What are the different types of sofa beds?

What are the different types of sofa beds?


  • What is the difference between a futon and a sofa bed?
  • Is a day bed the same thing as a sleeper sofa? 
  • Are all sofa beds pull outs? 

Sofa beds are one of the most practical and functional purchases you can make, especially when it comes to Toronto living. We all know how "cozy", to put it lightly, the living space can be. A sofa bed can not only provide good seating for your family and friends, but can also double as a bed for overnight guests. Chances are you've heard one of these terms for a sofa bed: a pull out sofa, klick klack, convertible sofa, futon, day bed, or sleeper sofa, and have probably wondered what they mean, how they are different, and which one is best. Today we're presenting a comprehensive guide on the different types of transformable seating/bedding furniture and which one works best for you for everyday use. 


"Sofa bed" is the all encompassing term for all sofa/bed type furniture, as the name suggests it is both a sofa and a bed. Typically to stand out, a company will introduce a new term for sofa bed and attach it to a different kind of sofa bed for originality. While some of the terms have proven to be very useful as they sparked the creation of a different style of sofa bed all together, other terms are just two sides of the same coin. Hopefully by the end of this article you'll be able to learn some of the furniture lingo and also be armed with useful knowledge when it comes to making your furniture purchases.


A pull out sofa bed is the most common type of sofa bed, generally a pullout sofa is a traditional sofa or can be a sectional that has either handles or a grapple on the base underneath where stowed away seating can be pulled out. As its being pulled, a hidden section of the sofa rolls out on wheels or gliders, and then can be pulled up through a level mechanism to match the height of the sofa. This can extend the seating space by almost double the size. It creates more space to either lounge or can be bed for 1-2 people. The sofa itself doesn't lose or change its base shape, the back is still intact as is the frame of the sofa. The only difference is the pull out extension to the seating.


Klick klack sofa (sometimes spelled as click clack) is one of those terms that sparked the creation of an entirely new style of sofa beds. Typically a klick klack sofa features a collapsible back which converts the sofa into a bed. Klick klack sofa gets it name from the mechanism it uses to collapse the back. The mechanism is a gear lever that has many positional locks; the way it works is you move the back forward just a little bit to release the lock and as the back falls further and further backward making a "clicking" sound as it passes through the various levels between an upright sofa and a laying down bed. The back can stop at any of those clicks for the users personal preference lounging angle, and again to release the lock the back just has to move a bit to the front until the user hears the "click" indicating its release. 


Like something out of the Transformers, these types of sofa beds usually look like an entirely different type of furniture. Using different combinations of mechanisms from all the categories to save the most space, these types of sofas are best known for their functional style. 


One of the oldest and most common style of sofa bed you'll see, can range from very low end to very high end. A futon typically consists of a metal frame, although wooden frames are becoming increasingly popular over the years, and a separate mattress that goes on top of the frame. The way a futon works is it collapses the back of the sofa converting it into a bed; the lever based mechanism starts working when the user pulls on the seating side of the sofa, and as the gears turn, the seating connects with the back opening the futon into a bed formation. To revert it back into a sofa, simply lift the back up and the entire bed folds back into a sofa. A futon mattress is separate from the frame and comes in many different colours. If the mattress is ever damaged, it can simply be flipped upside down or replaced.


A day bed is a different style of sofa bed all together, essentially a day bed consists of a single size bed with a surrounding back to simulate a wide seat sofa the size of a bed, a bed for the daytime. Sometimes the day bed will have a pull out additional bed rolling on wheels underneath, also known as a trundle bed.


With growing competition in the field, every company looks for an original competitive edge and often time it involves "reinventing the wheel". A lot of the terms for sofa beds are just a marketing ploy by big companies to draw the market towards them. The terms described above cover all the types of sofa beds that are in the market at the moment.


Now that we've gone through all the different types of sofa beds, the looming questions remain, which is the best? Well, honestly there is no right answer. It depends on you, your space and your requirements. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, pull out sofas are generally more durable than the other types, but on lower end models, the cushioning may lose its density over time and have the potential to lose comfort. Klick Klacks are very stylish and easy to use, but the lower end models are more susceptible to damage, especially if used roughly. Convertible sofas have high potential and can be very functional, but the style is still new. Not only can they be a little finicky, they can also get expensive. Futons have some of the most comfortable seating and the mattresses can be changed when worn out. Some see the futon as old fashioned, and, like the klick klack, futons on the lower end have a higher susceptibility to damage with rough use.

Which is more comfortable? The truth is, the style of the sofa bed has little impact on the comfort, but it does have an impact on the prices. The mechanism of the klick klacks and futons are fairly cheap to make so more focus is directed to their seating, which is why they are more comfortable even on the low end. The mechanisms in convertible and pull out sofas are a little more complex, so to make an honest price point, less attention is given to the seating which may lead to less comfort. As for day bed, it really depends on the mattress the user chooses as most day beds are sold as frame only, leaving the mattress choice up to the customer.

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