When looking to buy a futon, there are a few basic items to consider. These items include what room will you be using the furniture, how much space do you have to work with, what type of futon mattress will be the most comfortable, and what type of frame material will best suit your needs. Knowing which room you will be using the futon in and how it will be primarily used will help narrow down options and save you time and money.
One of the first steps in purchasing a new piece of furniture, is knowing how you will be using your futon frame and which room will you be using it in. Will your futon frame be used every day in the living room, or will it be in a separate guest room that will be used occasionally? Are you purchasing a futon frame for a children’s room or a dorm room? These questions will help to determine not only the amount of space you have to work with but also the type of construction your futon frame has.
As an example, purchasing a metal frame is more ideal in a child's room over a softer wood such as pine, as pine is prone to denting and splintering and metal is both less expensive and durable. This same metal frame however, may not be well suited as the center piece in your living room; for this space a solid oak wood futon frame may be a better solution as it is both durable and elegant. There are also futon frames that have been designed for outdoor use as well. These frames, made locally in the USA by JustLeanBack have been specifically designed to withstand exposure to sunlight and moisture.
Once you determine the room you will be using the futon in and the amount of space you have to work with, you will want to consider the style of futon frame. The amount of space you have will help to determine which style is best suited for you.
There are two main types of futon: tri-fold and bi-fold models. Bi-fold frames come in two main sections or pieces and accommodate a standard one-piece mattress. Bi-fold futons are the most popular and are easiest to find. They have one crease that folds up or down to create two separate sections, called the seat and back deck. Typically, a bi-fold frames width (distance from arm to arm) corresponds to the mattress length. This is the amount of wall space you will need. For example, a standard bi-fold full size futon frame can range in a length from 77” to 80”. This is the amount of wall space you will need at minimum to accommodate this frame. If you do not have much wall space available, the tri-fold frame may be a better option.
Tri-fold frames were the first type that was widely available when futons were new on the market. As the name suggests, these futons fold in two separate places to create three sections: the seat, the back and a lower portion or foot. Within the tri-fold group, there are two types. These types are designated by a permanently attached foot portion or a separate ottoman portion. The attached version may be more convenient while the separate ottoman is more space saving. Whereas bi-fold frames typically need more wall space, a tri-fold frame uses more floor space. The width from arm to arm corresponds to the width of a futon mattress, rather than to its length as that of a bi-fold futon frame. A full size tri-fold frame may measure 55” to 60” in width.
A novel futon frame design has been developed by Strata Furniture. This futon frame has been called the “wall hugger” as it can be converted from a sofa, to a lounger, to a bed without having to physically move the frame away from the wall. The wall hugger frames have an innovative design that allows them to be converted while keeping the legs of the futon stationary. Traditional, “front loader” futon frames require clearance of approximately 10” from the back of the frame to the wall. So, if you are looking to save floor space, you will have to physically move the entire frame away from the wall in order to convert it from a couch to a bed. This is not so with Strata’s conversion mechanism. Strata’s wall hugger frames can rest directly against a wall and convert from a couch to a bed without having to be moved.
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