In today’s guide we look at some of the basic facts about the futon.

People using the foot on today have one thing in mind the balance between saving some space and still getting a night of comfortable sleep. The origins of the Futon arose from that specific need in the first place they date back to ancient Japan, where big families needed a solution for their lifestyle which usually involved only one room.

divano roma modern futon

The modern futon as we know it today started as humble mattress laid directly to the floor to save space.

It’s a piece of furniture with a storied history, so let us take a look at the the long travel from ancient Japan,to the a modern furniture pieces that found its way into the mainstream and modern home.

The basics – what’s a futon?

It’s pretty comfortable sitting solution but it does not include springs (neither the mattress or the base) with makes which makes it a solid choice as temporary sleeping
Material of the futon mattress

Materials used to make a futon mattress range from high density memory foam to poly-fibre and cotton blends.

The futon frame

Your choice of a frame material will depend on interior design style that’s dominating your home

Wooden frame this one will work best with the classic look of most spaces and some of these frames even allow for extra drawers, which is a nice plus in terms of storage space.
Bi-folding futon frames
The bi-fold frame is the most common one and it can be either wood or metal.

What we mean when we say bi-fold is that folds in half to transform a sofa into a mattress.

Love seat frame

The love seat frame is very different to the above-mentioned bi-fold and it’s made to look much more like a real sofa
The foldable futon it smaller in size and designed to comfortable seat two people (hence the name “loveseat).

In terms of sleep it can (fairly comfortably) accommodate two kids or one adult.

Tri-fold frame

It’s there in the name – the tri-fold futon frame is very similar to the bi-folds with the obvious difference being that it folds into three separate parts so that it can be used as comfortable lounger with slanted leg rests.
The tri-fold 3 is not as common as the other types we talked about.

Types of futon arms

Adjustable arms

This type of futon armrest allows the sidearm to be folded into a flat sleep position. It’s a nice space saver.

Is it a smart way to make most of the space you have and it’s a nifty solution for small city apartments.

Design styles


The classic style we see in most furniture pieces available today is pretty similar to a sofa.

It consists of a metal base mounted on either a wooden or metal frame.

Lounging futons

Opposed to the classic look of a futon, a lounger futon is a piece of furniture resembling the loungers that one commonly sees psychiatrists and psychologists offices.

The initial setup already looks much like a sofa bed and doesn’t require any folding or setting up. To be used for sleep, you just throw a blanket or a cover and you got yourself a comfortable surface for those long cold November afternoons.

Bunk bed futon

Commonly seen in dorms and shared sleeping areas bunk beds with futon feature a metal base and are usually twin size.

The bottom is a futon sofa that reclines into a flat position while the top of is a classic mattress. It’s also the most commonly used design for classic kids futons.

Modern arm-less style

The minimal lines of this futon style make it work best with modern spaces.

The mechanism is pretty simple, the back seat features hinges that simply fold back into a flat position and pop back up, usually using a lever.

Futon frame for the outdoors

Commonly used for porches or backyards, these the frames are usually designed to be a bit smaller but can also recline into a flat position.

The cover off the mattress used with this frame is often water-resistant to fit the needs of outdoor use.

The future of the Futon

Most people living in large cities and know that the issue of limited space is a real calm problem. With that in mind it seems that the popularity of the futon can only increase.

The race in the industry today comes down to new ways to save space while keeping the futon comfortable.

It goes without saying that there will always be room for sub-par products on the market which was the initial spark for starting this guide in the first place

We do our best to stay on top of the futon industry and track any quality changes so that we can report back in our main guide on best futons which you can see here and best futon mattresses which you can see here.

What to look for when choosing a futon?

Make sure that it comes from a reputable company that’s time tested and trusted by owners

A good way to do this is to do your research before “pulling the trigger” and reading the experiences of the existing owners in similar living circumstances to your own.

If chosen right, a futon will be a nice versatile addition to your apartment and probably one of the most useful furniture pieces you’ll ever get

As the years go by and the quality standards increase the futon will become increasingly closer to the comfort of standard sofa combined with the comfort of a classic mattress

Top futon brands

Well compiling this guide on the types and styles of a futon sofa, a few brands kept popping up as the most well-trusted. We list them below:

  • Divano Roma
  • DHP
  • Best choice product
  • MainStay
  • Pearington
  • Epic furnishing
  • OverRose
  • Zinus

Futon as a space-saver and portable bed

This chunk of the market is pretty competitive with the main “opponent” of a futon being inflatable sofas and foldaway beds.

The main advantage of the inflatable sofa over futon is the fact that it can be deflated and stored away into neat carry bag – you can see a guide on inflatable furniture and sofas here-

Final thoughts

A futon is a great piece of furniture when you’re working with small spaces or entertain a lot of sleepover guests. It’s quickly becoming a mainstream piece of furniture, probably due to the change of our sleep habits, with apartments becoming increasingly smaller, especially in large cities.

The companies making the futons keep coming up with new ways to save space and make their products more comfortable.


  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.