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Sofa beds have been around for a long time, but are they really practical? We want to give you all the information you need to make the right choice for your home and your lifestyle.

Whether you are short on space and need a living room sofa that doubles as a guest bed, or are kitting out a spare room and want the space to be functional and practical, this guide is a combination of practical tips and insight for choosing the right sofa bed size, shape and type for your home, while making sure you love it too.

So, if you’re considering a sofa bed, or haven't made your mind up quite yet, you’ve found the perfect resource.

Table of contents

Key factors to consider when buying a sofa bed 

  • How often you’ll use it as a bed
  • How many people will be sleeping on it
  • Style & size of the sofa bed
  • Size of the mattress
  • Type of the mattress
  • Comfort and support
  • Storage

Understanding sofa bed styles and types

  • 2 seater sofa beds
  • 3 seater sofa beds
  • Corner sofa beds

Understanding the different types of sofa bed mechanisms

  • Pull-out
  • Fold-out
  • Click-clack

Helpful Hints

  • Things to consider
  • Storage options

Key factors to consider when buying a sofa bed

How often you'll use it as a bed

    • It's important to this about how often your new sofa bed will be used as a bed and how often it'll be used as a sofa, so that you know what quality of mattress you may need to consider. 
    • If your sofa bed will be used often as a bed, it's a good idea to consider the longevity of the mattress and frame and how easy it is to turn into a bed.

How many people will be sleeping on it

    • If your sofa bed is going to be used for when your kids have sleepovers, then you probably don't need a huge sleeping space, but if it's for when the in laws come to stay, you may want to invest in a larger sofa to accommodate two people.
    • If there will two people using the sofa bed you'll want to consider where it's placed in your room too.

Style & size of sofa bed

  • Depending on where the sofa bed will be placed in your room, you need to consider how practical it will be when it's both closed as a sofa and then open as a sofa bed.
  • Some sofa beds fold back to open the sleeping space, so would need to be pulled out from a wall first.
  • If storing extra bed linen is a consideration, you should consider a sofa bed with hidden storage.


Size & type of mattress

  • Similar to the point on how many people will generally be sleeping on your sofa bed, you'll want to consider the sleeping area of the sofa bed. For some sofa beds, this may be the full sofa length, doubled in width, while with others the mattress size will depend on the size of the sofa seating area.
  • The type of mattress will vary and what you choose should match in with how often your sofa bed will be used and by who. If a comfortable night's sleep, similar to what you'd experience in a regular bed, is what you're looking for, you need to ensure that you check the size, depth and potential spring count of the mattress.

Comfort and support

  • The level of comfort and support you'll get from a sofa bed is dependant on the mattress thickness and type, and the seat cushions too.
  • Consider whether the sofa bed will be used more as a sofa or a bed, or an even combination of both. 

Understanding sofa bed types & mechanisms

With a wide range of sofa bed styles and types available, understanding which will best suit you can be difficult. Keep reading to find out about them all, then you'll be armed with all the information you need.

Sofa bed sizes

The size of a sofa bed will ultimately determine the size of the sleeping surface, so depending on whether your sofa bed is needed for more than one person to sleep on at a time, or will mostly be used for kids sleepovers, the size of sofa bed you choose should be a consideration.

    • 2 Seater sofa bed - this size of sofa will generally have a sleeping area of a single bed, or small double bed.

    • 3 Seater sofa bed - this size of sofa will generally have a sleeping area of a small double or double bed
    • Corner sofa bed - this type of sofa will generally have a sleeping area of a double bed, depending on how the function works.

Sofa bed mechanisms

Consider how quickly you may need to turn your sofa into a bed, and also whether you are able to manage this yourself so some mechanisms are easier to use than others.

  • Pull-out mechanisms are easy to use and work by taking the seat cushions off the sofa and pulling the frame of the bed out from where it is stored under the sofa seats.
  • Fold-out sofa beds need a bit more effort to pull out as the frame is folded back on itself under the sofa seats. Again the sofa cushions need to be removed first, then the metal frame pulled up and out and the mattress and frame folded out again to form the bed.
  • Click-clack sofa beds are the simplest and quickest to turn into a bed, and don't require any removing of cushions. However if they live against a wall as a sofa, they need to be pulled out from the wall before being pushed forwards and clicked back to form the sleeping space.

Using a pull out sofa bed

Pull-out sofa beds are easy to use and work by pulling the frame of the bed out from where it is stored under the sofa seats. With our Carlotta sofa bed, the seat and back cushions remain attached to the frame and live underneath while the bed is in use.

Shop Carlotta sofa bed

Helpful Hints

Things to consider

  • If you choose a fold out or pull out sofa bed, remember that you may need to store the sofa seat cushions somewhere while the bed is in use if they're not attached to the sofa frame. For sofa beds with loose back cushions, these can be added back to their place once the bed is out to make a comfortable headboard.
  • If you choose a click-clack style sofa bed you will need to move it from a wall to use the function and make the bed space.


  • If space is at a premium then choosing a sofa bed with built in storage is the best option. Not only can you store extra bedding and pillows, but you swap these for your sofa cushions when making the sofa bed into a bed.
  • A sofa bed with storage will generally be larger, or a corner sofa bed style.


Frequently asked sofa bed questions

Sofa beds are not intended to be used every night long term due to the mattress quality not being the same as a regular bedframe mattress, however they can be used every night if needed.

Generally, a 2 seater sofa bed will have a mattress which is around 110 - 120cm wide, which is smaller than a double bed which is 135cm wide.

Two people can comfortably sleep on a sofa bed, however you should consider the mattress size of the sofa bed before you buy if the intended use is for two people as most sofa bed mattresses are smaller than a double size mattress.

Generally speaking sofa bed mattresses are not as comfortable as a regular bed owing to the fact that a sofa bed mattress will be required to fold in the middle to enable it to live inside the sofa when not in use. A click clack style sofa bed will have a thicker sleeping surface as the mattress part is essentially the sofa seat and sofa back.

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