Making do with less space is a perennial task for any first-time buyer, renter or student. But why should it be such a drag? After all, if the news that family or an old friend is in town fills you with dread, something is clearly up. And trust me, I get it. Finding a bed to put up the unannounced guest can be tricky, especially when your humble abode is closer in size to a postage stamp than a mansion. I mean, honestly, if you're packing more than a single bedroom, I want to know about your side hustle pronto.
Luckily, there is reason to smile. With just a few savvy furnishings, hosting becomes a joy, not a burden. At least, this is how I feel now that I've seen the light in small sofa beds. By using this smart way to maximise your space's potential, you can double up your living room as a spare bedroom. True to your needs, I've picked out a selection of sofa beds that err on the littler side, so that you don't find your mini living room gridlocked. Once you're all set, you can then get well underway with decorating – our small living room tips are just the ticket.
Now, when I hear that my old pals are visiting, I beam, safe in the knowledge that I can accommodate. Guests aside, though, it's also nice to have a smaller sofa that doesn't clash with my other decor decisions. Indeed, subtle elegance goes a long way here, while the option to host is a neat bonus. Because mi casa es su casa.
Our favourite stylish yet small sofa beds for your tiny space
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Our top pick
Type: Fold out
Size (cm): H82 x W100 x D91
Meet our go-to small sofa bed, which delivers on all fronts. Both affordable and well-designed, it nails the brief for an understated home, especially in its cool charcoal iteration. Easy to assemble, it makes the ultimate chill spot for one and converts into a bed in record time. Made from a hardwearing polyester, the body of the unit complements the chrome-finished feet below. One thing to note, however, is that should any spillages occur, the cushion cover will need professional cleaning — a minor and common requirement these days. Neither too soft nor hard, it's perfect for lazy Sundays. I'm sold.
Quirky but cool
Type: Fold out
Size (cm): H81 x W91 x D90
Ah, the plush allure of velvet. Yep, this number's cushion is wrapped fully in it, resulting in a wooden-footed delight. Again, it's dry clean only, but these days, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything different. As for assembly, this is a breeze: simply add the feet and you're ready to go. Typical of the Habitat label, this Roma sofa bed says tasteful but a little funky, which I'm always here for. As a standalone chair, it's a real centrepiece, making its additional duty as a bed a cheeky little extra in the deal.
Seats three people
Size (cm): H68 x W180 x D72
Offering plenty of space for a single sleeper, and even more for sitters, this no-nonsense design is both parts strong and inexpensive. Upholstered with a sturdy polyester, it boasts pinewood legs, which act as a casual but undeniably luxe addition to the set-up. If you're looking for clean and simple decor, this is it. I'm very into the pebble-grey shade, if not just for its timeless appeal. Plus, it matches impeccably with any colour scheme.
The modernist icon
Type: Fold out
Size (cm): H80 x W65 x D69
Your search for an uber-sleek chair cum bed ends here. With a strong steel structure, this thickly padded sofa bed combines suede upholstery with sleek armrests. In terms of setting this up, it's a piece of cake: You shouldn't need more than an hour of your time, tops. Oh, and the cover can be taken off for washing, making it an easy clean. I should also say, the comfort is unrivalled. When seated, you can choose from five different angles to suit your posture, and the sponge filling is oh-so cushy.
Made with vegan leather
Size (cm): H76 x W167 x D50
Function and form come together in this practical piece, which arrives in a slick, jet-black hue, covered in faux leather that looks the part. Seating up to three people, it's a hardwearing sofa bed, with little to no assembly required. All you need to do is attach the legs and it's good to go. Constructed with eucalyptus wood, it's an armless design ideal for less-is-more decorators. In my eyes, such silhouettes work wonders in giving a space a sense of calm. A little pointer: spot cleaning with dry solvents is best practice, here.
Cheap but chic
Type: Fold out
Size (cm): H75 x W76 x D85
It's not just about making space go further; stretching our notes is always a prerogative. And boy, does this do that. Available in a whole spectrum of hues, it's an ultra-simple but classic futon with a pinewood frame and cotton-drill fabric that team up for a boho-chic vibe. I'm also keen to note how easy this is to look after. Not only is it durably made, but it's also super easy to clean: wipe with a soft cloth and it's sorted.
Practicality and panache
Size (cm): H80 x W200 x D110
Whether you opt for linen or velvet upholstery, one thing is sure: This sofa bed cuts a dash in any room. Specced with a solid wooden frame, it also features handy pockets on the armrests for storing your favourite magazines. And with a vintage aesthetic like this, it's sure to inject your fresh canvas with character aplenty. I've always been a sucker for timeless classics, and so the tapered legs, blink-and-miss-it two-tone palette, and tufted cushions really push my buttons.
Type: Fold up
Colour: Dark grey and black
Size (cm): H78 x W128 x D85
Honestly, this has blown my mind. True to IKEA's USP, this item functions with minimal effort and can be converted from chair to bed with a few intuitive steps. Oh, and it's exceptionally light, primed with a removable cover that cleans as and when you wish. Planning on getting lots of use out of it? Good. With a machine-washable cover and a wipe-clean steel frame, it's built to last, making it the ultimate solution to fleeting but frequent stays. Did I mention that it's made with recycled polyester, too? That's worth some brownie points, surely.
Size (cm): H75 x W84 x D84
Face it, an armless sofa is always très chic. Even more so when it packs down with a few clicks into a large single/small double bed. Standing proud on four plastic legs, the chair is made from imitation leather with impeccable stitching. And because it's not immediately obvious, I want to note how robust the structure is. It can support up to 320 kg in weight, making it one serious three-seater. I'm into the brown colour, personally, but that contrast stitching is a winner for everyone, right?
How did we choose these sofa beds?
We've carefully selected these small sofa beds based on a number of criteria to ensure they're the best bet for you, your lifestyle, and your budget. With the whole small space angle in mind, we've only featured fold-out or click-slack sofa beds in this guide, because ones that have a built-in mattress are bulkier by nature. And they are a lot more expensive.
With this in mind, our freelance writer Joe went shopping and has chosen a bunch of small sofa beds that are rated comfortable, high in quality, and reasonable in price. After all, Joe has just bought his first flat and is in the market for more than a sofa bed right now, so he's in the same boat.
Talking from experience, our head ecommerce editor Annie explains what you need to consider when buying a sofa bed:
"Deciding which sofa bed to buy is hard, especially if you are on a tight budget. Sofa beds with built-in mattresses will automatically be more comfortable, and ones without might require a mattress topper to use with them to make them bearable. I always go for looks over comfort but in this case, I really suggest putting the former first. You can always spruce up a sofa bed with a lovely throw and some decorative cushions, but if it's hard as rocks you'll end up spending money on an ultra-thick topper. Also, take a look at the sofa bed's height (once assembled) as some sit really low on the floor, which isn't great for anyone who might be sleeping over who is less able."
Can I use a small sofa bed as my main sofa?
Of course you can! If you're looking for a small sofa for your space but also want to use it to sleep occasional guests, then a sofa bed is a brilliant buy. You'll just want to ensure it's comfortable to use as an actual everyday sofa, which means that you might want to make sure it has arms for balancing your cuppa on.