company coming – best sleeper sofas and alternatives

Dear Laurel

After reading your earlier posts about sofas and sectionals I was hoping you would also address sleeper sofas. We’re considering replacing a sofa for a sleeper in my husband’s office. (Currently, there is a 72” tuxedo sofa in there, which, for size & style, has worked great) The sleepers I remember always had this god-awful bar across the middle and no amount of foam egg crate would improve it much. Have they improved, and what features does one look for?

Thanks for your blog. I always look forward to reading it.





Julie asks a very good question and so I’m going to do my best to address the best sleeper sofas – PLUS alternative options when you have guests coming and have no designated guest room for them to stay in.


First of all, you have to decide how long you’d like your guests to stay. If you would rather that they leave quickly, then I would go for something cheap and uncomfortable.

Just kidding.


But, here are the other considerations you need to make when trying to figure out sleeping arrangements for out-of-town guests


  • Which room or area of your home will your alternative sleeping arrangement take place?

Well, it depends on how large your home is. If it’s a studio apartment, your guests will be bunking with you. Slumber party! In a one-bedroom apartment like I have, it’s the living room.

But the most common space is a room that’s usually designated as the office or den. In this case, the style of the piece of furniture being used for sleeping could be more contemporary which opens up a lot of options, even if your style is more traditional.

  • Do the guest(s) require privacy and if so, can you create that for them?


my desk with Zuber screen - Bronxville living room

In my apartment, my zuber screen fits perfectly over the doorway affording privacy if my son is here with his girlfriend.


  • Are they adults and/or children?

Adults usually want to be comfortable. Kids will sleep anywhere. When I was a kid in Indiana, I used to love it when my two first cousins would come and visit from Wisconsin. My mom took the mattresses off the bed and two of us, slept on the box spring. It didn’t care. It was so much fun with the room being wall-to-wall bed!

  • Are there any other restrictions, such as an uncle that weighs 350 lbs? Or any other difficulties, like an elderly parent who has mobility issues?

And, if everyone is elderly, do you have the strength to open up a sleeper sofa? Most of them require a hefty pull to get open.

  • How many guests will you need to accommodate?
  • Do you have the space, required?

Well, you might not need any extra space for just one person.

  • What is your budget?

There is a wide variety of options from an air mattress either on the floor (or a stand that you can get), to a high end sleeper sofa with down cushions.


But, you want to know…


Are the best sleeper sofas comfortable?


Well, I can’t say for sure in this regard, however, there are two aspects of comfort to consider.

  • One, the sofa before it becomes a bed
  • The bed after it ceases being a sofa.

In my experience, the best sleeper sofas are comfortable as sofas. But, most are not comfortable as beds. In order to get the mattress to fold, it needs to be thin and that doesn’t give adequate support.

Red Nomad Memory Foam

However, a solution for that issue that should help is to get a mattress topper after the bed is open. I love memory foam.

Some of the current models already come with a memory foam mattress. And some sleeper sofas come with an air mattress. Those options should provide better comfort.


However, the thing that I’ve noticed over the years, either when we needed to use our sleeper sofa or we were in a place where we had to sleep on one, is this. Invariably either our guests or us hauled the mattress out of the sleeper and put it on the floor. So, what is the point of having a sleeper except for a place to store the mattress?


Hence, if you have any doubt whether it’s a good idea or not, why not save yourself the hassle and get some air mattresses for your out-of-town guests?


Or, if you have the room to store one, a good old-fashioned roll-away cot is not a bad idea.

Gosh, hardly anyone talks about those anymore. But we used to have one when I was growing up and my grandparents used to set their cot up in the small kitchen where I got to stay a few times. I’m trying to remember what happened to the table, but I guess, they moved it out-of-the-way and then we had to fold the cot up each morning.


The issues with a cot are that they take up a fair amount of space and they only sleep one person.


I had a self-inflating air mattress when I first moved six years ago. That’s because I had my lovely Serena and Lily Harbour bed, but no mattress for three weeks. It was okay, but I was very glad when my mattress came.


Ivation EZ-Bed - queen air mattress with frame

It was like this Ivation bed which you can see here. They have a fun video to show how EZ it is to inflate.  They also have a full-size.

Is it as EZ as they show it to be?

No, of course not. It’s cumbersome and you have to wheel it to where you need it to be. But, it’s not terribly difficult; it really does inflate in a jiffy. And, it’s not too difficult to put away. After I got my sleep sofa, I gave the self-inflating bed to my wasband. It still took up too much room in my closet and I don’t need it.


The other thing I’ve noticed is that when there is just one person, they usually can’t be bothered to open up the sleeper.

So, the options there, are to either get a bona fide day bed or a chaise-sofa combo.  There are quite a few nice ones on the market.

OR, some sofas, especially those with loose-back pillows are deep enough for one person. My son never opens up my Lee sleep-sofa when he comes to visit on his own. It’s really not bad.


The next option is a day-bed. A daybed holds a twin size mattress which measures 39″ x 75.”

Furn_Harbour_Cane_Daybed_White_great for a guest bedroomMy favorite Harbour Cane Daybed from Serena and Lily.


Harbour Cane Daybed - Serena and Lily Best Sleeper Sofas

Oh, if you didn’t see yesterday, S&L sent me a catalog with a promo code for 20% off the ENTIRE SITE. And they just got 500 new items in. You can find out more about that here.

A daybed or lounge sofa is a great option for a situation where the room is mostly functioning as a room with a sofa, but that it frequently needs to also be a bed for one person. Or, the cheaper ones are also a good option for dorm rooms or young ‘uns or folks who feel young but aren’t. ;]


Are they comfortable, you want to know?


Some are probably more so than others.


daybed wayfair

I found this daybed on Wayfair that also comes in a beige. It has great reviews and it’s super inexpensive. I could see it for someone young who needs a bed that doubles as a sofa.


ABC Carpet and Home 1409524-crashpad-chesterfield-daybed-sofa
This one is available at ABC Carpet and Home. The cool thing about this one is that the back folds down to make a twin and one half bed. I guess that can accommodate two people who aren’t terribly large for a couple of nights. The company is called Crash Pad. haha. How brilliant is that!


I also love the following loungers. A lounger is a cross between a chaise and a sofa.


West Elm Mid-Century LoungerWest Elm Mid-Century Lounger


Oooohhh, it’s on sale right now and comes in a bunch of different fabrics and of course, right facing too.


West Elm Mid-Century Lounger - detail


But, all you would need to do is put a sheet over the cushion and you could put your head on the wide end. Or, which ever way your guests are more comfortable. And I think this would be a great solution for when you need a sofa and a bed.


Lee Industries 3907-13 full-size sleeper sofa


Of course, you could also have a nice deep sofa with back cushions like mine as mentioned earlier. This one is a sleeper sofa, but it also comes in a non-sleeper sofa, if you think that the cushion will be enough for your needs. We’ve also put the seat cushion on the floor and used the sleep sofa when I’ve had both sons home.

And in case you think that this would only work for a small person, well, my son, Cale, is 6′-3″ and 180 lbs.


Room and Board Hutton Chaise

Room and Board Hutton Chaise – This comes in numerous fabric options.


@mychicagohouse on instagram - Room and board daybed


@mychicagohouse on instagram – Room and board daybed


Apt2B - Colbalt velvet Samson-Lounger-On-Camera-Pecan-Cobalt_


Apt2B – Colbalt velvet Samson Lounger

Lots of fabric options here too and good for those who aren’t fond of the button tufting.


Crashpad’s cool retro-inspired Napper daybed can serve as a bench if floating or a daybed, against the wall with lots of pillows would be chic and sleek. It’s on sale at ABC Home.



Serena and Lily have done it again with the Spruce Street version of a sleeper sofa. This one is so incredibly compact at only 69″ wide and yet, there’s a queen-sized bed in there. And don’t forget that it’s 20% off right now! Click here to get your promo code for the discount.


Serena and Lily Spruce Street sleeper sofa queen sizeBut if you need a longer sofa, there’s also a three-seat version. And you can have it made without the nailheads, if they’re not your thing. There are dozens of gorgeous fabrics, too!



Lee Industries Queen Sleeper 3232-05 is reminiscent of the beautiful deco sofas of the 1930s.



Montclair three-seat queen size sleeper sofa

Another classic silhouette is at Crate and Barrel. There’s also a two-seat version. And this is a high-end piece if done in one of the custom fabrics. There are the standard fabric versions and those are a lot less expensive.

Crate and Barrel Montclair one of the best sleeper sofas - with air mattress

It comes with an air mattress! I am not sure, but I think it is made by Lee. That sure looks comfy.


Montclair Sofas - living room Crate and Barrel

Montclair Roll arm sofa - Crate and Barrel

There is a plain sofa version of this in a few different sizes. Now, please notice that the legs are only about three or four inches on the sleeper sofa and the front rail is longer than on the plain version of this sofa that is directly above. This is to hide the mechanism of the sleeper.


Robin Bruce Best Sleeper Sofas Ivory Crypton Sleeper
This is the Robin Bruce Brooke Sleep Sofa and you can see that with the casters and legs and shorter rail that the mechanism is showing a little. It’s the same frame as on the regular Brooke Sofa. Will you actually see it? I’m not sure. In real life, the underneath part will be in shadow and you would have to be standing at a pretty far distance and/or on your hands and knees to be able to see the hardware, I would think.


But, if you are considering ordering this piece, and it’s bothering you, I would call Rowe Furniture who manufactures the sofa.


I wouldn’t bother calling One King’s Lane. They are unlikely to know. However, you could call the store in Manhattan and ask them. It is a lovely piece and as long as you won’t see the mechanism, is a wonderful choice for a traditional sofa that turns into a bed.

It also comes in several fabrics.

And, it is 20% off right now with you promo code that you can get here.


Duralee Whistler+Sleeper+Sofa - Wayfair

Duralee Whistler Sleeper Sofa – Wayfair


Duralee is a manufacturer of fine designer fabrics and upholstered furniture. So, this is going to be a more expensive piece, but the quality is excellent. I like this Billy Baldwin inspired piece.




I don’t know too much about this company. But they have some more moderately priced contemporary pieces that look quite nice. And this one has excellent reviews. It opens up to a full-sized deluxe innerspring mattress. And if your guests have a young child, they could sleep on the chaise, perhaps.

Well, I hope that this post gave you some ideas if you’re needing some alternative sleeping arrangements in your home.

Those of you who don’t have a designated guest room and/or have over-flow situations, what do you do to solve that issue. And if you have a sleeper sofa that you either like or don’t like, please let us know in the comments.



PS: Don’t forget to check out all of the wonderful hot sales this weekend and get your promo codes for 20% off One Kings Lane and Serena and Lily!


Oh blimey! I almost forgot! I made another graphic for you to post to your pinterest boards.


Best sleeper sofas and daybeds


75 Responses

  1. Hi again Laurel! I think you pointed out the COCOCO HOME English roll arm sleeper sofa or perhaps your blog led me to their website and I stumbled upon the sleeper–but I think you actually featured the sleeper sofa at some point. I have to say that they were very fun to work with and accommodating. The sleeper is incredibly comfortable and incredibly HEAVY. The delivery men cursed the whole time they were delivering it. I have learned an incredible amount from you but apparently, I did not learn how to properly measure the clearance at the bottom of the stairs and that a sofa which is 42″ deep is about 2″ too great to make what looks like an easy turn (if you aren’t the one lifting). You have only mentioned to have a plan and to measure carefully in many of your posts! Anyways to solve the dilemma I googled and found that in New York many people have a business that specializes in taking new sofa’s apart and then reassembling them in the desired room. In CA, this service was harder to find but I found a couple of people who could do it (upholsterers by trade) and a grandfather and grandson duo who had excellent reviews and removed part of the sofa back and then reupholstered it like it was brand new (they were very reasonable and I would pay the small fee any day to have a nice sized piece of furniture in the room than a small unpractical one). The whole process took about 3 hours. Embarrassing because you have warned of this scenario many times I know, but the sleeper depths are normally at least 42″ and often times even deeper than that and the doorways were not the issue. Who can be that precise when measuring and usually things can be tipped and angled right (don’t answer that because I learned the hard way)??? Live and learn! Bottom line is the sofa is so very comfortable and it has an air mattress inner foam coil combo, if I remember correctly, and the tight back acts as a very comfy headboard when it is turned into a bed. Anyways, once again, your blog has led me to one of my favorite things in my home!!!

    1. Hi Travis,

      I’m so sorry that you had that experience. It happened to me once and I had to have the same thing done. I have mentioned it here, at least once, but not sure where. And, I know that I have also talked about measuring all doorways and stairs carefully and if you’re not sure call a service that does this. Of course, I don’t expect people to have read every word I’ve written. It’s well over 1,000,000 words now! lol

      One other thing. I’m not sure where you are getting the information regarding the standard depth of a sleeper sofa, however, I don’t want people to be mislead. A sleeper sofa is not typically as much as 42″ deep for most styles. In fact, the more common depth is 36″-38″ deep. And I’ve never seen one deeper than 42″. The only exception might be a chesterfield style with a big roll back. Maybe that’s what you have?

  2. I vote airbed all the way. I have a very nice one that came with its own blower and it’s tall like a regular sized double bed. Works wonderfully, inflates in no time, and collapses and rolls up into a compact bag that I store in the garage when not being used.

  3. A great post! My first sofa purchase was a “sofa bed”, as they were called years ago. It is good to catch up on the current options. You have gathered some really good looking pieces, Laurel.

    Always good to remember how much heavier they are if DIY moving or enlisting friends to help. And, as you pointed out, floor clearance is shorter which may not matter aesthetically but may make it trickier to move up staircases or through doorways. Plus, the extra weight on the bottom of the sofa renders it more unwieldy.

    Happy New Year, Laurel! It’s wonderful to hear you are feeling better and able to enjoy your class again.

    1. Thanks so much for all, Libby! The teacher today, is like a ballet drill Sargent. Killer while going through it, but my legs are still tingling (in a good way) 14 hours later! Oh, my fitbit is yelling at me to GO TO BED!

  4. Hi Laurel
    American Leather ( not just leather, fanfic as well), which recently acquired the very Green/ environmental Lee Industries,
    makes a terrific series of sofa beds with memory foam mattresses that have a unique
    mechanism without a bar. They have a queen size model that can be broken down to fit thru a
    Standard condo bedroom door. Have one and
    with the addition of long oblong pillows inside the arms is perfect for use as a sofa and my only bed.
    Check out Resource furniture an incredible collection of Italian convertible furniture. Including all sorts of Murphy beds, rack bunks,
    tables that go from console to dining for 10,
    a coffee table that becomes a dining table, and
    a desk that rotates out fron a dresser top.
    The mechanisms are beautifully engineered and function perfectly, so the pieces are relatively expensive but worth every cent. Spent 2 weeks in a vacation condo that was 450 square feet with my sister and her 2 teenage daughters and loved this furniture.

  5. I actually just got my Robin Bruce Brooke sleeper delivered. I can see the sleeper mechanism when standing from across the room, as well as when I’m sitting down near the sofa (when looking at it from the side). I got it in a dark fabric (forest velvet) so the mechanism doesn’t stand out as much and doesn’t bother me too much but I can see how it would stand out more with a lighter colored sofa. Btw, the back leg of it is chipped and the delivery driver tried to pull the wool over my head by calling it “rub off” that he can “touch up”. Haha no way and no thanks! It is a pretty decent chunk of the leg that is chipped off. So much for “white glove” delivery service. If the damage was irreparable on-spot, that delivery would have been refused. I called OKL now and they will likely send a furniture restoration company out to fix it, pending pictures of the damage. Hopefully this is useful information for anybody out there that may come across a similar issue.

    1. Agata,

      Welcome to the world of the interior designer. Damage is inevitable. I repeat. Damage is inevitable. It has absolutely nothing to do with the delivery guys. It might’ve been a pothole or something shifted or who knows?

      What OKL is doing IS SOP. They do need photos. And things take a while because every day it’s dozens more and then the next and the next. Patience is required.

      I’ve had legs crack right off or split. The base on a fine dining table from Baker actually collapsed while my client and her guests were having dessert. She had already had the table for about seven years. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.

      This business really is not for the faint of heart. I am incredibly glad not to be dealing with this. I have a faint heart.

      It’s wood. It’s exceedingly fragile and that’s what I am hoping that people understand.

  6. I am having this same dilemma. I just got a 540 sq ft apt & want 2 friends to visit & be comfortable. I have an old twin Sleep Number mattress. I have about decided to get a used double height air mattress & put the Sleep Number on top & a topper on that. Then get the queen Ikea storage bed where you can lift the whole mattress platform up & store the air mattress & Sleep Number & topper there. Both queen & twin will be a tight fit in the bedroom but we go on vacations together where we are in tiny hotel rooms.

    I looked at sleeper ottomans that fold out into a platform but they were too heavy for me to move around.

    1. Sounds like a great plan for you MLH. This is reminding me of my early years in New York. I shared a 500 sq. ft. one-bedroom apartment on the upper west side (great location) for about 7 years with a number of different roommates. Finally, after the last one left and I had just turned 30, I decided that I was just going to have to work harder, because it was too uncomfortable living like that. Shortly after that, I met my future husband, now wasband. :]

  7. Thanks for the great info. A little off topic but I was wondering if any of your readers had purchased the mattresses at Costco? The price is certainly attractive! I’m thinking of buying one for a guest room.

    1. Hi Mary,

      I know that you mean know harm, but it’s only me answering all of the comments as well as dozens of emails. So, the comments need to stick to the post and not a problem one needs solving or things could get wildly out-of-hand. I wish it could be otherwise, but there are too many people now. Please know that I’m not singling you out, it happens nearly every post. Thank you for your understanding.

      My suggestion is to google “review of mattresses at Costco.” There’s a good chance that you’ll find the information you’re seeking.

  8. OK – So I need the info on the sleepr that is more than 60″ deep that you pictured!!! I’m 6′ and my husband 6’4″ and we have tallll needs. Please share b/c that Big Ole Sofa would work in our Big Ole guest room!

      1. You are a DOLL! Thank you and will report back if this fills up my room making my lovely house look like a dorm room, in which case, I have only MYSELF to blame! I appreciate all the knowlege you share!!! Thanks for answering!

  9. We have the Robin Bruce Brooke sleeper from OKL in our library which we convert to a guest room. As a sofa it’s quite comfortable. I admit that we haven’t tried the bed for ourselves yet so can’t comment there. With regards to your question about the visibility of the bed mechanism underneath – you can’t see it when you’re standing in front of the sofa. But, we have a loveseat across the room and when I’m sitting in that I can see the underneath mechanism. It’s never bothered me before but maybe now it will – ha! All in all, a gorgeous sleeper.

    1. Oh wow! Thanks so much for that info Alicia! It’s so funny, if I put something out there, there’s a very good chance that someone will have the answer. It’s a trade-off, but I’d rather have the pretty legs and the curved side rail and see a little bit of a metal bar than have the heavier piece of furniture with the squat legs. But, I mentioned it, because some people might feel differently. So, if it didn’t bother you before, then it’s all good.

      I did sit in at least two pieces of Robin Bruce furniture and it was very comfortable as was the Miles Talbot chair. If you’re up for it and are interested in sending in a couple pics of your library with the sleeper(s) I’d love to see them in your room. If not, no problem at all. You may send images to admin at laurel bern interiors dot com.

  10. I had to break down and buy a sofa bed. I did a lot of research and went all over to check them out. I ended up with one from Pottery Barn due to the fantastic mattress and frame that’s by Mitchell Gold. The sofa is actually comfortable too. The style is boring basic but it’s in the den and gets lots of use so it had to be sturdy for everyday use as a sofa. That’s another option for someone that needs, oh yes, now they’re called sleeper sofa not sofa bed.

    1. You can call it a sofa bed, if you like. I always called it a “sleep sofa” but when I googled “sleep sofa” Googs (Google) wanted me to call it “sleeper” and I do everything he tells me to do. lol

  11. Fantastic list, Laurel! Am surprised that the ‘crash pad’ style is still around as recall when first married we purchased two leather ones for our T.V. room and that was 48 years ago. As living in a small bungalow at the time they certainly served their purpose for guests and afterwards were used by two other families. (They were from Sears of all places but we certainly got ‘our bang for our buck!) Fast forward; currently I have a small sleep sofa (46″ width sleeping surface/slightly shy of a full size) that serves as seating in our den/office and tucks nicely into the bay window area. It however, I am not about to part with as years ago it was a blessing to have when I experienced a 3-month-long cycle of Vertigo and with it being closer to the floor, it allowed me to roll out of it making it easier to crawl on my hands and knees without the challenge of even having to sit up. (Having experienced acute dizziness yourself, I know you can relate.) -Brenda-
    P.S.: Oh, the latter has been used on a few occasions when we have had an abundance of guests. Hopefully this wasn’t too much information 🙂 .

    1. Hi Brenda,

      Very interesting. Actually, when I was in Cali, in my first apartment, I had the 2nd very tiny unheated bedroom. There was this ancient thing that was probably the original crash pad. It had to be from the forties or earlier!

  12. Hi Laurel,
    When my daughter was young & I was a single parent I had a sleeper sofa. My daughter got our only bedroom to herself & I got the sleeper sofa in the living room. I was too tired to pull it out most nights & just slept on the sofa.
    But occasionally I would pull it out for her & we would have a slumber party for the 2 of us. Popcorn & a movie on tv.
    Thank you for bringing back a fun memory.

  13. Hi Laurel. Great post.

    I actually prefer inflatable beds to most sofa sleepers — and to a lot of real mattresses. The key is not to over-inflate the mattress. It needs to have some “give” to provide the right kind of support. It also helps to top the mattress with some egg carton foam or a thick feather-bed style mattress pad. Either of those will keep the mattress quieter and help with ventilation.

    There are a lot of different inflatable beds on the market. My sister has a queen size, full height Aero Bed that’s pretty amazing. My 90-year-old mother sleeps in it and loves it. I have a wonderful set of Coleman mattresses with an external, battery operated air pump. I can stack the two mattresses together for a twin bed or lay them side by size for a king. At our family vacation home, we use an off brand mattress that we bought for $30. My sister and I fight over who gets to sleep on it, as we both prefer it to the new, expensive bed in the guest room. Not only have all these mattresses saved us money, they give us a lot of flexibility in how we house our guests and they let us decorate our extra rooms with any sofa we want!

    Oh, and one more warning about Murphy beds: modern mattresses are way too heavy for most Murphy bed mechanisms. Good luck stowing a 150 pound mattress.

    Thanks again for all your work on these posts. There are some great looking sofas here. I’ve been impressed with Room and Board’s upholstered goods the last few times I shopped there, so am glad you agree.

  14. Love reading your posts every Sunday! Love Sac has moved into my area. Some friends swear by them. For others, the love affair so to speak has ended. I debated buying one to put in the basement/family room area, in part because it looked like a good sleeping alternative for our many out of town family members and teen/young adult guests. Do you have an opinion on the Sac? Not the most aesthetic choice, clearly. In my home, I ended up buying a deep sectional from Crate and Barrel. It’s like another continent but my three teens adore it, and hubby too. Our guests under 30 seem to prefer it to blow up mattresses (a twin and queen on hand in the closet). So the sectional does double duty as entertainment space and bed. I hadn’t anticipated the sectional would be such a popular sleeping area but our half-basement is quiet, dark and near a half bath. While this is not a great option for older guests, for the younger set, it’s near perfect. For the older crowd, we put the large air mattress on top of a rug mat, bc they tend to slip, and place a mattress topper on top. I also put a small table with a lamp, and chair or bench nearby. Those extra go some way. Not the Ritz, but our friends and family keep coming back. Breakfast casserole and french toast help too!

  15. I manage a nonprofit housing complex. Most suites are studios. Several tenants have single (twin) Murphy beds and they work well because they take up little wall space. I agree with you about the larger ones though, they restrict furniture placement too much, especially in a small room. Check out Expand Furniture. Pricey but Really cool stuff!

    1. Oh, that is a cool source. I forgot about the bed/sofa units. I’m have a deja vu where it seems that they made it into a verrry old blog post, but who knows which one. Unless it’s the one about tiny houses.

      No, it’s not. But gosh, it’s a good post that nobody’s reading!

  16. Purchased a Lee Industries sleep sofa last year. Despite sitting on it at the store, it turned out to be the most uncomfortable sofa to sit on. I might try a Baker sleeper next but if that doesn’t work, I’m done with sleep sofas forever.

  17. My BFF, who lives in a one bed apartment, stores a double 4” foamy on the floor under her queen bed. She uses a bed skirt so it’s hidden. We just pull it out onto the living room floor when I’m there. During the day, we put the whole thing, linen and all, on top of her bed. That’s been working for us for years. When both my hubby and I visit she sleeps on the foamy and gives us her bed. Like I said, BFF!!!

  18. I wanted to WARN people about an alternative to Sofa sleepers, that I had considered when needing space and a sleep solution. I put in a Wallbed unit, with 2 side cabinets. Beautiful piece of furniture. Reputable local company. The company hired a company to install for me, because I was nervous about the possibility of a screw up. Well…it happened anyway. The unit came out of the wall, pinning me underneath. Side cabinets crashing. I ended up having surgery on my leg and ankle, because everything was broken. I’m still rehabbing.
    So, long story short. Be careful.

  19. All good stuff. Another alternative: Take the money you’d spend on a sleep sofa, extra bedding, etc, and put into a “guest fund” to cover hotel rooms for your guests. No, not an option in many cases… but worked for us with 1 BR/1 BA beach condo, occasional guest couples who wanted privacy, and nearby affordable hotel rooms. Everyone got their ‘space’ and could nap or party as desired, while our own place remained the entertainment hub with no bedding to put away etc.

  20. This article sparked some memories of two different sleeper sofas I’ve had in the past, the best one being a Castro Convertible purchased in the early to mid-90’s. (My wasband got that one, too) I became curious to see if they are still on the market. The company appears to have stopped making sleeper sofas, but they make 39″ wide twin size fold-out ottomans that appear to be very decent. You might want to look at Castro Convertibles if a twin is what you have in mind.

  21. This is very helpful, Laurel. However, would you please revisit the Crash pad sleeper? It appears that it does not turn into the queen bed as you indicated, but a twin and a half as per the website.

    1. Oh, my bad! I actually read this a while ago and fixed it right away. But I try to answer the comments in the order that they appear. Thank you for catching that. I admit that I was pretty pooped by that time as I added that in during editing and didn’t read the specs. I was merely eye-balling and not very well either.

  22. Thanks for this post. I’ve had many homes over the years needing extra sleeping arrangements- I find the Filmore sofa bed from Arhaus (no clue as to who makes it for them), with the air mattress in my home office/guest room is great for sitting, sleeping and a snap to open, set-up and close. I just tell folks not to get too frisky -always afraid the seams might pop! I too, believe that fish and guests only last 3 days….

  23. Thank you for this insightful article. My daughter lives in a small studio apartment and has been considering a foldout sleeper sofa so that she can have more room (remember Mary Tyler Moore). This article will give her lots of choices instead of cramming a sofa and a bed into her bachelorette pad!

  24. I had an Ethan Allen sleeper which had the air mattress. I put a space blanket shiny side up under their mattress cover in the colder months and an additional mattress pad. Everyone said it was a comfortable sleeper. My beau and I slept in it for 2 months while renovation was going on and it was fine. I also have slept on the blow up mattresses on legs like you did Laurel: before the moving company came. Not as comfortable.

    The room I had the sleeper in was a finished basement. It had windows on 3 sides and own bathroom. I dubbed it the ‘guest suite’. I never heard my sister and nephews when they visited!!! Since I live on Cape Cod, I have had many visitors over the years. That area versus the guest room next to mine was preferred.

  25. Hi Laurel,

    Those are great choices. I have slept on many pull out sofas and most of them are awful but last year I spent a week in Florida with my family so we had to use the pull out sofa to accommodate us all and I slept on the pullout. It was one of those self inflating mattresses and I have to say it was pretty good; way better than any other pull out I have slept on and super easy to set up. Wasn’t hard to pull out either. Sorry I didn’t take note of the manufacturer but it was quite comfortable as a sofa too.

    Another great option is to use those 4” reasonably high density foam folding beds. They fold into a square shape and are three sections with a backing that ties them all together. Am I explaining this very well. Anyway, you would get two of these to equal a double bed. They are really comfortable and super inexpensive. I know Costco often carries them. You just need to have the storage space for them.

    Happy Sunday

    1. Hi Margaret,

      That’s a great idea about the high density folding beds. I had something like that back in the 80s that was a kind of a chair and opened up to be a little bed. But, I got it shortly before I met my future husband, now wasband. I don’t remember what happened to those things. I guess we didn’t have room for them in my fiance’s apartment.

  26. Hi Laurel! I have really loved your sofa series – I have saved them all for future reference. I was hoping to inspire another blog post where you might do something similar with dressers and chest of drawers that could be used in bedrooms of people of various ages but also moved to other rooms (ie office,den). While I prefer to find a vintage or antique piece I don’t always have the time or money to seek that out and online there are just so many choices and rather cheap looking that I give up. I loved the way you curated the high to low end with various looks but always keeping a classic style for your sofa posts. I look forward to your posts every week!

    1. We find in our area that estate sales at houses are a good place to find old or antique wooden chests of drawers at reasonable prices. They seem so inexpensive compared to other items — apparently because “no one wants brown furniture these days.” Here (Memphis), the estate sales are at a house and include its contents, plus items from several other dealers. It’s fun to look but does take a little time, and one can’t necessarily find something every time.

  27. As always, thank you for another wonderful post. I just wanted to share another option which is that of a murphy bed. We used to have a sleeper sofa with an air mattress which was more comfortable, but it would lose air every time someone slept on it and I got tired of re-inflating every day. So we sold it and got a horizontal murphy bed instead. It’s comfortable just like a regular bed and just looks like a decent piece of furniture when it’s closed.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Ahhh… a horizontal Murphy bed. That makes more sense than the vertical one my friend has. Maybe I’ll update the post later on and include that as a viable option.

      1. Funny, I just posted about the possible DANGERS of Murphy beds, and then I see the first post is about Murphy beds.
        Anyone who is considering this option, once it is ‘installed’, have another independent person check its stability. We have found that it was installed improperly to begin with , and then the side cabinets were not even secured to the wall per the manufacturer.
        The worst nightmare can happen!

  28. Hi Laurel…great post. Loved many of your options. About 10 years ago, I needed to buy a sofa bed for visiting friends and relatives (when I still had 4 kids in the house). I did a lot of research on different companies because I was looking for a more comfortable mattress – and a nice look to boot. I had purchased a sleeper sectional many years prior from Jennifer Convertibles and the mattress was not good and the sectional didn’t last too long either.

    I found that Carlyle Sofas in NYC made the best ones – but of course they were the priciest! They have some beautiful sofas and their beds are very comfortable.

    I went with the more mid-priced Crate and Barrel sleeper sofa and it has been great. The sofa has seen many guests and it still looks beautiful.

    Love those daybeds you posted…always wanted one!

    All the best to you – Happy New Year!


    1. Hi Linda,

      Yeah, I know about Carlyle, but think that they are over-priced so didn’t mention them. I’m also not blown-over by some of their frames. Some are okay. So glad that the C&B has been a win!

      And Happy New Year to you as well!

  29. This is a great list. I was in the market 2-3 yrs ago & got an inexpensive option blue velour quilted Novogratz sleeper/futon from Wal-Mart. Had it delivered (huge box) and put it together myself. Beautiful, lovely color. It’s firm not fluffy, held up well as a secondary couch used as a sleeper 2x a year. I live alone otherwise, & doubt it would work for a big family daily couch. It’’s where I read, drink coffee every morning in my traditional/slightly boho art-filled salon room with big windows. Read the reviews, to see if it would work for you. I have never had any furniture from Walmart but I’m glad my daughter convinced me to take a chance on this.

  30. Great post, Laurel! Here’s a thought, although not about a sofa. I was in Naples, FL a few years ago with a group of girlfriends at a friend’s condo. The guest room where I stayed was designed as an office, but had a built-in Murphy bed as part of a wall of bookshelves. Remember those?! I thought I read somewhere that they were making a little bit of a comeback? This one was a beautifully designed modern one and easy to pull down. Also very comfortable for four nights! Maybe there’s a post idea about design ideas that should never have gone out of fashion and could still work today.

    1. Hi Bobbie,

      I did consider that as an option at one point before I began to completely run out of steam. I think the reason I didn’t mention is that I have a friend who lives in a 400 sq. foot studio apt. in Manhattan which came furnished with a Murphy bed. Here’s the thing. Whatever was on the floor where the bed needs to go has to get moved somewhere.

      And, in this case, it was the only place for her sofa. She admitted that it was a drag putting it up and taking it down each night. I think for a temporary situation, it would be okay, but maybe not ideal for a full-time one; not really sure. I would need to hear from others who’ve lived with one and what they think about it.

  31. Very good post, we are mulling this same thing over. We have a four bedroom and frequently will host for a week. We have enough space for a dedicated guest room in the basement but my husband wants that for his home office. We have thought about a Murphy bed though have no idea on the quality there or if it could clear our ceiling to close.

    I like the lounger, it looks like a nice compromise.

    I am really hoping to convince my husband to allow that space as a dedicated guest room as many of our relatives are closing in on 80 and I can’t in good conscience put them on a sofa bed. Most recently we gave them our room and bunked with the kids. We also have a teeeny room I am hoping my husband ends up using as an office which I think is plenty of space because he doesn’t have clients, just monitors. It’s maybe 7’ by 8’ and I think plenty for an office he uses a couple hours a day.

    I hope you are feeling well.

    1. Hi Celeste,

      In the same one-bedroom apartment in NYC where we had the killer futon and fugly platform for it, (see Parnassus, below) was a walk-in closet. Let’s see, it was about 4′ x 5′ And he used it as his office. My first semester of design school in 1988, his sister, husband and two-year-old son came to visit for at least a week. (they were coming from Cape Town which is why.) That closet saved my life as I had massive amounts of homework.

      So, my point is 7′ x 8′ is plenty for an office!

      And thank you, I am feeling a lot better and dancing three times a week.

    1. haha, yes. Men have asked me if there’s a male equivalent. And all I have to say to that, is we have to go our entire lives, married or not to being called “woman” which when you think about it is pretty bad. It’s a man with womb. Maybe we should start calling men, “womlessmen.” ;]

  32. Hello Laurel, And you laughed at me for recommending a couch that you can lie down on! I remember having an old roll-away. With its heavy iron frame and thick mattress, it must have weighed a ton, but it was comfortable.

    You never mentioned the old standby, futons. Some of the frames look pretty cheap, but a plain one will roll up and is good for sudden emergencies. I had one that was very comfortable, even spread on the floor, like a sleeping bag (also a possibility, especially for kids, and especially the old-fashioned thicker, heavier ones).

    In Asia there is another solution, probably available at Asian stores in the U.S. They have these 3-fold, 2″ thick mattresses that either come soft or firm. They can go in a closest, but what I do now that I have a spare room with a twin bed is to place the twin-size (they also come in double or queen) folding mattress between the actual mattress and the bedframe. This way it is out of sight, and it raises the real mattress slightly so that it is easier to make the bed. In an earlier apartment I slept on mine (an extra-firm one) for a year and had no complaints, and I am particular about mattresses.

    Finally, in college for our living room we wheedled an extra bed out of the school, put some kind of spread on it, and ended up with the most comfortable couch ever.

    1. Hi Jim,

      I laughed at you for having a sofa you could lie down on? Surely, I was teasing/joking. I would never laugh at you! One thing I know and that’s men are biologically programmed to lie down on a sofa and sleep on it. (that’s me being facetious, if that’s not clear.)

      I’ll tell you why I didn’t mention futons. My wasband had one and I slept on that hard-as-a-rock thing for four years until I was pregnant and at that point, was in agony, so thankfully, we got a real mattress for his platform bed which I also hated and got rid of in 2002. Plus, I’m not a fan of how they look as sofas.

      So, the Asian 2″ portable folding mattress effectively acts as a little box spring without springs. That’s a great idea. I know that there is such a thing as a 3″ or maybe it’s 4″ box spring. I don’t know if there are actually springs or not. I’m too lazy right now, to check. But they’re good when you don’t want a full box spring (it would make the bed too high) and in place of a “bunky board” that’s required for some beds that have slats.

      Bunky boards for anyone who’s reading this and doesn’t know what that is a an upholstered board. They originally began with bunk beds which can’t take a box spring. Henceforth, “bunky board.”

  33. Laurel, another great post. That Montclair sofa is such a lovely update to a classic. I love Ballard Designs sleeper twin chairs. Especially the Collins twin sleeper, so sweet (but expensive). I never know who I’m going to have as a guest so it’s twin beds all the way.


  34. I bought a Mitchell & Gold pillow top, down filled queen sofa bed in early 2012 and love it. In my small one bedroom apartment it is my primary piece of furniture. It was pretty pricey for me, yet has paid itself off as a sound investment.
    If only one person stays over I remove the back pillows which makes a very comfy single bed. The sofa bed itself is very comfortable – no bar – and several times, just for variety, I’ve slept in it for up to a month for a change of pace. Being chemical sensitive, this sofa is perfect as it’s green, even the wood frame. The shimmery pale taupe chenille upholstery I chose is perfect for me and the room. It spot cleans beautifully! I love lounging on it! Only drawback is it sits rather high, and the sofa is rather deep, so folks of medium height have to sit forward for feet to touch the ground. I’ve got some larger sized throw pillows to assist in this. You would most likely say it’s way too big for the room, yet I wanted a sofa someone could stretch all the way out on and this has come in handy many times when single friends have made their bed here. Good also for two people lounging and talking. once my girlfriend and her two daughters crashed on it when they licked themselves out. Roomy!

    1. Hi Melissa,

      I very much like Mitchell-Gold, but over the years, have heard mixed reviews, so I’m happy to hear a positive one. If it fits in the room and is a stylish piece, it’s probably not too big. It’s when it’s a big, ugly, brown over-size out-of-proportion thing that I begin to have a problem. And all of their furniture is beautifully proportioned. I’m so glad that you’re enjoying it!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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