Design Holidays & Celebrations

Expecting Overnight Guests for the Holidays? Here’s Where to Put Them

Caught in a space squeeze without a hideaway bed? Ensure that your overnight visitors get a good night’s sleep with these cots, Murphy beds, futons, and more.
Donna Boyle Schwartz Avatar
Pull-out sofa with bed pulled out and wrinkled sheets and pillows.
an opened sofa bed with bed clothes and pillows Photo:

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‘Tis the season…for family and friends to come crashing at your place for the holidays. The last thing a thoughtful host wants is for their guests to be uncomfortable, or feel unwanted and in the way—but let’s face it, the days of every homeowner having a dedicated “spare bedroom” to house guests are long over.

Given the rise in the post-pandemic popularity of home offices most homeowners no longer keep a full or queen bed “all dolled up” for company. (The near-record U.S. median home price in the third quarter of 2023 might also mean that buying a home with an extra bedroom is cost prohibitive for many families.) For urban residents and apartment dwellers, the concept of “extra” space is relegated to a someday fantasy.

The good news is that no, your sister doesn’t have to sleep in your bathtub while she’s in town for the Thanksgiving parade. There are a number of creative ways you can squeeze extra sleeping space into your place, for the holiday season and beyond. From hidden beds and fold-out cots to child-friendly mats and mattresses, these are some of our favorite guest bed ideas for every budget.

1. Memory Foam Futon

Novogratz Tallulah memory foam futon in grey

Thank the Japanese for inventing the futon, the lightweight flexible mattress designed to be folded or rolled up, allowing a bedroom to be used for other purposes during the day. Traditional Japanese futons don’t have quite the same level as cushioning as Western sleepers tend to prefer, which has given rise to an entire category of convenient and comfy framed futons, including the Novogratz Tallulah Memory Foam Futon, ranked “best overall” in our researched guide to the best futons. This classic vintage futon doubles as additional seating and features a sturdy wood frame, sleek wooden legs, button-tufted arms and back, and high-density foam and memory foam cushioning to provide support and comfort. The futon is upholstered in a soft velvet available in blue, grey, green and pink, and also features a split-back design that can be reclined independently to create multiple positions for lounging and sleeping.

Get the Novogratz Tallulah Memory Foam Futon at Amazon for $399.

2. Versatile Sofa Bed

A grey Vonada sofa bed in the expanded position.

Multi-purpose, multi-position, functional, and just plain fun, the Vonanda Sofa Bed is a convertible chair, ottoman, lounger and bed all in one compact package. This versatility earned the 4-in-1 Vonanda Convertible top marks as “best overall” in our guide to the best guest beds. The Vonanda Sofa Bed can be folded completely, becoming an upholstered ottoman measuring 37 inches long by 27 inches wide and 17 inches high. The backrest adjusts to five positions for lounging; when the unit is fully extended into a bed, it measures 37 inches wide by 74 inches long. A three-inch-thick foam mattress ensures guests can sleep in comfort.

Get the Vonanda Sofa Bed at Amazon for $329.99.

3. Murphy Bed Chest

Night & Day furniture murphy cube cabinet bed with a wood finish.

For years, Murphy beds were the Rodney Dangerfield of the furniture industry: they “got no respect,” often serving as a punchline on old sitcoms. But in today’s space-crunched society, the Murphy bed is finally coming back into its own as a stylish and chic alternative way to provide extra sleeping space. This Night & Day Furniture Murphy Cube Cabinet Bed is a perfect example, giving the appearance of an attractive hardwood storage cabinet while concealing a queen-size bed complete with a six-inch, tri-fold, premium gel memory foam mattress. When closed, the cabinet measures 36.6 inches high by 64.1 inches wide and 26.4 inches long, taking up just 10 square feet of floor space; open, it measures 25.7 inches high by 64.1 inches wide and 80.3 inches long.

Get the Night & Day Furniture Murphy Cube Cabinet Bed at Amazon for $1,797.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Murphy Beds

4. Camping Cot

Coleman camping cot

This Coleman Camping Cot, Air Mattress, and Pump Combo proves that you don’t have to be the outdoorsy type to enjoy quick and easy comfort, earning it a ranking of “best with cot” in our researched guide to the best air mattresses. The air mattress itself is a supportive eight inches high when fully inflated, and the included folding cot raises the sleeping surface to 23.5 inches. The air mattress features a stable and supportive ComfortStrong Coil construction and an AirTight system with Double Lock valve to prevent the mattress from leaking. The included air pump operates on four D batteries. The sturdy steel cot construction can hold up to 300 pounds and accommodate sleepers up to 6 feet tall, yet weighs less than 14 pounds for prime portability.

Get the Coleman Camping Cot, Air Mattress and Pump Combo at Amazon (Twin Size) from $150.99.

5. Sleeper Sofa

Wayfair Jan 87-inch sleeper sofa in light brown

Sleeper sofas (or as your mom may have called them, hide-a-beds) have a lot of negative associations, including unattractive aesthetics for hosts and uncomfortable nights of tossing and turning for guests. But today’s sleeper sofas are a whole new world, as this Jan 87” Upholstered Sleeper Sofa indicates, earning it a “best overall” rating in our researched guide to the best sleeper sofa. This square arm sofa combines an 87-inch long seating surface with a pull-out queen-size bed to accommodate more than one sleeper. The sofa bed is offered in a selection of 47 fabric choices, including sturdy, easy-to-clean Sunbrella and Sustain fabrics that are as attractive as they are durable.

Get the Jan 87” Square Arm Sofa Bed at Wayfair, priced from $889.99.

6. Air Mattress for Kids

Child sleeping on The Shrunks toddler travel bed

Traveling with the little ones can be stressful enough without worrying about where they are going to be safe and secure while sleeping. Fortunately, the award-winning The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed is easy to use, easy to transport and features a special “guard rails and tuck” design that prevent the child from falling over the edge—standard-sized crib sheets and blankets tuck into the inner air mattress to keep the sleeper safe. The bed is sized specifically for children, at an inflated size of 60 inches long by 37 inches wide by 9 inches high, earning it the “best for kids” designation in our researched guide to the best air mattresses. The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed package includes an electric pump that inflates the bed in 30 seconds, as well as a compact carry bag and a repair kit.

Get The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed at Amazon for $69.99.

7. Sleeper Chaise

guest bed sleeper lounge

Ooh, la la! You would never guess that this très chic Latitude Run Crisma Vegan Leather Chaise Lounge also delivers extra sleeping space. The modern square tufted design and slanted chrome legs present a sleek contemporary aesthetic while the split-back construction allows the piece to be adjusted for seating, lounging, or sleeping. This faux-leather piece weighs just 44 pounds but can hold up to 617 pounds. It’s 30 inches wide and 65.6 inches long when flat.

Get the Latitude Run Crisma Vegan Leather Chaise Lounge from Wayfair from $212.99.

8. Double-Height Air Mattress

Enerplex double-height tall air mattress in blue and white

People of a “certain age” will definitely appreciate the height of this EnerPlex Double Height Inflatable Bed…as will anyone with back or knee problems that make getting down on the floor a nightmare. And space-constrained homeowners will love its compact size and the built-in dual pump that inflates the mattress in less than 2 minutes. When fully inflated, the twin-size mattress measures 80 inches long by 60 inches wide by 16 inches high, yet when deflated, the bed takes up no more room than a 1-foot-square package for easy storage.

The mattress is constructed of puncture-resistant PVC in a sturdy coil beam configuration, and also features a premium comfort top flocking to prevent leaking and provide non-slip stability. The combination of features, portability and reasonable price earned the EnerPlex the “best bang for the buck” designation in our researched guide to the best guest beds.

Get the EnerPlex Double Height Inflatable Bed w/ Built-in Dual Pump at Amazon, priced from $43.99.

RELATED: 12 Ways to Travel This Year Without Paying for a Hotel

9. Roll-Out Futon

D&D roll out futon mattress in black

Take a page from traditional Asian sleeping styles by providing guests with a firm but comfortable sleeping surface with the D&D Futon Furniture Cotton/Foam Traditional Japanese/Thai Floor Rolling Futon Mattress. The roll-out futon doubles as a yoga meditation mat and features a three-inch thick filling of 90 percent cotton, 5 percent polyester and resilient polyurethane foam. The roll-out futon measures 80 inches long by 30 inches wide by 3 inches thick and weighs just 15 pounds, making it easy to stow or take on trips; it’s a portable and affordable sleeping option selected as offering the “best bang for the buck” in our researched guide to the best futon mattresses.

Get the D&D Futon Furniture Cotton/Foam Traditional Japanese/Thai Floor Rolling Futon Mattress at Amazon for $86.

10. Rollaway Bed

Milliard deluxe folding bed for guests

Offer your guests a combination of exceptional support and luxurious comfort with the Milliard Deluxe Diplomat Folding Bed, a practical and portable solution that was named the “best overall” product in our researched buyer’s guide to the best rollaway beds. The Milliard Diplomat Folding Bed features a full-steel, reinforced wire lattice frame that can handle up to 300 pounds. Its layered foam mattress incorporates a 3.5-inch supportive foam base and a cushy 1-inch memory foam top. The bed measures 75 inches long by 38 inches wide by 17 inches high, yet folds up into a slim, 14-inch profile on smooth-rolling wheels, allowing it to be tucked away in a closet when not in use.

Get the Milliard Deluxe Diplomat Folding Bed at Amazon for $339.99.

RELATED: How to Make a Bed (the Right Way)

11. Reclining Two-Seater

GDF Studio Hana two-seater recliner in grey.

Two can get cozy or one can sprawl out in comfort on this GDF Studio Hana Plush Cushion Tufted Back Loveseat Recliner that can do double-duty as a sleeping nook. The two-seat recliner takes up a small footprint, measuring just 46.5 inches wide by 37 inches deep by 40 inches tall, yet has room enough for two. The surprisingly affordable recliner is made of soft and durable microfiber and comes in a neutral slate color.

Get the GDF Studio Hana Plush Cushion Tufted Back Loveseat Recliner at Amazon for $467.16.

12. Tatami Mattress

FULI Japanese tatami mattress on bamboo floors.

If you prefer a traditional Japanese futon, it doesn’t get more authentic than the FULI Japanese Traditional Igusa (Rush Grass) Tatami Mattress. This classic hand-crafted tatami mattress is made by Japanese artisans from 100 percent rush grass (igusa) and serves as either a sleeping surface or a decorative floor covering. One benefit of sleeping on a classic tatami mattress is that it helps keep the back and body straight and the spine neutral. The lightweight tatami mattress weighs just 6.5 pounds and folds in thirds, allowing it to be tucked away easily when not in use.

Get the FULI Japanese Traditional Igusa Tatami Mattress at Amazon for $198.

13. Convertible Bean Bag

Woman with laptop on cordaroys beanbag

Go from a casual chair to a cozy bed in short order with the CordayRoy’s Chenille Bean Bag Convertible Chair. Simply remove the cover and have an instant bed for overnight guests in full, queen, or king size. In bean bag chair mode, it measures 42 inches around and 32 inches high to offer comfy sitting or sleeping with a small everyday profile. The full size bed measures 54 inches wide by 57 inches long and 8 inches high. When done using the CordaRoy as a bed, fold it from the corners like a taco, pull the cover back over, then rotate, shake, and zip the bag closed. The cover for this fun piece of convertible furniture comes in a variety of colors to suit a living area, gaming room, or kid’s space.

Get the full size CordaRoy’s Chenille Convertible Bean Bag Chair at Amazon, priced from $271.49.

RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Bean Bag Chairs

14. Folding Mattress

Milliard folding mattress

If your guest room doubles as an office, the Milliard Folding Mattress with Washable Cover, which provides an easy transition from daytime work to nighttime comfort. The 6-inch thick gel memory foam mattress was our top pick in our researched guide to the best foldable mattresses. It comes in several mattress sizes to sleep one or two guests, but folds up for easy storage. The full size mattress tri-folds to 12 inches by 52 inches by 25 inches. It comes with a jacquard carrying case to keep it clean while stored between uses or for camping.

Get the full size Milliard Folding Mattress with Washable Cover at Amazon for $134.99.

The prices listed here are accurate as of publication on November 2, 2023.