Sleeper sofas often get a bad rap. Many hosts—and their guests—associate them with sleepless nights and lower back pain. They’ve long been considered the price to pay in order to visit family and friends.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of sleepers sofas that make comfortable couches and beds, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and styles.
This guide will go over the options that are available, as well as the features you should consider when shopping for the best sleeper sofas so you can make the right decision for your home. Invest in a high-quality sleeper sofa, and give your overnight guests a good night’s sleep.
- BEST OVERALL: Lesley 87″ Square Arm Sofa Bed
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Osgood Revolution 73″ Square Arm Sofa Bed
- BEST LEATHER: Jennifer Genuine Leather 81″ Rolled Arm Sofa Bed
- BEST QUEEN-SIZE: Birch Lane 89″ Rolled Arm Sofa Bed
- BEST FOR A SMALL SPACE: Chimel 58″ Square Arm Sofa Bed
- BEST FUTON: Lebanon 82″ Futon and Mattress
- BEST SECTIONAL: Whitby 96″ Reversible Sofa & Chaise
- BEST PULLOUT: Murillo 81″ Square Arm Sofa Bed
- BEST POWERED: Somerset II Paragon Electric Sofa Bed
Types of Sleeper Sofas
Homeowners have four types of sleeper sofas to consider, ranging from familiar pullout beds to newer, high-tech powered models. Each offers its own unique advantages.
Unlike sectional and futon sleeper sofas, pullout sofas feature a real mattress. After removing the sofa cushions, you pull a handle that unfolds the bed and its metal frame from the sofa. The mattresses on pullout sofas are thin to allow them to fold into the bed, making them less comfortable than standard mattresses. Some pullout sofa beds include an air mattress that blows up to a traditional mattress’s thickness, in order to add comfort.
Pullout sofas are typically larger than other sleeper sofa styles to accommodate the mechanism that allows them to fold out. And because they include a metal bed frame, pullout sofas tend to be much heavier than standard sofas.
While some sectional sleeper sofas use a foldout design, others feature a trundle-style bed that pulls out from the sofa’s front rail. After you pull the bed out, a metal frame raises the trundle to the same level as the sofa cushions, seamlessly filling the space within the L- or U-shape of the sectional sofa, creating a king- or queen-size bed.
Sectional sofas come in two shapes: L-shaped and U-shaped. Depending on the size, L-shaped sofas look like two sofas or a sofa and love seat pushed together at the corner. Some L-shaped sectionals feature a sofa attached to a chaise lounge. U-shaped sectionals feature three seating units pushed together to form a U.
Sectional beds tend to be more comfortable because they take advantage of the couch’s thick cushions rather than relying on a thin mattress or an air mattress.
Futons are a bit different from pullout sleeper sofas and even sectionals in that they don’t require a separate mattress. Instead, they use a single cushion that bends while in sofa mode and sits flat while in bed mode, making for an easy transition. The frame, which can be made of metal or wood, features movable joints that allow it to convert from sofa to bed.
Because they don’t need to be pulled out or have space to store a mattress and bed frame, futons are more space-efficient than other types of sofas, making them a good option for apartments and smaller rooms. They also feature cushions that are typically thicker and more comfortable than the mattresses offered with most pullout beds.
If you really want to impress your overnight guests, invest in a powered sleeper sofa. With this sofa, there’s no need for manually pulling a metal frame out from under the seat cushions. Powered sleeper sofas use a motor to open and close the sofa. These remote-controlled, state-of-the-art sleepers automatically unfold the sofa’s seat and concealed mattress into a bed, sometimes in a matter of seconds.
Since this sofa typically uses the seat cushions as the foot of the bed and the back cushions remain in place, there’s no need to find a place to store them while it’s in bed form. Some models also include battery backups in case you need to open the bed during a power outage.
These powered wonders include thick mattresses that are similar to real beds, making them one of the more comfortable sofa bed options. Just make sure you keep the remote hidden from the kids.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Sleeper Sofa
While understanding the differences between the types of sleeper sofas is important, it’s also crucial to consider certain other factors when determining which option is best for your home.
As with any piece of furniture you buy for your home, carefully consider your space when making a sleeper sofa purchase. This is even more critical with a pullout or sectional sofa bed, which typically takes up more room than a futon. Pay attention to the sofa bed’s dimensions to determine whether the sleeper sofa will still fit in the room when it’s in bed mode. In addition to making sure there is enough room for the bed to fully pull out, check that there will still be enough space for your guests to move comfortably around the room or store a suitcase.
Also consider that some sleeper sofa styles require the storage of bulky seat cushions, back cushions, and throw pillows when in bed form. If you opt for a pullout sofa bed, make sure you have somewhere to store these pieces.
Because sleeper sofas are multipurpose pieces, they tend to see more wear and tear than standard sofas. With this in mind, a sleeper sofa’s fabric and materials need to be durable.
Unlike a standard sofa, your sleeper sofa’s cushions will in many cases be removed, stored, and returned every time it is used as a bed. Look for sofas made with durable upholstery materials, such as Sunbrella, polyester, and leather. These sofas should also have sturdy wood frames that can support the heavy metal bed frame.
While some sleeper sofas are lacking in design sensibilities because they must make room for a mattress in their design, there are still plenty of styles available.
While the minimalistic and modern designs tend to mesh better with the foldout style of sofa beds and futons—it’s tough to fit a bed inside a minimalist sofa—many sleeper sofas feature the sleek lines and simple look of mid-century modern.
Futon-style beds feature Scandinavian and modern styles, while many sleeper sofas fit traditional/classic, bohemian, and contemporary styles.
When it comes to comfort with sleeper sofas, you’re really thinking about two pieces of furniture: a sofa and a bed. It can be challenging to find a sleeper sofa that succeeds as both. Often, the sofa cushions are too hard, or the mattress too thin. A well-made sleeper sofa should have cushions that hold their shape but are soft enough to add comfort, a mattress firm enough to provide adequate back support, and a bed frame that provides a flat sleeping surface.
Sleeper sofas are notorious for being uncomfortable, conjuring images of sleepless nights and sore backs. With that in mind, if you want your overnight guests to come again, you’d better make sure that the sofa bed has a good mattress.
Sleeper sofas come with two mattress options: innerspring and memory foam. Innerspring mattresses are thinner and provide a springy feel. High-end futons and sectional sofas feature thicker, more comfortable mattresses made of memory foam or memory foam toppers that conform to your body. Some mattresses combine the two with spring coil mattresses that feature a memory foam top.
While sofa beds with memory foam mattresses will cost more, your guests—and their backs—are worth it.
Just as the mattress is a big part of how comfortable a sleeper sofa is, so, too, is the bed’s construction. Choose a pullout bed that features a sturdy frame that lies flat when unfolded, without any uncomfortable bends in the shape. Also, avoid pullout sofas that use metal bars for support, as these can often be felt through the mattress.
Ease of Use
A sofa bed that is difficult to convert from bed to sofa and back again is going to be more trouble than it’s worth. Select a sofa bed that pulls out easily from the sofa frame and features a mechanism that locks it into place. Some sofa beds can be cumbersome to operate. Remember, what’s manageable for one person may be too heavy for another.
Manual vs. Powered
It used to be that all sleeper sofas required manual operation to turn them into beds. Today, there are powered models that allow you to make that transformation with the push of a button. Powered models prevent you from having to go through manually pulling the bed out of the sofa frame. This is an attractive option, especially for those who may be physically unable to operate a manual sofa bed.
Keep in mind that powered sofa beds are significantly more expensive than their manual cousins. They also require power, which could be an issue if you need to convert the sofa bed during a power outage, say, for a guest who is stranded at your home during a storm. Look for powered models that have battery backups for these occasions.
Our Top Picks
The list of recommendations below includes some of the top sleeper sofas on the market. These pieces are stylish, function well as both sofas and beds, and are made with quality materials.
If your sleeper sofa is providing its dual services in your main living area, you want something that’s not just going to offer the versatility you need from a sofa bed. It also must contribute to the aesthetic of your home.
The Lesley will provide a comfy bed for your visitors and a classic look for your living room. At 87 inches long, it provides plenty of room to serve as a couch for your main living area. With a queen-size bed, this pullout offers ample space for your overnight guests.
It comes in a staggering 154 fabric options, allowing it to complement the decor of just about any living area. With many durable upholstery options, including Sunbrella and Sustain fabrics, you can count on this sofa bed holding up to daily use.
Durable, stylish sleeper sofas have to cost a lot of money, right? Wrong. This model offers both and more. Its revolutionary performance upholstery is stain-resistant, fade-resistant, and antimicrobial, with a soft twill weave that adds comfort and style.
Its core is also made with quality materials, including a hardwood sofa frame and steel bed frame. Dacron-wrapped foam seats add comfort and hold their shape longer, thanks to a firm core.
If you select the memory foam mattress option, your overnight guests will rest on a 5-inch-thick mattress designed to maintain a constant temperature through the night. With its square lines and neutral color options, this model will suit various styles of decor. The Osgood also comes in twin, full, and queen sizes and includes four throw pillows.
There’s nothing quite like the sophisticated look and smooth feel of leather. It’s luxurious, easy to clean, and wears better than fabric upholstery. The Jennifer leather sleeper rests on 2.75-inch hardwood legs that give it a sturdy feel. Its clean lines and rolled arms create a traditional look, and with 15 color options, this sleeper sofa would be right at home in a variety of home decor styles.
It’s comfortable, too. Featuring thick seat cushions and soft upholstery, this model is excellent for lounging. When guests arrive, it folds out into a queen-size bed. Visitors will thank you for this sleeper sofa’s gel-filled mattress, which provides more back-saving support and comfort than a standard pullout mattress.
With its extended length and thick seat cushions, this sleeper sofa is an excellent place for napping in both couch and bed mode. Rolled arms and smooth lines give this sleeper a traditional look, a dark walnut stain on the feet offers a touch of elegance, and the two included throw pillows add comfort. And, with more than 100 fabric designs to choose from, this model will integrate smoothly with a variety of decorating styles.
The foam-filled seat cushions and back cushion make this sleeper sofa firm enough to provide support and hold its shape while remaining soft enough to sink into.
When overnight guests come to visit, remove the seat cushions and pull up on the bed frame to extend this sofa into a queen-size sleeper. In addition to selecting the fabric style, you also have the choice of a DreamQuest coil mattress or an innerspring mattress.
It can be difficult to find a place to fit a full-size sleeper sofa in smaller homes and apartments. With its clean lines and understated looks, this 58-inch-wide loveseat is an attractive addition to smaller rooms and spaces.
The back cushions and seat cushions come off to reveal a pullout mattress that extends into a twin-size bed for guests. A hardwood frame offers durability, while firm foam seat cushions and back cushions, as well as two foam throw pillows, provide comfort while retaining their shape. When it’s not serving as a bed, it’s an excellent place to read and relax.
With more than 100 fabric styles to choose from, this sofa is easy to match to your home’s decor.
If you associate futons with college dormitories, sleepless nights, and painful metal frames, this model may change your mind. One look at this futon sleeper sofa, and you’ll reconsider what a futon is.
The Lebanon features a solidly built, durable hardwood frame with no metals bars to torture your back. With its 8-inch-thick mattress that features high-quality Certipur coiled, hinged springs covered in a layer of cotton and memory foam, you can rest assured that your overnight guests won’t suffer through the night.
Converting this futon from sofa to bed is a breeze thanks to an easy-to-operate hinge system that changes the frame’s position while also keeping the mattress locked in place. With more than a dozen fabrics to choose from, there are plenty of options to suit a variety of aesthetics.
With its L-shaped design, this attractive sectional sleeper sofa offers a relaxing place for the family to hang out and a large sleeping option for overnight guests. It features a classic look, available in either steel gray or light gray upholstery, and tufted cushions that add sophistication. As an added bonus, the two pieces can be used separately, offering versatility, especially for smaller spaces.
Pull the loop on the front board to extend the sofa bed, incorporating both the chaise and the love seat to create a firm yet comfy full-size bed. This sofa bed makes use of the whole piece with no seat cushions or back cushions to remove and store. Additional features include a storage area inside the chaise.
A good pullout sofa will stand up to the wear and tear of converting from a sofa to a bed and back again. In order for that to happen, the bed has to be well made. The Murillo is, thanks to durable construction that includes wide-loop springs to prevent sagging, a handmade hardwood frame for the sofa, and a tough Leggett and Platt steel frame for the bed.
Of course, durability doesn’t matter much if the sofa and bed are uncomfortable. With its memory foam seat and back cushions and two throw pillows, this sofa is great for lounging. And when overnight visitors arrive, this sleeper sofa pulls out into a spacious queen-size bed.
The Murillo is an attractive sleeper, to boot. It features rounded arms, a natural earth tone, and a no-frills aesthetic that will mesh with a variety of tastes.
If you want to make the transition from sofa to bed as easy as possible, then check out this powered sleeper sofa. It features a remote control that allows you to convert the sofa into a bed and back again with just the push of a button. The transformation takes about 20 seconds.
This custom-made sleeper sofa comes in a variety of standard mattress sizes ranging from cot to king, allowing you to tailor it to fit your space. A high-grade, pressure-sensitive memory foam mattress offers comfort to guests when opened—and its no-sag spring cushioning system makes the sofa cozy, too, when the mattress is tucked away. Conveniently, there’s no need to find storage for the seat cushion or back pillows when converting from seating to sleeping area, as both are incorporated into the bed.
If you’re concerned about operating the sofa bed during a power outage, the Lazar Paragon sleeper offers the option to add a battery backup pack. Additional safety features include a motor that disengages if it senses resistance and a lockable remote, making this a good option if your overnight guests include curious kids.
FAQs About Your New Sleeper Sofa
Still have some concerns about sleeper sofas that haven’t been addressed? Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions about sleeper sofas.
Q. What is the difference between a sleeper sofa and a sofa bed?
Sofa beds are similar to futons, in that they lie flat, using the existing seat and back cushions to create the bed. Sleeper sofas, in comparison, use separate mattresses that are hidden in the frame of the sofa. The mattress pulls out to convert the sofa into a bed. Keep in mind that manufacturers often use these terms interchangeably, so don’t count on these descriptions to delineate the type of sleeper you’re getting.
Q. How do you clean a sleeper sofa without a vacuum?
Use a clean, soft cloth to brush dirt and dust from the couch’s surface. You can also use baking soda to freshen your sofa or get rid of odors. Sprinkle some baking soda on the couch, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then wipe the baking soda off with a clean cloth. You can also use a baking soda and water solution to treat spills and stains.
Q. Can you sleep on a sleeper sofa every night?
You can sleep on a sleeper sofa bed every night, but it might not be as comfortable as sleeping in a traditional bed. While sleeper sofas have come a long way in terms of comfort, they do feature thinner, lower-quality mattresses than standard beds, making them less appropriate for daily use. A sleeper sofa mattress will also wear out more quickly than a traditional mattress.