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How to Choose the Perfect Couch Bed or Sleeper Sofa

Justine is a writer, teacher, mother and mountain bike rider.

So you want a couch or sofa that is also a bed? You want your living room or office to look elegant during the day, but you also want to use it as a bedroom or guest room at night? Do you live in a small apartment and space is tight? How do you pick the perfect couch bed, sleeper sofa, daybed, convertible couch, murphy bed, or futon for your budget and your needs?

I recently went through this process of trying to find the perfect solution to this difficult question. And I have a few tips to make the process easier.


Couch or Sofa, Couch Bed or Sleeper Sofa?

There are many different names for a couch or a sofa that can also be used as a bed. Couch and sofa are used interchangeably these days to mean an upholstered seat that fits more than one person. In the past, however, couch and sofa meant different things.


Has no arms, or one arm

Has two arms and a back

Less seating (2-3 people)

More seating (4 or more people)

Can never have a bed inside

Can have a bed inside

Comes from the French word "couche" and was used as a fainting bed in Victorian times

Comes from the Arabic word "suffah" meaning it has arms and so it's not good for fainting on

You can call someone a couch potato

You can't call someone a sofa potato

More informal

More formal


Your Purpose for your Couch Bed or Sleeper Sofa is More Important than What You Call It.

The historical definitions are very interesting, but the main takeaway is that it doesn't matter whether you call it a couch bed or a sleeper sofa. In fact, couch bed is actually an oxymoron. The very definition of a couch is that it can never have a bed inside of it. Yet couch beds do indeed exist. A Google search for couch bed will result in many different kinds of seating that can be converted into a bed.

More important than what you call it (I am going to call it a couch bed), is what are you primarily going to use it for?

A Review of 3 Affordable Attractive Couch Beds

After extensive Google searches on couch beds, sofa sleepers, murphy beds, and futons, I narrowed my couch bed list down to my top 3 based on affordability, looks, and my main use (nightly sleeping). These are my top 3:

  • Friheten by Ikea
  • Flottebo by Ikea
  • Toggle Convertible Couch by Coddle

What is Your Main Purpose for Your Couch Bed: Sleeping or Sitting?

The most essential question you have to ask yourself is will you use this furniture more often as a seat or a bed? When one thing is serving two purposes, it will usually be better at one or the other, but not both.

If you will use your couch bed to sleep on every night, then look for one that is sturdy and comfortable! Many of the couch that beds are quite affordable and look very elegant in the showroom, will not actually hold up if you are sleeping on them every night. In addition, they probably are not comfortable enough to actually sleep on for more than the ten minutes that you try them out in the showroom.


The Friheten by Ikea - $599

I was immediately attracted to the Friheten on my first trip to Ikea. Actually, I first saw it on the website and was very impressed by its looks, price, and functionality. The video shows how easy it is to pull out a drawer and pop up another seat cushion converting the couch into a nice sized double bed.

I was so eager to go to the showroom and see it. The Friheten was just as beautiful and functional in the showroom as it was online. I laid down on it and could easily imagine this couch bed in my small apartment. It would look very elegant during the day and seat people comfortably. It has an L-shape when it is a couch making it perfect for conversations.

It is also very easy to convert into a big double bed at night. Another great feature is that it has lots of storage for all your bedding during the day when you convert it back into a couch. This gives you the look of an elegant living room during the day with all your bedding hidden.


The Flottebo by Ikea - $649

On my second trip back to Ikea to look at the Friheten again, I was distracted by the Flottebo, which I hadn't noticed before. What I love about the Flottebo is that it is just a flat upholstered platform with no conversion from couch to bed. You simply move around these interesting shaped (sort of trapezoidal solids) heavy pillows to change how you want to use it. It is very elegant and modern looking. The size of the bed is smaller than the Friheten but it still fits two people. It also has storage for your bedding but the storage is much smaller than the Friheten.

A big negative for the Flottebo is that it is out of stock and no one at Ikea can give a clear answer of when it will come back in. A lot of the reviews also say that even though it is so simple, it is actually quite difficult to assemble because of the netting in the storage part.

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Since the Flottebo was essentially unavailable, I decided to continue my search. I had also read all the reviews on the Friheten by then, and many customers said that it takes a long time to assemble and that the fabric gets loose after a few months so that it no longer looks elegant in couch mode. The reviews also said that both the Flottebo and the Friheten are not comfortable enough to sleep on every night.


The Toggle Convertible Couch by Coddle - $1200

The Toggle Convertible Couch is interesting because it uses several Japanese hinges that allow you to configure it in different ways. You can have one side up as a seat and the other down. You can put the sides up to use as a headrest or armrest. It also plugs in and has outlets on both sides for all your devices.

The reviews said that this couch can definitely be used as a bed every night. It is very sturdy and comfortable. In addition, you can buy a 3-inch topper if you are going to always be using it as a bed to make it even more comfortable.

Another amazing feature about the Toggle is that they deliver it to you (with free shipping over $1,000) and there is basically no assembly. You just click in the 4 legs and that's it! Also, the delivery time is very fast: less than two weeks from the date of order to the moment you are sleeping in your house.

The biggest negative compared to the Friheten and the Flottebo is that the Toggle costs twice as much. Also, it has no storage for your bedding.



In conclusion, couch beds or sofa sleepers, or whatever you want to call them, have come a long way and offer many different options to fit your needs and budget. You no longer have to settle for the hide-a-bed with a metal frame and thin mattress that you pull out and unfold to make into the bed. No more bars sticking up into your back and sagging spots for your head.

When you begin your search, make sure to honestly answer the question what is the primary purpose for you? If it is a bed, then you might need to spend a little more to make sure it is comfortable and sturdy.

I hope this article was helpful for you and that you find the perfect couch bed for your needs and budget. Want to know which one I bought? Write to me in the comments.


Justine Forelli (author) from Lafayette, CA on October 11, 2020:

Thanks Danny! Good luck on your project.

Danny from India on October 11, 2020:

Justine nice tips will be very useful for home refurbishing activity

Justine Forelli (author) from Lafayette, CA on October 10, 2020:

Thanks Dineen! I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

Dineen Seymour Nahn on October 10, 2020:

Amazing article. It’s so hard to do a small space well and Justine Forelli’s information is insightful. :)

Justine Forelli (author) from Lafayette, CA on October 10, 2020:

Thank you Javi. I hope the article is helpful for you when furnishing a small space.

Javi on October 10, 2020:

What a great article! now I know the meaning and the functionality between a couch or sofa bed for small living space.

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