Once the staple of the dorm room, the futon has evolved into a mature piece of furniture that has gone far beyond its humble Japanese origins. Today's futon is available in wide range of sizes, style and materials, making it the perfect solution for flexible sitting and sleeping. With the right cover and accessory pillows, a futon can work in most any décor.
You'll get many years of service from your futon mattress if you use a futon cover. Covers are available in a wide range of colors and styles, but consider a machine washable cover if kids will be using your futon.
You can easily upgrade the look of your futon with matching or coordinating throw pillows. Although many covers come with pillows, picking your own will let you tie the futon in with the rest of the room's color elements.
With a futon, you'll be sitting on the mattress when it's in “sofa mode,” so picking the right mattress is crucial. Foam-cotton blends are the most popular, while memory foam and wool-cotton blends are good alternatives.
Take stock of your room and figure out how much room you have. Opening and closing some futon models can require a quite a bit of space. Wall-hugging models take up the least amount of floor space.
While most futons have a “slat back” seat design, some come with full backs behind the seat, making these futons better for room layouts that expose the back of the piece. Also available are models with “futon grippers” that keep the mattress from sliding while in the folded position
A futon's size is largely determined by its mattress size. Futon mattresses follow standard mattress sizes—a twin mattress will result in a loveseat sized seating area, whereas a queen-sized mattress will offer a traditional sofa seating area.
There are three styles of futon available: bi-fold, wall-hugger and tri-fold. Bi-fold futons pivot on a single axis, look most like a traditional couch and are generally heavier than other futons. Wall-hugger futons save space by keeping the frame near the wall as they unfold. Traditional tri-fold futons fold three times and sit low to the floor.
Unlike sofa beds, futon frames are exposed as part of the design of the furniture. Wood frames will give your futon a more traditional look, while metal frames give a modern or casual feel to the room.
Futon mattresses come in a range of materials. A traditional cotton mattress will become quite firm as the material compresses. Foam-cotton mattresses are very popular, combing comfort and support. There are even innerspring mattresses if you're looking for a modern sleeping experience.
Futon covers come in a wide range of fabric styles. Look for a slip-on cover made from machine washable fabric for the ultimate in style and convenience.
The futon started life as a traditional Japanese sleeping device. Frameless, the futon was the perfect space saving bed, rolled up and put in a closet when not in use. The western, framed version began to appear in the 1970s and became popular as a low-cost sleeping alternative. Today, futons have grown up into sophisticated pieces of furniture as much at home in the family room as in an artist's loft.
Futons come in a wide range of styles, from rustic to ultra modern—and everything in between. Whether it's a Mission style piece or a classic cottage look, you'll have no problem finding a futon to coordinate with the rest of your furniture. Just remember: form follows function—the bigger the sleeping area you require, the bigger the futon you'll need to plan for.
The futon's most important element is the mattress. Futon mattresses do double duty as both beds and chair cushions. There are several styles of mattress available, from traditional full cotton to high-tech memory foam. The most popular type of futon mattress is the foam-cotton blend, where cotton batting surrounds an inner core of foam. Foam-cotton futon mattresses offer a good balance of comfort and support.
Unlike sofa beds, futons have an exposed frame. This design feature means you'll have to carefully match the futon to the rest of your décor. Wood and metal are the most popular frame materials. Wood frames have a traditional look, while metal frames are more at home in a contemporary or casual setting. If your futon will be exposed on all sides, look for a model with a full back as opposed to the more common slat-back models.
Futon covers come in a wide range of fabric styles and colors. A good futon cover will feature double stitching, a smoothly operating zipper and a high fabric weight. If kids will be using the futon, a micro-fiber, machine washable futon cover will make your life easier. Although many futon covers come with accent pillows, finding your own will allow you to customize your futon's look.
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