Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Uncomfortable nights on a creaking sofa are a thing of the past: thanks to the sofa bed. Your overnight guests will appear fresh and rested at the breakfast table the next morning. But such a sofa is also an excellent space-saving alternative to your own bed.

Because there are so many different types of sofa beds, we have summarised the most important for you in our sofa bed test 2021. For example, we have compared thirteen different sofa beds so that you can get a good overview of the best sofas on the market.

We also answer many questions about this versatile piece of furniture. For example, what is the optimal size for a sofa bed and where can you buy such a sofa in stores.




Summary

  • A sofa bed is the perfect piece of furniture to combine a cosy sofa and a practical overnight accommodation.
  • A basic distinction is made between the side or cross-sleeper sofa and the length or floor sleeper sofa. You can also sleep on a Big or XXL sofa.
  • Side or cross-sleeper sofas as well as lengthwise sleeper sofas are quickly converted and usually do not take up much space. Only for the floor sleeper should you plan enough space to fold out. But these sofas are usually cheaper.

The Best Sofa Bed: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a sofa bed

Who is a sofa bed suitable for?

There is a sofa bed for everyone who wants to combine a sofa and a bed. Be it for lack of space, lack of money or simply for practical reasons. No matter whether living in a confined space or for the extended family.

Allergy sufferers in particular should pay attention to choosing the right material. For example, if you have a house dust allergy, it is advisable to buy special duvet covers. These usually also fit sofa beds. (Image source: Joanna Nix / unsplash-com)

Large sofas that can accommodate everyone during the day can quickly be converted into a place to sleep if necessary. The same applies to small sofas, which can be transformed into a comfortable bed with slatted frame and mattress in no time at all.

The sofa bed can be used in many ways. For example, it can serve as a place to sleep for occasional guests in the living room, guest room or teenager's room. But a sofa bed is also convincing as a fully-fledged bed set and as a space miracle in a small student or single flat.

How often do I use the sofa as a bed?

Before buying, you should ask yourself whether you only want to use the sofa bed for guests from time to time or whether it should replace a conventional bed. This is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself before buying.

Especially if you use the sofa bed as a bed every night, you should make sure that it has a good quality slatted frame and mattress. A bed base can also be very practical, because you can store your bedding neatly during the day.

If you use the sofa bed mostly as a sofa, you should make sure that it is particularly comfortable in this form. In this case, you don't necessarily have to think about a particularly high level of comfort with the sleeping function. However, it should still be easy to convert the sofa bed occasionally if someone is staying overnight.

If you or your guests often sleep on the upholstery of the sofa and not on the additional mattress, wear and tear may occur.

What do I have to bear in mind about the material?

When it comes to the material, a distinction is usually made between dirt-repellent leather and comfortable fabric or synthetic covers. A removable cover that can be washed in the washing machine is ideal.

A leather cover does not get dirty as quickly, but it also needs to be cared for and is rather cool when lying down. In addition, when sitting in summer, the skin can stick to the leather, which many people find unpleasant.

A sofa with fabric or synthetic upholstery usually looks inviting. With children or pets, however, it quickly becomes soiled by hair or stains.

What size should a sofa bed be?

Whether 1-seater, 2-seater, corner sofa or entire living room landscape - everything is possible. Before buying, think carefully about how many people your sofa bed will be for and how often you will sleep on it.

Measure exactly how big your new sofa bed can be. If you have enough space, a large sofa bed or a big sofa can be easily integrated into a room. If you only have a one-room flat, you should make sure that the sofa has enough room even when it is folded out or pulled out.

You should bear in mind that the new sofa bed will have to be moved into the flat. So when buying, also think about transport. Narrow staircases or winding rooms can be an obstacle.

How much does a sofa bed cost?

Since there is now a huge range of different shapes, functions and additional features, the prices vary relatively widely. The cheapest sofa bed is already available for less than 100 pounds, while the huge living room landscape with slatted frame, mattress and bed base can cost several thousand pounds.

Especially in times when money is still a little tight and the flat doesn't offer much space, as is often the case with students or young professionals, a sofa bed offers a super solution. It saves space and money.

If you're looking for a simple model like the floor sleeper, on which your buddy sleeps over from time to time at night, you're already in for a few hundred pounds. Folding mattresses or air beds would probably also be suitable or sufficient for this.

But if you want a sofa bed that adequately replaces a bed or a huge living room landscape that can accommodate the whole family, then you should dig a little deeper into your pockets.

Even the big wallet will find the best quality in a high-quality sofa bed. In the meantime, there are also some manufacturers who have specialised in a combination of modern design and functionality. Useful can also be stylish. But then you usually pay a four-digit sum for it.

Decision: What types of sofa beds are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, there are three types of sofa beds:

  • Side or cross-sleeper sofa
  • Longitudinal or floor-sleeper sofa
  • Big or XXL sofa

In the following, we will introduce you to the different types of sofa beds in more detail and help you find the right couch.

What is a side or cross-sleeper sofa and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

With a side or cross-sleeper couch, the width of the couch seat is the same as the length of the bed surface. Thanks to its folding or pull-out mechanism, it is a real space-saver and therefore ideally suited for guest rooms, youth rooms or small single flats.

Moreover, this sofa is quite uncomplicated to handle. It is compact during the day and quickly converts into a sofa bed at night. Even when folded down, it usually does not take up much more space than before.

Advantages
  • Space-saving
  • Converts quickly
  • Easy to use
  • With slatted frame and mattress: Comfortable bed substitute
Disadvantages
  • Armrests can be constricting
  • Wall can get in the way when folding down

In some models, a slatted frame and mattress are revealed when the pull-out mechanism is activated, and the sofa thus offers the highest level of sleeping comfort. Accordingly, the sofa can also be used permanently as a bed. When buying a folding sofa, you should bear in mind that although armrests are comfortable when sitting, they can restrict a physically large person when sleeping.

What is a longitudinal or floor sleeper sofa and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

With a longitudinal or floor sleeper couch, the bed width is exactly the same as the seat width, but it extends towards the front to form a bed. It is also very space-saving and the conversion from sofa to bed is done in just a few steps. Within this type, the floor sleeper represents the favourable variant.

The name "floor sleeper" comes from the fact that the upholstery of the sofa is folded forward to form a mattress on the floor. With floor sleepers, you should note that they take up more space when unfolded. Sleeping on the floor makes this variant only suitable for occasional overnight stays, as it could otherwise cause back problems.

Advantages
  • Space-saving
  • Can be converted quickly
  • Floor sleeper: inexpensive variant
  • Lengthwise sleeper: sofa and comfortable bed in one
Disadvantages
  • Floor sleeper: little comfort and a lot of space
  • Full-size bed set has a slightly higher price

With a lengthwise sleeper sofa, on the other hand, you will often find sophisticated technology that turns your couch into a real bed. The slatted frame and mattress of high-quality sofa beds are hidden in the bed base and are not visible during the day.

At night, a transformation takes place and the comfortable inner bed part of the sofa comes out. And all this is quite uncomplicated with a few simple steps. Sofas equipped in this way offer just as much sleeping comfort as a conventional bed.

What is a Big or XXL sofa and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

As the names suggest, a Big Sofa or XXL Sofa is characterised by a large seating area. This means that the couch can be used as a sleeping accommodation without having to be converted.

If someone spontaneously stays overnight, you can simply put aside the many small cushions that usually come with such a sofa and the sleeping place is ready. No conversion, no pulling out or folding over.

Advantages
  • No conversion necessary
  • For spontaneous overnight guests
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable as a bed set
  • Takes up a lot of space

However, big sofas are designed more for cosy evenings on the couch and are therefore often pleasantly soft. In the long run, however, this sofa does not offer good conditions for a restful sleep and is therefore not a suitable substitute for a bed.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate sofa beds

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate sofa beds. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective sofa bed.

The most important buying criteria are:

  • Design
  • Upholstery
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Additional features

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a sofa bed under these aspects or not.

Different sofa beds have different additional functions. Depending on what you want, you can choose them accordingly. (Image source: Rex Pickar / unsplash.com)

Design

The appearance of a sofa bed is one of the most important criteria. The sofa is one of the most used pieces of furniture in a home and should therefore skilfully set an accent.

A sofa is usually purchased for a longer period of time and should therefore not appear visually unsuitable after a short time. That's why we'll go into the material and colour again here to help you make further decisions.

Did you know that the word sofa comes from Arabic?

In Arabic, it means an upholstered resting bench and was an elevated seat made with blankets or carpets.

After it was also produced in Germany and England in the 17th century, it was originally only reserved for the nobility, as these pieces of furniture were considered a luxury.

Material

The two most common materials are leather or imitation leather and synthetic fabrics.

In terms of material, a distinction is usually made between dirt-repellent leather and comfortable fabric or synthetic covers. A removable cover that can be washed in the washing machine is ideal.

Here you will find an overview of the most important features of both covers:

Leather cover Fabric or synthetic cover
Requires a lot of care Easy to care for
Dirt-repellent Soils quickly
Cool, may be uncomfortable in heat Inviting and soft

So a leather cover does not get dirty so quickly, but it also needs to be cared for and is rather cool when lying down. In addition, in summer when sitting, the skin can stick to the leather, which many people find unpleasant.

Leather is very high quality and lasts for decades if well cared for. It is very robust and not very susceptible to dirt. Although you have to invest a higher price when you buy it, you will get something out of the couch for a long time. However, the upper material of many sofas is made of the cheaper alternative imitation leather, which can hardly be distinguished visually from real leather.

In addition, artificial leather is becoming better and better in use and durability due to constant further development. Vegetarians and vegans in particular now often attach importance to the fact that their everyday objects are not made of real leather.

Synthetic materials, such as microfibre, have the advantage that they feel much more pleasant and warmer on the skin than leather. However, they also have virtually no dirt-repellent effect.

A sofa with fabric or synthetic upholstery usually looks inviting. With children or pets, however, it quickly becomes soiled by hair or stains.

It is particularly good if a sofa cover is removable and washable. This makes it easy to remove soiling. If you are tired of the colour of your sofa, you can simply buy a new cover without having to spend a lot of money on replacing the whole sofa.

Colour

Most sofas come in colours such as white, black, grey, brown and beige. These colours blend in best with the overall look of the home.

They harmonise with pretty much all other colours and you don't have to worry about whether the sofa matches the curtains, which in turn match the floor. If you choose one of these colours, all combination possibilities are usually open to you.

However, you can make a real eye-catcher out of your couch with a bright colour such as red, green, pink, yellow, blue, orange or an eye-catching pattern, such as leo print.

If the room is otherwise rather plain, you can create a super accent with a colourful sofa.

Upholstery

Apart from the way it looks, the most important criterion for a couch is how it feels to sit on. Especially if you or your guests will be sleeping on it. Decide for yourself which interior your new sofa should have.

Spring core upholstery Box spring upholstery Cold foam mattress
Spring core is stable, keeps its shape and is durable Box spring adapts well to the body and allows air to circulate better Cold foam adapts well to the back and allows fewer mites.

Spring core upholstery is the classic and probably familiar to pretty much everyone. Innerspring provides a stable seat, retains its shape and is therefore suitable for years of sitting, children bouncing around and heavy people. When sleeping, one should pay attention to the appropriate degree of firmness so that lying down does not become uncomfortable.

The box spring upholstery is the higher quality version of the spring core, as it consists of several layers of springs and padding. As a result, boxspring adapts better to the body and the air can circulate better. This means more comfort for you, which you have to share with fewer mites.

The cold foam mattress has become a real triumph in the field of sleeping. That's why cold foam upholstery is not wrong for the sofa either. It adapts very well to any back and, thanks to its dense but still breathable material, ensures that mites cannot settle in it so well. A blessing for every allergy sufferer.

Size

Sofa beds come in all shapes and sizes. The size of the sofa depends very much on your requirements.

If you have a very small flat, you should make sure that the sofa bed is compact. Even if you only use the sofa bed as an occasional guest bed, a 2-seater is usually enough.

If, on the other hand, you have a lot of space and the sofa is not only to be used by you, it can also be larger. This will make cosy evenings unforgettable.

If you use the sofa bed permanently as a bed, you should also make sure that you have enough space to sleep on it. Ideally, the lying surface should be large enough for two people to sleep on.

Weight

The weight of a sofa plays a role if you have to transport it yourself or like to move your furniture.

If you don't have the sofa delivered to your home, the weight of the sofa is an important consideration. Bear in mind that if you transport the sofa yourself, you may have to carry it to a higher floor. If the sofa bed is bulky and very heavy, this can cause problems.

Did you know that Europlates can carry up to 2000 kilos? You can build your own (sofa) bed in no time at all.

All you need are a few pallets and the cushions for them. If you want to turn it into a sofa bed, you can stack the pallets next to each other and place the cushion on top.

Voilá - your own homemade sofa bed

If you are someone who likes to rearrange their rooms, the weight of the sofa can also play a role. If you like to move your furniture around, you should make sure that you can move the sofa on your own. The sofa should also not leave unsightly marks on the floor when you move it.

In addition, you will have to lift or move a part here and there when you move the sofa. In the best case, you should be able to do this on your own.

Additional equipment

Sofa beds are multifunctional pieces of furniture and therefore come with a number of additional features that offer more comfort or are simply practical.

At a glance these are:

  • Armrests
  • Bed base
  • Slatted frame
  • Cushions

Armrests

Whether a good sofa needs armrests or not is a matter of taste. Some people would fall off the sofa without armrests, others feel rather restricted by them.

Especially when it comes to sofa beds, however, armrests are an important point. Here you usually have to decide for or against them. However, if you don't want to do without armrests during the day but find them annoying at night, you can either opt for a sofa with fold-down armrests or simply use cushions as armrests.

Bed base

A storage box under the sofa bed is very practical, as you have the bedding ready for the spontaneous overnight guest or the evening transformation from sofa to bed.

However, many people store their bedding in the wardrobe anyway and therefore use the bed base as additional storage space.

Even though a bed base is practical, the substructure means that the air under the cushion or mattress cannot circulate properly. When lying down or sleeping at night, the body releases a lot of moisture that has to escape somewhere.

If a bed base is then in the way, mould or increased mite infestation can occur, as they feel very comfortable in such a climate.

If you need a place to store your bedding and still have enough space, a stool with a storage box can be useful.

Slatted frame

You need a slatted frame if you want to use your sofa bed as a bed. You can only get a restful night's sleep if you have a stable base.

The slatted frame ensures that your weight is evenly distributed and thus relieves your back. High-quality boxspring upholstery does not require a slatted frame, as the many layers take care of redistributing the weight.

Cushions

Every sofa needs cushions. They make it really cosy. Cushions in matching colours are often included with a couch.

Big sofas or XXL sofas in particular are often sold with a large number of cushions to give you more cosiness.

Cushions that come free with the sofa are definitely a great thing. If you don't like the design, you can just buy different cushion covers. Sometimes this gives the sofa that certain something.

Patterned cushions can create a nice contrast. These are usually already coordinated with the colour of the sofa.

Facts worth knowing about sofa beds

Can I sleep on a sofa bed every day?

Yes, if you make sure you have a good quality mattress and slatted frame.

The same criteria apply to a high-quality sofa bed as to a back-friendly bed. A good slatted frame and a good mattress create the right conditions for a good night's sleep. Only if you pay attention to this will you get the restful and healthy sleep you need.

What is the best and healthiest way to sleep?

Since we spend most of our lives "sleeping in", it is important to know what constitutes restful sleep. Here are a few tips for a good night's sleep.

It's best to prepare for bedtime in the evening. To help your body focus on sleep at night, your last meal before bed should be at least 3 hours ago. But only go to sleep when you are really tired, otherwise you will just toss and turn unnecessarily.

If you don't feel quite ready, it often helps to go for a walk. The fresh air is good for you and the darkness helps your body get into sleep mode. Meanwhile, you can also air out your bedroom. Poor indoor air will cause you problems sleeping and may even make you sick.

When you get home, drink a cup of warm milk with honey. This will have a calming effect. From this point on, you should not watch TV or use a mobile phone or tablet. The blue light from these devices will wake you up.

Photo credit: bruce mars / pexels.com

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