Perhaps you are searching for a new bed and are at a loss as to what type you want, especially since you like a big bed but don’t have nearly enough room for one. Futons can make a great alternative to a traditional mattress if these circumstances apply to you. In this article, we will go over the reasons why you should get a futon.
There are many functional and comfort-based benefits to owning a futon. Futons are great for your physical health, for creating more space in your house, and for versatility. If you are not sure whether you should get a futon or not, keep reading this article to know all 16 of the advantages of having one in your home.
What Is a Futon?
Before we begin with reasons why you should get a futon, it’s important to know what a futon really is; in most cases, Americans refer to futons as a sofa that serves as both a seat and bed, mainly for guests. Sofa beds and futons are treated as synonyms sometimes, however, they are not the same. A sofa bed is pushed into and under the sofa frame when not in use.
Futons are mattresses or large sitting cushions inspired by Japanese traditions. Futons tend to be laid out directly on the floor. Futons can also have a frame that is low lying, which is close to the floor.
Over time, the popularity of futons has grown. Futons in the West are now being used as both sofa beds and standard sleeping beds. Most American futons reach the height of a standard couch. Futons as sleeping mattresses appeal to people for reasons related to both their health and appearance.
Futons in Japan, or traditional futons, are somewhat different. In Japanese traditions, the bed is the futon (the mattress) and a duvet, and it is usually placed upon a wooden mat. The futon is made in a quilted padding style, filled with fiberfill or cotton. This form of bedding complements the Japanese climate and the smaller spaces in the homes of Japan.
Now, let’s get into 16 reasons why you should get a futon.
1) Futons Save You a Lot of Space
Regular beds are elevated, take up a lot of space, and are difficult to move. Taking the bed frame apart from moving the mattress is hard work. Futons do not have these problems.
Futons in general are space-savvy. Then, when futons are compared to the standard bed, they are very space-savvy. The space you can save with a futon is a futon’s key feature. This is very useful for those who live in small homes or apartments.
Futons are made of quilted mattresses. This means you can easily roll up the futon. Rolled-up futons can be stored away for the day until you sleep again or for weeks until you need them again. You can also take your rolled-up futon on a trip; you can rest like you are at home even when you are far away from home.
If your futon is placed upon a frame, you can put the futon under the frame when it is not in use. This clears up space for other uses too.
2) Futons Make a Great Bed Replacement
The previous point referred to this too: futons can replace beds and they can replace them well.
Besides saving space and being more portable, the main difference between a bed and a futon is their structure. Beds have heavy spring mattresses, larger frames, and so on; futons are far more flexible. This makes them a great bed replacement.
Futons do look uncomfortable, especially if we are used to our beds and mattresses. Futons indeed take some time to get used to (just like any new mattress), but they are not uncomfortable. Some of the top-notch futon beds have multiple layers of different materials such as wool, microcoils, latex, and coconut coir.
3) Futons Make Fantastic Sofa Beds
Futons are popularly used as sofa beds. A sofa bed in the futon form has a sofa bed frame with an outer mattress that can be removed. Regular sofa beds have the mattresses folded inside the sofa when not in use, but for futon beds, the mattress is unattached.
The futon mattress adds great comfort to the sofa bed, which is wonderful for both sleeping and sitting. Due to the natural components of most futons, futon sofa beds tend to be organic and free from harmful chemicals.
Some futon sofa beds are called click clack futons; these can be “clicked” into a bed position from a sofa position. Click clacks are more similar to lawn chairs than actual futons. The click-clack futons tend to be small in size with a dip in the middle, hence they are better for sitting than sleeping.
4) Futons Fit Well Into Both Bedrooms & Living Rooms
What’s great is that futons can be both slept on and sat on; this means a futon in the living room can become a bed for any guest sleeping over.
Futons, usually seen as bed replacements, are commonly thought of as bedroom furniture. It is good to know that futons can be placed in bedrooms and living rooms. A lot of people keep a futon in their living room for decorative and sitting purposes.
5) You Can Sleep Well On Futons
Bed quality is a major factor in how well we sleep each night. Futons serve as a means to proper sleep, this is especially true for many when the futons are laid out on the floor. This is because more firmness on the mattress we sleep on is good for us.
Cleveland Clinic states that having a mattress directly on the lower is a safe way of making the mattress firmer when you sleep. Futons are already firmer than general mattresses, and they are usually laid out on the floor too. For these reasons, futons help in sleep quality and overall health.
Of course, your sleeping position matters too. Therefore, if you sleep on your back more, you should invest in a thinker futon. On the other hand, if you sleep on either of your sides more, a thicker futon with more cushioning will be better for you.
6) Modern Futon Designs Can Have Recliner Features
A fantastic perk to owning certain futons is that they come with folding features that turn the futon into a recliner. A recliner futon is great for meditation, reading a book, and more. Some place recliner futons in their office space too.
7) Futons Are Very Versatile
Both newer designs of futons that are more adjustable as well as traditional futons are more versatile than a traditional bed frame and mattress.
Not only do futons save space through their versatile ways of being stored, but you can also design your room in multiple ways through a futon’s versatility. You cannot change up a standard bed in many ways, but with a futon it is different.
From reclining position to laid out position, from utilizing each corner of the futon, from the softness of futon materials, and so on, you can change up your room. You can easily take the futon from one room to another too, which helps the futon’s versatility. For example, use it in the bedroom at night and living room or office room during the day.
Split-back futons allow one part of the futon to be laid out while the other part remains upwards. This is great if two people use one futon, and one is laying down and the other person is sitting.
Other futons are designed to have additional features such as cup holders, magazine storage, and hidden storage areas.
8) Futon Beds Are Good for Your Back Health
What we sleep on affects our health, especially back health, immensely. This is why there are many mattresses in the market that cater to spine and back health. Moreover, we need something that gives us peaceful sleep.
Studies show that harder sleeping surfaces aid in the prevention of back problems. Firm surfaces help in spine alignment and back pain reduction. Futons make a great choice for firm sleeping surfaces. Futons are also liked by many pregnant women.
Back pain is not uncommon. Moderate back pain, in the American population, is experienced by many. Chronic back pain is experienced by eight percent of American adults.
Futons can alleviate your back pain, and even help any joint issues like knee pain. If your futon feels too hard for you, you can always add soft layers so you can tweak your futon until it reaches your desired comfort level.
What’s more, is that futons used as beds improve air circulation while you sleep. This is because of the futon’s structure and also because of the natural materials that a futon is made out of.
9) Futons have Low Risk of Allergies
If allergies are a concern for you, make sure you check how health and nature-oriented the manufacturer and company of your futon is.
Many futons are made with materials that are non-allergens. Futons tend to be made of cotton and other chemical-free and non-toxic materials. Due to the items used to make up a futon, futons decrease the chances of allergy reactions.
On the other hand, thick mattresses contain materials like memory foam and coils. Not only are such materials less natural, but they can also be a growing hub for bacteria and fungi. These microbes can cause or worsen allergic reactions.
10) Benefits of Futons Are Backed Up by Japanese Tradition
Futons come from the Japanese tradition.
The people of Japan have been using futons in their homes for a long time. Back in the day, the Japanese people would sleep on the floor with a hard pillow and a tatami mat. Then the futon, soft and foldable, was added on top of the tatami mat.
There are many studies and discussions about how the typical Japanese lifestyle increases lifespan and happiness. There is even the popular book, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, that goes in-depth to the connection between Japanese lifestyle choices. The Japanese have improved their health, and it is fair to say that futons also played a role in this.
Japanese futons, however, are thinner and designed primarily to be laid out on the floor. Modern American futons tend to be thicker and can be manufactured to be laid over a frame. Traditional futons made in Japan are known to be more durable, even compared to modern expensive Western futons.
11) Futons Are Great for All Ages
Futons have an appearance that may remind you of college dorm rooms. Futons are great for people in their college years, and every other age too.
The simple yet sturdy futon makes a great sleeping system for the young and the old. The stiffness, along with the option to add soft layers, makes futons great for older people.
The fact that futons are so close to the ground also makes them great for young children who may fall off beds when sleeping (or playing). Futons can be turned into a play space or a study space for children too, during the day. Futons are wonderful even for babies because a baby can freely and safely crawl, lay and roll on a floor-level futon.
If a couple has mismatching sleeping styles, such as one prefers a hardback and the other prefers a softback, buying two futons and laying them next to each other can help. This way the couple is sleeping next to each other, but not compromising their optimal sleeping quality. A futon can also change up the interior decor for a couple’s bedroom.
12) Futons Are Comparatively Affordable
What is great about futons is for a lower price you get a bed that is comfortable and versatile.
You can get the most out of this furniture while also going easy on your wallet. Whether you choose a futon bed or a futon sofa bed, you will find many options that are cheaper than standard beds or sofa beds.
The low price is a reason many people opt for a futon. This is more common for people in temporary situations or for people who want to place the futon in a spot they will hardly use, like the living room or the basement bedroom.
13) Futons Are Easy to Clean
Futons are easy-to-clean furniture. Because of their structure and material, you can clean and wash futons without a hassle.
The light build and cotton material make futons easy to clean. This is good because it means you will be spending your night times, and perhaps daytime, in an area that can be consistently cleaned.
Here are some general ways to clean your futon:
- Hand wash your futon
- Hang dry your futon
- Wash your futon in a washing machine, with a low setting (if the futon is thin)
- Vacuum your futon with the upholstery attachment
These are great for people that live in tropical and humid climates because it means you can keep your futon clean and fresh despite sweating.
14) Futons Make It Easier to Make Your Bed
Not only are futons easy to wash, dry and maintain from time to time, but futons are also easy to tidy up.
You can save time and effort every morning with a futon bed. The smaller and lightweight futon is easier to move and manage. Futons make bed-making easier.
The typical bed can be a hassle to tidy every morning. Fitting the sheets, lifting the heavy mattress, tightening the duvets, walking around to each corner of the widespread mattress, and so on can be a nuisance.
15) Futons Come in Many Colors and Patterns
Futons do not have to be boring, and futons do not have to be uniform in appearance. If colorful and vibrant is more your style, you can have that with your futon too. Futons can be as gorgeous, or minimal, looking as regular beds.
To decorate your futon, you can have embroidery or fluffy throws on top. You can add cushions and beautiful bed sheets. With futons, you can add your personal touch and play it up to your desire. You can also change up the look as often as you want.
16) You Have Many Options when Buying a Futon
The many choices that come with a futon make it a great reason to buy a futon.
When buying a futon you can choose what type you want:
- Organic or non-organic materials
- With frame or without frame
- Different sizes
- Firm or soft
- Bedform or sofa bed form
Now you know about the different options for purchasing futons, let’s get into the places you can put them.
Where You Can Put Futons
You can put your futon in different places in your home.
Some places you can put futons in your home include:
- Children’s play area
- Office space
- Living room
- Guest room
What’s more is that you can dress up your futon as much, or as little, as you want with different items; cushions, cushion covers, blankets, duvets, throws, and more can let you get decorative with your futon.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Futon
As you can see from this article so far, there are so many good reasons to buy a futon. However, it is better to consider the following aspects so you know whether you should buy a futon now and what type of futon you should buy.
Some things you should consider before buying a futon include:
- How will you primarily use your futon?
- Where will you place your futon?
- What size futon do you need?
- What materials and qualities should the futon have?
These are some general questions you should ponder before you make a purchase. You should also measure out space in your home, to know what size and shape of the futon are optimal.
The Disadvantages of Futons
The good always comes with the bad. Fortunately, the futon has more advantages than disadvantages.
Here are some limitations of futons:
- The slats, wood or metal, that support the futon can be uncomfortable
- The lightness of the futon makes the futon move and slip around easily
- Futons should be kept near a wall or a corner to prevent them from moving around too much
- Futons cannot handle being jumped on, e.g. playful children jumping
- Futons do not provide the extreme support that some mattresses do
- American futons are the same as Japanese futons
- Cotton-made futons must be aired out often, or else they will get damp and unhygienic
These disadvantages are not a big deal. Some of them can be easily combated, too. For example, if your futon is on a mat or a carpet, it will rarely slip or move around.
Are Futons Good to Sleep On?
Futons were originally made to function as regular beddings. Futons had the same purpose as a mattress. In that sense, futons are good to sleep on. However, whether you should sleep on futons every night, which futon you should get, and so on depend on personal factors.
Here are some of the factors to consider if you are unsure whether it is good for you to sleep on a futon or not:
- The futon’s quality and price
- The futon’s purpose (e.g. sofa bed versus bed)
- Your existing back or body issues
- Your typical sleeping position
- Whether you will sleep on it nightly or irregularly
Just as all mattresses are not made the same, all futons are not made the same. Quality matters when it comes to anything you sleep on. Lack of support and comfort, in any form of bedding, can lead to back health issues. Therefore a high-quality futon that meets your individual needs is important.
Futons that were made for temporary situations or made cheaply, like most dorm room futons, would not be a good investment in the long run. Cheap and low-quality futons can lead to a lot of tossing and turning at night rather than a sound sleep.
Futons were originally made to serve as beddings. No known evidence shows sleeping in futons is bad for you. Keep in mind, however, that we are all different and you should listen to your body if you decide to start sleeping on a futon.
A new futon, like a new mattress, will require an adjustment period until you get used to it. Nonetheless, it is important you feel no major discomfort or pain when sleeping on a futon at night.
The Differences Between a Futon and a Mattress
Some of the obvious differences between a futon and a mattress have been mentioned in this article.
Here are some more contrasts between the two beddings:
|Traditional Futons||Standard Mattresses|
|Takes up less space||Takes up more space|
|Frames are not necessary||Frames are necessary|
|Thinner and more flexible|
(two to four inches thick)
|Thicker and more rigid(4 to 8 inches thick)|
|Usually made out of soft natural materials||Made out of many types of materials|
|Easy to move around||Difficult to move around|
|Provides low to moderate support||Provides low to high support|
|Easy to clean and maintain||Harder to clean and maintain|
|No springs are inside||Springs are inside|
Now that you know the differences between futons and traditional mattresses, let’s take a look and see if futons are good for everyone to use.
Are Futons Good for Everyone to Use?
The general answer, to whether futons are good for everyone, is yes. Futons are convenient and comfortable for almost everyone. For night sleeping, napping, or sitting, futons serve as great furniture for most people.
Here are some kinds of individuals that benefit greatly when switching to a futon:
- Back sleepers
- Women and men with poor blood circulation, or low blood pressure
- Women and men who weigh less
- Women and men with sciatica
Now, let’s take a look at some examples where it may not be good for you to use a futon.
Those Who May Not Benefit From Sleeping on a Futon
If you are someone who has a hard time getting in and out of low-level spaces, then a futon may not be the best option for you.
Here are some types of people who may not benefit from futons:
- Elderly people who struggle getting in and out of low seats or beds
- Pregnant women who struggle getting in and out of low seats or beds
- People with limited mobility
- People with joint problems
- Overweight men and women, as futons do not provide excessive support
Additionally, side sleepers and stomach sleepers do not benefit from futons as much as back sleepers do. Extra layers and cushions can easily solve this problem for side sleepers and stomach sleepers though.
What Places Use Futons?
This article makes it clear that futons originated in Japan, and then made their way to America. There are many other places as well that use futons. Nowadays, people all over the world sleep on futon beds and futon sofa beds.
Some countries, other than Japan and America, where futons are common include:
These countries have different climates and lifestyles, yet they all find benefits in futons.
As you can see from this article, the benefits of futons are numerous. There are plenty of reasons why one should buy a futon, some of them being affordability, space-saving, versatility, guest-friendly, and so on.
Futons can be slept on every night, though some individuals are better off with regular mattresses and beds.
Always remember, what kind of futon you should buy depends on what needs and expectations you have. Moreover, always choose good quality futons.