The ultimate guide to sofa beds

If you’re looking for a sofa bed, you might not be sure where to start. I've put together a helpful guide to tell you everything there is to know about sofa beds.

What is a sofa bed?

A sofa bed is a piece of furniture that looks like a sofa and functions as a bed.

You can easily convert it from one to another by folding out its seat cushion.

You can use it in many spaces, including a bedroom, home office or living room, and can be used to turn any space from a living area to a sleeping space with ease.

There are also many different types – some are fold-up beds and some are built-in beds that pop out of the furniture. 

What’s the purpose of a sofa bed?

A sofa bed has many great properties that make them a popular choice.

One huge benefit of a sofa bed is it's ability to save a considerable amount of space compared to a traditional bed as it can be easily folded away.

This is especially useful in smaller homes or multi-use guest rooms as a dual-purpose sofa bed can serve as a place to sit during the day and a place to sleep at night. 

If you’re hosting for a night or two, it’s useful to have the option of extra sleeping space.

Sofa beds are also a functional way to add a guest bed to your home so you’re always prepared for any overnight visitors. 

How many can sleep in a sofa bed?

Naturally, the number of people that can sleep on a sofa bed depends on the size of the sofa bed.

Most sofa beds are doubles and made for two people to comfortably sleep.

In terms of sizes of sofa beds for different numbers of sleepers, here are some general rules to follow:

  • A single person will be comfortable on a sofa bed that is at least 137cm x 175cm
  • A couple will sleep snuggly on a sofa bed that is at least 191cm x 200cm
  • If three people plan to sleep on the same sofa bed one night, then the ideal size would be 239cm x 203cm

What size sofa bed can you choose from? 

Just like a regular bed, sofa beds also come in different sizes – so it’s important to figure out your sofa bed’s dimensions before purchasing one.

One of the most important things to know about sofa beds is that they aren’t one-size-fits-all – literally and figuratively.

There are many different sizes and styles available; it’s all about finding the right for your space and sleeping needs.

There are also several factors besides size that should be considered when making a choice, including: 

  • Firmness 
  • Material
  • Ease of use
  • Durability of mattress 

Let’s explore your options: 

2 seater sofa beds

A 2-seater sofa bed has a compact design and is ideal for smaller living spaces like flats, snugs or even as an additional piece of furniture in bedrooms.

This twin size is a good option if you need extra sleeping space for children or a single adult sleeper. 

If you are limited on space, chair beds are also a great option for a single guest.

3 seater sofa beds

A 3-seater sofa bed provides extra room to easily accommodate two sleepers.

Typically found in larger rooms, they’re equally as comfortable as a traditional bed and will make the perfect addition to either your living room or spare room. 

4 seater sofa beds

A 4-seater sofa bed is the best choice for two adults who want plenty of room to spread out while sleeping.

Though it’s worth bearing in mind, as it is one of the larger sofa bed options, it may not be an option for those limited on space. 

How to measure for a sofa bed

To measure for a sofa bed remember to take measurements both when the bed is extended and folded away.

It’s best to account for at least a 30cm gap on either one side of the sofa bed or ideally on both sides so your guests can easily manoeuvre around when it’s in-situ.

Check out our handy Fitting Guide for advice on measuring up for your sofa.

What colour sofa beds are there?

There are lots of different coloured sofa beds to choose from.

The most popular are black sofa beds, grey sofa beds and cream sofa beds.

This is likely because these are the most versatile shades and therefore fit in effortlessly with countless colour schemes. 

The colour of your sofa bed is very much down to personal preference, so think about the room you want it for and your choice of décor.

Is it easy to transform the sofa into a bed?


Converting your sofa bed back, either way, is simple to do, with its easy to use mechanism.

You might expect there to be some complicated assembly procedure involved, but it’s usually very simple – just pull out the seat or back cushions, and you’re ready to go. 

What is the difference between a sofa bed and a futon?

The main difference between a futon and a sofa bed is that a futon lays right on top of the floor while a sofa bed has legs.

A futon is great for small spaces because it takes less space than other types of beds and is often used for sleeping purposes only.

On the other hand, sofa beds are more versatile because they can double as seating space and sleeping areas at the same time.

How to look after a sofa bed?

For your sofa bed to provide long-lasting comfort, you should keep it clean and vacuum regularly.

Be sure to use synthetic fibres or microfibre cloths on the fabric to and avoid using harsh household cleaners, such as bleach, as they may damage the fabric on your sofa bed.

Check out our fabric care guide for more top tips on cleaning your sofa bed material.

Thinking of opting for a leather sofa bed? Our leather care guide will answer all of your questions. 

You should also take care when moving your sofa bed from room to room so that you don’t scratch or damage it. You can move it in one piece by lifting one end at a time.

If you need to move it, then you should first remove all of the cushions and frame pieces so they won’t get damaged in transit. 

For more information on the best way to clean your sofa bed, read our guide, How to care for your sofa bed.

How long does a sofa bed last?

Our modern sofa beds are built with quality materials and functionality in mind, so they will hold up fairly well to regular use.

The longevity of your sofa bed will depend on how often it is used and how well it is look after.

As long as it’s cared for correctly, a sofa bed can last for many years to come, just the same as a traditional bed.

Can a sofa bed be as comfortable as a bed?

Sofa beds are the ultimate combination of comfort and functionality.

They have all the benefits of a traditional sofa – cosy, warm and able to seat multiple people – with the added bonus of acting as a bed when you need it to. 

How can I make my sofa bed more comfortable?

There are lots of ways to improve the comfort of your sofa bed.

Dressing your sofa bed with plenty of pillows, throws and blankets can help it feel more homely and cosy.

You may be able to purchase a mattress topper for your sofa bed though we do not recommend using any other mattress than the one provided by the manufacturer as this could void any warranty.

Investing in some soft, good quality bedding will also help your sofa bed feel more comfortable to sleep on.

Can you sleep on a sofa bed every night?

On the whole, sofa beds are designed to be slept on occasionally, rather than every night. Using your sofa bed more than this may cause premature wear to the mattress and frame.