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What is a Sofa Bed?

By J. Beam
Updated May 16, 2024
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A sofa bed, also called a sleeper sofa or hide-a-bed, is a sofa with a bed built into it. The bed is mechanically engineered to fold into and out of the base of the sofa to transform the sofa from a couch or loveseat into a bed. This dual purpose piece of furniture provides a great alternative to a guest room by allowing the family or living room where a sofa bed is used to turn into a place for overnight guests to stay.

Sofa beds originated from the earliest concepts used in recreational vehicles and motor homes that enabled one area to serve numerous purposes. These beds come in a variety of styles. One may fold down from the back like a futon, or the seat may fold out to reveal a frame and mattress. Some include twin size beds and others full size beds.

Nearly any style of sofa can be found in the sofa bed from traditional to contemporary. Even sectional couches can include beds. Essentially, you can find whatever style and design sofa suits your taste to include a dual purpose feature. If purchasing a sofa bed, consider the fact that the standard mattresses that come with the furniture are not particularly comfortable. In most cases, the retailer offers the chance to upgrade the mattress for an additional cost. If you plan to use your sofa bed frequently for guests, it’s well worth the investment to upgrade the mattress.

Another factor to consider when looking for a sofa bed is the layout of your room. Make sure your sofa will sit in an area that will accommodate the folded out bed. This type of furniture is also much heavier than a standard sofa and is not as easy to move, so be sure its location will be permanent for a time.

Sofa beds are great alternatives to traditional sofas and can provide the opportunity to create a multi-functioning room. With a sofa bed, kids can have sleepovers and out of town family and friends can come to visit with no need for a bed to occupy an extra room. In a sense, a the bed can create a guest room or can free up an extra bedroom to become an office, playroom, or anything else you might need the space for.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon176017 — On May 14, 2011

how to you fold in a sofa bed?

By leilani — On Mar 26, 2011

I am not sure if there is such a thing as comfortable sofa bed. They tend to be uncomfortable because there is not enough support, and the mattress is usually too thin. Obviously a thicker mattress preferably with quilted top will be more comfortable.

However, sofa beds do have their place.

They come in very handy when you have your grandchildren spend some time with you.

By anon118389 — On Oct 14, 2010

A sofa bed can also be called a chair bed, Z bed, guest bed and flop out bed. Our research shows people searching online use many different phrases for the same basic product. Often people looking for a sofa bed end up buying a futon!

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