Looking for the best sofa beds? You’re not alone. As our homes have changed to become more multifunctional spaces, more and more of us are turning to the trusty sofa bed to make the most of every square inch of footage.
After all, why devote an entire spare room as a guest bedroom (that might rarely be used), when swapping out that guest bed for a multifunctional sofa bed means you can create a work-from-home office, a children’s playroom, a music room, or maybe a home gym? All of which can be transformed when guests do come to stay by simply pulling out the sofa bed.
And if your home doesn’t stretch to a spare room, then adding a sofa bed to your living room - either as accent seating alongside one of the best sofas or in place of the classic sofa - means that the lack of a guest bedroom doesn’t need to cramp your entertaining style.
However, as we discovered when trying and testing the sofa beds for this buying guide, not all sofa beds are not created equal. So in this guide, we aim to sort the wheat from the chaff to help you find the very best option for your home.
The best sofa beds: a buyer's guide
To uncover the best sofa bed for your home - and budget - it’s helpful to first understand the two key types of sofa beds that are commonly available; click-clack and pull-out.
Click-clack sofa beds are the simplest design. In these models the backrest and seat of the sofa fold flat to become the sleeping surface, with the locking mechanism making the distinctive 'click-clack' noise after which they're named.
Most commonly made of solid foam, a fold-out sofa bed generally tends to be on the firmer side for both sitting and sleeping, so they're often best used as occasional seating and sleeping options - good for the home office, playroom or a sleepover space in a children's bedroom, but probably not for your main everyday seating in the living room - apart from in the case of models like the Heal's Oswald sofa bed which blend a foam click-clack design with integrated pocket-springs which ups the comfort levels considerably.
On the downside, the sleeping surface on a click-clack sofa bed is often very low to the ground - fine for the young at heart, but perhaps not the best option for less spritely guests or longer stays. And, because your guests are sleeping on the fabric upholstery surface you'll probably want to protect this somehow - which can sometimes be tricky as the depth of the sofa bed can mean finding a mattress protector that fits is more difficult.
On the plus side, a click clack sofa bed tends to be much more affordable than its pull-out counterparts, this design generally takes up less room once extended than a pull-out option - so is useful for rooms that are limited on space - and click clack sofa beds tend to come in contemporary designs and have shorter lead times - although upholstery options are generally more limited.
Alternatively, a pull-out sofa bed is often the most similar in design to a traditional sofa. In this design a dedicated mattress and a collapsible bed frame are pulled out of a hidden compartment under the sofa seat cushions, so to look at the seating before the bed is extended you might never know a sofa bed was hiding inside.
Once the bed frame is pulled out then the mattress is generally a similar height to a regular bed, and the dedicated mattress (depending on its thickness and construction) can make the sleeping experience of similar comfort to sleeping in a real bed.
Plus, pull-out sofa beds tend to have a much wider range of upholstery choices on offer to ensure you don't need to compromise on style choices, and, as they are most often produced by specialist sofa manufacturers, it's more likely that the sofa bed will be part of a coordinating furniture range, so it's easier to blend one of these options in with a wider living room suite.
A pull-out sofa bed will tend to take up more room though as the backrest and arms stay in place once the bed is extended, and, because of those upholstery options, there is often a long lead time for a pull-out model compared to a click-clack option, so you might need to be prepared for a wait. They can also tend to be the most expensive sofa bed options.
The best sofa beds
Our top of the class when it comes to the best sofa beds, Heal’s Oswald sofa bed fuses good design with sit and sleep comfort - often a hard trio to find in the search for a multifunctional sleeper sofa.
On first appearances, the modern rectangular form looks fairly firm, and its click-clack construction (plus a lot of disappointing experiences sitting on similar-looking sofa beds) led us to expect a pretty unforgiving seating surface. Happily though, all worries were dashed the moment we sat on this sleeper.
The modern design hides some particularly well-considered construction, with the seat and backrest formed from what Heal’s describes as ‘high resilient foam and hyper soft foam layers’ and, the important bit: 10cm deep pocket-springs nestled in the foam’s midst.
This makes for a seat with a good amount of give and bounce - not a soft and squishy sofa to snuggle up on perhaps, but definitely somewhere we’d be comfortable sitting all evening if you’re considering a sofa bed as your everyday living room seating. And, as the seat and backrest fold out to become the sleeping surface, it offers a comfortable sleep experience too - in our opinion akin to a dedicated mattress.
The loose back cushions are also a cut above the standard, with feathers and foam creating a really comfortable surface to relax against and the back height providing plenty of support. And, once the sofa bed is pulled out into position, a handy storage area means these cushions can be stored safely away so as not to clutter the room.
The leather tab at the front of the sofa makes pulling the seat section up and out to transform the sofa into a bed fairly easy, and the legs fold out automatically creating a super generous king-size sleeping surface that’s a fairly good height from the floor.
The downsides? There are only three upholstery options, although the grey Dessin fabric is a nice weave and good mid-tone colour that will suit a lot of homes. Guests will be sleeping on the actual sofa surface, but as the sleeping surface is a fairly standard king-size area getting a mattress protector to fit isn’t too hard of a job, and adding a mattress topper too will help to disguise that join where the folded sofa back and seat meet - but we didn’t find it too much of an issue. Taller guests may perhaps find having armrests top and bottom of the sleeping area a little claustrophobic.
And then of course there’s the price. It is an investment. However, if your budget allows - and your home suits the contemporary design - this is one of the best sofa beds we’ve come across; satisfying all needs without too much of a compromise in any area.
If you're looking for either a space-saving small sofa bed or the most budget-friendly sleeper sofa going - and only want a sofa bed for occasional sitting and sleeping - then MADE’s Haru sofa bed is one of the most compact and affordable sofa beds we’ve come across. And it still delivers in the style stakes.
The design comes in a really useful range of size options, from the smallest Haru Single sofa bed (basically a chair bed) that sleeps one, to the Haru Small sofa bed (think a very small double or roomier option for one guest) and the Haru Large sofa bed that offers two guests comparatively more legroom.
The design is contemporary, and there’s definitely no hiding it’s a sofa bed, but as long as you won’t miss having armrests we think the smaller loveseat option or the compact chair seat both work well as accent pieces in either the living room, bedroom or spare room, and either make a useful addition to children or teenagers bedrooms for sleepovers.
Another click-clack design, the curled up Haru form unfolds to become the sleeping surface, but in this model there are no pocket-springs, just solid foam and the click-clack mechanism, so the sitting and sleeping experience is much firmer.
There are two colours of legs on offer and these are concealed by zippers in the upholstery when not in use, folding out straight when the sofa bed is unfurled. The legs aren’t that long though, so the sleeping area does end up very low to the ground once the bed is laid flat, which won’t be ideal for all guests. Two coordinating scatter cushions cover the concealed legs when the sofa bed is in seat mode, and provide some support on the fairly reclined backrest.
The angle of that backrest is worth bearing in mind if you're space is short on depth, as it does push the sofa bed away from any walls and into the room a little, although it's compensated for by a pretty shallow seating area.
All size options of the Haru are available in a good range of luxe-look velvet colourways and a mix of colourful hardwearing woven fabrics - including the most popular grey option - which overall offers a good selection of style choices considering this is a budget sofa bed.
In our opinion, the Haru's main selling point is definitely its price, alongside those Instagram-friendly velvet and rainbow-coloured upholstery options. Sit and sleep-wise we definitely found it a sofa bed for occasional use only - although there are plenty of reviews on the MADE website that suggest some owners are happy using it more frequently. But, as multifunctional accent seating we think it makes a good-looking, versatile and very affordable guest bed solution.
If you have a period home or just prefer a more classic sofa shape to a contemporary design - and don’t want to spend a small fortune! - then finding a sofa bed to suit can become a little more tricky.
The Bluebell sofa bed from Sofa.com is one option that delivers in the looks department and isn’t too much of a compromise on comfort, although the sitting experience is fairly firm.
The sofas rolled arms, piped upholstery detailing, and turned wood legs on castors all work to deliver an elegant period aesthetic. A traditional look that is made possible largely due to the pull-out sofa bed construction, with a hidden metal bedframe and dedicated mattress folded up and stowed away underneath the seat cushions.
This design - common to nearly all pull-out sofa beds - means the sofa seat cushions are resting on the back of the metal bed frame when the sofa is upright, which explains the firmness of the seat. Most normal sofas have webbing or springs in the frame under the seat cushions which provides much more give and bounce and generally makes for a far more comfortable sitting experience.
However, the Bluebell’s seat cushions are made from feather-wrapped foam which ups the seat comfort levels a notch, and the backrest is firm yet with enough give to be comfortable, and we found the high back offered plenty of back support.
This classic design also has a brilliant range of upholstery fabrics on offer - over 70 in fact - which makes tailoring a look to suit your home easy work. As one of Sofa.com’s bestselling sofa designs, there is also a good selection of matching furniture, including an armchair, traditional sofa, chaise and corner sofa, and a coordinating ottoman, so it’s easy to integrate this sofa bed into a wider living room suite if that’s your aim.
In terms of sleeping, the bed mechanism is fairly easy to unfold, although does require a bit of strength to lift out. And, if you opt for the three-seater sofa bed, there is a 10cm deep double-sized mattress on offer, although it does come in a little shorter in length than a standard double mattress.
Designed to make delivery as easy as possible in more ways than one, Swyft's Model 04 sofa-bed-in-a-box arrives flat-packed in boxes that can be carried by a single person, making it easy to get your new sofa bed into a room with tricky access, or up several flights of stairs, (relatively) stress-free. Swyft also aims to do away with long sofa bed lead times, with all in-stock products available for delivery in under 7 days.
In terms of convenience, this is certainly a breath of fresh air - especially if you need a sofa bed fast for an imminent guest arrival - however, you will be paying for that convenience with a slightly higher price point than many designs, so is the Swyft Model 04 sofa bed worth the investment?
The low profile design definitely looks stylish, with a build that wouldn't look out of place in swish city apartment, and although the upholstery options are limited to 7, they're all good, versatile shades, with a mix of hardwearing linen mix fabrics and velvets.
For extra peace of mind - especially as this is a click-clack sofa bed where the backrest and seat become the sleeping surface - all fabric options also benefit from added stain resistance. Rather than applying a coating to the linen or velvet surface, the upholstery is woven with stain-resistant threads, so if there are spills all you need to do to clear up is wipe with a wet cloth. We bravely tested this out with some red wine (gulp!) and thankfully found the claims to be true.
Extra fabric protection - and comfort - is also provided by the mattress topper that comes included with your purchase, a nice touch that more sofa bed manufacturers could provide. There's also a handy integrated storage compartment under the seat to keep it in when the bed isn't in use. It would have been nicer if this was large enough to accommodate some guest bedding too, but it's still a useful extra feature.
The sofa seat and backrest themselves are made up of foam with integrated pocket springs. We found both sitting and sleeping a fairly firm experience, but not overly so, and although the low back didn't offer much support when you were seated, it was still pleasant to use. You can also remove the arms on this design. making it a good option if you're a little short on space, and making the sleeping area feel nice and open rather than a little claustrophobic like some fixed-arm designs.
As long as you don't mind sacrificing some squish, then we think this option certainly looks good enough to use as your everyday seating in the living room, but we think it really comes into its own as a versatile spare bedroom or home office guest solution - doing away with the need for a static guest bed and freeing up more of your home for everyday enjoyment.
That flat-pack design does mean you'll need to do some assembly when the sofa bed gets to you, however, you won't need any tools as every Swyft product uses the 'Swyft-lok' mechanism which makes assembly quick and easy, and means you can disassemble your sofa bed fairly easily if you move house or change your mind on location - another plus.
A chaise sofa is always a good option if you prefer to sprawl rather than sit upright, and chaise sofa beds can offer a similar level of relaxation - albeit generally with a firmer seat.
Such is the case with the Bailey chaise sofa bed from John Lewis. When assembled as a sofa the seats are supported by a flexible webbing which is similar to a traditional sofa build, and once unfolded and opened into a bed then the pull-out mattress is supported by beech slats much like many beds.
This sounds good, but a sit test soon reveals that those fairly thin solid foam seat cushions still make for a pretty firm seating experience. However, if you don't mind a bit of a hard seat cushion then the feather backrests are comfortable and supportive, and the 10cm deep pocket-sprung mattress provides guests with a comfortable sleeping surface.
The mattress is also a good width double, although slightly shorter than standard mattress double, and the hidden storage in the lift-up chaise is especially useful for stashing guest bedding out of sight during the daytime if you have visitors for more than a few nights.
Available in either left or right-hand chaise configuration, the Bailey also has a wide selection of matching furniture on offer, including 2, 3, and 4-seater sofas, a high-backed armchair and a snuggler seat, plus a padded upholstered footstool.
There are also over 100 fabric options on offer, plus the sofa bed itself comes in the chaise or a 2-seater sofa bed option, offering plenty of choices to craft a living room suite that fulfils all of your needs.
If you need plenty of family seating, or are furnishing a holiday home and want lots of seating plus overspill bedding for extra guests, then a corner sofa bed could be a good option.
A corner sofa bed can be hard to find though as, due to being firmer than regular sofas, sofa beds tend to be more commonly made in smaller sizes suitable for a spare room rather than the main living room seating.
One solution is to opt for a modular sofa that can incorporate a sofa bed sectional, which is exactly what Willow & Hall's Deverill modular sofa bed delivers.
This contemporary armless design maximises the seating area whilst minimising sofa frame bulk, so you can configure the slim-build sectional to fit into some fairly compact spaces.
The sofa bed module - which is available in loveseat, two or three-seater width - has a pull-out mattress that rests on a two-thirds solid wood slatted base and one-third webbing, meaning that when the sofa bed frame is folded away, the sofa seat cushions rest on the webbed section rather than the firmer wood.
Seat cushions are also available in three choices of construction; reflex foam, siliconized hollow fibre or feather-wrapped foam. The latter being the most comfortable, but requiring a bit more budget.
There are also three options of mattress on offer, from open-sprung to pocket-sprung or memory foam, and all are 14cm deep, offering one of the best mattress depths we’ve seen in a pull-out sofa bed. Although the sleeping area is a little smaller than we would ideally like, with the mattress just under a small double.
Best of all are the whopping 150 fabric options available, so you’ll have no problem finding the right upholstery to tie in with an interior scheme, and covers are removable - perfect for relaxed family living.
Generally speaking, sofa beds tend to be made by sofa manufacturers, so the launch of a sleeper sofa by specialist sleep brand Brook + Wilde suggests new levels of mattress comfort might be on the horizon for overnight guests.
Better known for its luxury mattresses - many of which have been put through their paces and scored highly in our best mattress guides - Brook + Wilde is at the luxury end of the bedding market, focusing on multi-layered mattress construction and super soft goose feather and down duvet covers and pillows.
The three-seater Brunel sofa bed from Brook + Wilde aims to channel that sleep expertise into three sizes of sofa bed - a snuggler chair, a small two-seater sofa and a three-seater sofa bed - all available in six velvet colour options.
The focus of this sofa bed is definitely on the mattress itself, with the design inspired by Brook + Wilde's Lux mattress, and combining six layers of foam and pocket-spring construction to offer a good night's sleep.
If you have more than one guest staying they will need to be happy sleeping fairly snugly though, as the snuggler chair's mattress comes in narrower and shorter than a standard single mattress, and the three-seater option similarly comes in just under a standard double's worth of sleeping space.
We haven't tested this model yet, but will keep you updated when we do, and based on our previous experience with the brand's mattresses we expect good things in the sleep stakes.
The best sofa beds: what else to consider when shopping
Room size: Before buying it's a good idea to measure out the size of the sofa bed on the floor of the room you're going to put it in first to make sure it fits.
Remember to assess the depth of the sofa bed, both in sofa form - so you have plenty of room to walk around the room and access doors and windows - and when the sofa bed is extended for sleep. Take a look at our small living room layout ideas to see if your planned room layout is the best use of limited space.
It's also worth bearing in mind that with a click clack sofa bed the backrest becomes a part of the sleeping surface, but with a pull-out sofa bed, the sofa back remains in place, which can mean that when extended the bed takes up quite a bit more floor space.
Unless your sofa bed is self-assembled, make sure to check and measure access requirements too to ensure you can get your sofa bed into the room you plan to use it in!
Seating space: This one is fairly self-explanatory, but if your sofa bed is going to be your household's main sofa then make sure you have enough seating space for everyone to sit comfortably. A chaise sofa is great for families or couples as it allows two people to recline, or extra room for kids to pile on.
Mattress size: Always double-check the size of the sofa bed mattress before you buy, as they can differ greatly. Although a sofa bed may say it's a double, it often isn't as generous as a regular double mattress would be - both in width or length - so if you're likely to be sleeping two guests, and they're staying a good length of time, you may want to go for a bigger sleeping area to make them more comfortable.
Single mattress size: W90 x L190cm
Small double mattress size: W120 x L190cm
Double mattress size: W135 x L190cm
King mattress size: W150 x L200cm
Mattress construction: As well as the mattress size, it's also well worth checking what type of mattress construction you'll be getting with a pull-out sofa bed. Budget pull-out models tend to have thin (approx. 6cm deep), solid foam mattresses that - other than the height of the sleeping surface - don't really offer much more comfort than a click-clack sofa bed, whereas higher-end options offer open-sprung, pocket-sprung or even memory foam mattresses in depths ranging from 10 - 14cm.
For the full lowdown on the difference between mattress types, read our guide to how to choose the best mattress, but generally speaking, the deepest mattress is likely to be the most comfortable (we've probably all encountered the lumps and bumps of the bedframe sticking up through a thin sofa bed mattress!).
Mechanism: It's always best to test a sofa bed mechanism out in-store first if possible. This will give you a good idea of how easy you find it to fold and unfold.
A fold-out or click clack sofa bed is more likely to be heavy to extend and retract, whereas a pull-out design uses springs and levers to make extending more energy efficient.
Are sofa beds comfortable?
The honest answer is they can be, but, in our experience, in terms of seat comfort, you're unlikely to find one that's as comfortable as a dedicated sofa for sitting. Even the most comfortable sofa beds are still on the firm side rather than being the type of seating you're going to want to snuggle down into to catch up on your favourite Netflix series.
In general, a sofa bed is best used as occasional seating in a spare room or guest room where they can provide a comfortable spot for daytime perching and create a multifunctional guest bedroom.
If you're looking for an option for everyday seating use in the living room, then, although there are a few options that perform well across both the sit and sleep fronts (see our number one choice on this list), as an alternative you could be best opting for a dedicated sofa that will be comfortable to lounge on every day and using a space-saving alternative like a roll-up mattress for the occasional overnight guest.
However, in terms of sleeping, the answer is yes, sofa beds can be very comfortable.
As a general rule, click-clack sofa beds are often more firm to sleep on, and pull-out sofa beds with a deep pocket-sprung or memory foam mattress are most likely to offer the sleeping experience closest to a normal sofa and bed.
However, whichever option you go for, it's fairly easy to increase the comfort levels of your sofa bed further - and keep upholstery nice and clean - by adding a mattress topper over the sleeping area. Find the best options for your sofa bed in our guide to the best mattress toppers.
And once you're ready for guests, find some bed linen to impress in our guide to the best bedding.
Black Friday sofa bed deals
Often hailed as the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday falls on the last Friday of November, which this year means Black Friday is on Friday 26th November 2021.
The term Black Friday originated in the US to denote the first day following Thanksgiving, when retailers would cut prices to draw holidaymakers to shop their store's sales. But, the event is now big news in the UK too, and has also spread to encompass more than one day, with many retailers starting their 'Black Friday' events earlier and earlier to try to get ahead of the competition.
This can be good news if you're looking for a bargain sofa bed, as many sofa bed retailers now get in on the action and offer some good sales. Although, as with any sale, it's important to keep a level head and not get too swayed by the WAS/NOW stickers. After all, when it comes to a sofa bed, comfort and function are just as important as price. But, the event does remain a good opportunity to snap up a potential bargain on something you've had your eye on for a while.
You'll find our guide to all the best buys in Real Homes' Black Friday deals hub, but for the best prices on sofa beds make sure to visit our Black Friday sofa bed sales page. We'll be updating it in the run-up to the event to bring you all the best Black Friday sleeper sofa deals as they're unveiled, so watch this space!