Expecting Overnight Guests? Here’s Where to Put Them
Caught in a space squeeze without a hideaway bed? Check out these best bets for spare beds to ensure that your overnight visitors get a good night’s sleep.
The last thing any thoughtful host wants is for their guests to be uncomfortable or feel unwanted and in the way—and no one wants cranky, sleep-deprived visitors! At the same time, however, the days of every homeowner having a dedicated “spare bedroom” to house guests are long over.
Between the pandemic-fueled rise in home offices and multipurpose spaces, most homeowners no longer keep a full or queen bed “all dolled up” for company. And for urban residents and apartment dwellers, the concept of “extra” space is relegated to a someday fantasy.
Luckily, however, there are a number of creative solutions for squeezing in some extra sleeping space during the holidays and beyond. Here are some of our top picks for guest beds at a variety of price points and sizes.
1. Memory Foam Futon
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.
2. Versatile Sofa Bed
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.
3. Murphy Bed Chest
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.
RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Murphy Beds
4. 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.
5. Sleeper Sofa
Sleeper sofas 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 sleeper sofa buying guide. 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.
6. Air Mattress for Kids
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.
7. Sleeper Chaise
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.
8. Double-Height Air Mattress
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.
9. Roll-Out Futon
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.
10. Rollaway Bed
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.
RELATED: How to Make a Bed (the Right Way)
11. Reclining Two-Seater
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.
12. Tatami Mattress
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.
13. Convertible Bean Bag
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.
14. 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.
The prices listed here are accurate as of publication on April 4, 2023.