Sofa beds are not hard to understand. They have a built in mechanism that makes them both sofa and bed. It's a no-brainer that the advantage to having one of these in your home is the convenience that it gives you when you need to have an extra bed, but don't have a guest room. In the past, these unique furniture pieces have been pretty uncomfortable to sleep on. There was always that irritating metal bar just under the surface that would keep you or your guests tossing and turning all night.
The sofa beds of today have come a long way. They are actually comfortable and look great too. They come in all sorts of coverings and materials, from traditional upholstery, to classic leather.
The mechanisms used in sofa beds varies. Some of the designs require the back to tilt forward just a bit before it can lay all the way back. This style means that there is no internal mattress. The seat and back become the bed when it is laid flat. The thing some people find objectionable about this is that between the back and the sofa seat is a noticeable crease. Another design is more traditional where there is a mattress that pulls out of the sofa. With this style the back of the couch stays put and the cushions are removed, allowing the mattress to unfold out of the lower part of the structure.
Granted, there are more important and exciting things to think about in life than sofa beds, but if you are already considering getting one for your house, then it's good to consider some of the more mundane aspects of these things. For example, you might find out what the underlying internal frame is made out of. Metal is stable but heavy. Wood is also stable and heavy, but not as much. How big is the sleeping surface? If it is too small then it will be nearly impossible to sleep comfortably on it. How thick is the mattress? Believe it or not, there are options. You can find thin, cheaper mattresses, but a nice 6" or even 8" mattress is much more comfortable.
So, convenience and comfort are some of the positives that sofa beds have going for them, but that isn't to say that there are not some down sides to think about too. The main thing is that these things still tend to be fairly heavy. If you know you are going to be moving around a lot, or you live up a lot of stairs, then there might be some better options for you. Over the years I've had the unfortunate opportunity to help friends and customers haul these monsters up a lot of stairs, and I can testify that they are no fun to move around.
Sofa beds have withstood the test of time. They have proven that they are not just a passing fad. They certainly serve an important role for many people. Grandma is coming over for a few days and your apartment doesn't have an extra bed. No problem. You don't have to feel bad offering her the sofa because you know what a good rest she is going to have. Grandma will be doing the funky chicken in the morning. Seriously though, if you think you might want one of these in your house or apartment, you should go for it.
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