The Best Sleeper Sofas Are a Major Upgrade From Your Saggy College Futon

·17 min read

In the prime of your adulthood, you might not be Googling the best sleeper sofas with the fervor you did in college (when brick-like, nearly-scraping-the-floor futons were pretty much the norm). If you have the space and money, you may be thinking that you ought to spring for a straight-up bed for overnight guests, and if you don’t, there’s always the fallback inflatable mattress that can be had for around 100 bones.

Even so, sleeper sofas are still solidly useful for padding out your basement, or for a guest room or home office that’s tight on space. They’re also ideal for adding a makeshift sleeping space in your living room where there is very little room for one. Whether or not you use the bed component, you've still got a solid couch for watching Netflix or kicking your feet up.

The Best Sleeper Sofas, at a Glance

Skip right to the good part with this helpful primer of all of our favorite sleeper sofas, categorized by style:

But finding a good one isn't always easy. Traditional sofa beds have long been a burdensome combination of expensive, heavy, and sometimes pretty ugly. On the low end, they retail for at least a couple hundred, and on the high end, you’re looking to spend thousands of dollars (i.e. a lot more than the average mattress).

Pull-out styles are a general pain in the ass to lug from apartment to apartment (queen-size sleeper sofas typically weigh around 180 pounds), meaning that if you land on a nice one for your place, it’s probably a lifer. And if you’re shopping for a new one, research is key to avoiding hauling that sucker back to a UPS store. At their worst, they also resemble the world’s ugliest Transformer: a hunk of metal emerging from your couch, with a flimsy-looking mattress on top, and a sinkhole in the middle that lands you right on top of the dreaded support bar in the middle.

Low-budget futon sofas, like the ones you owned in college, aren’t that much better. The high-density foam can help with support, but often needs a bit of give and cushion as a counterbalance to keep you comfortable through the night. And if the couch itself doesn’t have the right setup to keep you aloft, you’re going to be a lot closer to the floor than you ever intended to be.

But sleeper sofas have evolved in a lot of ways in recent years. More futon-like options have emerged made from comfy combinations of foam (offering denser support layers and cushier top layers), like the way your favorite Casper or Tuft & Needle mattress might. Made-to-order couch companies like Joybird and Interior Define launched in 2014, offering great customization and enhanced design features so you can build a sturdy pullout from scratch. Couch-in-a-box retailers like Burrow have democratized the concept of the “sofa bed”: Is it a full-on mattress tucked away inside your couch, or is it just a state of mind and a mattress topper on your couch? And with millennial-approved retailers like Floyd offering modular sofas that you can make as long as you want, theoretically any comfy couch can become an elongated sleeper sofa if you want it to be.

What types of sleeper couches are out there?

Sleeper couches can generally be broken down into three categories. First, there’s the traditional pull-out bed which usually involves a metal frame tri-folded within the couch, and a thinner-than-average mattress on top of it. Since these have a solid framework to them, the good ones are going to offer exceptional support and durability so you can use them again and again. Since these do pull out an entire queen size bed, typically, they require more square footage to store them. These also tend to be a lot heavier and more expensive than some of their simpler couch counterparts.

For a lighter-weight option that works for small spaces, there are also futon-style couches that fold in such a way that you can lie down straight on the surface of the couch itself, rather than pull out additional materials. These feel more like memory foam mattresses in terms of support and simply unfold to lie flat. They also offer greater flexibility in style (since you’re not necessarily limited by the addition of a mattress).

Another that we’d lump into this category is the even lighter-weight daybed. These can come in various forms: the very lightweight but questionably supportive chaise longue and the convertible sofa daybed that transforms into a twin or queen bed with or without a pullout trundle.

Then there's the “very long couch,” usually in sectional form, that has the length and comfort to get you through the night. We'd even recommend certain chaise longues here so long as they're comfy enough for guests to sleep on—trust us, they're out there, we've owned one! These are ideal for people who want to make their moves as streamlined as possible and want something low-maintenance to fill their space. FYI, they might not be right for a heavier person or back sleeper who needs extra support.

Though we haven’t had the pleasure of testing all of these out for ourselves, we cherrypicked some of our top picks (among all different styles and price points) that are adjustable and functional, but also won’t look like something you just plucked off of Facebook Marketplace for cheap. We looked for variability and high-quality materials, and punted anything that had wishy-washy reviews. Here, the best sleeper sofas for all styles and budgets.

The Best All-Around Sleeper Sofa: Albany Park Albany

Albany Park Albany sleeper sofa

$1359.00, Albany Park

Style: Futon
Dimensions:  87.4 x 35.5 x 31.5 
Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty

Albany Park is a newish D2C furniture brand that set its sights on designing a better sofa for the flatpack-fatigued. Built on a sturdy hardwood kiln frame, its Albany sleeper comes in a handful of colorways and fabrics (from velvet to vegan leather), with the option to choose between midcentury wooden legs and gleaming metal ones. All the cushioned elements of this couch use mattress-worthy, high-density foam, and the top cushion packs down flat, futon-style, so your guest can spread out to sleep. At just over $1,000 it's a great middle ground between the higher-end picks on this list and a budget Tarjé couch, plus the brand's lifetime warranty (which covers repairs and defects) helps ensure that this Albany is here for a long time, not just a good time.

The Best-Looking Pull-Out Sofa Bed: West Elm Shelter Queen

West Elm shelter queen sleeper sofa

$2499.00, West Elm

Style: Pull-out bed
Dimensions: 84.5 x 38 x 30 inches
Warranty: Optional three-year AllState add-on

If your guest room gets nearly as much foot traffic as an Airbnb, it might be worthwhile just shelling out for a legit pull-out bed frame and mattress situation. This West Elm model is one of the best we've seen, in terms of design. It skews to the medium-soft end of things, which is the ideal padding for your butt and limbs no matter how you choose to sit or recline. It also has a solid hand-built frame and hand-finished upholstery for a more bespoke feel. When the pullout bed emerges, the sturdy support leg props up a two-layer, five-inch gel memory foam mattress that has a cover made of a breathable knit.

The Best-Looking Futon-Style Bed: Blu Dot Thataway

Blu Dot Thataway 102" sofa bed

$2195.00, Bludot

Style: Futon
87.4 x 35.5 x 31.5 inches
Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty

Many design-y brands have skirted the bulk and stodginess of standard sleeper sofas by simply offering streamlined futon-style sofa beds instead—ones that just require some dismantling and rearranging to transition into a bed. This gently sloping Blu Dot model is perfectly minimal in design, with just a low-lying solid wood frame and a foamy fill as its couch and bed. Its thick, but plushy seat cushion flips forward to create a flat sleeping surface that rests on the ground, so the bed area remains stable while you sleep.

The Best Velvet Sleeper Sofa: Rove Concepts Milo

Rove Concepts Milo sleeper sofa

$2499.00, Rove Concepts

Style: Pull-out bed
Dimensions: 98.4 in x 40 in x 31.5 in
Warranty: Optional accident protection add-on

Rove Concepts is one of our favorite places to window shop for upscale, AD home tour-esque design, but also one of the best stores to score a handsome, expertly-crafted couch under $3,000. This velvet number comes in a variety of hues like this pastel robin's egg blue number and sits low to the ground to make your tiny city studio feel a lot bigger than it actually is. A hidden zipper at the back of the couch conceals a pull tab that unfolds the top layer of the couch down to a full mattress length. The best part of all is that the mattress cover fully comes off to pop in the wash in case your last guest was a drooler or a dog. The only downside here is that the couch is extra long (at nearly 100 inches), so you will need to have a spacious room to park it in.

The Best Splurge-y Sleeper Sofa: Gus Rialto

Gus Rialto sofa bed

$3995.00, 2Modern

Style: Pull-out bed
Dimensions: 76 x 39 x 34 inches 
Warranty: None

This best-selling Gus sofa bed is Scandi-style design at its best. It's curvy, minimal, spacious, and pleasing to the eye. The bed also doesn't give away that it's concealing a steel bed frame in its interiors, which folds out easily to prop up a full-size foam mattress with bent plywood slats and support straps. This sofa's ideal if you want a super stylish couch that has thought through the details of its pull-out mattress. It's a little pricier than the rest of the options here, and weighty at around 200 pounds in its packaging, but the upside is that it will look good in any room you place it in and last you a long time.

The Best Day Bed Sleeper Sofa: Room & Board Oxford Pop-Up

Room & Board oxford pop-up platform sleeper day bed

$2899.00, Room & Board

Style: Day bed
Dimensions: 87 x 39 x 27 inches
Warranty: None

The ideal day bed situation is one where it looks functional for sitting or lounging during the daytime, and doesn't give away the fact that it's concealing a whole ‘nother bed under there. This looker from Room & Board comes in a stylish boucle fabric that wouldn’t look funny in a home office space, and the front rail rolls out to reveal a trundle bed that supports a queen size mattress. It's longer than average at 87 inches wide, so just make sure you have enough space to accommodate your new sleeper.

The Best Design-y on a Budget Sleeper Sofa: Croydon Klick-Klak

Croydon Klick-Klak sofa

$780.00, Raymour & Flanigan

Style: Futon
Dimensions: 74.5 x 37 x 36 inches
Warranty: Five years

And if you're obsessed with the idea of owning one of Togo's endlessly covetable and ‘grammable Ducaroy sofas, we found a cheaper, similar style at an unlikely place: Raymour & Flanigan, the furniture chain favored by your grandparents (probably). This one’s on legs, so it's not directly on the floor like the Togo, and it has an adjustable frame for rendering the sofa surface totally flat for sleep. The sturdy wood and coil spring structure can support up to 900 pounds, so it should be decently supportive for most people, too.

The Best DIY Sleeper Sofa: Burrow Arch Nomad

Burrow Arch nomad sofa

$1890.00, Burrow

Style: Couch plus sleep add-ons
Dimensions: 85 x 35 x 33 inches
Warranty: One year

Sometimes you really just want a couch that you can slap a sheet on, no pullout bar involved, and call it a day. Burrow has just the setup for that (the focus groups have spoken!) which involves a customizable sectional couch—make it chrome-y or go for bold in brick red—with an additional sleep kit including a custom-fit memory foam topper, bedding, and even an eye mask. That may sound janky in theory, but it's pretty ideal if you're really hunting for the couch without the bulk of additional pullout options. Everything packs away when it's not in use, and the memory foam topper will certainly be a lot more comfortable than a deflated air mattress when the morning rolls around.

The Best Long Sofa that Doubles as a Bed: Floyd Two-Seater Sectional

Floyd two-seater sectional

$1680.00, Floyd

Style: Extra long comfy sectional
Dimensions: 90 x 36.5 x 27.4 inches
Warranty: One year

Ballet dancer Isabella Boylston gets it. “I always appreciate a sofa that can double as a bed but isn’t a pull out and still looks chic,” she told us in 2020 of her ultra-long sectional couch. That’s the potential of this Floyd couch, which is fully modular so you can stretch it out to be super long or draw separate pieces of the couch to opposite ends of the room when you’re feeling uninspired. An elongated daybed or sectional situation usually means a much easier time assembling the thing in your apartment, and this one is thankfully designed for comfort no matter how it shapes up, thanks to dual-layer foam cushions that provide sink-in-able softness and support.

The Best Chaise Sleeper Sofa: Hem Palo

Hem Palo sofa

$3349.00, Hem

Style: Chaise longue
Dimensions: 76.8 x 38.2 x 26.8 inches
Warranty: Five-year limited warranty

Stockholm-based brand Hem has fully locked down the swervy, hyper-sleek seating market, and its Palo couch is no exception. Taking similar cues from the Floyd above, you won't find any actual pull-out contraptions here: The best part is that the couch surface is the bed. But you'll find that there's not much lacking in comfort with a foamy-centered sofa like this one, and the wealth of options that Hem offers means that you can choose between a chaise-style design with room to kick your feet up, a traditional sofa with armrests on either side for gathering while watching reruns, or a formation with a floating ottoman at the end. The framework is a hefty powder-coated steel, but if it ever lets you down in the future, lean on the five-year warranty that the company offers for tuneups and refunds.

The Best Vintage-Looking Sleeper Sofa: Joybird Korver

Joybird Korver sleeper sofa

$3111.00, Joybird

Style: Pull-out bed
Dimensions: 81 x 36 x 33 inches
Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty

If you're gonna buy a sofa, it may as well be from a brand that specializes in that exact thing. Take this Joybird option that looks like it time-traveled from someone's shag-carpeted ‘70s home. There’s a queen-size mattress within its innards that pulls out and rests on stabilized support legs. Blessedly, the design details are flexible (it can be as splashy as you want it—swap out the orange here for a wallflower blue or grey), and its glowing reviews are certainly persuasive enough to help you swallow the high price tag. If you're unhappy with the way the couch holds up for any reason, there's also a lifetime limited warranty that will help you call in assistance on repairs and defects.

The Best Sleeper Sofa at Target: Target Room Essentials

Target Room Essentials convertible sofa bed

$280.00, Target

Style: Futon
Dimensions: 72 x 47.5 x 9.5 inches
Warranty: One year

Contrary to other folks' horrific experiences with their first futon, Tarjé was the first place that this writer scored her college sofa bed as a hand-me-down from her sister: It was done up in a beautiful suede fabric, wildly comfortable for passing out on after a long week of exams, basically the envy of the entire hall, and had the kind of structure that helped it survive several moves. It's been over a decade since then, but we suspect that the sleeper sofas there are still better than ever for the price point. Take this Scandi-style number with stubby birch plywood legs and a handsome gray exterior. It reclines flat for fully sleeping a guest or two, and reviewers note that there's very little assembly or maneuvering required. Some say that the cushion falls on the firmer end and needs a little time to fully break in, but if comfort's ever an issue, there's always a cheapo mattress topper to fill that void. Top that off with a one-year warranty and you're looking at a very solid (in all senses of the word) investment for a starter sleeper couch.

The Best Sleeper Sofa at Wayfair: AllModern Elsmere

AllModern Elsmere Pillow Top Arm Sofa Bed

$1280.00, Wayfair

Style: Day bed
Dimensions: 29 x 81 x 43 inches
Warranty: One-year limited warranty

Wayfair isn't exactly the most prime destination for stylish furniture, but you can surface gems here and there, and this AllModern chaise is just that. All clean lines, cream fabric, and cushy foam, this blessedly simplistic couch is built like a chaise, with a bolster pillow that can double as a sleeping surface (just, uh, be sure to put a pillowcase on that sucker) when you have impromptu guests over. Nothing needs to pack down, and its waterproof surface can also help with errant spills down the line. The Elsmere isn't the kind of thing you buy if you have small children or pets running around, but it's an elegant option to store in your guest room or study that can help you avoid shelling out for a whole pull-out bed couch.

The Best Sleeper Sofa at Ikea: Ikea Friheten

Ikea Friheten sleeper sofa

$749.00, Ikea

Style: Pullout bed
Dimensions: 88 5/8 x 41 3/8 x 32 5/8 inches
Warranty: 10-year limited warranty

Many of us have been buoyed by Ikea’s couches from apartment to apartment, which has everything to do with how accessible, affordable, and inoffensive they are. Maybe you’ve owned some version of this Friheten sofa in the past: It’s a lift-and-tug model that conceals pillows and blankets, and the couch surfaces themselves flip to form a stable surface that you can tuck a sheet over. Reviews state that it’s actually comfortable and runs slightly larger than a queen size, which is ideal if you’re couch-surfing with a buddy and don't want to get too cozy. The 10-year warranty is also a major relief in case you run into longevity issues down the line.

Originally Appeared on GQ

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