The 9 Best Futons for Every Style and Space
Futons aren't just for college students trying to cheaply furnish an apartment. Modern futons are ideal for anyone with limited space, and there are plenty of stylish options to choose from. Unlike sleeper sofas, which conceal a thin, foldable mattress underneath their cushions, futons simply lay flat to transform into a makeshift bed for overnight guests. And, more good news, futons tend to be much more affordable than other types of sleeper sofas.
To determine the best futons on the market, we spent hours researching, scouring user reviews, and considering factors such as size, comfort, material, folding mechanism, and style. For expert advice on how to choose and style the best futon for your space, we consulted Caron Woosley, founder and principal designer at CW Interiors, as well as Alessandra Wood and Karina Lameraner, vice president of style and senior creative director, respectively, at the online interior design service Modsy.
"Opt for a piece that will be both comfortable and stylish in your space," says Lameraner. "You'll want to consider what kind of mattress material will work best for you."
Our top pick, the Novogratz Brittany Sofa Futon, stands out for its functional split-back design, stylish upholstery, color variety, and affordable price.
Find more of our recommendations for the best futons below, and keep scrolling for more details on how to choose the best one for your space and needs.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Futon: Novogratz Brittany Sofa Futon
- Best Budget Futon: Wade Logan Adoncia Armless Sleeper
- Best Modern Futon: Mistana Dingler Sleeper Sofa
- Best Sectional Futon: Sand & Stable Allison Reversible Sleeper Sectional
- Best Memory Foam Futon: Novogratz Tallulah Memory Foam Futon
- Best Leather Futon: Lucid Comfort Collection Ollie Vegan Leather Square Arm
- Best Japanese-Style Futon: EMOOR Japanese Floor Futon Mattress
- Best Futon Chair: Zipcode Design New London Linen Convertible Chair
- Best Splurge Futon: Apt2B Haden Urban Sofa Bed
Best Overall Futon: Novogratz Brittany Sofa Futon
Best Budget Futon: Wade Logan Adoncia Armless Sleeper
Best Modern Futon: Mistana Dingler Sleeper Sofa
Best Sectional Futon: Sand & Stable Allison Reversible Sleeper Sectional
Best Memory Foam Futon: Novogratz Tallulah Memory Foam Futon
Best Leather Futon: Lucid Comfort Collection Ollie Vegan Leather Futon
Best Japanese-Style Futon: EMOOR Japanese Floor Futon Mattress
Best Futon Chair: Zipcode Design New London Linen Convertible Chair
Best Splurge Futon: Apt2B Haden Urban Sofa Bed
The Novogratz Brittany Sofa Futon earned the top spot because it merges function with style at a good price. Its split-back design allows you to recline one or both cushions, or fully recline to create a bed, and the tufted cushions, curved armrests, and numerous color options make it feel like a much more expensive piece.
If you're looking to spend a little less and save on space, the Adoncia Armless Sleeper can adapt to many different spaces, and spans just 65 inches in length.
How to Shop for a Futon Like a Pro
The most important thing to consider when purchasing a futon is how you intend to use it. Because of their dual nature, futons may be used primarily for sleeping, lounging, or both.
If you plan to use your futon primarily for sitting and lounging, then you don't necessarily need to splurge on the most plush futon mattress out there. Instead, consider how the futon will fit into your space, how many people it can seat, and whether or not it will work with your existing decor.
For those who plan to use a futon primarily for sleeping, there are a few more things to consider. You may want to invest in a futon with a thicker mattress, possibly even memory foam. You'll also want to make sure the frames are easy to adjust when switching back and forth from upright to flat. Or go frameless with a Japanese futon—a sleeping pad that can easily be folded up and stored when not in use.
Size and Type
It's critical that you measure your space before purchasing a futon to ensure you can accommodate it both in the upright position and when it lays completely flat—most futon beds hover somewhere between a twin and full size mattress when laid flat. And of course, make sure whatever model you choose will fit through all doorways and stairwells en route to your space!
Although futons are already designed to save space by replacing two separate pieces of furniture with one, you can find futons designed specifically for extra-small spaces. If you're really tight on space, a futon chair is a great alternative: This single-seater takes up far less space when upright, but can lay flat to create a makeshift bed for overnight guests.
Finally, if you have a little more space to spare yet still want the functionality of a futon, a sectional futon with a chaise lounge gives you the best of both worlds.
Because they are used for both sitting and sleeping, futon mattresses are not as thick as your standard box spring mattress—but this doesn't mean you're doomed to a night of tossing and turning when sleeping on a futon. To minimize pressure, you can opt for a high-density foam mattress: "Look for fiber-wrapped, high-resiliency poly foam cores that will preserve their shape with time and usage," says Woosley.
However, you should also consider that thicker mattresses tend to be less ideal for folding into the sofa position, not to mention more expensive. If you plan to use your futon for sleeping only sporadically, purchasing an inexpensive mattress topper might make more sense than splurging on an expensive futon mattress.
Upholstery and Color
Like sofas, futons come in a variety of different upholstery fabrics, including linen, leather, faux leather, velvet, polyester, and chenille. You may be drawn to a certain fabric for aesthetic reasons, but it's important to consider the feel and durability of each fabric, as well as how easy they are to clean.
Polyester is a type of microfiber that's stain- and abrasion-resistant, easy to clean, and soft to the touch, making it an all-around great pick. Linen and chenille are also soft to the touch, which may appeal to frequent futon sleepers, but they are more prone to soiling. Velvet gives an instantly elegant touch to any space, but it can be difficult to clean and maintain. Finally, leather upholstery is extremely durable, but only if properly maintained. It requires regular maintenance and is one of the most expensive upholstery fabrics. Fortunately, faux leather can provide a similar look to genuine leather, but it's far less expensive and easier to clean, albeit less durable than the real thing.
In terms of color, your choice is going to come down to personal preference and what will work with your existing decor. However, your lifestyle may also play a role in which color you choose, too: Folks with kids or pets may want to avoid lighter colors that will show stains more easily.
Questions You Might Ask
What is the difference between a sleeper sofa and a futon?
A sleeper sofa has a thin, foldable mattress concealed in the frame that is separate from the cushions. To use it, you need to first remove the sofa cushions and then use the pull-out mechanism to unfold the mattress.
A futon uses the same cushions for both seating and sleeping, and does not have a pull-out mattress built in. To lay it flat, you simply press down on the back of the futon. Therefore, futons are generally lighter, more affordable, and take up less space. "A futon can sometimes be more comfortable to sleep on than a sleeper sofa, as the mattress doesn't have to be thin enough to fold into the sofa," says Wood.
How can you make a futon more comfortable?
The best way to make a thin futon mattress more comfortable is to top it off with a mattress topper, featherbed, or layers of comforters to put more space between you and the hard frame. You can also add a fitted sheet to make it feel more like a real bed, and of course add plenty of pillows for lumbar support and blankets. To maintain a comfortable futon, Woosley says to "regularly plump and manipulate cushions to maintain shape when converting back from a bed to a seated position."
What size bed sheet fits a futon?
This is going to come down to the size of your futon—but most fall somewhere between a twin (75 x 38) and a full size bed (75 x 54). If your mattress falls in between these sizes, go with the larger size bed sheets.
How do you make a futon look better?
Futons have a reputation for not being as stylish or expensive looking as full-sized couches or sleeper sofas. But you can easily dress up an inexpensive futon with throw blankets (which can also be used for sleeping), a colorful throw pillow or two, a rug, and a stylish side table. All of these additions can make a futon look more prominent in your space.
"Never place it in the same space as a Papasan chair, and clear all dying plants from the room," says Woosley. "Erase any trace of decor that hearkens back to the old college days (except maybe a retro walnut turntable!)".
Additionally, futon placement also makes a difference in how it's perceived—rather than cramming it into a corner or against the wall, place your futon out in the open, a few inches away from the wall at minimum. This will create more space around your futon and in the room in general.
Take Our Word For It
This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with nearly three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To compile this list, she spent hours researching top-rated futons and reading customer reviewers. She also received tips from Caron Woosley, founder and principal designer at CW Interiors, as well as Modsy's vice president of style Alessandra Wood and senior creative strategist Karina Lameraner.