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Sofa Bed Buying Guide

Looking for a new sofa bed? Here's everything you need to know before you buy.

The versatile sofa bed is a lifesaver when it comes to hosting guests in a limited space where a full-sized standalone bed won't fit. By day, it serves as a stylish seating area to optimise whichever room it sits in. Then at night, it can be effortlessly transformed into a comfortable bed for visitors. 

This practical solution proves invaluable, especially for those times when you have unexpected guests staying over. Not only does it save on space, but it also saves money since you won't need to invest in multiple pieces of furniture. And let's not forget about style. They’ve come a long way since the days of their bulky predecessors. 

Available in a plethora of stylish designs, sofa beds come upholstered in a variety of fabrics and colours and can add an impactful statement to any room. Let's delve into everything you need to consider when purchasing a sofa bed.

White teddy bear fabric sofa bed in a modern living room.
Birlea Micah White Sofa Bed

What is a sofa bed?

A sofa bed is a piece of furniture that can be used as a seating area (a sofa) and also a sleeping area (a bed) when transformed. There are many different types of sofa beds, with some having a hidden mattress inside that's revealed when pulled out, or some that simply fold down to create a flat surface.

Not to be confused with a futon bed, a sofa bed initially appears as a traditional sofa, perfectly blending into your living room.

Types of sofa bed

There are various types of sofa beds to choose from. The design you choose will depend on the reason you’re looking to buy a sofa bed, the size of your space, your style preferences, and budget, etc. 

It’s also worth thinking about how often you plan to use your sofa bed. For example, if you hope to make regular use of it in your living room, it’s worth considering one that offers maximum comfort for your household.

Corner sofa beds 

Corner sofa beds cleverly utilise every inch of space - being L-shaped means they will sit flush against a corner. They make a great choice for L-shaped layouts such as living rooms. They can also accommodate a larger number of people compared to other sofa bed designs – ideal if you’re looking to get daily use out of your sofa bed.

Chair beds 

The smallest type of sofa bed available, chair beds are designed to be compact and are a great option for smaller-sized rooms where space is at a premium. They are commonly placed in kitchen diners, smaller-sized bedrooms or a child’s bedroom. Available in a variety of modern designs, they can add a striking focal point to any room.

Two seater sofa beds

The most common and popular type of sofa bed, a two-seater bed are super cosy and multi-functional. When shopping for a sofa, you might find this is more practical as should you need extra space for guests to stay over, you can very quickly transform your two-seater sofa into a small double sofa bed.

Three seater sofa beds

Due to their larger size compared to 2-seater sofa beds, 3-seater sofa beds are well-suited to bigger rooms. With three seats, there's ample space for guests to sit comfortably, making them an excellent choice for those seeking a sofa bed that also functions as a daytime sofa. Typically converting into a double bed when pulled out, they can comfortably accommodate two overnight guests.

Grey chair sofa bed in a modern living room.
Birlea Ethan Grey Sofa Bed

Sofa bed mechanisms

There are numerous sofa bed mechanisms to choose from. We’ve explained each of them below.


An A-frame is a form of sofa bed mechanism in which the back of the sofa folds backwards to provide a flat area for sleeping. When unfolded, the mechanism resembles the letter "A", hence the name. This design provides a durable and supportive sleeping area.


Clic-clac sofa beds are distinguished by their simple yet effective mechanism for converting from a sofa to a bed. To transform the sofa into a bed, just lift the front seat until it snaps into a flat position. This motion also produces a click-clack sound, hence the name.

Pull out and lift up 

This type of sofa bed features a hidden mattress that is taken out from beneath the seat cushions. After being pulled out, the mattress can be elevated to create a flat sleeping surface. This style is popular because it is simple to use and requires minimal effort to turn into a sofa bed. 

3-fold and roll-out 

In a 3-fold sofa bed, the mattress is usually separated into three sections that fold up when in sofa mode. To use it as a bed, just unfold the sections and roll them out to form a level sleeping surface. This design provides flexibility and ease of setup, making it ideal for occasional use.

Folded out dar kblue sofa bed in a contemporary living room.
Rostock Upholstered Sofa Bed

What size is a sofa bed?

The size of a sofa bed can vary, as they come in all different shapes and lengths, although 2-3 seaters tend to be a popular choice. Choosing the right sofa bed size all boils down to the measurements of your space, your storage needs, as well as your style preferences. 

For instance, if you’re looking to place the sofa bed in a large room such as a living room where it’s likely to be used as a day sofa, you might look towards a spacious design that offers supreme comfort. If you just want extra sleeping space in your spare bedroom, consider a guest bed with a hidden pull-out trundle underneath.

If your space is on the smaller size, you might be on the hunt for a compact design that doesn’t take up much room. It’s important to bear in mind that there will need to be enough space in the bedroom or wherever you’re placing the sofa bed for the design to fold out easily, so be sure to measure up the room before purchasing.

What is the best sofa bed?

What is the most comfortable sofa bed? You might be wondering. Typically, the bigger the sofa bed, the more comfort you can expect. However, some smaller sofa beds come upholstered in supremely comfy materials and dense fillings, making them extra lounge-worthy. So, if comfort is a priority, make sure to carefully consider the materials of both the sofa and mattress when choosing your sofa bed. 

For more multifunctional bed ideas, take a look at our ottoman divan beds and other storage beds. If you need more help deciding which bed is best for you, take a look at our Bed Buying Guide and Divan Bed Buying Guide.

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