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We won’t mince words: sofa beds used to be terrible. We have more than one childhood or university memory of crashing at a friend’s house on a saggy sofa bed, springs all but useless, and awakening after a fitful night sleep with our backs in ribbons.
Worse yet, in failing to be a decent bed, the sofa beds of yore still managed to be singularly useless, lumpen sofas. In aiming to provide two services in one, the sofa beds of the our youth failed to achieve either.
Thankfully, modern iterations have taken a huge leap forward in design - and, consequently, comfort. And so it is now possible to purchase a stylish sofa bed that does precisely what you would hope: provides a space saving solution to how to have both a sofa, and a comfortable place for guests to sleep, in the one place.
Click-clack, or pull out sofa bed?
Sofa beds are generally available in two forms. The ‘click-clack’ sofa is one where the back cushion of the sofa folds down and clicks flat - essentially forming a futon - so you then sleep on the flattened sofa.
A ‘pull-out’ - the more traditional model - is transformed by removing the cushions to pull out the mattress and frame. ‘Click-clacks’ are simple to use and generally cheaper. ‘Pull-outs’ tend to be more comfortable.
What should I look for in a sofa bed?
What sofa bed works best for you will depend on how frequently you plan on using it (if you have lodgers, for example, or family members who visit often, say, you’ll want to opt for something pricier that has a higher-end memory foam mattress), how much space you have, the décor of your room, and how much seating/sleep space you require.
As with everything - the more you pay, the higher the comfort level, but there are still some impressive lower end options available.
In terms of our favourite, it’s easily the superbly comfortable Munich, from Swoon.
Here are our favourite tried and tested sofa beds on the market.
Best for: a sturdy option
Key Specs: W 168cm * D 97cm * H100cm
Is your house style elegant, do you live in a period property? You’ll love the Weymouth sofa bed, sympathetic to traditional houses.
We adore the look of the Weymouth - classic, yet modern, with sloped armrests and contrast piping - but, more than that, we love that you can tailor it to whatever specifications you desire - fabric or leather?
Block coloured, or patterned? Family friendly fabric, or matte? A standard mattress, or upgraded to memory foam? Whatever you’re after, the Weymouth can be made to match it.
Comfort wise, if you take the plunge and upgrade to memory foam, the bed itself is delightfully comfy - indeed, this would be a great choice if you have a regular lodger and don’t want to throw their back out.
The price tag increases, of course, as it also does depending on what specs you choose. The frame is guaranteed for ten years, so you can buy in confidence.
Best for: customising to perfection
Key Specs: W 187cm * H 90cm * D 226cm * L 182cm
Another sofa that you can customise to your heart’s desire is the Waverley, which is available in almost any fabric you can imagine - from herringbone, to floral, to block colour velvet.
It’s a scroll arm sofa - so classic in style no one would suspect it’s dual purpose.
As a three-seater, it makes both a deliciously comfy couch and a spacious fold-out bed - indeed, similar to the Weymouth, this is as near to a standard bed in a sofa frame as you can find. Long-time guests? They’ll thank you for this sofa bed.
The frame is a traditional pull out frame. Made in Britain, it comes with a 15-year frame guarantee.
Best for: loungey days in a flatshare
Key Specs: L: 208.2cm x W: 105.9cm x HL 78.2cm
If you have a slouchy, casual aesthetic in your living room, this recycled leather sofa bed from Urban Outfitters will match it perfectly.
If it’s possible for a sofa to be insouciant, than this one is - armless and legless, it’s nevertheless incredibly cushy to sit on. It’s extra-large, so terrific for sitting with flatmates to enjoy a Netflix binge, with an inner metal structure that allows the sofa to sit upright - or, as the evening wears on, half-reclined (lovely for hangovers or duvet days).
It also goes completely flat, making for a cosy night sleep - though this is more of a sofa bed for sometime sleepovers, rather than regular kipping.
Best for: style, substance, and a reasonable price
Key Specs: (Mattress): W: 150 cm D: 200 cm H: 10 cm
Forgive us for getting over-excited here, but we loved the Munich Sofa Bed, a clean, contemporary-designed sofa bed that performs beautifully and -while not precisely cheap - is much less pricey than similarly high-spec sofa beds we tried.
Another example of a sofa bed you can customise to your heart’s desire, from colour ways, to fabrics: corduroy, smart leather, smart wool, easy velvet - anything you fancy.
It’s a biggun: this is a king sized bed when converted, and with a sprung mattress it makes for a blissful night’s sleep. It’s genuinely comfortable, both as a bed and a sofa. A real winner.
Best for: cost-effective sofa bed
Key Specs (Sofa): H81 x W204 x D84 cm
Another click-clack option, the M&S Jasper is easy to convert, makes an unobtrusive addition to any living room, and is friendly on the wallet.
The dark grey velvet is an example of understated chic. Sleep-wise, it’s similar to other click-clacks: very good for a short spell, but not the stuff that long-term dreams are made of.
Key Specs: Size: 94 x 127 x 98cm
Customisable: Yes, colours
If you need your armchair to be more than just a cosy refuge to read books from, but that also works as a sofa bed for guests, step in the Texas Armchair Sofa Bed from British furniture brand Oak Furnitureland.
Available in four stylish colours, the armchair is incredibly comfortable while you’re lounging on it - but as soon as you need it to transform into a bed for a visitor, it’s as easy as can be.
A great option for those who need a little extra magic with their armchair.