What Is A Futon? Top 10 Advantages & 4 Alternatives

It sounds surely like a straightforward question. A futon is a furniture piece that can be converted into a bed used at night for sleep by folding it out from a daytime sofa and vice versa. Investing in a futon means you never need to stress regarding where to accommodate your guests the next time they stay over at your place.

‘Futon’ is actually the Japanese word for ‘bed. The common American and Western perception of a regular futon is a sofa that doubles as a bed for visitors. This piece comprises a comfortable mattress and a foldable frame to hold it. Futon mattresses contain several compressed layers of comfortable materials like memory foam, high-density foam or coil-foam combination. These layers are tufted in position for a comfortable sitting and sleep surface. With appropriate care, a futon must last 8-15 years. Compared to futons, there are several other alternative furniture pieces that serve a dual purpose of sitting and sleeping with easy converting mechanism.

What Is A Futon? Top 10 Advantages & 4 Alternatives

What Are The Different Alternatives To Futons?

As far as sitting or sleeping comfortably is concerned, the futons have multiple other alternatives which vary in design and structure. Read on to find out.

What Is A Futon? Top 10 Advantages & 4 Alternatives

Sofa Beds

An alternative to futon, a sofa bed denotes a couch which may be converted into bed. It typically contains a metal frame holding a mattress and it folds away for storage beneath its seat cushions. It resembles a regular couch. Being able to remove the cushions swiftly proves its distinction from a couch. Nestled within its frame lies a fold-out mattress!

Typically, sofa beds are of queen size. While a classic queen measures 60”x80”, the sofa bed queen will typically be shorter by 5”. Obviously, you can utilize it for sleeping every night. When you aren’t utilizing it as a bed, the sofa sits comfortably as customary living room decor. Space-deprived people who frequently host visitors will find this furniture piece practical.

What Is A Futon? Top 10 Advantages & 4 Alternatives


As rather sizable substitutes to typical sofas, the sectional is worth considering if you contain a big family or frequently host visitors. Currently, sectionals are quite complicated, varying from velvet-upholstered streamlined types to ones with linen slip-covers. Sectionals are highly versatile than fitting in a tiny study or in a spacious living room. It offers abundant amount of seating space and based on their dimensions, sectionals offer sitting room for numerous people than a conventional sofa. Precisely, sectionals help maximize seating choices in tinier spaces, particularly if put in a corner.

As it comes to sectionals, you’re spoilt for choice. L-shaped versatile sectional assumes an L-shape, looking like two sofas combined at the end jointly to shape a right angle. Chaise sectional is fundamentally a sofa with extended ottoman connected on one side. Curved sectional conveys sculptural appeal to a room whereas U-shaped sectional space maximizes seating space with its two extended arms. Modular sectionals have numerous stationary pieces that are connected in a definite configuration. Functional sleeper sectional is especially tailored for sleeping.

What Is A Futon Top 10 Advantages & 4 Alternatives

Rolling/Rollaway Beds

Rollaway/rolling bed contains folding foam mattresses nestled in a sturdy metal frame which folds in half for suitable storage. This hinged metal frame contains casters to roll in/out of storage area when required. The rolling bed is maneuvered via hallways or elevators, readied for visitors in a jiffy, moved and stowed away after every use.

Currently, there are different kinds of rollaway beds. Standard rollaway bed utilizes angular/tubular steel frame with planks. These encompass wire-spring net or else polypropylene for thump to prop up the folded mattress. Mattresses utilized for standard rollaway beds have high-density foam or innerspring. Cabinet rollaway bed works like a trunk/armoire but comprises the frame & mattress inside. Ottoman rollaway bed has metal frame that fold away in thirds to generate an ottoman.

What Is A Futon? Top 10 Advantages & 4 Alternatives


Also called inflatable beds, air beds are fundamentally air-filled mattresses. Cheaper than customary mattresses, they serve as a great spare bed for infrequent overnight visitors. They are ideal for some nights of camping too. Air beds occupy negligible space once deflated, but must be bought with their anticipated purpose in mind. You can choose one that’s extra-lightweight and is easy to carry around everywhere. Or you can prefer a model that inflates quickly and stores easily for frequent use at home.

Before buying, consider the air bed dimensions, how many people will use it and the thickness. The mattress thickness will determine the comfort and the amount of obtained insulation from cold, jagged surfaces. An air bed should be made of sturdy materials and its top surface should contain a spongy finish like faux-suede, velour or else laminated cotton. This flocked surface is utilized to cover horizontal/vertical beams or else a coil-beam structure.

Finally, you must select the inflation system of air-beds. If you pick a model which doesn’t have an essential air pump, the mattress should be mouth-inflated or using a hand/foot pump. You can even utilize a different electric pump.

What Is A Futon? Top 10 Advantages & 4 Alternatives

What Are The Top 10 Advantages Of Futons?

Being a functional and versatile piece of furniture, a futon carries numerous advantages for all homeowners and particularly those who want to find a smart solution for saving space. Read on to have a look at the benefits and for whom and they are ideal for.

Space-Saver Design

To begin with, a futon can serve as a couch for sitting and a bed for sleep, so you get seating and sleeping furniture in a single piece without investing for two items separately. It needs lesser effort and room to convert from one form to another than, say, a sofa bed, and occupies far lesser space when folded and keeping both the items in a room would have been a sheer misuse of much-needed space. This alone makes a futon a smart option for people with inadequate square footage.


A second motive to select a futon has to do with price too: they are normally inexpensive, with respect to traditional sofas, larger sectionals, and full-/queen-sized beds. While the price of any futon might rise noticeably with the most comfortable models, still a decent-quality futon will cost you almost half of an equivalent bed or sofa.

Easy Assembly

Another reason futons can be an ideal alternative is they are moderately straightforward and direct in their structure, letting you to assemble, dismantle, and convert them with effortlessness, sometimes even without any assistance. They typically ship and arrive in a box at your doorstep, with negligible work essential to comprise a functional, comfortable furniture piece in your home.


No matter what décor you have, whether retro or modern or even the ultra-chic urban setting, you can always find a futon that matches and harmonizes seamlessly with your décor. The colors, styles, designs, and frame materials can be matched up perfectly with your existing décor.

Versatility In Appearance

An additional reason to buy it lies with the futon versatility. You can alter its look to fit any room you’d like, with replaceable comfy mattresses – and far effortlessly – futon slipcovers. Since you may purchase a mattress and slipcover separately, the combinations may be customized to your exact preferences. This can’t be possible when you buy a traditional sofa. The futon covers are limitless with color and fabric choices and now you can get quite some viable mattress options too with respect to filling materials.

Comfort & Health Benefits

A majority of futon mattresses are built with memory foam that’s designed to cradle the body throughout sleep to enhance blood circulation and decrease stress on different body joints with its slow-release bounce-back trait. The memory foam can have a healing effect if you’re under healing care for shoulder, back, spine, neck, muscle, or joint problems. Motion transfer and noise is a very important factor. If you’re asleep next to your partner who continuously tosses/turns, the memory foam prevents this from happening. Lastly, high-density foam with encased coil-type mattress construction provides a stable balance of support and comfort.

Restful Sleep

While each and every futon that is used for sitting may not be comfortable for sleeping, there is still a relatively huge number of models that are tailored to offer restful night’s sleep contributing to your overall physical condition and well-being. Getting adequate sleep eliminates hypertension, obesity, anxiety, diabetes, cardiovascular illness, and decreased life expectancy. Manufacturers focus on anti-microbial nature of mattress materials to reduce dust-mites and bugs which can make allergies flare-up. The idea is to offer a healthier sleep setting.

Eco-Friendly Construction

Most futons utilize frames containing wood which has been sourced sustainably from plantations worldwide without harming the environment. Moreover, ordinary chemicals found in mattress materials of the past like CFCs, formaldehyde, phthalates, or PBDEs are not present in CertiPUR-US Certified memory foam or high-density foams utilized in current-day futons. Due to eco-friendly construction, off-gassing is negligible without harming the indoor air quality or the environs.


Futons are durable. Solid hardwood futon frames offer a unique cradle converter system easing it to open/close in minutes. Wood frames can bear a lot of weight and so does metal. Both distribute weight consistently, providing well-built as well as stable seating for years. Be it wood slats or a solitary piece of arched chrome or stainless steel, futons can support and withstand rigorous use. Disc-shaped metal feet or wood feet with padding can provide added strength, resilience, and stability. To enhance durability, use futon slipcovers that are resistant to wear and are machine-washable, fade-proof, and removable.

Convenience & Comfort

Who can deny the convenience and comfort of futons? It serves a dual purpose letting you sit and lounge all day which becomes even more comfy if the futon has removable armrests, and at night, you simply convert it into a bed for comfortable undisturbed sleep. It works for short-term energy-boosting naps too!

What Is A Futon? Top 10 Advantages & 4 Alternatives

Comparison Table Futon & The Alternatives

Product Category Advantages Disadvantages
  • Smart dual-purpose space-saver furniture.
  • Easy assembly and quick everyday maneuver.
  • Versatile design choices to fit all décor.
  • Smaller sized futons might not contain adequate sleeping space.
  • Some might be a tad low for the taller users.
Sofa Beds
  • Customary traditional look.
  • Long-lasting if correctly maintained.
  • Slightly heavier.
  • Can occupy greater space when folded out.
  • Rounder style allows additional room for legs.
  • Modular style can include about five pieces that you can reorganize as preferred.
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • For L-/U-shape sectionals, the corner seat is boxed in on both sides, leaving tiny room for lounging legs if the rest of the sectional is occupied.
  • It won’t sit cornered against the walls; you’ll need to position it farther out inside a room.
Rollaway / Rolling Beds
  • Very lightweight.
  • Equipped with casters, so movement around the house regularly doesn’t entail effort.
  • Practical for limited living space. Accommodates visitors for sleep and won’t stay anywhere in sight throughout the day.
  • Mattress might move if not tied down properly.
  • Accidental mattress movement can cause mishaps.
  • Sharp pointy edges must be handled carefully while folding.
  • Extremely lightweight and portable.
  • Perfect for camping and outdoor adventures.
  • Flexible sporadic use around the house for lounging/sleeping.
  • Thinner versions will offer lesser comfort.
  • Bottom must be fortified and hard-wearing if you plan to use it outdoors.
  • Aren’t suitable for daily seating use.


Unquestionably, a futon and its alternatives are versatile and functional for a small space, whether you have a dorm, studio apartment, or a urban tiny one-bedroom apartment. All of these furniture pieces are modifiable to a great extent structurally, ideal for sitting for conversations and for watching TV or a movie, these are great for reclining and lounging with their flexible form, and at night it becomes a restful, comfortable surface to sleep for guests or the homeowners. Keep in mind that whatever you pick converts easily to give the place to sit, while still offering a comfortable base for sleeping when visitors arrive. You just need to choose a futon or any of its alternatives according to the dual purpose they are meant to serve or the space you currently wish to allocate for it while helping you meet the requirements for both a seating area and a comfortable bed!

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