What is a futon?

If you are asked about futons, your first thought might be the western futon. This is a combination sofa/bed that college students and those who live in smaller apartments use. A futon, as the name implies, is a mattress that can be laid directly on the ground. This is either the Japanese-style or traditional futon. Futon mattresses of the traditional Japanese style are usually placed on a mat (a type of flooring that provides a soft foundation for the mattress). The Japanese futon mattress can be easily stored and used in the sun. Western futons are different from Japanese-style futons in that they have thicker mattresses that can’t be folded for storage. Instead, they are folded in half, attached to a frame of slats, and can be used as a couch or bed.

Futon mattresses are a great choice for minimalists as well as people who like versatile furniture. Futon mattresses are smaller than regular mattresses so you have less space to create and add intricate features. Futon mattresses are perfect for those who believe in minimalism or have less furniture but more functionality.

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Japanese futon with tatami mat (image from reviewingthis.com)Japanese futon with tatami mat (image from reviewingthis.com)

What makes futon mattresses different than regular mattresses?

Futon mattresses are made with layers of precompressed natural fibers. They are then packed in and then tufted. This means that they can be sewed together to preserve their integrity. Futons are more firm than normal mattresses because they are precompressed. Futon mattresses of high quality are made from organic materials such as wool and cotton, rather than latex. This Japanese-style wool futon mattress is shown.

A futon mattress is a mattress that is thinner than a regular mattress. It can be used for sleeping as well as sitting. The futon mattress can become lumpy if it is not folded often enough. While a normal mattress won’t become lumpy, it is not multifunctional as a futon. Futon mattresses are made with natural fibers and may contain memory foam or spring coils. Futon mattresses require more care because they must be regularly turned and fluffed up. This is easy to do. How to fluff up futon mattresses

A futon mattress is a great choice for many reasons. Because of its compact size and portability, a futon mattress is much easier to transport than regular mattresses. It is also ideal for travel. If you are worried about the aesthetic appeal of a futon mattress, there are many fashionable options available. You can rest assured that your investment will last a lifetime and be well-worth it.

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Futon mattress or memory foam

There are many factors to consider when comparing memory foam and futon mattresses. Are you looking for a firmer mattress? Futon mattresses are generally firmer, as we’ve seen. You are looking for something that can convert between a couch and a bed? This is possible only with a futon mattress. Memory foam mattresses can’t be folded or rolled up like a sofa. Futon mattresses and memory foam mattresses offer safety and less harsh chemicals. Both have organic or eco versions. Futon mattresses are also more affordable than memory foam ones.

Memory foam mattresses are generally more comfortable due to their softness and better pressure relief. This will depend on the type of futon mattress you choose and its thickness. You will also find softer mattresses. Memory foam mattresses are designed to be used with a box spring or platform bed. The type of base you use to place a memory foam cushion is a major factor in its firmness and comfort. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the best base. It is important to note that a memory foam mattress placed on a base it wasn’t designed for will invalidate its warranty.

Memory foam mattresses can be uncomfortable and you may end up sleeping in unsuitable positions. Foam molds to your body so that if you do fall asleep in an incongruous position, it will remain there. This can increase back pain and other injuries. A futon mattress, on the other hand is firmer and will not contour to your body as well. Futon mattresses are generally lighter than memory foam mattresses and therefore more portable.

You might also consider buying both a futon mattress and memory Foam. The base futon mattress can be purchased, then a topper will add additional comfort. Mixing layers can make this a difficult task. This article will show you how to mix layers and how to shop smart to return your topper if it doesn’t suit you. You shouldn’t spend too much on a futon mattress. It should last for years.

If you’re looking for durable sofas that will last for small rooms or narrow doors, we recommend Simplicity Couches.

Memory foam mattresses tend to be softer than futon mattresses. Futon mattresses are foldable and firmer (since they are thinner, in general). Image from Overstock.com.Memory foam mattresses tend to be softer than futon mattresses. Futon mattresses are foldable and firmer (since they are thinner, in general). Image from Overstock.com.

Futon sofa sleeper vs. sleeper sofas

A typical sleeper sofa is similar to a regular couch. The inner bed is basically a hidden bed inside a sofa. The inner bed can be removed from the sofa to provide extra sleeping space. It is rare that you will be able to identify a sleeper sofa unless you are told. A futon sofa sleeper, on the other hand looks like a large mattress folded into a sofa. A traditional sofa sleeper is more suited to your space’s look than a futon. This neutrally-colored sleeper sofa can match any room design.

To make a sleeper sofa you’ll need to take out the cushions and remove the mattress from the main frame. The mattress will fold out into a bed when you remove it. A futon sofa sleeper can be made into a bed by simply dropping the backrest. You can sit down on the same platform and still have pillows.

The traditional sleeper sofa’s mattress thickness is thinner than that of a futon mattress. This is dependent on the thickness of your futon mattress. A futon sofa sleeper can be purchased with a removable mattress, while a traditional sofa sleeper mattress is permanent.

Sleep Natural. Sleep Healthy. Latex Mattress Factory Direct Pricing Here
Latex Mattress Factory

Futon sofas also have the advantage of allowing you to decide how firm or soft your mattress should be. A futon sofa sleeper has an advantage in terms of aesthetics. The futon’s removable cover allows you to change its appearance. Traditional sleeper sofas are hard-wired and can’t be easily altered.

You can also quickly disassemble your futon sofa to set it up or move it. Traditional sleeper sofas are heavier and more difficult to disassemble. The sofa frame’s metal components are heavy enough to support their weight.

A futon sofa sleeper is much more affordable than a traditional sleeping sofa. The futon sofa sleeper costs less that $200 . A futon has a downside. You have to change from your sitting position to your sleeping position. The mattress can also become lumpy over time if it is not properly cared for. A futon mattress can also sink in places and look less expensive than a regular sofa. A sleeper sofa is more comfortable than a futon mattress, because it is thinner and must be pulled out of the couch’s metal frame.

Sleeper sofas look just like normal sofas. Futons, on the other hand, tend to look like folded beds. Futons also tend to be easier to setup as beds compared to sleeper sofas. Image from dunkandbright.com.Sleeper sofas look just like normal sofas. Futons, on the other hand, tend to look like folded beds. Futons also tend to be easier to setup as beds compared to sleeper sofas. Image from dunkandbright.com.

Ideal beds for guest rooms: Futons, Trundles, Aerobeds

A futon mattress and a futon frame can be used to make a bed in your guest room. A pop-up bed is another option. Pop-up trundle beds are a better option than futon mattresses. You can put up a twin-XL mattress , and then combine it with the regular mattress to create a full-sized king-sized bed. It is lightweight and provides ample space for guests to sleep. On the other hand, the futon mattress is more firm and narrower than the pop-up Trundle bed.

The amount of use you intend to make of the mattress as a couch or a bed will also play a role. Pop-up trundle beds are more suitable for use as a couch than as a bed. Daybeds are usually deeper because they can hold a minimum of a twin-sized mattress. Futon mattresses can be used as a sofa or bed. It will be easy to convert it into a mattress for guests.

As you can see, the futon bed with a frame is able to function as both a couch and a bed. A bed that is combined with a pop up trundle makes a comfortable king-sized bed. However, it’s not as versatile as a sofa. If you insist on a daybed with pop-up Trundle and want to make it a sofa, you should get lots of couch pillows and body pillows.

A day bed with a trundle is a great bed for a guest bed room. The day bed tends to be a bit awkward to sit on since it’s as deep as a twin mattress (at a minimum), but the space savings and general look is stunning. Image from ebay.com.day bed with a trundle is a great bed for a guest bed room. The day bed tends to be a bit awkward to sit on since it’s as deep as a twin mattress (at a minimum), but the space savings and general look is stunning. Image from ebay.com.
An Aerobed is the last option. They are cooler than air mattresses but can still deflate. They are also easy to store and affordable. Consider getting an Aerobed mattress pad. It should be made of down feathers. This will ensure that guests are comfortable and warm.Similar articles:

Are futon mattresses comfortable?

Futon mattresses are more firm than most other mattresses. Futon mattresses are not as springy as other mattresses. Futon mattresses will be a good choice for people who have gotten used to sleeping on the floor. Futon mattresses can be less comfortable for those with curvier bodies or who sleep in multiple positions. Futon mattresses are not recommended for people who sleep on their backs. They are also generally cheaper than traditional mattresses. Although they are often deemed necessary by mattress companies, there are many ways to rest comfortably. Follow these three P’s when buying a mattress. You need to know how much pressure relief your body requires, what alignment and posture your body needs, as well as your personal preferences.

It can take up to a week for a person to adjust to the futon. The normal futon is sufficient for back sleepers. You might need extra support if you’re a side sleeper. You might consider using a mattress pad or a mattress topper to help you get used to the futon mattress. You can also use blankets to test if your futon mattress needs more support. This will help you determine how thick your futon mattress should be and what materials you may need. For more information, take a look at the section on futon mattresses materials.

You can also use blankets to make it more comfortable if you’re a minimalist. You can then remove the blankets one at a time until you are comfortable with the futon mattress. Towels can also be used for this purpose. A pillow is not necessary. This will align your spine better. A pillow may not be necessary if you are side sleeping.

What can I do to make my futon mattress feel more comfortable?

When buying a futon bed, choosing your mattress is just the beginning. Some people like to sleep lightly, but others prefer to have a more comfortable sleeping position. You should look for a mattress topper that will fit your futon. It should be thick enough to protect you from the futon’s firmness, especially in high-pressure sleeping positions such as lying on your back. A mattress topper that is thicker than the rest will be more comfortable and less likely to cause pressure points. Amazon offers a standard 3-inch thick latex mattress topper. You can return it within 30 to 90 days and get a new one.

You should consider what materials you prefer when looking online for a mattress topper. Some people love latex toppers: Talalay latex and Dunlop latex are firmer. Because wool will eventually shrink and become more firm, it is less effective at relieving pressure than other materials. There are many types of wool. They range from fine to coarse and how easy they can be compressed. Foam is more effective at relieving pressure than other materials. It distributes weight evenly over its entire surface, while wool can compress in pressure points. Foam is also more effective at relieving pressure than latex, which tends be harder. Wool is more breathable than other materials and can regulate temperature better. It is important to know what kind of support you need.

Futons can be made more comfortable by using mattress toppers. These can be easily stowed away. Image courtesy of 45thstreetbedding.

You can also layer different materials on your mattress. Layering wool toppers over memory foam will give it firmness. The wool traps heat and will make it warmer in high-pressure areas. If you are using slats or frames for your futon, a thick layer will protect you from feeling the support beams beneath. It can be difficult to mix layers of materials. However, it is possible to shop smarter if you know your needs.

How can I fluff a cotton futon mattress?

Futon mattress wool generally encases cotton coresRemove the futon wool layer first, flatten it out, redistribute the futon cotton, and then stuff the wool back in to fluff your futon mattress.

A layer of wool is wrapped over the cotton, within the outer layer of the mattress. It helps regulate your body temperature and helps retain the form of the mattress by distributing your weight evenly. However, after frequent use of the mattress, the fillings (both wool and cotton) naturally lose their stiffness and fluff over time. So, in order to fluff a wool futon mattress, follow the steps below:

  • 1. Dismantle the top layer of the mattress
  • 2. Detach the wool from inside the mattress
  • 3. Once outside the mattress, accumulate the wool so that it reaches the thickness that you want. This will require you to flatten the wool and stack it. Add more wool if necessary, then complement it with a layer of cotton fabric to add pliability to the mattress.
  • 4. Insert the fillings back into the mattress and close the topper with the aid of a zipper if it has one or by sewing.
  • 5. Turn and flip your mattress every now and then to prevent the wool fibers from becoming compressed on one side only over time. Also air it out occasionally in the sun so that the wool breathes and fluffs up.

How long do futon mattresses last? 

With proper care, futon mattresses last several years. If you get an 8-inch pure cotton futon with a layer of wool on top, it will only require minimal cleaning, as well as being flipped over periodically. Some people have used a single futon mattress for over 25 years. They are excellent for a guest room. Initially your futon mattress might be very fluffy and soft, but it should pack down within a few weeks of buying it. Buy a nice, washable cover. Futon mattresses suit individuals and families with small babies very well.

Sleeping on a futon long term

Many people believe that futon mattresses are designed for college students and dorm rooms. However, this stereotype mostly concerns cheap, western-style futon mattresses, and many argue that it is perfectly fine to use a futon instead of a regular bed. More comfortable and luxurious futon mattresses are designed for long-term sleeping and can be used for 10 years or longer. You can sleep on a futon every night without any issues. As we previously discussed, futons were the standard bed in Japan for many decades due to their excellent comfort and convenience, and a futon on a tatami mat is still a common sight in much of Japan.

A futon sofa sleeper is a modern American invention, but even this kind of mattress and frame combination is quite durable and long-lasting. Japanese futons are thinner and usually laid on the ground, whereas American mattresses are thicker and usually laid on a frame. Read our section below on whether a futon is the right choice for you and your health. This will differ from person to person, but several scientific studies support sleeping on firmer mattresses, especially if you regularly sleep on your back. Be sure to buy the right kind of mattress for your sleeping style. If you are a back sleeper, a thinner futon mattress will work just fine. However, if you are a side sleeper, you might need a thicker futon mattress.Finally, always make sure to buy a high quality mattress that will last you a long time. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to take proper care of your mattress: you will need to unfold it, flip it, and redistribute the inner material periodically.

If you are interested in using a futon mattress long-term, monitor your sleeping habits over time to find what your individual needs are. If you find that your quality of sleep is decreasing when sleeping on a futon, a firm mattress may not be suited to you. Alternatively, you can add a mattress topper on top of your futon mattress. Regardless of what people say, a good futon mattress will last just as long as a traditional mattress. Just make sure that you invest in a quality mattress like this one, and maintain it with regular and proper care.

Sleep Natural. Sleep Healthy. Latex Mattress Factory Direct Pricing Here
Latex Mattress Factory

Is sleeping on a futon bad for your back? Is it good for lower back pain? 

It’s difficult to determine if a futon mattress is good for everyone. This peer-reviewed article in Spine, a respected medical journal, states that out of 141 patients with chronic lower back pain who were observed for one month, the majority found waterbeds and foam mattresses to be superior. However, the study ultimately concluded that the differences between waterbeds, foam mattresses and futons (in terms of their effect on sleep function and back pain) were small, and that back pain relief was largely subjective. In the end, trial and error is still the best way to find the right bed.

“We really don’t understand why, but some patients respond better to hard mattresses and some to soft ones,” Robert Molinari, M.D, told WebMD. 

This other peer-reviewed article from the Applied Human Science journal shows that patients aged 18 to 23 who slept on a futon mattress had higher body temperatures, lower humidity and lower relative humidity compared to those who slept on air mattresses. This is because futon mattresses trap heat better, but don’t make you sweat as much. Higher body temperatures might also indicate greater comfort while sleeping. However, most of the patients who took part in this study reported good sleep, and no significant differences concerning sleep quality was found between the bed types. In a video attached to this link, Dr. Alan Mandell describes why sleeping on a floor is generally better than sleeping on a mattress. Futon mattresses can be placed on a tatami mat and work very well for this purpose.

Benefits of sleeping on the floor vs. sleeping on a frame

Earlier we discussed sleeping on the floor versus sleeping on a bed, but we should think about what it actually means to sleep on the floor. The considerations will be different if we are talking about a hard wooden floor or a carpeted floor. Milton Marvin Ang Chua, MD, a faculty member in the division of Sleep Medicine at the University of Utah, Department of Medicine, gives us some great advice. The most important part of sleep quality is how fast you fall asleep and how long you sleep for. Depending on the person, they might prefer sleeping on a firmer or softer mattress. “If you have too soft of a mattress this will make your back sag and slept … too firm of a mattress might straighten it out,” Dr. Chua notes in this interview. Ideally, you want to sleep so your spine is aligned the same as when you are standing up, meaning it should be straight with a slight curve.

A yoga mat makes a surprisingly simple bed for people who prefer to sleep on harder surfaces. It provides just the right amount of cushion and heat retention. Image from recyclenation.com.A yoga mat makes a surprisingly simple bed for people who prefer to sleep on harder surfaces. It provides just the right amount of cushion and heat retention. Image from recyclenation.com.

This is possible by sleeping on the floor, without a pillow, on something that is softer than just a bare wooden floor. For example, you might consider sleeping on a yoga mat which gives you some cushion while remaining comfortable. Sleeping on your back is preferable, because this gives your spine the most support. Sleeping on your stomach or on your side will be very uncomfortable on a flat surface. Experts suggest you should not sleep in the fetal position because it will cause your hamstrings and your hip flexors to tighten, and may lead to upper back pain when your pectoral muscles are tightened.

It’s also important to note that sleeping on a firm mattress is not the same as sleeping on the floor. “The hardness of a floor can hit certain pressure points of the body, such as the tailbone, heels, and shoulder blades,” Dr. Chua says. In some cases, lying on the floor for long periods of time can also lead to muscle degradation. According to Dr. Chua, “It’s just the evolution of our society, and because we were smarter, we needed to be above [the ground].” For our part, we suggest that you give sleeping on the floor a chance and decide for yourself if it improves your quality of sleep.

Stieg, Cory. Refinery29.com. Why are paleo advocates so obsessed with sleeping on the floor?. Jul 27, 2017. Quoting MDhealth.com.

Do you use futon covers with a futon mattress? Or just regular sheets? 

You can use normal covers and sheets with your futon mattress. The only thing you need to be aware of is the thickness of your mattress. Also, getting sheets that can be zippered closed is preferable, because a futon mattress needs to be folded and unfolded often. Note you can always just tuck it under the futon if you don’t want the zippered cover or zippered sheets. If you have a futon mattress that is split, there can be problems. For example, if you have a queen-size split where part of the mattress is on a free-standing ottoman, then you need individual sheets for each one and your normal sheets will not match the size of the mattress. In this case, tuck them underneath and they should work just fine.

How do you fold a futon mattress?

You can fold a futon mattress according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are going  to fold a mattress in half, make sure that it’s not too thick. Folding it into thirds is even more challenging with a thicker mattress. In general, a Japanese-style futon mattress, which is thinner, will fold much easier than an American-style mattress, which is much thicker. In general, the mattress also needs to be attached to a frame or else it won’t stay folded. As you can imagine, the mattress wants to lay flat. For thicker mattresses, it is especially challenging to keep them folded.

My futon doesn’t fold well. What do I do?

In some cases a high end futon will not fold well because of a foam core. If your futon is zippered you could remove stuffing in the middle or zip tie the futon to the frame to hold it in place. Also try sitting on and using the mattress frequently to break it in. Another strategy is to attach Velcro straps and use them to hold the mattress in place. More information on folding your futon can be found in this forum.

How do I clean a futon mattress?

It is smart to clean your futon mattress regularly, or as needed. One method for general cleaning is to sprinkle baking soda on top of it, then sweeping it off. Afterwards, you can air it outside in the sun or vacuum off the excess baking soda. To enhance this method even further, add vinegar which will lower the pH levels to the point that bacteria and mold cannot survive. Combined with the baking soda, which will remove the smell, this should do the trick.

If you are trying to remove an odor such as urine from a baby or from a pet, you might consider buying some enzymatic urine destroyer and soaking the futon mattress with it. Afterwards, let the mattress air out in the sun. If you are thinking of cleaning your mattress because it naturally has a strong smell, don’t worry. This is just the foam core releasing gases. To deal with this, you might consider just using Febreze or other air fresheners and spraying the mattress periodically. Eventually, this smell will go away.

For more information on reducing smells in your futon, you can visit this forum thread. There are also numerous threads on specific cleaning questions you may have, such as how to treat various mold problems or clean up bodily fluids such as vomit. If you choose to buy a used futon instead of a new one, you can find more information on cleaning used futons here.

Vinegar and baking soda make excellent general purpose cleaning agents for futon mattresses. Use an enzymatic cleaners for more complex soils such as urine or vomit.Vinegar and baking soda make excellent general purpose cleaning agents for futon mattresses. Use an enzymatic cleaners for more complex soils such as urine or vomit.

How do I stop my futon mattress from sliding off the frame?

In some cases, even with the right frame, the futon mattress might slide off when bent into the sitting position. To solve this problem, you might consider using Velcro in several places along the top edge, where the frame is close to the mattress, and attaching the Velcro strips along the backside. A more permanent option is to sew the Velcro directly onto the back of your mattress. If you have a metal frame, which can be slippery, another option is to get some non-slip pads or shelf liner (made of the same non-slip material) and place that under the mattress. This is a very inexpensive solution. Here are some highly rated non-slip pads that you can use to keep the mattress from slipping.

How to fluff a futon mattress

Over time, the material inside most mattresses will naturally spread out to the edges. In order to fluff a futon mattress, treat it like a cotton pillow. Have at least two people lift the futon mattress and flip it over. Doing this three or more times should evenly distribute all the material inside the futon mattress. Afterwards, turn it 90 degrees and drop the mattress on its side. Do this three times in unison, making sure that there isn’t any particular corner where material accumulates. Once you have done this, your futon mattress should be adjusted so the material on the inside moves towards the center, instead of outwards.

Follow your manufacturer’s specific instructions to make sure you are taking proper care of your mattress, and it will last a long time. If your mattress has a foam or spring core, your body impressions will be more permanent and you will need a different strategy for fluffing. Try buying some cotton or other stuffing, and add it by unzipping the futon mattress cover and adding cotton as evenly as possible across the mattress.

Can you use a memory foam mattress on a futon frame?

You cannot use a memory foam mattress on a futon frame easily. As previously discussed, this is because memory foam isn’t designed to bend into an L shape the way a futon mattress is. You might even say that futon mattresses themselves aren’t perfectly designed to be bent this way and require additional care. Another issue with memory foam mattresses is that they will contour to the shape of your body. Places where your body contacts the mattress will activate the memory foam, whereas places which are not in contact with your body will stay firm. This makes the memory foam mattress unideal for a futon frame, which works best with a firm mattress that maintains its shape well.

How do I choose a good futon frame? 

As might be obvious, a plain futon mattress cannot be used as a couch on its own. You need to buy a futon mattress frame that has good support and comfortable armrests. Remember that a futon mattress will not want to stay in the L shape of a couch; it prefers to be flat. With armrests, you can add pillows and support your back while sitting, and whenever you’re ready you can pull out the futon mattress and sleep on it. Make sure you know the dimensions of your mattress before buying a frame, or the mattress might slide off the edges.

A futon mattress frame has armrests and is designed to bend into an L shape for the chair shape.A futon mattress frame has armrests and is designed to bend into an L shape for the ‘chair’ shape.

How do I choose a good futon mattress?

There are many things to consider when choosing your futon mattress: support, pressure relief, firmness vs. softness, and temperature regulation. Different types have different strengths, and the differences between them really depend on your preferences. Wool and cotton futon mattresses are comfortable and provide excellent support for your body while sleeping. Compared to cotton, wool is more resilient and springy, and it will not pack down as much over time. Latex and steel innerspring mattresses are also good materials for futon mattresses, and there are various synthetic materials that are perfectly safe. Alongside support and pressure relief, you should also choose your mattress based on the firmness that you prefer. The ILD rating of your mattress is going to be your best friend.

Many factors determine how good a material is for temperature regulation. Both cotton and wool are great at temperature regulation. However, wool is generally better at temperature regulation than cotton because it stores moisture away from the surface, within the main core. Wool is also good at maintaining temperature in both directions–both hot and cold. For this reason, you are less likely to overheat or become too cold with a wool mattress. Here’s a highly rated woolen mattress that fits futon frames.

If you want it, some futon mattresses also have springs on the inside, but these are slightly more expensive. The base foam in many of these mattresses is high-quality polyurethane foam. This is generally safe material, but it is not natural. This may be important for those of you people who are looking for a natural or organic option. If this concerns you, consider instead getting wool, cotton, or latex. Here’s an innerspring alternative to woolen futon mattresses. Take a look at the reviews and notice how people consider them ‘comfortable’ as opposed to ‘firm’.

Finally, if you are looking for a cheap futon mattress or mattress frame, one option is to search on Craigslist. You might be surprised at how many people are throwing away these large bulk items, or even giving them away for free. However, if you plan on having the mattress and frame for a long time, consider purchasing something new and investing for the long run.

Futon mattress sizes

Futon mattresses can be tricky to size, because there are several different names for each kind. Let’s just look at the basic mattress sizes: a queen mattress is 60 inches by 80 inches. When someone says they have a queen mattress, regardless of whether it is split or not, the total dimensions will always be the same. A split mattress just means that there is a divot in the middle. In the image below, you can see that there are also ottomans, which can be attached or freestanding. Ottomans simply allow you to extend your mattress size. So, as you can see, the queen split with a free-standing or attached ottoman will still have the total dimensions of 60 inch by 80 inches. Split Futons with Ottomans also allow extra storage like this one.

A lounger is a kind of futon frame that allows you to put your legs up and recline (here’s a highly rated lounger). It has four settings: it can function as a bed (laying flat), a sofa where the back is straight up or down with minimal recline, or can be slightly reclined to raise your legs in the lounger position. You can also have a position that is halfway between a lounger and a sofa, with the legs reclining towards the floor but still supported. This is called a steamer position, where your legs are supported but not parallel to the ground. When looking for a futon mattress, look at the dimensions mentioned in the product specification. The image below will help you imagine different ways of arranging the different types of futons. However, the final specifications will be unique to your product.

Now let’s discuss bi-fold and tri-fold futon frames. Notice in the image below the width dimensions for each type of mattress. A queen mattress has a 60-inch width. This is the horizontal part of your futon frame, and how much floor space is required for it. If the floor space is the width, the longer dimension (length) is split in half in a bi-fold frame. So a bi-fold frame with a mattress will tend to have a longer back, and take up more wall space. A bi-fold frame is generally more common than a tri-fold frame, and accommodates three to four people while sitting, as well as a sleeper who is up to 6 feet and 3 inches in height. Notice that the armrests will also have a length and a width, so you have to accommodate for that in your floor space. A tri-fold futon frame comes with a two-piece mattress. The large piece goes on the futon frame and the small piece sits on an ottoman. Remember that the ottoman can be attached or detached/freestanding. If you get a single mattress for a tri-fold frame, it will tend to be thinner, because it needs flexibility to bend frequently. On the whole, a tri-fold frame takes up more floor space then a bifold frame.

A diagram of the floor space taken up by different types of futons. Image from FutonLand.A diagram of the floor space taken up by different types of futons. Image from FutonLand.
A futon with an ottomat can provide a longer sleeping surface which can be split apart to look like normal furniture (ie. you can move the ottoman away from the futon in your room).A futon with an ottomat can provide a longer sleeping surface which can be split apart to look like normal furniture (ie. you can move the ottoman away from the futon in your room).

Different types of futon mattresses

As we’ve discussed, futon mattresses can be made of wool, cotton, or latex foam. They can have spring cores or come without them. Generally spring cores do not last very long, because a futon mattress is designed for frequent folding and unfolding. High quality innerspring mattresses can last for a long time, but you still need to be wary of the continuous folding and unfolding.

Basic futon mattresses are made of cotton and are the cheapest option. Sometimes foam is added to increase the rigidity of the mattress. More cotton means that a futon mattress will be heavier and firmer, and more foam tends to reduce lumpiness. Because of its density and elasticity, latex tends to hold its shape but also provide a surface that’s very comfortable. However, more latex usually means more cost, unless you find a great deal on a latex mattress like this one.Also, adding wool on top of the cotton will decrease the rigidity of the mattress while increasing how good the mattress is at regulating temperature. Wool also tends to increase comfort and maintains its shape better than cotton does. Using polyester encasements instead of cotton will make a futon mattress lighter. Polyester is lighter than cotton, synthetic, and generally retains its shape better.

Innerspring futon mattresses have a layer of springs that are encased in foam and batting (normally cotton). These behave more like traditional mattresses, and provides separation between you and the slats on the futon frame. Pocket coils have individually wrapped coils and tend to be more expensive than innerspring mattresses. They hold their shape better and tend to prevent motion transfer, so you and your partner(s) can sleep happily on the same bed without waking each other up. Take a look at this highly rated pocket coil mattress.

Natural latex foam is highly elastic and durable, made from the sap or milk of rubber trees.  Liquid latex is collected for use in many industries. Synthetic latex is made to mimic the properties of natural latex. Most manufacturers blend natural and synthetic latex. To make Dunlop latex, a mold is filled to the brim with synthetic and natural latex liquid. As the latex pours, the heavier particles fall to the bottom and hence the bottom is denser than the top.  Talalay latex is created by pouring a measured amount of the latex blend liquid into a mold and then sealing the mold. A vacuum inside the mold causes the liquid to fill the entire mold evenly. at this point, the mold is frozen below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which creates the cellular structure of the foam. Next, the latex is heated to cure the foam. Upon completion of the curing process, the material is removed and cut to make whatever product you want. So, as you can see, Dunlop latex and Talalay latex will have different structures. Dunlop latex will feel firmer and is usually used for base mattresses. Talalay latex is more evenly textured, not too soft or firm, and is used for higher-end mattresses. Consider getting a talalay mattress topper instead of a full mattress in order to minimize costs and maximize comfort.

Viscoelastic memory foam was developed by NASA in the 1970s. It is much more durable and responsive to weight and temperature than most synthetic or natural latex foams. It is also called memory foam because when it is created, it is viscous and has stickiness, but also has flow resistance, density, and the ability to return to an initial state, which is the elastic component. Memory foam conforms to the body and doesn’t push back as much as other foams, and naturally adjusts to your body weight and necessary pressure points.

To summarize, cotton is the most common base material in futons. It provides flexibility as well as greater weight and firmness. It is not rigid (meaning it does not hold its shape very well over time). As you add more foam, the rigidity increases while weight and firmness decrease. Adding in polyester instead of foam decreases weight while increasing rigidity. A pure polyester mattress will be light, but not flexible. It will however hold its shape (rigid) and be firm. Innersprings will increase weight and rigidity while decreasing flexibility.

The weight, firmness, rigidity, and flexibility of different types of futon mattress materials.The weight, firmness, rigidity, and flexibility of different types of futon mattress materials.
Innerspring futon mattresses are very comfortable but tend to have a shorter lifespan because of the constant folding/unfolding action that futon mattresses undergo.Innerspring futon mattresses are very comfortable but tend to have a shorter lifespan because of the constant folding/unfolding action that futon mattresses undergo.

The difference between high-end and lower-end futon mattresses

You are often trying to determine which futon mattress is more expensive than the other when you compare high-end and low-end models. Let’s look at the differences between these terms and see which one gives you the best value. We can then discuss the price of each mattress.

First, comfort metrics such as comfort can vary depending on the material used. However, almost all high end futon mattresses will be better than their lower-end counterparts when it comes to evaluating value. The reason is that higher-end mattresses will have more memory foam and polyester than lower-end models. These high-end materials have certain characteristics that will make your futon mattress more comfortable. They can reduce firmness and mold to your body. The durability of your mattress will hinge on how you care for it.

High-end mattresses won’t be as lumpy than cheaper mattresses with higher cotton content. Also, wool and cotton tend to get more firm with time. Wool can initially compress to 30% of its maximum compression and then slowly decrease in size. Over time, cotton will shrink much more quickly. Viscoelastic and latex foams tend to become softer over time. This happens because the foam is breaking down. How can a foam become softened and break down? If a foam breaks down, wouldn’t it cause pores to disappear? Yes! Yes, but smaller foam particles trap more air than original foam material pores. It will become soften over time.

Higher-end mattresses will have higher “organic” certifications of their materials and components. You are also more likely to have a good return policy or warranty on higher-end mattresses than you would with lower-end futon mattresses.

This should help you understand the “value” differences between higher-end futon mattress and lower-end futon mattress. Consider your budget and the timeframe you have for changing your mattresses. Do you plan to have one mattress for the next 10+ years? Perhaps you only need it for a few years before you decide to purchase something else. These factors will affect how your value/price ratio changes.

Best futon bed for sitting

You should consider many factors when selecting a futon mattress to be used for sitting. How will you sit on the futon bed? Or will you choose to sit in the “lounge” position (angled back with legs pointing downwards and out). Or will you be in the “sofa” position (back straight up and downward)? You should choose the right mattress for you, depending on how you sit. The length of your backrest on the sofa will vary depending on whether you have either a tri-fold or bi-fold mattress. A tri-fold mattress will have a shorter backrest. For a comparison of different types of futons, make sure you visit our section on futon materials. This will allow you to determine the right support for your sitting position.

For sitting, a thicker and more firmer mattress (approximately 7 inches thick) is best. This is particularly important when you are lounging. A soft mattress can cause you to sink in and make it difficult to get out of your chair. For older persons, this may be an additional challenge. You might also feel the slats beneath if you sink in too much. This problem can be solved by a firm mattress. A few bolster pillows might be an option, particularly for those who like to lounge.

Innerspring mattresses tend to be firmer and more springy than regular mattresses. We have already discussed that sinking mattresses can cause problems. A firmer, more springy mattress is a better choice for a sofa. A tufted mattress will provide comfort and durability over time. For you to feel comfortable, you will need to select the right firmness.

To prevent your futon mattress from slipping off of the frame, make sure it is thick and textured. It will also look more like a regular couch. Microsuede is a great choice to add softness, texture, and thickness. Make sure that your sofa has adequate support.

Which futon mattress is best for use on a floor?

A 4-inch thick wool futon mattress is ideal for use with a carpeted flooring. You might also like a floor futon. If your futon needs to be moved frequently, you should consider its weight and size. Many futons in Japanese design are usually set up at night and then put away at night. If you have a 20 cm futon, it is difficult to move. You might consider buying a thin mattress or adding a mattress topper, which can be removed separately. To breathe properly, your mattress needs to have enough space under it. As an alternative to a complete frame, you can use slats and a mat instead. Tatami mats or slats draw moisture away from the mattress. A hypoallergenic cover is also a good idea, as it reduces allergy symptoms. However, dust tends to collect more frequently close to the floor. It is important to remember that sleeping on the ground will require different sleeping habits from a regular bed. If you have problems with your back or knees, it is important to slowly get up on a futon. This will reduce your pain.

A japanese style woolen floor futon mattress offers comfort and is designed for floor-use. Image from thebedlyft.com.A japanese style woolen floor futon mattress offers comfort and is designed for floor-use. Image from thebedlyft.com.

Toddler Futon Mattress Safety: Are futon mattresses safe?

Yes! Futons are still popular in Japan for both children and adults, as we have discussed. Children in many parts of the world sleep on futon mattresses. There is no evidence that they have back problems or other health issues. Although mattress companies may claim that their products are safer for children, there are many other sources such as this thread, which show futons are completely safe for children. Because it is so low, a futon mattress can be more comfortable than a child’s bed and is therefore safer. Futon mattresses are also easy to use without guardrails. Your child won’t be hurt if they roll off the futon mattress.

How can I co-sleep safely with my toddler/child on a futon?

Parents often choose to share a bed with their children, rather than buying them a separate mattress. Futons are very practical and comfortable for this purpose. If you sleep directly on the ground, your child will not fall off the mattress. There are some other things to consider. Co-sleeping can lead to you sinking towards the middle of your mattress. The mattress may take an impression of you and create areas where you could sink. You should choose a mattress that is firmer (such as the made from latex) and won’t sink.

A futon mattress can be dangerous for toddlers. A mattress topper is a way to reduce the firmness of your futon bed without it sinking. Your topper should be placed on a flat surface. A topper will not help if your futon mattress is uneven in its support. This is common when you mix different materials in a mattress. More information about safe co-sleeping is available here.

Comparison between a futon mattress and a toddler bed

A futon mattress is a better option than a toddler bed. A futon mattress is more comfortable for your toddler than a toddler’s bed. Your toddler will feel free to move around on the futon mattress. You can also use a standard twin-size mattress. However, this may be too big for a small child. A twin-size mattress is also an option. However, a toddler should not be able to sleep on a mattress that is too large. Cleaning underneath a futon mattress can be a problem for small children. This can be especially difficult for women who are pregnant. A futon provides more space than a regular mattress, which is why you will be able to comfortably care for your child. A futon mattress frame with a guardrail is recommended for certain children. To prevent your child from falling off the futon mattress frame, you can move it closer to the wall if it is not on the floor.

Cleaning beneath a futon is challenging for recently pregnant women who are co-sleeping on the floor with their child. Consider using slats or a tatami mat to keep your bed clean.Cleaning beneath a futon is challenging for recently pregnant women who are co-sleeping on the floor with their child. Consider using slats or a tatami mat to keep your bed clean.

How do I choose an allergen-free, safe futon mattress for my baby/person with allergies?

A mattress that does not contain flame retardant is the best option to avoid irritants and excess chemicals. Flame retardant chemicals can also cause irritation to your skin and worsen breathing problems such as asthma. Futon mattresses are frequently treated with flame retardant chemicals due to the fact that foam is a synthetic fibre and therefore flammable. These chemicals are unnecessary as wool and cotton are naturally flame-resistant. Wool mattresses and high quality cotton mattresses can be charred, but they will not catch fire like synthetic materials.

However, a mattress made of cotton can be hazardous for your baby. You should be aware that cotton grows with a lot pesticides and can expose you too to harmful chemicals. You can get an organic cotton mattress, but be aware that organic materials will come at a higher price. A wool mattress is another option, but it will cost you more. However, the wool smell may initially be strong. Wool odor is most noticeable in damp conditions, so keep your mattress dry. You can find more information below about cleaning and caring your futon mattress.

Important to remember that safety and security in a mattress will depend on your personal needs. Be aware of any medical conditions you may have, such as multiple chemical sensitivities or MCS. Avoid polyfoam in furniture and opt for natural and organic materials like wool and cotton if you have such sensitivities. Be aware that innerspring mattresses without foam can be too soft to be used with infants.

Be aware that there is a lot of misleading information on the internet about safe and organic materials. Contrary to popular belief there are many synthetic materials which are as safe as organic materials. It is important to understand your needs. I prefer to look for mattresses with low VOC (volatile organ chemicals). To protect your futon mattress, you can use regular sheets and a mattress protector with organic, quilt-like, cotton.

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