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Sofa Bed Shopping Tips

When space is tight and guests are expected, a sleeper sofa can save the day, or the night, in this case.

Today’s sofa beds are designed to offer more comfort than those lumpy, creaky versions your grandparents had. But to get the most out of your sofa bed budget, you need to be vigilant when shopping. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Macy's Carmine leather sofa bed, queen sleeper, $2,199.

Macy's Carmine leather sofa bed, queen sleeper, $2,199.


Measure, measure, measure. You don’t want to squeeze a queen-size sofa bed into a den that can only handle a twin-size sleeper sofa. The most popular sofa bed size – the queen — seats three people as a sofa, and comfortably sleeps two when it’s converted into a bed.


 Havertys Fiesta Key full sleeper, $1,599.99.

Havertys Fiesta Key full sleeper, $1,599.99.


If you have a small space, consider a love seat that converts into a full-size bed.


La-Z-Boy Daphne twin sleep chair, $1,599.

La-Z-Boy Daphne twin sleep chair, $1,599.

And if space is really tight, look at a sofa chair, which converts to a twin bed for one person.


Note the length of the sofa bed when it folds out. Do you have enough room to maneuver around the bed without having to remove other furniture from the room?

Along with size, don’t forget that sleepers are much heavier than traditional sofas, so you want to be sure you place it where it won’t need to be moved.

Know your needs and your budget. How often do you entertain overnight guests? Once a year? Less? Or are you the person everyone loves to visit several times a year? No matter the size, sofa beds are expensive, and prices easily can climb to several thousand dollars.

Is the sleeper going to be your main seating? If so, then make sure it’s a comfortable sofa, not just a cozy bed. You’ll pay more, but it’ll be worth the extra money.

If it’s going to be in a room you seldom use, then feel free to buy a comfortable sleeper sofa that won’t break the bank.

Be a hands-on buyer. Sure, you can order a sleeper sofa online, but you’re risking a lot if you haven’t checked it out in person first.

Sit on it and make sure it’s not rock hard or feels awkward, especially the head and arm rests.

Pull the sofa bed out and notice if it converts smoothly, with little effort and even less noise. Check to make sure it has no rough edges. You don’t want your guests sleeping on a bear trap.

Lie down and test out the mattress. Remember, if it’s a little thin, you always could offer your guests a memory foam mattress pad or a cushy down mattress topper.

Check the frame. A convertible sofa, well, converts, therefore moves. It’s important to buy one made with a sturdy hardwood frame that’s been kiln-dried. A soft pine frame will probably not hold up as well.

Now close it up and make sure it’s an easy, effortless maneuver.

Which do you use when you need extra sleeping accommodations? Sleeper sofa? Futon? Air mattress? Suggest a nearby hotel?

Let us know. Send your photographs to socialmedia@ajc.com or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #AJCdiy.

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[...] Be a hands-on buyer. Sure, you can order a sleeper sofa online, but youre risking a lot if you havent checked it out inperson first. Sit onitand make sure its not rock hard or feels awkward, especially the head and arm rests. Pullthe sofa bedout and notice if it converts smoothly, with little effort and even less noise. Check to make sure it has no rough edges. You dont want your guests sleepingon a bear trap. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://blogs.ajc.com/diy-decorating-improvements/2013/10/28/sofa-bed-shopping-tips/ [...]

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