What is a sofa bed?

  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: March 5, 2024
  • Updated On: March 5, 2024

Gone are the days when furniture served a single purpose. In today’s space-conscious world, adaptability reigns supreme, and the sofa bed has emerged as a shining star of this trend.

More than just a couch that folds into a bed, it’s a clever transformer catering to modern living’s diverse needs, from maximizing square footage in tiny apartments to accommodating guests or friends for casual get-togethers and impromptu sleepovers without scrambling for an extra bed.

The history of sofa beds goes back several years. Ancient Egyptians used convertible furniture resembling sofa beds for both sleeping and sitting. These featured woven reeds over wooden frames.

However, it wasn’t until 1899 that Leonard C Bailey applied for a patent for his folding metal bed design. Moreover, several patents and innovations were introduced throughout the 19th and 20th century, paving the way for the current functionality and popularity of the furniture.

At Grado, we salute the talents and skills of those who came before us and continue their vision with our own unique sofa bed designs that offer great mechanisms and fantastic mattresses to accommodate your sleeping and sitting needs. Learn more about sofa beds here.

What is a sofa bed?

As the name suggests, a sofa bed is a convertible furniture designed to function as both a sofa and a bed. Generally, sofa beds feature a metal structure that holds and folds a mattress under the sofa seat cushions, allowing the user to open it for a flat sleeping surface or close it up into a sofa for sitting during the day.

In most designs, the cushions are integral to the mechanism, resulting in a fantastic seat that can even function as your main sofa but with transformation power to open into a sleeping surface for yourself or your guests and friends. 

Sofa beds can be classified by their mechanisms as follows:


This sofa bed design comprises a classic mechanism that allows users to pull out a hidden bed frame from beneath the sofa seat, like in futons and sleeper sofas. Pull-out designs are more affordable and simpler to use but require more space to operate. 


The click-clack design provides a hinged backrest that clicks into multiple positions. Users can create a flat surface by pulling the backrest down so that the seat folds forward to provide a flat sleep surface. It’s not the most comfortable design since it doesn’t contain separate cushions, but it’s affordable, easy and sufficient for a night or two. 


Bi-folds such as chair beds feature a backrest that can be folded in half to create a compact sleeping surface. The design is a space-saving solution in tiny apartments but not the most comfortable because of a narrower sleeping surface.


The dolphin design features a mattress underneath cushions such that you only need to lift the latter and pull them forward to reveal the mattress. It offers a thicker mattress and smoother operation but requires clearance space behind the sofa. 

How to choose the right sofa bed?

As already explained above, not all sofa beds are created equal. Depending on your square footage, budget and personal preferences, some sofa bed designs will make more sense than others. 

First of all, you want to get a sofa bed that fits into your living space comfortably while leaving sufficient room for opening and walking around. Therefore, begin by measuring the available space, and consider sofa beds that fit comfortably and accommodate the intended number of users. If you see yourself hosting additional guests in the future, select a larger sofa bed.

Think about the opening and closing mechanism. Prioritize smooth operation, clear instructions, and handles, leavers and other features that make it easy to close and open the sofa bed. If you plan on using the software daily, look for a user-friendly mechanism instead of a trickier one. 

If you are getting a sofa bed design that contains a separate mattress, consider the type of mattress. Just because it’s both a sofa and a bed doesn’t mean you have to rough it. Innerspring mattresses may be affordable and supportive but wear out quickly. Memory foam offers the most comfort at an affordable price. On the other hand, gel mattresses are more comfortable than memory foam, but their prices may just be out of your range. Alternatively, choose a hybrid mattress for a tailored experience.

Finally, choose a sofa bed whose style and aesthetics correspond with the existing theme and décor of your room. Consider the durability of the fabric, stain-resistance and ease of cleaning as well extra properties such as integrated compartments for storing things, cushions that can be removed as well as armrests that can become side-tables whenever need be, thus giving them an extra advantage in terms of usability. 

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.