A comfortable sofa by day and a handy spare bed by night – these sofa beds are perfect for smaller homes
The best sofa bed combines two essential pieces of furniture in one. Whether it’s a settee with a bed hidden underneath, or one that simply folds out flat, a sofa bed is a cornerstone of a good spare room. But not only is it perfect for putting up friends or relatives overnight at a moment’s notice, it’s also a great way to squeeze both a sofa and bed into a limited space if you’re living in a smaller studio apartment.
Don’t be put off by visions of the bad old days, when sofa beds tended to be cumbersome and rock-hard. Today, many are just as comfortable and durable as a standalone sofa or an actual bed. Plus, there’s more choice than ever, from mattress types to measurements and fillings to fabrics. Read on for our picks of the best sofa beds, and what to look out for when deciding which one to buy.
Best sofa bed: At a glance
How to choose the best sofa bed for you
What types of sofa beds are there?
With a metal-action frame, the mattress and bed frame fold out from inside the body of the sofa. This is great for comfortable sleeping because there’s enough space underneath to fit a fuller mattress.
A “click-clack” design is simpler and better for smaller spaces. Here, the base cushion of the sofa clicks forward and the back part lies flat. Whichever design you choose, the ideal sofa bed should fold out in one smooth motion, without squeaking or sticking.
A third option is a futon: these work in different ways depending on the type of frame. For example, you might fold the back panel of the sofa down to convert into a bed frame, then place the mattress on top.
How important is the size?
Very, and don’t just think about how much space a sofa bed will take up as a settee. You need to be sure there’s space for you to fully open it out. Check the dimensions of the whole structure, not just the mattress dimensions. Think about how you’re going to get it into place, too: check doorways, hallways and stairwells to ensure it will fit through.
Can you always tell a sofa bed apart from a regular sofa?
You used to be able to, if only because they were so horribly uncomfortable. But times have changed and you should now expect your sofa bed to look as stylish as any standalone sofa. Indeed, the very best ones will be inconspicuous enough to pass as a regular sofa, that is until you fold it out into an equally comfy bed. .
Is there anything else I need to consider?
A big question is how often you intend to use your sofa bed for either sitting or sleeping. If it’s going to be your main sofa, it needs to be robust and durable, particularly if you have family or pets. Make sure it looks the part, too: if it’s going to be the centrepiece of your living room, you don’t want something that looks like a folded-up bed.
If your sofa bed is going to be frequently used as a bed, you’ll want it to have a good-quality mattress. For more occasional use, this isn’t quite so important, and you might make do with adding a mattress topper for extra comfort. Remember, a thicker mattress isn’t necessarily better – a slimmer one may actually offer more support, depending on how it’s engineered. The ultimate in comfort comes from a pocket-sprung mattress (with as many springs as possible), but memory foam also suits some people well, moulding to the shape of their body. Also, bear in mind that wooden slatted and webbed mechanisms tend to offer better support than trampoline types.
The best sofa beds you can buy in 2023
1. Hashtag Home Hewson Sofa Bed: Best budget sofa bed
Price: From £255 | Buy now from Wayfair
While it looks very basic and, admittedly, may feel rather hard to sleep on, this three-seater click-clack sofa bed is strikingly affordable at just £255. It has armrests too, which is something you don’t always see in this price range.
The Hewson comes in a choice of velvet and linen fabrics, with a small range of colours to choose from. Its simple design means it shouldn’t be too difficult to assemble, although Wayfair does offer an optional assembly service for those who can’t stomach the idea of self-assembly (this will cost you an extra £85).
We wouldn’t recommend this as your regular sofa (and certainly not your regular bed). For quality, it’s worth checking out some of the more expensive options featured below. But if you’re after a cheap sofa bed, perhaps for occasional spare room use, it’s a piece of furniture that won’t break the bank.
Key features – Dimensions: 80 x 200 x 110cm (HWD); Mattress size: Single; Weight: 360kg; Number of fabrics available: 2 (with a choice of three colours); Delivery time: From 1 day
Also consider: John Lewis Anyday Clapton
This simple yet attractive click-clack sofa bed is a great option if you’re after something for the spare room. And at just under £300, it’s a lot more affordable than some of the other options on our roundup.
The sofa has a foam mattress, which is comfortable for occasional use, although it may feel a bit firm for some (in which case we recommend using a mattress topper). It’s also worth mentioning that, because of the sofa’s short wooden legs, it does sit quite low to the ground.
2. Innovation Recast sofa bed with pocket-sprung mattress: Best retro sofa bed
Price: From £1,199 | Buy now from John Lewis
The Recast’s design shouts Scandinavia – and, sure enough, this sturdy sofa bed is handmade in Denmark by a company that’s been going since 1972.
It’s quick and easy to fold out – simply pull out the base and drop down the back. And, as the mattress is pocket-sprung, it’s comfortable, albeit quite firm – if you prefer a bit more give, you might want to add a mattress topper. The fabric is top-notch quality and hard-wearing, but be warned: there’s a lot of depth in sitting mode, which doesn’t suit everyone.
There’s enough room for a duvet in the storage space – handy for when unexpected overnight guests descend on you. Bear in mind that you do have to assemble the whole thing yourself, though, which can take around 90 minutes.
Key features – Dimensions: 63 x 200 x 96cm (HWD); Mattress size: 220 x 140 x 14cm (LWD); Mattress type: Pocket sprung; Number of fabrics available: 3; Delivery: Within 7 days; Warranty: 15 year frame guarantee, 5 year guarantee for mechanism and parts
3. Habitat Roma Fabric Chairbed: Best budget chair bed
Price: £230 | Buy now from Argos
If you find that you’re lacking the space for a decent sofa bed, then you might consider buying a chair bed instead. This one from Argos might not have the most subtle design, but it’s inexpensive and will take up minimal space in your home.
Raised on four wooden feet, the Roma simply folds out into a comfortable, if firm, single bed. It’s a sensible choice for a spare room, providing your guest with somewhere to sleep, as well as coming in handy if any extra seating is required for whatever occasion. Plus, it comes with a foam fibre-filled cushion that can double as a pillow.
Key features – Dimensions: 81 x 91 x 90cm (HWD); Mattress size: 191 x 91cm; Weight: 26.1kg; Number of fabrics available: 5; Warranty: 2 year frame guarantee
4. John Lewis & Partners Sansa: Best sofa bed for storage
Price: From £1,399 | Buy now from John Lewis
This spacious corner can be easily converted into a bed via a pull-out mechanism underneath the sofa’s two-seater section, while the chaise section doubles as a subtle ottoman chest for storing your bedding. Better still, the two sections are detachable, so the configuration of the sofa can be adjusted to suit the room.
The Sansa has a supportive foam mattress that will mould to your body when you lie on it, springing back into shape when not in use: this is comfortable, if noticeably on the firmer side. It comes in a wide range of fabric choices as well as a choice of dark or light wood leg finish.
Take note that when the Sansa sofa is pulled out into a bed, there is a small gap between the chaise and the bed. This is part of the sofa’s design and not considered to be a fault by John Lewis, however, it’s a feature that some may find irritating nonetheless.
Key features – Dimensions: 84 x 242 x 152cm (HWD); Mattress size: 204 x 130 x 8cm (LWD); Mattress type: Foam; Number of fabrics available: 115; Delivery time: 12 weeks; Warranty: 15 year frame guarantee