I've been where you are now — you're probably considering whether you really need a proper bed in your spare room or whether a sofa bed will suffice. I will always say to go with a sofa bed to save floor space, but only if you have the money to invest in a good-quality one. Like one of the sofa beds we've listed below. Why? When you compare the cost of a new bed frame and a mattress with a decent sofa bed, you'll probably find that you're quids in. Or at least I was. The only argument that I had against a frame and a mattress was space. I used my spare room as an office and I didn't want to work where there was a cosy-looking (and very tempting) bed staring at me every day. So the decision was pretty easy. The hard part was finding a sofa bed that I liked, that fit with my budget, and that didn't feel like my family would have to sleep on bricks when they came to visit.
Perhaps you are instead investing in a sofa bed to use as the main sofa in your living room? Good idea as this means that when you have guests over you can easily offer them a spot to sleep. With this in mind, it's even more important to buy something that's comfortable for sleeping on, but also comfortable for binging Netflix on. But, you do need to be willing to spend a little more — and definitely go for something with arms. Otherwise, just remember that a sofa bed can come with you wherever you move, and they can always be plonked in an extra room. They're pretty versatile.
Now, we've already rounded up the best sofas, so it was only right that we do the same for sofa beds. Because they are oh-so-popular and for a very good reason. However, not all sofa beds are created equal. So in this guide, and with help from our previous decor editor, I aim to sort the wheat from the chaff to help you find the very best sofa bed for your situation. How? We've tried and tested bestselling designs, read multiple reviews, and grilled the Real Homes team (who own a sofa bed) for their expert opinions.
Below, you can browse five sofa beds that are worth your time, and along with that, we've listed a bunch of important specs to consider when buying. From the obvious — its size and colour — to its type. Is it a click-clack sofa bed or a pull-out one with a mattress? I recommend the latter but they come at a higher price tag, unfortunately. Get stuck in now, as it's nearly the best time of the year to buy a new sofa bed — yes, the Boxing Day sales and January sales are already starting to go live.
The best sofa beds for your spare bedroom or living room
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If you're looking for a sofa bed that's comfortable enough to use as your everyday seating in the living room then Sofa.com's Otto sofa bed is one of our top choices.
The low-to-the-ground sofa frame offers plenty of depth for hiding the pull-out mattress and bed frame well out of view, and those super deep seat cushions packed with feather-wrapped foam work well to disguise the bed frame when you're seated too, delivering plenty of squish-factor and none of the unpleasant firmness generally associated with sitting on a pull-out sofa bed.
As well as three sofa width frames to choose from, the Otto collection also comes with plenty of coordinating furniture to choose from if you want to incorporate a sofa bed into a wider living room suite, and this sofa bed's front-room worthiness is further enhanced by over ninety-five good-looking and practical upholstery choices.
The only downside is that you will need a fairly large room for this option, as with a 230cm extension the pull-out bed frame takes up the most space of most of the models in this edit. And, unless you opt for the three-seater sofa bed which offers a generous almost king-size sleeping area, the smaller options are kitted out with shorter 183cm length mattresses, which could leave long-legged guests a little non-plussed.
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If you’re looking for a large sofa bed that won't break the bank, then Habitat's very generous Habitat Kota sofa bed offers spacious seating at a very affordable price point.
For well under £500 the armless seating offers a simple click-clack design where the backrest folds down to create a flat sleeping surface. At first glance, those oversized Chesterfield-style pockets might look a little extreme for a seating or sleeping surface, but it’s perfectly acceptable for lounging on and creates a roughly small double-sized sleeping area once extended. You’ll probably want to add a mattress topper to add extra comfort and to protect the sofa upholstery, but that’s the case with most fold-out sofa beds.
Looks-wise the Kota comes in six colourways in total, including vibrant flame orange, two grey options, and three velvet upholstery options in shades of green, teal, or mid-grey.
It is worth noting that the side profile of this model leaves something to be desired, with the base platform not very well disguised. The slanted backrest also pushes this model out quite far into the room, so it may not be the best option if you’re short on space. However, as occasional seating or sleeping in a home office, kids' playroom, or teenager’s bedroom, this great value sofa bed has a lot to offer.
Furniture Village's Cory sofa bed comes in three sizes; a two-seater, three-seater and a generous chaise sofa option that is one of the most comfortable chaise sofa beds we've come across at this price point.
In fact, in all widths, the Cory sofa bed achieves the seemingly impossible – a sofa bed that's barely distinguishable from the dedicated sofa in terms of seat comfort – somewhat of a rarity if you're looking for a multifunctional sofa that will allow you to host guests without compromising on your own comfort if the sleeper sofa is to become your main living room seating.
Having tested a few models in different upholstery options – with both the classic back or scatter back cushion design – we've been impressed by the seat depth that's the perfect compromise between loungey and upright to keep both sitters and curler-uppers content, and the sink-in yet supportive fibre back cushions and fibre-topped foam seat cushions, plus good height armrests.
Our only disappointment was on the upholstery front, with limited options in some fairly thin fabrics which we weren't blown away by, and the lead times are pretty lengthy. However, for the price, this sofa bed remains a good all-rounder, especially if you can snap it up in one of Furniture Village's regular sales.
Swyft's Model 04 sofa-bed-in-a-box arrives flat-packed, making it a great option for apartment dwellers, or those with tricky access. The brand also does away with long sofa bed lead times, with most products available for delivery in under seven days; perfect if you need a sofa bed, fast.
That does mean you'll need to do some assembly on delivery, but there are no tools needed, and we found putting this sofa bed together super quick and easy. Plus, it's easy to disassemble and rebuild if you're renting or likely to move house.
A click-clack design, the sofa backrest folds flat to join the seat in creating the sleeping surface, and you can also remove the arms on this design if you wish, making the sleeping area feel more open rather than some fixed-arm designs. Extra comfort – plus, fabric protection – is provided by the mattress topper that comes included with each purchase. There's also a handy integrated storage compartment under the seat to keep it in when the bed isn't in use.
We found both sitting and sleeping surfaces on the firmer side, with the lack of sink-in comfort meaning we think this sofa bed is potentially more suitable for the home office or spare room than for everyday use in the living room as the main seating, but the low profile design and seven versatile upholstery options certainly look the part, offering stylish and contemporary seating that has a lot of built-in convenience for renters or those with awkward access.
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A corner sofa bed can be an especially tricky piece of furniture to source, perhaps because if you have the space to fit one into your home, it can sometimes be better to opt for two standalone pieces of furniture – a classic sofa so you can maximise comfort for everyday lounging and a (generally firmer) sofa bed for occasional seating and multifunctionality.
However, if you want the best of both worlds then a modular corner sofa bed could be the way to go, and Snug's Cloud Sundae (opens in new tab) seating offers a whole host of configuration options to ensure you can create a sofa layout to best suit your space, whether that's a corner option, an L-shaped, or a U-shaped seating layout.
One of the original sofa-in-a-box pioneers, a Snug sofa also offers plenty of added benefits, from the super-quick next day delivery options, to the incredibly easy-to-assemble flat-packed designs that mean all components are delivered in boxes – particularly useful for getting a large item like a corner sofa into an apartment, or any room with awkward access.
That ease of assembly – no tools are required, and in our tests self-assembly really did take under 10 minutes (read our Snug sofa review for the full lowdown) – also makes for hassle-free disassembly and reassembly if you move home. And, if your room space, family, or budget expands, the modular design makes it easy to add additional sections as your needs dictate.
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What to know before buying a sofa bed?
To uncover the best sofa bed for your home – and budget – it’s helpful to first understand the two key types of sofa beds that are commonly available; click-clack and pull-out.
Click-clack sofa beds
Click-clack sofa beds are the simplest design. In these models the backrest and seat of the sofa fold flat to become the sleeping surface, with the locking mechanism making the distinctive 'click-clack' noise after which they're named.
Most commonly made of solid foam, at the cheaper end of the market a fold-out sofa bed generally tends to be on the firmer side for both sitting and sleeping, so they're often best used as occasional seating and sleeping options – good for the home office, playroom, or a sleepover space in a children's bedroom, but probably not for your main everyday seating in the living room.
The exception to this rule is the click-clack sofa bed that employs pocket springs hidden in the seat cushions and backrest to up the comfort levels considerably. These tend to be more expensive, but in our opinion deliver one of the most comfortable sofa bed sitting and sleeping experiences.
Also worth bearing in mind is the fact that the sleeping surface of a click-clack sofa bed is often very low to the ground; fine for the young at heart, but perhaps not the best option for less spritely guests or longer stays. And, because your guests are sleeping on the fabric upholstery surface there's potentially a little more risk of wear and tear.
On the plus side, a click clack sofa bed tends to be much more affordable than its pull-out counterparts, this design generally takes up less room once extended than a pull-out option – so is useful for rooms that are limited on space – and click clack sofa beds tend to come in contemporary designs and have shorter lead times, although upholstery options are generally more limited.
Pull-out sofa beds
Alternatively, a pull-out sofa bed is often the most similar in design to a traditional sofa. In this design a dedicated mattress and a collapsible bed frame are pulled out of a hidden compartment under the sofa seat cushions, so to look at the seating before the bed is extended you might never know a sofa bed was hiding inside.
However, although visually you may be none-the-wiser to the hidden mattress, you can often become very aware when you sit down. This is because the design of a pull-out sofa bed tends to mean the sofa seat cushions sit directly on top of the structural bed frame (rather than the sprung support of a regular sofa), so if the seat cushions don't have much depth or offer support and bounce in and of themselves you can end up with a very firm sitting experience.
Once the bed frame is pulled out then the mattress is generally a similar height to a regular bed, and the dedicated mattress (depending on its thickness and construction) can make the sleeping experience of similar comfort to sleeping in a real bed.
Plus, pull-out sofa beds tend to have a much wider range of upholstery choices on offer to ensure you don't need to compromise on style choices, and, as they are most often produced by specialist sofa manufacturers, it's more likely that the sofa bed will be part of a coordinating furniture range, so it's easier to blend one of these options in with a wider living room suite.
A pull-out sofa bed will tend to take up more room though as the backrest and arms stay in place once the bed is extended, and, because of those upholstery options, there is often a long lead time for a pull-out model compared to a click-clack option, so you might need to be prepared for a wait. They can also tend to be the most expensive sofa bed options.
5 things to consider when buying a sofa bed for your home
1. Think about the size of your room
Before buying it's a good idea to measure out the size of the sofa bed on the floor of the room you're going to put it in first to make sure it fits.
Remember to assess the depth of the sofa bed, both in sofa form - so you have plenty of room to walk around the room and access doors and windows - and when the sofa bed is extended for sleep. Take a look at our small living room layout ideas to see if your planned room layout is the best use of limited space.
It's also worth bearing in mind that with a click clack sofa bed the backrest becomes a part of the sleeping surface, but with a pull-out sofa bed, the sofa back remains in place, which can mean that when extended the bed takes up quite a bit more floor space.
Unless your sofa bed is self-assembled, make sure to check and measure access requirements too to ensure you can get your sofa bed into the room you plan to use it in!
2. Consider how much seating space is on offer
This one is fairly self-explanatory, but if your sofa bed is going to be your household's main sofa then make sure you have enough seating space for everyone to sit comfortably. A chaise sofa is great for families or couples as it allows two people to recline, or extra room for kids to pile on.
3. What about the size of the mattress or sleeping area?
Always double-check the size of the sofa bed mattress before you buy, as they can differ greatly. Although a sofa bed may say it's a double, it often isn't as generous as a regular double mattress would be - both in width or length - so if you're likely to be sleeping two guests, and they're staying a good length of time, you may want to go for a bigger sleeping area to make them more comfortable.
Single mattress size: W90 x L190cm
Small double mattress size: W120 x L190cm
Double mattress size: W135 x L190cm
King mattress size: W150 x L200cm
4. What is the mattress made of? As well as the mattress size, it's also well worth checking what type of mattress construction you'll be getting with a pull-out sofa bed. Budget pull-out models tend to have thin (approx. 6cm deep), solid foam mattresses that - other than the height of the sleeping surface - don't really offer much more comfort than a click-clack sofa bed, whereas higher-end options offer open-sprung, pocket-sprung or even memory foam mattresses in depths ranging from 10 - 14cm.
For the full lowdown on the difference between mattress types, read our guide to how to choose the best mattress, but generally speaking, the deepest mattress is likely to be the most comfortable (we've probably all encountered the lumps and bumps of the bedframe sticking up through a thin sofa bed mattress!).
5. Is it fold-out or click-clack?
It's always best to test a sofa bed mechanism out in-store first if possible. This will give you a good idea of how easy you find it to fold and unfold.
A fold-out or click-clack sofa bed is more likely to be heavy to extend and retract, whereas a pull-out design uses springs and levers to make extending more energy efficient.
Are sofa beds comfortable?
The honest answer is they can be, but, in our experience, in terms of seat comfort, you're unlikely to find one that's as comfortable as a dedicated sofa for sitting. Even the most comfortable sofa beds are still on the firm side rather than being the type of seating you're going to want to snuggle down into to catch up on your favourite Netflix series.
In general, a sofa bed is best used as occasional seating in a spare room or guest room where they can provide a comfortable spot for daytime perching and create a multifunctional guest bedroom.
However, in terms of sleeping, the answer is yes, sofa beds can be very comfortable.
As a general rule, click-clack sofa beds are often more firm to sleep on, and pull-out sofa beds with a deep pocket-sprung or memory foam mattress are most likely to offer the sleeping experience closest to a normal sofa and bed.
However, whichever option you go for, it's fairly easy to increase the comfort levels of your sofa bed further - and keep upholstery nice and clean - by adding a mattress topper over the sleeping area. Find the best options for your sofa bed in our guide to the best mattress toppers.
And once you're ready for guests, find some bed linen to impress in our guide to the best bedding.
How we chose the sofa beds included in this guide
To find the best sofa beds for all budgets we’ve walked multiple miles around multiple sofa bed showrooms and laid down on the job to try out plenty of the most popular designs, plus grilled the Real Homes team for their expert knowledge, along with their friends, and their friend's friends, to find out how their 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.
Amy is the Real Homes team's resident furniture expert and has clocked up the miles testing out bestselling multifunctional sofas in showrooms across the country to find the best-in-class sofa beds for this guide.
Want more living room inspiration?
Find out how best to use your space in our guide to how to design a living room, or stay on top of the latest trends and easy decor updates on our dedicated living room ideas page. And if you're struggling with how to make the most of a compact lounge, then find top tricks and tricks in our guide to how to choose furniture for a small living room.