What Is a Futon? Everything You Should Know About Convertible Sleepers

Do you need to outfit a guestroom or living room with an extra bed but don't have space for a full mattress? You could be looking for a futon.

Futons are an ancient Japanese invention still used today because they are comfortable, easy to clean, and can be put away when not needed.

What is a futon? Here's how these beds could transform your space.


1. Futons Are a Padded Mattress

A futon is a padded mattress, but unlike your typical American mattress, it doesn't include massive springs or multiple thick layers of foam.

For a long time, futons featured cotton, fiber, or thin foam filling. The traditional Japanese mattress still sticks to a stuffing of layered cotton fibers. These fillings made the bed comfortable but firm, but they didn't appeal to those who prefer the kind of soft American mattress you'd find in the furniture store.

Since then, futons have come a long way. Some now include:

  • Inner springs and pocket coils
  • Latex
  • Foam and polyester
  • Memory foam

These make futons more 'comfortable' because they take some of the pressure off your joints when you lay on it.

2. Storing a Futon is Easy

One of the reasons futons remain so popular in Japan and around the world is the storage potential.

Every futon - including those with springs - is easy to roll up and put away in the morning.

What's more, you can get a futon mattress on its own or buy it as part of a sofa. When you buy a futon sofa, you get a bed and seating area all in one place.

All you need to do is adjust your bed frame from the couch to the sofa position and vice versa. Plus, futons are nowhere near as big or bulky as a standard sofa bed!

Keep in mind that if you buy just the mattress, you do want to put your futon away each morning. The combination of the cotton cover with the moisture caused when you sleep means the moisture becomes trapped between the floor and your bed. If you don't roll it up and clean it regularly, your futon can get moldy.

3. Cleaning a Futon is Possible

Because most futons go directly on the floor or just above it, you'd hope a futon is easy to clean. The good news is that it is!

Futons come with removable covers that you can throw in the wash whenever you want.

To clean a futon mattress, you take it outside and beat it as you would a rug. Hitting it removes the dust, skin cells, and mites that collect in every mattress. When you leave it outside, the sun sanitized it. The best you can do with a conventional soft mattress is vacuum it, which hardly makes a dent because it doesn't pull up all the dust and mites lurking deep within.

What is a Futon? The Answer to Your Small Space

What is a futon? It's a traditional Japanese sleeping mat, and it offers a lot of value compared to a conventional American mattress because it's easy to clean and store. Futons available on the American market are also increasingly comfortable, and some now include springs.

Are you ready to try life with a futon? Check out our range of futon sofas!