Oct 17, 2023
Best chair beds 2023: the best single sofa beds and futons
The best chair beds for sitting and sleeping – space-saving overnight hosting solutions tried and tested by the Ideal Home team Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house
The best chair beds for sitting and sleeping – space-saving overnight hosting solutions tried and tested by the Ideal Home team
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If your overnight hosting space is limited, then investing in one of the best chair beds on the market is a great solution for putting up the occasional guest. Plus, a single sofa bed or futon for one can double up as a stylish accent chair the rest of the time.
Just like the best sofa beds, chair beds come in two main designs. There are 'pull-out' chair beds, where the mattress is pulled out from under the chair's seat cushions to form the sleeping surface and click-clack chair beds where the backrest and chair seat fold flat to create the sleeping area. A futon by contrast tends to be formed of simple cushions that fold flat to offer a padded surface to sleep on.
Most chair beds will only offer a single mattress' worth of sleeping space, but their small footprint makes them a great addition to a small living room, home office, playroom, children's room, or a teenager's bedroom as an easy sleepover solution. If you have a little more space to play with then a loveseat chair bed might squeeze in just enough sleeping space for two guests at a time.
To help you find the best chair bed for your needs, we've tried, tested, and rated bestselling single sofa beds from the biggest brand names, including Argos, Dunelm, Habitat, and Sofa.com. We've sat down, laid down, wrestled with folding mechanisms, and researched multiple customer reviews to collate the top chair beds, single sofa beds, and futons on our radar. You'll find options for all budgets, room sizes, and decor styles in our edit below.
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Stylish, comfortable, quick to transform from chair to bed, and comparatively affordable, Habitat's Roma chair bed is an easy choice for the best value chair bed. If space is at a premium this is also one of the best chair beds for a small room, with the compact 90cm width frame coming in as one of the narrowest on our list.
The small footprint still delivers a 91 x 190cm sleeping area – equivalent to the dimensions of a standard single mattress – and there's also a slightly larger 108 x 190cm option available which can sleep two guests at a push, although they're going to need to get pretty cosy.
The click-clack design makes for an easy transition from seating to sleeping, with hidden pockets (disguised by the coordinated scatter cushion) opening to reveal hinged legs, and the backrest and seat easily unfolding to create the sleeping surface. This makes for a fairly low-to-the-ground sleeping surface, but we found the medium-firm foam cushioning comfortable enough as a bed for a few nights – especially if you add one of the best mattress toppers into the mix.
In chair form, the lack of arms and medium-firm cushioning means it might not cut the mustard as a chair you'll want to use as your main everyday seating, but, it makes a good accent chair. Style it in the living room, bedroom, home office, or guest room, or add it to a teenager's or kids' bedroom for impromptu sleepovers.
If you have a little more space – and a lot more budget – to play with, then Darlings of Chelsea's Weymouth loveseat sofa bed offers a classic look that scores big on comfort.
Fiber-wrapped foam or feather-wrapped foam seat cushions make this chair bed comfortable enough to use as your everyday living room seating, with the pull-out mattress meaning no-one will guess it hides a bed in its depths.
There are over 175 upholstery options to choose from, along with a choice of coordinated or contrasting piping, and four options of leg colour. Plus, if you want to blend a sofa bed in with a larger living room suite then the Weymouth collection also offers armchair and sofa options (as well as four larger sofa bed variations). The 12cm deep mattress with either pocket-spring or memory foam construction means guest comfort is extremely well catered for too.
If you can accommodate the 128cm loveseat width but have difficult access to navigate, then for a slight increase in price this chair bed can also be built with removable arms to give you some vital extra wiggle room on delivery day – genius. Take a look at Darlings of Chelsea discount codes to make sure you're getting the best price available.
Comfortable enough to use as everyday seating, but with the versatility to transform into a guest bed with a pull-out mattress, this chair bed may not have quite as many bells and whistles as Darlings of Chelsea's Weymouth, but with Furniture Village running regular discounting events, you might be able to snap it up for quite a lot cheaper.
On testing, we were impressed by the chair seat depth – the perfect compromise between loungey and upright to keep both sitters and curler-uppers content – and the sink-in yet supportive fiber back cushions and fiber-topped foam seat cushions, plus good height armrests.
In fact, this chair bed is barely distinguishable from the dedicated armchair in terms of seat comfort – a rarity in the world of pull-out chair beds where the hidden bed frame often means a much, much firmer seat.
However, what this choice does lack is the breadth of style options that alternative chair beds can offer, with just nine upholstery options available. There is a wide choice of coordinating furniture though, so if you want a chair bed that can integrate into a matching living room suite, then this option is worth considering.
This simple futon chair bed may be fairly basic, but if you're after an affordable way to put up the occasional overnight guest then at just £175 it makes for a useful and budget-friendly extra sleeping space.
You can opt for the minimal Japandi vibes of the natural or pale grey upholstery, or there are multiple other colour options available, including practical darks and vibrant brights that are perfect for a teenager's lair or children's bedroom.
The FSC-certified solid pine frame is fairly roughly finished – there were a few sections that looked like they could splinter on the model we tested – and, at this price point, the sleeping is a fairly firm experience. Guests also won't be that far off the floor once the futon bed is extended, which may not be ideal for less mobile visitors.
However, whilst guests might struggle to spend a whole week on this temporary bed (which may or may not be a good thing!), if you only need a guest bed for the occasional overnighter and want a cheap and cheerful option that's a little more permanent than a roll-up or inflatable mattress, this budget option could strike just the right balance.
As well as the stylish curvaceous design, this snuggler-sized sofa-bed-in-a-box offers plenty of added benefits, from the super-quick next-day delivery options to the incredibly easy-to-assemble flat-packed build that means all components are delivered in boxes – particularly useful for apartment dwellers, or delivery into any room with awkward access.
That ease of assembly – no tools are required – also makes for hassle-free disassembly and reassembly if you move home, and there's plenty of matching furniture available to create a whole easy-to-pack-up living room suite.
The only downsides? Upholstery options are currently a little limited, and considering the width of the chair frame, the mattress width is very narrow for an adult.
If you're looking for a chair bed that's comfortable enough for everyday use in the living room then Loaf's Pudding chair bed is a great option. It features the brand's signature squishy seating with generous fiber and feather-wrapped foam cushions that offer plenty of sink-in comfort. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to tell that there's a pull-out bed with a 12cm deep pocket spring mattress hidden within the chair's frame.
On top of the comfort levels, it's the upholstery options where this sofa bed really comes into its own. The Pudding chair benefits from 145+ of Loaf's gorgeously hued stain-resistant 'clever' velvets, relaxed-look linens, tactile wool blends, or hand-buffed leathers, allowing you to create a great-looking chair that doesn't feel like a compromise on style in the same way as other chair beds.
On the flip side, just like Loaf's sofas, this seating is very generously sized with a 120cm depth that increases to 247cm once the bed is extended; great for lounging, but if space is a consideration just make sure to check your measurements before you buy.
The only reason this loveseat sofa bed doesn't come higher in our round-up of the best chair beds is because the 150cm width means we're not sure it can truly be classified as a chair bed.
However, if you can squeeze that wider frame into your room set-up then this is an option well worth considering. Comfortable enough to use as your everyday seating as well as providing overnight guests with a decent night's sleep, it comes equipped with a single roll-out action mechanism that makes the transformation from sofa to pull-out bed a super simple affair. And, as the seat and back cushions remain attached to the frame there's no need to find somewhere to store them whilst your guests are snoozing.
The roll-action design also means this model is able to offer a longer mattress than most pull-out options, with a 190cm length sleeping area that taller guests will appreciate. And, at 12cm, the mattress is one of the deepest that pull-out sofa beds can be equipped with, also offering options of pocket spring or memory foam construction for enhanced comfort.
Seat comfort can also be tailored to your preference with a choice of fibre-wrapped foam or feather-wrapped foam seat cushions for low-maintenance squish-factor, and there are a whopping 175+ upholstery options to choose from.
Plus, if a narrow hallway, tight corners, or tricky stairs are an issue, this sofa bed can be delivered flat-packed and built by the delivery team in situ; a real boon for those with awkward access.
If you don't specifically need a chair bed, and just want a pull-out bed that can blend in with existing furniture, then a footstool or ottoman bed-in-a-box is a solution well worth exploring.
Sofa.com's Henry Bed in a Box comes in at 107cm wide and 74cm deep, making it a useful option for smaller rooms, whether that's as a footstool in the living room, or a place to perch in a compact home office or children's bedroom.
The ottoman holds a single pocket spring pull-out mattress, which at 8.5cm deep isn't quite as thick a mattress as other options on our list, but still made for a passable night's sleep in our tests, although adding a mattress topper will increase comfort levels considerably. The lid of the footstool also lifts and slots into the base to serve as a headboard which is a nice design feature. If you have more space to play with then as an alternative the Jack Bed in a Box offers a double mattress worth of sleeping space in its 158cm width frame.
And the good news is that both options are available in Sofa.com's wide range of upholstery options; especially useful if you want to blend this piece of multifunctional furniture in with a living room suite.
One of the most important factors you'll want to decide on before you start shopping for a chair bed or sofa bed, is whether you would prefer to opt for a click-clack or pull-out design. There are pros and cons to each style so we've called out the key points worth considering below.
A click-clack chair bed is a design where the chair's backrest and seat fold flat to become the sleeping surface. If made of solid foam then quite often these designs can be the firmest for sitting and sleeping, the ‘bed’ also tends to be quite low to the ground once the chair bed is unfolded, and your guests will be sleeping directly on the upholstery surface.
A lot of these problems can be solved with the simple addition of a mattress topper, however, that will add to the overall price (although the combined cost is generally still a lot less than opting for a pull-out chair bed).
Click-clack chair beds are more often contemporary in appearance, and quite often the upholstery options will be a little more limited. However, they’re generally the most affordable option, have the shortest lead times, and are the most compact if floor space is the biggest consideration.
A pull-out chair bed will tend to look the most like a 'traditional' armchair. In this design, the chair seat cushion is removed and a folding bed frame pulled out from the chair seat cavity, with a dedicated mattress on top. The backrest and arms of the armchair remain in place, which means the bed takes up (sometimes considerably more) floor space than a fold-out model, but the sleeping surface tends to be higher from the ground and more like a standard bed. As they tend to be made by sofa specialists, there are usually a lot more upholstery options and matching furniture available if you want to blend a chair bed in with a living room suite.
However, there can still be a huge difference in specifications and comfort between pull-out chair beds. As you are sitting ‘on’ the folded bed frame, thick seat cushions are a must to add comfort, and there can also be significant variation in mattress thicknesses and construction (which can often be fairly hard to find in the small print). Generally speaking, you want the thickest mattress you can afford – a 10-14cm depth is a good gauge – and a sprung or pocket sprung mattress rather than solid foam for some bounce.
Not sure if the expense of a chair bed is worth the investment, or just short on space for even the most compact design? Our guide to the best air beds offers some viable alternatives that are easier on the bank balance, and easier to store when not in use.
Amy is Ideal Home's resident furniture expert and has clocked up the miles testing out bestselling chair beds in showrooms across the country to find the best-in-class models for this guide.
To find the best chair beds at the best prices we’ve walked multiple miles around multiple furniture showrooms and laid down on the job to try out plenty of the most popular designs. We've also grilled the Ideal Home team for their expert knowledge, along with their friends, and their friend’s friends, to find out how their small sofa bed choices are holding up to the rigours of day-to-day life. We also take into account the wider views of those who own each product, whether that’s via online reviews or social media. Click here to find out more about how we review products on Ideal Home.
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After studying Print Design at Winchester School of Art, Amy spent multiple years working in the interior industry, including styling and visual merchandising for many well-known brands. She’s now Decor Editor at Ideal Home, offering advice on creating your dream interior, whether that's choosing the perfect shade of paint, investing in a new sofa, or sourcing on-trend and sustainable products for the home. She also writes about all things interior for Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, and Real Homes, and brings her design knowledge outdoors at Gardeningetc, where she advises on what to look for when shopping for the best garden furniture and how to create a practical and stylish outdoor living area.
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