Inexpensive, space-saving, and multifunctional, futons are far too useful to be relegated to a college dorm. And while the futons of your youth may trigger flashbacks of rickety frames and sagging cushions, a well-made futon can double as a seat for unwinding and a bed for hosting guests, if you know where to find one. Luckily, we do. We handpicked the very best futons based on interior-designer recommendations, top-rated reviews, and past Strategist favorites, accounting for the amount of space and budget you may have.
What we’re looking for
Size: A futon’s multiple functions have to work with your lifestyle. You may want a space where just one relative can crash, or one wide enough to fit a couple of friends. It’s always worth keeping your room dimensions to hand, especially if you’ve just moved somewhere new and unfurnished.
Cushion firmness: The seat turned bed of a futon makes or breaks your experience on one. If you want a firm seat that provides a similarly robust surface for sleeping on, that’s something else to keep in mind. This largely comes down to personal preference, so we’ve pointed out how much you’re likely to sink into each futon.
Conversion mechanism: Not all futons transform into beds the same way. We’ve got intel on how these options turn into horizontal surfaces, primed for a night’s rest (or nap). Many on this list can recline as chairs too, some even with multitasking split backs.
Best overall futon
Double | Medium-firm | Split back, unfold and fold
Visually stunning, easy to fold out, and above all us, exceedingly comfortable, this Novogratz futon is our best overall futon pick. Made from plush memory foam with a rich velvet finish, the futon makes for a comfortable base to both sleep and sit. Thoughtful design details such as tufted upholstery and slender, slanted wooden legs make the futon appear far more expensive than its very reasonable $461 price tag. Over on Amazon, over 1,700 reviewers have awarded the futon an average rating of 4.3 stars, including a man over six feet tall who can “lay flat” on the piece comfortably, and his “360-pound brother” who “sat on it without issue.”
Best less-expensive futon
Double | Very firm | Split back, unfold and fold
The rich, burgundy velvet finish of this futon is immensely inviting — as is its bargain price tag of $231. While it is inexpensive, the futon has design features such as slanted chrome legs and a square tufted backrest that means it is by no means basic. With a split-back design, there are various sleeping and sitting positions that the futon can be collapsed into, including a half reclined or fully reclined configuration. Reviewers say that the upholstery is very easy to clean — it just requires some soapy water — and that they’ve never had a guest leave dissatisfied after spending a night on the futon.
Best Scandinavian-style futon
Double | Firm | Click-clack back
This smooth-looking “double duty” option is West Elm’s futon remake of their already best-selling Andes sofa. Vanessa Agyemang, designer and founder of Copper Dust London, says that “the clean, minimal design with the light upholstery is a winner for a modern contemporary home,” she says. Agyemang particularly recommends the piece for those aiming for a stripped-back Scandinavian aesthetic.
The Andes is considerably more expensive than any other futon on this list, but the added expense is due to the quality of materials used to make the item. The futon’s frame is made from sustainably sourced solid eucalyptus and harwood, with West Elm’s expert-approved reinforced joinery. The seat measures at four on West Elm’s firmness scale (with five being the firmest), and the cushions are supported by bouncy springs and wrapped in high-resilience foam cores, meaning it will retain its springy, cushy feel for years to come.
Best loveseat futon
Single | Firm | Fold-down arms
If you’re shopping for a smaller space, why not consider a loveseat futon? This option — another from Novogratz — is ideal for tiny spaces, with a width of 60 inches and a depth of 30 inches. It features two deep sewn-in pockets on the exterior of each arm, ideal for storing magazines, TV remotes, and other miscellaneous living-room essentials. Available in a range of colors — including mustard and burnt orange — each option features tufted, foam cushions. “I live in an itty, bitty apartment,” one pleased reviewer writes. “This couch is perfect for the space. It’s great for sitting on while watching a movie, it’s great as a chaise lounge for reclining and reading (I love that the arms are adjustable beyond just up and down), and our guests say it is comfortable to sleep on.”
Best couch-futon hybrid
Double | Firm | Push-pull reclining back
This futon is upholstered to couchlike quality, over foam and coil seating cushions. Sloping, wing-shaped arms and varied colorways mean it’s versatile for most contemporary aesthetics. The sofa turns into a lounger, then sleeper, with a singular push and pull and can support a load of up to 600 pounds. Some reviewers have reported that the cushions do take a few months of usage to fully break in. But the majority of customers were satisfied, including one couple whose nightly ritual of falling asleep in front of the TV has been made infinitely more comfortable now they have a couch they can partially recline.
Best easy-to-fold futon
Single | Soft | Cushion only
“If you can’t fold it up, it isn’t really a futon,” one reviewer argues, and dozens of reviewers say this futon makes folding easy. This floor mattress emulates the traditional Japanese futon. It’s a great option for smaller spaces, or those that only have guests on occasion, as it can be folded away and conveniently stored when not in use if not draped on a frame. With three layers of foam, cotton, and polyester, the futon provides a comfortable yet firm night’s sleep, and doesn’t require a frame (although you can buy one separately if it will be a more permanent feature of the room).
Best futon frame
Twin to Queen | Wood frame only | Lift and fold
This simple futon frame is made from smooth, unfinished tulip poplar. In a compact tri-fold design, the frame can be positioned into a reclined semi-upright position for reading and lounging, and also laid out flat for sleeping. Prices range from $169 for a twin size to $199 for a queen; when paired with an inexpensive futon like the Fuli, the entire setup will cost less than $500. 75 percent of the frame’s reviewers on Amazon awarded it five stars, with many recommending it for small studio spaces and spare bedrooms. Reviewers particularly like the curved edges of the frame, as there’s less risk of scratching your legs when maneuvering a tight space.
• Vanessa Agyemang, designer and Copper Dust London founder
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