How to choose the perfect sofa bed

Cassie Pryce 6 December 2019

From classic pull-outs to contemporary click-clacks, follow our buyers guide to picking the best sofa bed design for your space and budget

With the festive season nearly upon us, make sure your home can cater for visiting friends and family when it comes to sleeping arrangements. Squeezing additional guests into a living room or an office is a great way to save space the rest of the year, if you don’t have a dedicated spare bedroom, in which case a sofa bed can double-up as a handy piece of furniture. 

When choosing the right sofa bed for your space and needs, there are several factors to take into account. First and foremost, should be comfort—both in terms of a regular sofa and how it performs as a bed—and this will be impacted by how frequently it’s likely to be used for either purpose.  

It’s always a good idea to test the product in the store’s showroom before ordering and don’t feel embarrassed about folding the bed out to see how smoothly the mechanism works. Carefully consider the dimensions of your new sofa bed, to ensure it will fit both as a seating sofa and when it’s folded out in bed format. Try to leave a gap either side and at the end of the bed, to allow guests easy access where possible.  

Check the thickness and material of the mattress, too; depending on the type of sofa bed design, it may come with a classic sprung mattress, or a foam layer is more common if its built-into the sofa itself. Where possible, try and choose a design which has a mattress thickness of at least five inches, or you may want to invest in a separate mattress topper which can help reduce lumps and bumps for your guests.  

Below we outline some of the different design options to consider, depending on your space and requirements:


Traditional pull-out

dfs sofa bed

The classic sofa bed has come a long way from its clunky predecessor 20 years ago, and a pull-out frame is now a good choice for those wanting a sturdy sleeping option. Commonly, this design is more comfortable for snoozing than a click-clack or futon-style sofa bed, as it comes with a separate mattress which is often thicker than built-in alternatives.  

On the flip side, bear in mind that this does often come with an increased price tag and this type of sofa can take a little longer to assemble into its bed format, with some designs being heavy and awkward for one person.  

The French Connection Zircon sofa bed is a traditional pull-out design which comes as a two-seater size. It features a medium-support mattress, with a polyether foam base and a memory foam top layer for comfort. 

French Connection Zircon two-seater sofa bed in grey, £1,199, DFS




dreams sofa

Typically, a more compact option and therefore ideal for smaller spaces, a click-clack design features a simple mechanism whereby the back of the sofa drops down to form the sleeping area. Fold-out legs support this part of the bed and the mattress is made up of the sofa and back structures.  

This style of sofa bed is often more affordable and it’s quick and easy to set up. Just be careful to check the sleeping layout dimensions, as some can be a little narrow for two people. 

The Downpatrick “clic-clac sofa bed” comes as a three-seater design, finished in an on-trend grey upholstered finish. Its slim design means it can fit neatly into smaller spaces, yet its generous sleeping dimensions equate to just less than a small double bed. 

Downpatrick three-seater clic-clac sofa bed, £449, Dreams


Futon bed sofa

A futon, or A-frame, sofa bed is designed so that the sofa is made up of the mattress, folded over on itself. Often a more affordable and less bulky alternative to a more traditional pull-out sofa bed, a futon’s slim design means it’s ideal for squeezing into the corner of an office or box room for visitors.  

Just bear in mind that this design often sits low to the ground, which may be an issue for older users when lounging or sleeping. 

This space saving design from comes in a range of colourful fabrics to suit any space and the easy-to-fold frame makes for a simple setup. 

Haru small sofa bed in flame orange velvet, £299,


Corner sofa bed

ikea sofa bed

If you’re after a spacious corner sofa for everyday use but need it to double-up as a sofa bed, too, look out for a smart L-shaped design. An additional platform pops up from beneath the sofa to extend the sleeping area for two people and normally a long cushion is used as the mattress.  

Some designs even come with built-in storage for stashing away extra bedding, which is a real bonus in smaller properties. 

IKEA’s Friheten corner sofa bed comes with built-in storage and can be transformed easily from sofa to bed by pulling out the underframe. 

Friheten corner sofa-bed with storage in Hyllie beige, £529, IKEA 




living it up sofa bed

If you’re really short on space and don’t require a sofa bed regularly, a nifty bed-in-a-box design could be the perfect solution.  

This bed is cleverly designed as an ottoman or footstool when not in use, then pulls out with a traditional mechanism to reveal a single or double bed with a mattress.  

The Alison bed-in-a-box comes in a wide range of fabrics and its classic buttoned design means it will make a stylish additional to your room, whether as an ottoman or a bed. 

Alison bed-in-a-box, £564, Living It Up 

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