Sleeper sofa: a Swiss-army knife for living

A sleeper sofa, also sofa sleeper or sofa bed, is ideal for small rooms or overnight guests. It comes with different folding mechanisms, different materials and in different sizes. In this article we will provide guidance and tips that help you find the best sleeper sofa for your needs.

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Sleeper sofas are both practical and comfortable. They safe space in small apartments and can be a great alternative to an ordinary bed. Before you buy a sleeper sofa, there are some things to consider, however. Is it primarily used as a bed or for seating? How much space does your apartment offer? Does it easily and quickly convert to a sleeper? This article will present different types of sleeper sofas and help you make the right choice.

Sleeper sofa as a multifunctional piece of furniture
modern sleeper sofa
Modern sleeper sofa

Sleeper sofas are no longer bulky and unattractive. Gone are the days when you could identify a sleeper sofa right away. Modern sleeper sofas are available in all kind of styles, made out of various materials and are available in different price ranges. Given their large variety, sleeper sofas fit perfectly into every room. You can sit and relax on a sleeper sofa during the day and turn it into a comfortable sleep option in the evening. It is this multifunctionality that makes sleeper sofas so popular.

Folding mechanisms

Before you buy a sleeper sofa you should check if it opens and closes smoothly. You should be able to convert the sofa to a sleeper with a minimum of effort. Thus, it is advisable to examine the folding mechanism carefully and test it on your own. There are different types of folding mechanisms available. Some sleeper sofas convert to a sleeper by folding down their back and/or sidearms. Other sleeper sofas are stretched like an accordion, whereby the lying surface folds down forwards. There are also sleepers that have the mattress inside the furniture carcass and the mattress has to be pulled or folded out to turn the sofa into a sleeper.

You should always test the sleeper sofa by sitting and lying on it to find out which mechanisms is right for you. Keep in mind though that not only folding mechanisms vary between sofa beds, but also the size of the lying surface is not necessarily identical with regular mattress sizes.

A sleeper sofa comes in different sizes
queen sleeper sofa
Queen sleeper sofa

The right size depends on how much space you have available. Make sure to check that the fully extended sleeper sofa fits in the room. You really do not want to move a lot of furniture around every time you convert it. Sleeper sofas are available in three different sizes: you can buy a full sleeper sofa, a queen sleeper sofa or a twin sleeper sofa. If you have enough space a three seater full or queen sleeper sofa is probably a good choice. You can also consider a sectional sleeper sofa if you want even more space to sit and lie on. For smaller rooms a twin sleeper sofa or loveseat sleeper is the right pick. If you use the sleeper sofa as an alternative to a regular bed, however, you should always go for a full or queen sleeper sofa.

Type of mattress

As mentioned earlier, it is always important to test the bed sofa by sitting and lying on it, especially when it comes to the type of mattress. Differences can be enormous.


Futon sleeper sofas bring an Asian charm into your home. These mattresses are thin and firm, mostly made out of cotton fiber. They are very flexible and thus easy to convert. Futon sleepers are, however, not so good as an alternative to a regular bed since their lying comfort is limited. They will do their job as a sleep option for overnight guests, though.

Memory foam

Memory foam mattresses are one of the most popular choices. They adjust to the contours of your body and help you to relax. Normally, you can choose between different kinds of firmness and thickness making it easy to find the perfect mattress for your needs. Besides, foam mattresses have a high resistance to microbes and dust mites, making them a good choice for allergy sufferers.


Latex mattresses are made out of rubber and adjust to the contours of your body while providing back support and pressure relief. The material has the same resistance to microbes and dust mites as memory foam, making it a great choice for allergy sufferers. Besides, latex is breathable, thus it is colder in the summer and warmer in the winter.


Innerspring mattresses are also very popular and have a long lifespan. Inside an innerspring mattress are thousands of steel springs that are responsible for motion isolation and body contouring. Depending on the price (normally the higher the better) innerspring mattresses are sometimes more, sometimes less comfortable.

Pick a cover
microfiber sleeper sofa
Microfiber sleeper sofa

There are all kind of fabrics available in the market, they reach from microfiber and synthetic to chenille and leather fabrics. If you have kids or pets you probably want to pick a fabric that is stain-resistant and resilient. Families tend to choose darker fabrics that are also washable. While you do not have to care that much about dirt when you pick a leather couch, a leather sleeper sofa like all leather furniture requires a lot of care and maintenance. Besides, textile covers are in general cozier and warmer than leather covers.

Alternatives to sleeper sofas

If you rarely convert the sofa to a sleeper or are only looking for a comfortable piece of furniture for a short nap a reclining sofa or a sleeper chair might also be an option. There are also leather recliners available if you prefer leather to textiles.

Find great sofa beds on Amazon!