Today’s Sleeper Sofas

Holiday guests coming to stay? Sleeper sofas are a great way to dual purpose a room for occasional visitors. Often called sofa beds or sleep sofas, they are among the most versatile pieces of furniture you can own. Perfect for apartments, small houses, or homes without a guest room, they are no longer ugly pieces with bars and springs poking you in the back. Today’s sleeper sofas look and sit more like stationary sofas, and come in more styles and upholstery options than ever before.

Innovations in the design of modern sleeper sofa mechanisms give a much more comfortable seating and sleeping experience. Some designs have re-engineered the horizontal supports, eliminating the uncomfortable bar that made sleep sofas uncomfortable for sleeping and sitting. New designs also allow for easier set-up, unfolding with smoother transitions, and eliminating some of the heavy lifting. Seat cushions now feature options like blend down, pocketed coils, and memory foam, making them just as inviting to sit on as traditional sofas.


The most important recent improvements in sleepers are the mattress options that are now available. Most brands offer mattress upgrades with memory foam, gel-infused foam and air chamber mattresses, which allow for a more comfortable night’s sleep. If your sleeper will be used heavily as a bed, due to frequent guests or a snoring spouse, then you should consider a mattress upgrade beyond a basic model designed for the occasional guest.

Styling has also been stepped up from the basic traditional to sleeker, more contemporary looks. Combine the selection of available styles with a broad range of fabrics and leather, and it’s possible to complement any décor. Many manufacturers include sleeper sofas as pieces in their collections; you can pick a matching chair or loveseat to complete the set.

Whether contemporary or traditional, sleep sofas are likely to have a few things in common:

  • Attached Back Cushions or Tight Back Construction – While not essential, attached back cushions or tight back construction makes it easier to cope with sofa in sleep mode, since you will only be juggling seat cushions while the bed is out.
  • Low Front Rail – Most sleeper designs will have a front rail fairly close to the floor. This conceals the folded-away sleeper mechanism.
  • Trim Arms – Whether track style or rolled, most sleeper designs will have compact arms for a very practical reason: space. The housing of the sleeper mechanism requires space in the sofa frame and prohibits excessively large arm profiles.

A queen size sleeper is the most widely available, but twin, full, and even custom sizes are possible. A sleep sofa doesn’t have to be individual piece. Sleeper options in reclining and stationary sectionals allow you to configure seating to fit your space and accommodate overnight guests. For smaller spaces, a sleeper chair concealing a twin bed might be just the thing to maximize your space. Newer futon-inspired designs can also offer contemporary styling for convertible seating while minimizing the required floor space.

How to Choose

When selecting a sleeper sofa, it is essential that you try it out. Open it up on the sales floor and lie down. If you are not comfortable, your guests won’t be either. Be sure to test the mechanism and open up the sleeper yourself. Chances are that if you can’t easily get it open in the store, you won’t be able to when your overnight guest arrives. Be sure to measure the room. Not only do you need space for the sofa, but you need room for it to open as a bed. Also measure any doorways the sofa will need to pass through during delivery.

A sleeper sofa can add unseen, valuable versatility to any family room or guest space, allowing you to entertain visitors in comfort and style.