressure or gas, giving you more support when raising or lowering the bed. They also feature a lock system, which makes sure the bed stays securely folded when not in use.

  • For any type of bed, make sure you understand the return policies should you have any problems. Know how long you are allowed to return the bed if there is a problem, including shipping time. Also ask if there are any fees for returning the bed, either a service fee or a shipping fee.
  • Check the warranty. Most folding beds will have a warranty on the mechanism, which is the most important warranty consideration. Understand the length of the warranty and what is covered. Some will send a repair team to your home, while others may just send you any repair pieces, leaving it up to you to fix the bed.
  • Consider what size of bed you want. A Fold Out Single Bed would be large enough if only one person will be sleeping in the bed, while a Fold Out Double Bed would be more appropriate for two people.
  • Also decide on the functionality when not in use. You will need to decide whether you want to store the folded bed in a closet or if you prefer a sofa or cabinet design.

Jargon Explained

Open Spring MattressAn open spring mattress uses interlocking springs for support. It has machine stitched sides, and a border wire will provide a firm edge.
Sprung Slatted BaseA sprung slatted base will give more support to the mattress. The base is made of curved wooden slats, which adjust to give more support in areas where your body exerts the most pressure.
Tufted MattressA tufted mattress uses stitching to make small pillow squares on top of your mattress. These pillows pull the fabric together, which is often held in place with a small button. These small pillows make the surface softer and more comfortable without reducing the firmness or support. 

Buying Guide to Folding Beds
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