The 10 Best Sofa Beds
A Sofa With A Secret
In the morning, when you've finished with the sleeping surface, these sofa beds easily fold back into the chairs as which they served just the day before.
Shows like the F.Y.I. Network's Tiny Homes shine a spotlight on this style of living inside and outside of big cities.
For a variety of reasons, people seem to be downsizing the footprints of their respective living spaces in urban and rural environments. One walk through the show floor at Ikea will introduce you to entire living spaces that take up less than 500 square feet. Shows like the F.Y.I. Network's Tiny Homes shine a spotlight on this style of living inside and outside of big cities.
If you happen to live in a major city, you know just how unreasonably high rent can be. Sometimes, sacrificing a little space is the best option for saving money. In more rural areas, homeowners–even if they have a lot of land–choose smaller houses as a way to keep living costs down and minimize their impact on the environment.
Whatever your reason for downsizing, convertible furniture is one of the proven ways to turn a small living space into a versatile and comfortable home. The sofa beds on our list are each designed to maximize smaller living spaces, or to simply provide you with an additional sleeping surface in the event that you host any visitors overnight.
By day, in their folded positions, they function as ordinary chairs or couches, but by night, they unfold and unfurl, revealing or transforming into comfortable sleeping surfaces. Some of the beds form up when you release a hinge that lowers the back of the sofa to a level even with the sitting surface, effectively doubling that surface area and turning it into the bed.
Other of the sofa beds on our list transition from sofas into sleepers when you simply unfold them outward, as the components of the bed lie folded and waiting within the couch. In the morning, when you've finished with the sleeping surface, these sofa beds easily fold back into the chairs as which they served just the day before.
Getting Comfortable With Discomfort
Staying anywhere away from home is an uncomfortable prospect for most people. You can give them a plush mattress with fine luxury sheets, complimentary dry cleaning, and a little mint on their pillow, and it still won't feel like home. There's simply a degree of comfort offered by sleeping in your own bed that no other experience can provide.
With that in mind, I'm going to encourage you to take a stand against the notion that whoever ends up sleeping on your sofa bed should expect to experience the heights of comfort. It's not that any of the sofa beds on our list are uncomfortable. In fact, I'd say just the opposite is true.
Staying anywhere away from home is an uncomfortable prospect for most people.
What I mean is that the comfort that a sofa bed provides its sleeper shouldn't be the first thing on your list of criteria for selecting a bed from our list. Instead, you should ask yourself an arguably more important question: which one of these sofa beds will look best in your space.
You don't have to have a degree in interior design to know whether a couch looks ugly to you. You have taste and you have instincts, both of which you should follow. Then, and only then can you concern yourself with how comfortable it is for a sleeper. If a stiffer sofa ties the room together, it'll make your visitor much more comfortable than a plush monstrosity would.
Another variable worth considering is material, as the durability of certain materials, as well as their ease of maintenance, can vary widely. Faux leathers, for example, are less absorbent, so they stand up to spilled wines and colas better than another fabric would. Those materials are more prone to stretch and crack over the years, however, so even a beautifully unstained leather sofa bed could begin to come apart on you after a few years.
Try to balance the appearance of the couch against the activity of the space in which you want to use it, and see if there isn't a sofa bed on this list that will look nice, last a long while, and, if it really matters to you, rock your guests off to a comfortable sleep.
A Story Unfolds
It was an African-American inventor named Leonard C. Bailey who, in 1899, first patented a bed that could fold up into a couch. The invention very quickly caught on with the US military and with recreational campers alike for its lightweight build and its functionality. Still, these designs, when folded into the sofa position, looked a little off, and one could tell there was something different about them.
In the mid 30s, an Italian immigrant named Bernard Castro designed a sleeper sofa that, when folded into its sitting position, managed to conceal any evidence that it contained a bed within its frame. These immediately became popular with a crowd more concerned with the appearance of their living space than simply with its versatility.
Over the course of the next 80 years, the industry has modeled all of its designs after the creations of these two men, with little to no variance beyond attempts to increase comfort in the bed position and to increase the ease of use for the average consumer.