Sofa bed

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A couch unfolded into a bed

A sofa bed or sofa-bed, (in the US often sofabed, hide-a-bed, bed-couch or sleeper-sofa), is typically a sofa or couch which underneath its seating cushions hides a metal frame and thin mattress that can be unfolded or opened up to make a bed. A futon differs from a sofabed, although sofa beds using futon mattresses are common.


Leonard C. Bailey took out a patent for making the first “Folding bed” on the 18th of July 1899. The metal bed frame was capable of being folded, bent mattress closed for use if needed. Later, it was known as a “hide-a-bed”.

William Lawrence Murphy took out a patent for making “In-A-Dor bed”, which is known as a “Murphy bed” today. It’s characterized with the folded space-saver into a wall-closet.

In 1931, Bernard Castro made and sold the “Castro convertible” by using $400 from his savings. Castro’s design is considered to be the evolution of most of sold sofa beds nowadays.

After mimicking the Japanese founders, the futon appeared in the United States around the year 1980. William Brouwer is the person who evolved the first sofa convertible frame style in the United States.

Bed types[edit]

The simplest sofa[edit]

They are small sofa beds, designed for occasional use and fits well with formal settings like living rooms, guest rooms or even in a child’s bedroom. They are available in rich colored upholstery, dark wood and firm cushions.

Clic-clac sofa beds[edit]

It’s a type of convertible sofa bed, known to be more durable than foam sofa beds and appropriate for everyday use. It’s characterized with having many designs and sizes, just like regular beds. Besides, it’s very smooth and stylish.

A futon sofa[edit]

This type along with clic-clac are very much alike. What makes this special is it has visible wooden or tubular steel frames. They suit bedrooms better than living room in case you want to buy a set that matches them because it’s hard to get other sofas or chairs to match. It will fit you perfectly in case you live in a small modern apartment.

Modern sofa-bed[edit]

It’s a major component of any home these days. It is perfect in small and medium apartments or condos. It’s designed mainly favoring function and comfort over style. Usually, it has little to no wood. If there is, light colored is usually how it looks.

Fold out sofa[edit]

It’s considered to be among those on our top list because all you have to do is to fold out and here you go, it becomes a bed. Its price depends on how comfort and strength it is.

Drop end sofa[edit]

It’s characterized by being flexible and convertible to single or double. It all depends on what sort of lever technology engineered on this kind of sofa.

A-Frame sofa[edit]

It’s designed especially to be able to put your entire back down while it’s in the form of bed.

Sectional sofa[edit]

This kind of sofa lives up to its name for being adaptable and has a great quality. Besides, it consists of many sections that you can arrange and rearrange them at your will. Whether you want it big or small, it all depends on the size of your living room and it’s available in L-shape or U-shape.

Chesterfield sofa[edit]

It’s made of leather and available with a quilted or tufted design. It’s designed especially for the men to enjoy its coziness with their arms rested high.

English sofa[edit]

It belongs to the classic club piece, besides it is more casual when it’s compared to the Chesterfield. It’s known to have soft look that boost its comfort level.

Pullout sleeper sofa[edit]

The cushions are covered with heavy polyfoam of polyester fiber and they are made in variety of designs that are enough for sitting, sleeping or napping.

Empire sofa[edit]

This kind of sofa are known for having engraved frame with exposed wooden legs which are decorated the same as the rest of the sofa.

Mattress types[edit]

Although most sofa beds use a queen short mattress measuring 60"x72", other common sizes include 58"x72", 54"x72", and 52"x72". The average sofa bed mattress thickness is 4.5", thus being half as thick as a good standard mattress. Sofa mattresses can be produced out of many different materials, the majority on the market being made of springs or foam.[citation needed]

Spring sofa mattress[edit]

Although springs can make a satisfactory sofa bed mattress, the following aspects have to be considered regarding a spring sofa mattress:

  • Free length represents the overall length of a spring when no load is applied.
  • Solid height is the length of a compression, when the spring has been deflected enough to allow each adjacent coil to touch each other.
  • Working length represents the difference between the free length and the solid height.
  • Active coils is the number of coils that are free to deflect under load, i.e. the total number of coils minus the number of closed coils forming the ends is a measure of the spring quality. The more active coils a mattress has, the less working length it has, which means that the springs are the less likely to deteriorate.
  • Hydrogen embrittlement represents the hydrogen absorbed in electroplating of carbon steels causing the spring material to become brittle, leading to cracking and spring failure. Plated springs are a problem, and unplated springs are more likely to rust. Plastic coating is an alternative, but that’s extremely expensive.
  • The best springs are stress relieved, which means that the springs were treated at a temperature so as to relieve stresses. Not going through such a procedure might cause mattress failure. Unfortunately, many mattress springs are not stress relieved because it is expensive.

Foam sofa mattress[edit]

Quality foam sofa bed mattresses compress as needed, the foam acting like an infinite number of springs. A high quality foam gives better support, molds to the body and snaps back to shape. Consider the following factors of a high quality sofa bed mattress:

  • Density is a measurement of the pounds of polyurethane foam per cubic foot. High density foams can be made very soft, whereas low density foams can be made very firm.
  • Indentation force deflection (IFD) is the measure of the foam’s support, representing the pounds of force required to indent a foam sample by a specified percentage of its original thickness. Support is the foam’s ability to "push back" against your body weight, and prevent the foam from "bottoming out" on the frame or base.
  • Foam durability, flex fatigue and compression set are other terms related to foam performance.[citation needed]

Pocket-coil mattress[edit]

Pocket-coil mattresses are generally higher quality than spring or foam mattresses. Each coil is encased in its own pocket, allowing the mattress to keep its shape over time while also providing more sleep support. Pocket-coil mattresses are thicker than standard sofa bed mattresses, starting from 7" and going up to 10" for a premium product. The high-quality support provided eliminates the need for extra cushioning, allowing the mattress to become the seat of the sofa. This has resulted in a new style of sofa bed that doesn't require its mattress to be folded up and tucked inside.

Pocket coil construction

See also[edit]