How To Find the Best Futon Mattress for You

chic beige futon

From college students looking for space-saving furniture to new homeowners putting in a guest bed, futon beds can fit into any living space. While it may seem like you can just hop down to your local goodwill and pick up a futon mattress without too much hassle, there is a lot that goes into selecting the right futon. From the mattress to the futon frame, all the way to the cover, there are endless options to choose from when buying a futon. In this guide, you will learn how to find the best futon mattress for you, and what to look for when you are in the market for a new futon.

Futon Frame

Before you get started on shopping for a mattress, think about the kind of frame you’ll be using for your futon mattress. If you’re trying to save space, this will be the most important consideration, as the frame will determine how much space the futon mattress will take up when upright as a couch, and folded out as a bed. Find the best futon for your space by taking some measurements of your futon room, and then consider your futon frame.

Japanese Futon Mattress

If you are looking for the most minimalist futon possible, a Japanese futon mattress doesn’t use very much of a frame at all. While you can place this futon mattress on a Tatami bed to elevate it off the ground, this style of mattress is often placed on the bare floor, or on a bamboo mat to retain heat. This style of futon may seem a little strange in the West, however, this is a very popular sleeping futon in Japan. Typically rolled out at bedtime, or folded for upright sitting, this mattress is very thin and usually filled with cotton. It saves a lot of space by allowing the sleeper to pack it into a closet during the daytime to save floor space.

futon with blue pillows

Japanese Futon Mattresses We Like

Amazon product

Bifold Futon Frame

This is the most common futon frame that you will find in the Western world, and probably what you would think of if asked to imagine a futon. A large wooden, metal, or plastic frame folds the mattress in the middle for an upright couch and springs out so the mattress can lay flat for sleeping. This frame is very user-friendly and is ideal for someone who will be switching their futon from bed to couch mode frequently. You can also buy quite a large futon mattress for your frame, and it will still be able to fold up and down with ease. Be careful using an innerspring mattress with this style of frame. Springs can come loose if the mattress is consistently converted from couch to bed form.

Bifold Futon Frames We Like

Trifold Futon Frame

One of the larger and bulkier options for a futon frame, a trifold futon offers many more folding modes than a bi-fold frame. A trifold has three moving joints and can be folded from a lying bed into a lounge chair with a footrest, and from there into an upright seated chair. Since the futon mattress undergoes less bending and contortions in this model of a futon, a thicker mattress is a great option for this frame. While trifold futons are very convenient, they do take up a lot more space than your typical futon bed. If you are purchasing a futon to save some space in your apartment or dorm, this may not be the best option for you. However, if you are putting a guest bed together, your guests may appreciate sleeping on something a little more comfortable than a traditional futon.

Loveseat Futon Frame

Offering many of the benefits found in the trifold futon frame, a loveseat futon frame takes up far less space, and offers other fantastic features as well. You can find a loveseat futon mattress in all sizes from twin to queen, ensuring that you have enough space to sleep or lounge in comfort. Loveseats can pull out into a bed, remain upright, or extend a leg rest for lounging, similar to the trifold. A loveseat takes up less room than the trifold, as it can be pushed directly up against a wall, and does not need to be moved away to fully extend the mattress. You can find all the luxury of lounging on a trifold futon mattress on a loveseat and save space in the process.

dark green futon

Loveseat Futon Frames We Like

Amazon product

Futon Mattress Material

From foam to cotton, to spring futon mattresses, there are so many options to choose from. Finding the best futon mattress for you should certainly include a look into different mattress materials. When you head down to the futon shop to pick out your futon mattress, consider these materials.

Cotton or Wool Mattress

While wool is a sort of rare material for a futon mattress, cotton is very common for a thinner mattress. This material makes the best futon mattress for a Japanese futon or a bi-fold frame. Cotton makes very thin, firm mattresses that are easier to move around and fold than innerspring futon mattresses. Ideal for a futon that you plan to use for a couch, cotton mattresses are cheaper than foam mattresses but are less durable. They wear down more quickly and offer less support than other mattresses, so consider this option if you are on a budget, or looking for a futon that is more of a couch than a bed.

Innerspring Futon Mattresses

Very similar to a regular mattress that you would sleep on, innerspring futons use a bed of coils in between layers of cotton padding to make a comfortable futon mattress that supports you while you sleep. This is the best mattress for your futon if you plan on leaving it either as a couch or a bed for a long time. Since the coils inside the mattress are very heavy, it can be difficult to transition this mattress from couch to bed form. It is also very possible for a coil to become lodged out of place during the conversion process. Any sleeper who uses a coil mattress can tell you that an out-of-place coil can make for an irregular and lumpy mattress.

If you are interested in an innerspring futon mattress, make sure that you can lift it easily, and convert it gently from couch to bed. This will help ensure that loose springs don’t occur inside your futon mattress.

black futon

Innerspring Futon Mattresses We Like

Memory Foam Mattress

One of the most popular materials for futons, memory foam is the most comfortable mattress material you can find. Although typically made with lower quality foam than a standard mattress, a foam futon mattress is best if you want a futon you can sleep on often, and turn to couch form when you have guests. Since foam is much lighter than traditional mattress materials, it is much easier to convert from couch to bed.

While memory foam is the best mattress material for supporting yourself while sleeping, it is more expensive than other futon mattresses. A foam mattress may be as expensive as a conventional mattress, but spending the extra money will be well worth it if you get daily use out of your futon.

Memory Foam Mattress We Like

Foam and Cotton Mattress

Mixing two or more materials is very common when filling a futon mattress. Blended materials are the way to go if you are trying to maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of a particular material. Mattresses that use a supportive foam core, surrounded by soft cotton fluff offer support and comfort. While not as supportive as a full memory foam futon mattress, the blended option is quite a bit cheaper and will outlast any cotton mattress you own.

Foam and Innerspring Mattress

This style of futon mattress sandwiches a layer of coils between layers of polyurethane foam to make a very comfortable futon. This style of mattress will easily contour to your pressure points, making you fantastically comfortable. Whether you are trying to find a good night’s sleep on your futon, or just lounging around watching television, you will experience the comfort of foam along with the supportiveness of a coil core. Pick up this style of futon if you are looking for something to sleep on night after night.

futon with colorful pillows

Futon Mattress Cover

One of the great things about futon beds is that they are endlessly customizable. If you already have a mattress that you like but the cover is torn or doesn’t match the design of the space, then you can easily go out and pick up a new cover for your futon to bring it back to life. While there are many materials and designs that you can choose from, picking the right one for your space is the difference between a futon you like and one you love.

Start by considering the color scheme of your futon space. Whether your futon is going in a small space or a large one, it will look excellent if you match the colors on your futon cover to the color scheme in the rest of the room. Since the cover is easily replaceable, you could even pick up one or two to change out when one gets dirty, or when you paint or change wallpaper.

Also, think about the kind of wear and tear that you can expect on your futon mattress. Do you have pets or children who will be running and playing all over the furniture? Do you like to eat and drink on your futon after a long day at work? Is the futon going to be in a space that has a lot of moisture in the atmosphere? Are you going to be warm enough to sleep through the night? These are all matters to take into consideration when choosing a material for your futon mattress cover.

Cotton Twill Cover

Cotton twill is a strong, woven fabric that you can recognize by diagonal lines across the fabric. This material is very strong, and sturdy, and is often used to make clothing. The denim used for blue jeans is a type of twill cloth. Cotton twill futon covers will last a long time, as the fabric does not wear easily. This material is best used on futons that see a lot of daily use, or are placed in high traffic areas where many people will use it throughout the day.

While a cotton twill futon cover, sometimes called a woven futon cover, will last a long time, it isn’t the softest material for sleeping. If you are planning on using your futon for your nightly sleep, consider picking up a softer material for a more comfortable sleep.

basic black futon

Cotton Twill Covers We Like

Knit Fabric Futon Cover

Much softer than cotton twill, knit fabric will stretch tight around your futon mattress. With knit fabric, you will have far more choices with the fabric’s texture. When you head down to the futon shop to pick out a new cover, run your hand over the fabric to get a feel for it. Some people have aversions to different fabric textures, so make sure that your knit futon cover is going to feel right. While knit is certainly a soft option for sleeping on, it is not as durable as the other fabrics in this list, so you may have to replace the cover before long.

Waterproof Acrylics and Polyester

If you have small children running around your house, or dogs tracking in dirt and mud all over your futon mattress, then you should plan your futon cover around keeping it clean. Made from acrylic or polyester, these futon covers resist stains and water damage, making it the ideal choice if you are expecting messes. If you have a futon in a basement where water may get in, you should consider a waterproof cover as well.

Waterproof covers are less baggy than cloth futon covers and offer a tighter look to your mattress. This cover will also add years to your mattress’s life. Mold and water damage will be a thing of the past as long as your futon mattress rests comfortably inside this cover.

Waterproof Covers We Like

Amazon product

Satin and Microfiber Cover

Last on our list is the softest, most luxurious futon cover you can find today. Satin fibers are incredibly thin, making for a very soft futon mattress. Not only will this add an air of elegance to the place, but it will also be the softest for sleeping on. Wrapping your futon in a satin cover will impress any visitor or guest using your futon as a bed.

If Satin is a little out of your price range, or you are looking for a material with a similar feeling, microfiber futon covers are the way to go. Microfibers are 1/100th the size of a human hair, and offer an impossibly soft feel to your futon. Since microfiber is also used to make cleaning cloths, mops, and clothing, it is much more durable than satin.

black and cream futon

Satin and Microfiber Covers We Like

Testing Your New Futon Mattress

Once you head down to the futon shop, you’re going to be presented with a wide range of futon mattresses to choose from. Keeping the information above in mind, you are going to have to look for the best futon mattress for you.

Now is the time to really think about what you are going to be using your futon mattress for. If you are going to be using it as a couch and occasional guest bed, you will have less to consider than if you are planning on sleeping here night after night. The main consideration if you are going to be sleeping on your futon nightly is the firmness.

Let’s start with the firmest futon mattresses. You should pick up an extra firm mattress if you tend to sleep on your stomach or back. The firmer the mattress, the less you will sink into it when you lay, and the more aligned your head, neck, and spine will be. Pick up a cotton, spring, or a combination mattress for the firmest sleeping surface.

If you sleep on your side primarily, then you are going to need a softer mattress that allows you to sink in. When you sleep on your side, sinking deep into the futon will keep your head and neck aligned on the pillow while you sleep. For a firmer futon mattress, go with a memory foam, or another style of polyurethane foam. This material will contour to your body, and help keep you comfortable all night long. If you already have a futon mattress that you want to make more suitable to your sleep style, try adding a mattress topper to provide some additional softness. If you use your futon for nightly rest, you will certainly appreciate the added layer of comfort.

You are now ready to go shopping for your very own futon mattress. Finding the best futon mattress can be intimidating, but keep in mind the material, frame, and cover and you will do just fine. Remember, a futon is endlessly customizable. If you pick up a frame or cover that you don’t like, you can simply replace it. Just make sure to find the mattress of your dreams and everything else will come.

Was this article helpful?