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I bought a double-bed sized fold out futon about 6 years ago. I had just graduated and my boyfriend at the time convinced me to spend my first full pay packet from my first month working full time on a futon. I have no idea why I agreed to this (I was hoping to spend the money on things you buy when you're 21 like Hello Kitty stationery/ writing paper and clothes/ shoes, not a FUTON). I am still bitter about this as the futon cost me £500.
**The Futon Shop**
I bought it from a shop called "The Futon Shop" who sell futons in all shapes and sizes. Delivery was free on the same afternoon that I bought the futon. The shop seemed to be a small independent retailer but I have done some research and they have a website: http://www.futonshop.co.uk and are based in Sheffield but deliver all over the UK. The futon I bought was the Tokyo futon with the pine base (still selling, now for £375 for a single to £675 for a king sized futon plus the pine frame).
The futon was delivered and the man from the store kindly offered to carry the futon into the spare room and I was wondering why he was pouring with sweat after carrying the soft part up the stairs. I just thought he was unfit or in a rush! The futon came partially assembled- the pine base was folded up into the L shape and all we had to do was figure out how to add the removable wooden arms. This was just a case of screwing the arm parts on when the futon was in the L (sofa type) position.
To make the upright position: the pine base is folded into an /\_ position. The base of the futon is essentially in thirds so when the futon is being used as a sofa, the back of the futon forms a /\ shape and the end part of the base is left to form the /\_ shape (when looking from the side)- the bit you sit on.
To make the flat bed position- this is really easy- all you do is pull the pine base along the floor so it goes from a /\_ position to _ _ _.
From the website I have learned that there is also a mid way position - you can prop the edge piece up to form a \_ _ shape! I never knew this and the futon as I recall did not come with an instruction manual.
**The Soft Part**
To look at them, futons look light and come across like a sofa bed- something you can put in your spare room in case you have to accommodate guests and need a fold up bed. However, the thing that surprised me is the soft part- the bit that you have to fold into a 'b' shape when in the sofa potion, this literally WEIGHS A TON ! The futon I had felt as if it was filled with sand as it was a nightmare to fold up as there are no carry handles or bits to pull on- and as it is filled quite a lot- the material is not baggy so you cannot get a good grip on it.
To fold the futon back into an upright sofa position (/\_) it is easy to adjust the pine base. the hard part is lifting and folding the soft part as you have to fold this into a 'b' shape- so you have to move the soft fabric part on the flat bit of the pine base with the base in the /\_ position, then stand in front of the futon and use all your strength to lift the front two thirds back up so it folds back where your knees are to form a !> shape (looking again, from the side!).
This is the hardest thing to do and each time I had to fold the futon back up from a bed into a sofa as it filled our spare room when it was folded flat- I endured lots of swearing, trying to grasp the bit I was trying to lift and dropping it and skinning my knuckles against the material as I couldn't get a grip of it and struggling with it's weight. I ended up kicking and nudging and pulling and pushing and just trying to generally 'lift and try to throw/ shunt it in the right direction'. Many times, I had to give up and just push the fabric up against the pine base in a very untidy way, just as it was so heavy to try to lift and fold up!
I consider myself to be quite strong and can lift a fair weight - I don't have gripping or lifting problems. If you have any sort of mobility issues or cannot lift or grip heavy and bulky items then avoid these like these will be no good for you- unless you have one or two strong people to help you - for example, a futon like the one I had would be no good at all for an elderly relative or for someone with any sort of shoulder or neck/ back injuries! It is not kjust the weight- it is the cumbersomeness- it is bulky and awkward to grip so that makes it harder to fold up.
The futon I had had a slotted pine base that was sturdy and well made. I slept on the futon many times over the years and found it to be really comfortable- I got a good nights sleep and woke up feeling refreshed- but I like firm mattresses. The bit you sleep on is very very firm- but I am sure they are filled with just sand, so if you like soft mattresses, then again, this would not be suitable for you. When laid flat, the futon is practically on the ground (only 2-3 inches off the ground)- so it is like sleeping on the floor.
When the pine base is laid flat, and if you are trying to unfurl the bit to lay on (the heavy bit), you have to be very careful if standing on the wooden slats not to get your foot stuck between them- so whilst dragging the mattress type bit around you do have to stand on the pine base- but once or twice I put my foot between the slats as it is only a few inches off the ground and almost fell over which I'm sure would have done quite a lot of damage to my ankles and feet (but that would have been my own silly fault and not the fault of the product)- (just a word or warning!).
Sadly, my ex selfishly gave away the futon I had shelled out £500 on to a friend of a friend who said they wanted a futon for their spare room. He gave it to them for free (yes, again, I am bitter- but this is why he is an ex because he did things like that) without asking me and leaving us without a spare bed! So the tale of me and my futon, does not end well. However, I would say a few things if you like the idea of having a futon-
1: Lift the soft part when you are in the shop- try to unfold and fold it up so you know what you will have to contend with
2: Definitely get home delivery or assistance to carry this up stairs if you have stairs in your house
3: Shop around
4: Understand the work you will have to go through to fold and unfold this- there is no way a child or a teenager could lift this if they had one in their room.
Other than those cautionary points, I do often miss having the futon- as it was great to sleep on. But it was really awkward and a struggle to manoeuvre around. Expect bruises and skinned knuckles from lifting and folding/ unfolding!
Hi. Anyone wanting to buy a futon mattress beware. I bought one from the Futon Company and it is the worst product I have ever bought. It is so uncomfortable and I have not had a decent night's sleep on it since I have had it. It has caused me constant back problems and sleepless nights. I have had to buy a normal spring mattress and will never buy a Futon mattress again.
I bought a double futon from Ikea about six years ago. I had just re-decorated the lounge and decided that futons instead of a couch was the way to go, that modern look! Well they looked great, but try and get comfy on one to sit and watch tv at night, forget it. We would spend the whole night moving from one position to another to try and get comfortable. I ended up walking like a ninty year old woman every time I got up off it!
Having said this, to sleep on they were very comfy. I always got a great nights sleep when we had guests over. This would be their ideal purpose, to have in the corner of a room to use as a spare bed if you needed. Dont think you can replace your couch with one like I did, if you do consider pre booking yourself some physiotherapy sessions.
I have the smallest bedroom in my house, and being a student, need a desk and bookcase, and other such furniture, which leaves very little space. My mum had a good idea, to get a futon, something that could be used as a bed at night, and as a chair in the day, leaving space in my room, and it was small enough to fit round furniture. This was a very good idea, and has proved successful, except for being incredibly lazy, and not putting the futon back up during the day!! The futon i own is a single one, and is meant for occasional use. Therefore it is not overly comfortable. The "mattress" is very heavy, and i have no idea what it is made of, but it was comfortable for the first month or so. After that, it kind of moulded into the shape of my body, so you could feel the slats underneath. To solve this, i brought some foam from where i work. This is perfect. Now i have no problems at all. It is very comfortable. The foam has a storage place in my room, and it is a very useful chair in the day. I have plenty of room to manouvre around. This is a very cheap solution to a small space problem.
When I moved into my most recent student house the beds left something to be desired. The mattresses were all encased in plastic, and it wasn’t the type of cover you could remove. I admit this saved the landlord money in the long run as he didn’t have to buy new beds every year. It was bed mite free and very clean (probably hosed down!), but I like most people my age don’t wet the bed, so the precaution wasn’t entirely necessary. The main problem was that this bed made noises, some dodgier than others. Also bed sheets and undercovers slipped off really easily in the middle of the night so I stuck to the bed, not especially pleasant. Therefore I decided that on my tiny student loan I should invest in a new bed. The cheapest double bed I was able to buy was a futon. They range from £139 (Argos basic + free delivery) to several hundreds of pounds. Like most people I was slightly wary of the very cheap ones so I spent a little more getting a mid range IKEA bed. A futon is a low bed, almost on the floor. The base raises it off the floor slightly so your mice can still run underneath without too much disturbance. The base is traditionally slatted wood, it looks fairly feeble but as I have found is remarkable strong. The bases usually are made in two or three sections, that way they can be folded up for storage, but also they can be folded to make a fairly comfy, if low to the ground sofa. A double bed can comfortably hold 2 people (6 (drunk) students – do we class as people?) as a sofa. The folding mechanism is easy to use as the bed is surprisingly light. On top of the base is the mattress. Generally made of cotton, the mattress comes in layers. The number of layers donates the quality of the bed. Generally you want to go for as many layers as possible. Those with 7 or 8 layers can be well used like a normal bed, anything less and you’re into occasional use guest beds. Most places that s
ell futons now sell removable mattress covers, which are excellent, you can wash them as often as you like. Really they just act as an extra layer of protection for the mattress. I have to admit I’d only heard of a couple of people who had actually bought them in the past and they all complained that they were a bit hard and a lot more hassle than they were worth. Yes it is firm, but it’s a comfy firm, not uncomfortable. It’s probably even quite good for those with back problems. The mattress part of the futon does need quite a lot of care. Once a week or so you will need to turn your mattress, as on a normal bed. But unlike normal beds because it is all cotton your body shape will get pressed into the bed. It takes two people to give the bed a good shake so this doesn’t happen, otherwise it might get uncomfortable if you move position in the night or if someone else sleeps in your bed. I’m pleased with my new bed, comfy, cheap, versatile what more could you want? And lets face it how many double beds can you fold up and fit in the back of most cars? After buying my double futon I’m glad it was so cheap, the thing I forgot to look at first was how expensive bed linen was………….
I have three futons in my house and no normal mattresses. I love them. I have one futon on a normal bed base, one on a nice sofa bed base, and one on a cheap sofa bed base. The cost of the bases varied from about 50 pounds to 200 pounds, but that has no relevance to the comfort of the bed once you are lying on it. The only differences in them are; 1) How nice does it look 2) How easy it is to get on to (my mother in law can not lie down on the low sofa bed ones, so can not stay with us). 3) How well constructed are they - i.e. how often can you put the sofa bed up and down before it breaks. Obviously, in general you get what you pay for. Now to the futon mattresses themselves. A futon is made up of layers of cotton, laid on top of each other, with an outer covering to keep them all together. Up to a certain limit, the more layers you have, the less of the bed underneath you can feel. I have 5, 7 and 8 layer mattresses. With the 5 layer, it does feel a little thin, and I would not recommend it for regular use, however the thinness does make it ideal for a sofa bed because it is easy to fold up in to the sofa shape. The 7 and 8 layer mattresses both are very comfortable, and nothing of the base underneath can be felt. These are only really suitable for a fixed frame or a sofa bed that does not bend too much because they are thick and more unwieldy (my 7 layer one is on a sofa bed that folds through 75 degrees down the middle to make a long sofa, rather than the thinner one which folds twice along it's width, requiring the mattress to fold through 180 degrees). Now to the comfort. Many people who first try a futon say it is just like lying on a floor. They are indeed very firm. If you are used to a very soft mattress then this will be a real change. I spent many years in rented accommodation with mattresses weren’t fit to sleep on 10 years ago when they were first bought. These invariable sagged my bo
dy in to the most back aching positions, and I hated it. That is probably what turned me in to a futon fan - the contrast with those dreadful nights. As for the firmness of the mattress, the thicker ones do have some give in them, and they very easy to get used to. The same can not be said for the thinner ones. I would however recommend trying one before you buy - not everyone can get on with the firmness, but don't think that the cheap thin one in your friends spare room is anything like the more expensive thick ones. It's really quite different. Go lie down in your local shop and try it. One final note on the care of futons, they do settle in to a shape where your body presses down on them. This is quite good because it fits your body shape, so you lie better, however it is firmer where is has settled. You are meant to turn your futon and give it a beating every now and again to plump it up like a pillow, but I don't tend to bother as much as I should. I like my body shaped dip in the mattress.