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Confused by all the choices while you choose the sofa bed? Here's a basic guide to help you navigate the world of "convertible furniture."
1.The first thing to determine is how you're going to use it. Most manufacturers emphasize either sitting comfort OR sleeping comfort, but very few consider both. So it's important to think about whether you want it primarily for use as a sofa or a bed. A sofa bed is always a compromise; it is never the best sofa or the best bed available.
2. Have an idea of what you're willing to pay before you go shopping. You can expect a good quality sofa bed to sell for between $600-$1000. Anything under $500 and you're asking for trouble.
3.There are numerous systems for converting a sofa to a bed on the market, but the three most popular are the traditional pull-out sofa bed, futon furniture, and davenports. Before shopping at a "bricks and mortar" store, do some research online so that you know what to expect and which questions to ask.
4.Traditional pull-out sofa beds are sold in most department and full-line furniture stores. They feature full and queen size models which seem to be designed as stand alone pieces of furniture whose primary use is for sitting. Unless you're willing to pay more than $1,000, the comfort level of the mattress in the bed position is highly questionable. With an undersized and thin mattress, heavy beyond belief, and famous for that "bar-in-the-back" feeling, these are the sofa beds that people love to hate.
5.Davenports have been around since the 1940s, maybe longer. Featuring an 8" standard size mattress, elastic webbing for spring-like support, a click-clack mechanism, storage in the base, and "knocked down" for easy transport.
6.Futon furniture first broke into the mainstream back in the early eighties as an alternative to the traditional pull-out sofa bed. Made-to-order and offering sizes from chairs to queens, futon speciality boutiques soon appeared in all the major North American markets. Futons are practical and functional, but comfort depends totally on what's inside the mattress, as the wood or metal convertible frame serves only to lift the mattress off the ground. Most futon mattresses are made of layers of cotton batting and low-density foam, which should be no less than 1.5 lb. if you want it to last. Unless you buy a good one, these mattresses are prone to compact and harden.
7.And consider the importance of a fitted sheet and mattress pad. Some sofa bed mattresses are fully upholstered, and the last thing you want to do is stain the material by eating and/or drinking in bed.
8.There are several other kinds of convertible products available (flip flop, daybed, trundle bed, etc.), but they are generally not as practical for everyday use as those above. Consider this before you order: If you're buying a sofa bed for loved ones, buy a good one so your guests will enjoy their stay. Nothing ruins a visit more than a poor night's sleep.