Futon Buying Guide

A futon combines a bed and sofa in one unit, which makes it ideal for small spaces and families with multifunctional needs. This futon buying guide outlines your options.

Futons 101

A futon is an ideal choice for tight living spaces. You can find attractive futons to outfit your dorm room, studio apartment or even a home office that doubles as a guestroom. Lighter and less cumbersome than traditional pullout couches, futons are easy to move from place to place and convert smoothly from sofa to bed and back again. With all the colours, fabrics and accents to choose from, you can readily incorporate a futon into your existing decor, or select a higher-end designer model to become the focal point of a room. 

Futon Buying Tips:

  • Measure your space to ensure the futon will fit folded and unfolded
  • Select thicker mattresses for increased comfort and durability
  • Purchase removable futon covers for easy cleaning/changing
  • Since futon frames are exposed, consider how the look of the frame will match your decor
  • Metal frames are generally less expensive than wood frames

Futon Features

Futon Mattress +

Futon mattresses are available in a variety of materials and densities, with foam and innerspring being the most popular choices. If you'll be using your futon primarily as a sofa, a rigid foam mattress is more likely to retain its shape and definition. If you need a good sleeping futon, a thick innerspring mattress offers increased comfort and durability. Two other factors to consider are firmness and flexibility; firmness will affect the comfort level of your mattress while flexibility aids in a smooth conversion between couch and bed.

Futon Frame +

There are two basic types of futon frames: metal and wood. Metal frames are affordable, lightweight and offer a contemporary look. They're also easy to clean and maintain, making them a popular choice for kids' rooms and school dorms. Wood frames range from affordable unfinished pine to extremely durable oak or cherry, with high-end finishes, attractive solid or slatted arms and comfortable armrests. Hardwood frames can be quite heavy. Keep this in mind if you're buying a futon for a student or young adult who might have multiple moves in their near future.

Bi-Fold Futons +

The bi-fold, or sofa-style, futon is the most common type of futon produced today. This futon folds lengthwise and has just one fold. It folds up for sitting and down for sleeping. Bi-fold futons have legs like a regular couch or sofa. Most models have arms, but some are armless. An armless futon occupies less room when unfolded, a bonus if space is limited. A slider mechanism within bi-fold futons uses rollers to smoothly convert the futon from sofa to bed with little effort.

Tri-Fold Futons +

The original style of Japanese futon, tri-fold futons utilize two folds instead of one. With these futons, a mattress can hang over the back of the frame or be folded under itself to create a chair or chaise-lounge sitting area. Tri-fold futons may have legs or may sit directly on the floor. A good choice for tight spaces, tri-fold futons create an even more compact sitting area than bi-fold futons.

Size & Weight +

Size and weight are important features to consider when selecting your futon sofa bed. A lightweight 65-pound metal futon makes for easy moving and converting, while a heavier 160-pound wooden futon will provide greater comfort and a more substantial, sofa-like appearance. Added features like overstuffed cushions and storage compartments will increase the comfort and functionality of your futon, but they also result in more size and weight. A futon with a mattress five inches thick or more should prevent you from feeling the supporting slats when sitting or sleeping.

Wall-Hugger Futon +

Some bi-fold futons are known as wall huggers. Ideal for tight places, this type of futon can be easily converted from a futon couch to a futon bed without having to first pull the frame away from the wall. Wall-huggers are rated in terms of tolerance. A zero-tolerance wall hugger means you can place your futon directly against the wall in its seated position and not have to move it when you unfold it. The higher the tolerance rating, the further you will need to place your futon from the wall.

Bunk-Bed Futon +

A bunk-bed futon is a fun, space-saving futon option well suited for children's rooms. Quite often, the bottom bunk is a full or queen-size futon and the top bunk is a regular twin mattress. With this handy configuration, the top bunk can be used for sleeping, and the larger bottom mattress can be folded up to create a comfortable sitting space for reading, playing or watching television. For sleepovers, simply fold down the bottom mattress to make it into an extra bed.

Split Futon +

A split futon offers versatility with a stylish and contemporary feel. The split back of this type of futon frame and mattress allows for multi-positioning as a sofa, lounger or bed. You can keep one side upright while the other is down, even combining two split futons to create the appearance of a sectional. These sleek-looking futons often feature "click clack" technology, which allows you to easily reposition your futon from the front with a simple pull and click.

Style +

The versatility of futons isn't limited to their function; they’re also flexible in terms of style. From contemporary to classic, there's a futon for every decor. A leather bed futon with chrome accents is a sleek complement to a modern guestroom, while an overstuffed microfibre futon with under-the-seat storage for extra blankets is a cozy addition to a traditional family room. Bright colours and patterns can liven up the drabbest of dorm rooms, and the clean, simple lines of an armless bi-fold futon won't overpower a small space.

Materials +

Many futons and futon covers are made from cotton or cotton-blends. These materials are comfortable and cool to the touch and come in a wide range of colours and patterns. Faux leather futons offer a contemporary look and can be easily wiped down in the event of spills. Microfibre materials are soft and durable with water-repelling properties. Selecting a futon with the right material for you will help to ensure it fits both your decor and your lifestyle.

Other Futon Features +

While you can certainly opt for the simplicity (and affordability) of a basic futon model, there are a number of accessories available to add to both the form and function of your futon. Linen drawers, magazine racks and storage compartments for remote controls are a convenient way to keep things organized and tidy. Cup holders, adjustable arm rests and even built-in sound systems help to maximize comfort, while contrast stitching and slatted wooden arms offer aesthetic appeal.

See all +

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Futon Cleaning & Maintenance Tips:

  • Use a futon cover or mattress cover to protect your futon mattress from stains and wear
  • Flip and rotate your futon mattress regularly for even wear
  • Vacuum your futon mattress often to remove dust
  • Roll up your futon mattress once per month to keep it firm and even
  • Treat spills and stains promptly following the instructions on the care label
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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