Shopping for a sleeper sofa? Here’s how to make sure it’s actually comfortable (2024)

One of the easiest ways to add versatility to any space is by buying multifunctional furniture, like a sleeper sofa. Sometimes called a sofa bed or pull-out couch, sleeper sofas function as both a traditional couch and as a full-size mattress, ideal for when you have guests sleeping over or if you have a small space. Whatever the case, there are some important factors to look for when shopping for a sleeper sofa.

To find the best sleeper sofas for different living spaces, we spoke with experts, including interior designers, for their guidance and product recommendations.

SKIP AHEAD How I picked the best sleeper sofas | The best sleeper sofas | How to shop for a sleeper sofa



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How I picked the best sleeper sofas

To find a quality sleeper sofa, our experts recommend keeping the following in mind when shopping:

  • Type: There are three main types of sleeper sofas: pull-out couches, convertible sleepers and futons. Pull-out couches have a frame that you can unfold from under the cushions to support a thin mattress. A convertible sleeper is either a sectional with a chaise or a nonsectional sofa that has a compartment that you can pull out to create a larger sleeping surface. A futon is a sofa with a backrest that lays flat.
  • Frequency of use: It’s smart to consider how often you’ll realistically use your sleeper sofa. This will determine the quality or type of sofa you’ll want to shop, according to Robbie Randolph, an interior designer based in Greenville, South Carolina. “If it’s an occasional-use item, don’t splurge, but if used frequently, opt for a manufacturer that spends time making the mattress the best part,” he says. “Most of the upscale sleeper sofas will have Tempur-Pedic mattresses, which for the guests, creates a wonderful sleeping experience with no thought they are sleeping on a pull-out couch.”
  • Price: Sleeper sofas can vary widely in price, but they also vary in overall quality. Sleeper sofas range from $600 to a quality $7,000 custom sofa, according to Randolph. “The most inexpensive models operate like a futon, meaning your sleeping area is the same as the seat and back of the sofa when laid flat.” If you plan on using it very often, our experts recommend finding a sleeper sofa with a high-quality mattress, which will be on the more expensive side. If you only plan to use it every so often, you can still get a decent sleeper sofa for a moderate price.
The best sleeper sofas to shop in 2024

The sleeper sofas I included in this list are either direct recommendations from our experts or ones that have at least a 4-star reviews from 500 reviews or more on Amazon. Some of the sleeper sofas are also highly rated on their respective brand sites.

Best overall sleeper sofa: Barrett II Full Sleeper

Barrett II Full Sleeper$1,599.00

What we like

  • Adjustable headrest
  • Many color options
  • Springs reinforce the mattress

Something to note

  • Sofa fits only two adults

This sleeper sofa, which has a 4.5-star average rating from 675 reviews at Crate & Barrel, is a great option for someone who plans on using their sleeper regularly. The sofa frame is made from hardwood that’s dried in a kiln to prevent warping over time. It also has a durable coil spring foundation under the cushions to help prevent the sofa from flattening, according to the brand. The mattress itself is made of gel-infused memory foam and you can even prop the headrest of the bed upward for reading or watching television, according to Crate & Barrel.

Dimensions: 71 x 36 x 35.5 in. | Mattress size: full | Mattress type: hybrid | Cushion fill: polyfoam | Upholstery fabric: basketweave and polyester | Warranty: n/a | Fabric care: blot clean | Colors: 20+ shades

Best budget sleeper sofa: Odelle Queen Sleeper Sofa

Odelle Queen Sleeper Sofa$899.95

What we like

  • Great value
  • Queen size

Something to note

  • Mattress could be thicker

This spacious sleeper sofa is ideal for those in search of a couch in the $1,000 price range. The three-cushion sofa, which has a 4.8-star average rating from 57 reviews on Raymour & Flanigan Outlet, unfolds into a queen-size mattress with a spring foundation. The frame is made of hardwood that’s reinforced with metal and S-shaped wires that run along the width of the sofa to provide support underneath the cushions when sitting, according to the brand.

Dimensions: 80 x 37 x 35 in. | Mattress size: queen | Mattress type: n/a | Cushion fill: foam | Upholstery fabric: polyester | Warranty: 5 years | Fabric care: brush or vacuum | Colors: 1

Best twin sleeper sofa mattress: Axis Twin Sleeper Sofa

Axis Twin Sleeper Sofa$2,099.00

What we like

  • Looks like an armchair
  • Helpful size for small spaces

Something to note

  • Firm rather than soft

If you’re looking for a sleeper sofa that’s a match for children or small spaces, consider this Axis sleeper sofa. When unfolded, it looks like a large armchair, which is perfect if you plan on keeping it in a living room. The lower compartment expands into a frame that holds an innerspring mattress, which is a mattress with a metal spring foundation. Compared to memory foam mattresses, innerspring mattresses tend to be firmer, which is good for people with back pain, according to experts I spoke with in our mattresses for back pain roundup. The cushions are made with polyfoam and the upholstery is woven in a herringbone microfiber that can withstand accidental spills, according to the brand.

Dimensions: 58 x 43 x 32 in. | Mattress size: twin | Mattress type: innerspring | Cushion fill: polyfoam | Upholstery fabric: microfiber | Warranty: n/a | Fabric care: blot clean | Colors: 1

Best sectional sleeper sofa: Minkley 3-Piece Upholstered Sectional

What we like

  • Linen upholstery
  • Tufted cushions
  • Chaise with storage

Something to note

  • Only accommodates one person

This sleeper sofa, which has a wood foundation, easily transitions from a comfortable sectional that seats three to a twin-size sleeper. It has a rectangular sofa and a chaise that attaches at the end. The cushions are filled with foam and covered in a linen material. You can also use the chaise and the compartment underneath the seats for storing bedding and household items. Since it opens to around a twin-size sleeper, it’s great for small living rooms.

Dimensions: 35 x 83 x 53 in. | Sleeper size: twin | Cushion fill: foam | Upholstery fabric: linen | Warranty: 30 days | Fabric care: water-based detergent | Colors: 5

Best futon-style sleeper sofa: Coddle Switch Sleeper Sofa

Coddle Switch Sleeper Sofa$1,599.00$2,199.00

What we like

  • Easy to change to mattress
  • Has built-in outlets
  • Queen size

Something to note

  • Cushion instead of mattress

If you’re looking to upgrade your regular futon, consider this sleeper sofa from Coddle, which has a 4-star average rating from 130 reviews at Coddle. The two-cushion couch unfolds into a spacious queen-size sleeping pad. It’s reinforced with strong coil springs and a frame with both wood and metal. Both sides of the sofa have a power outlet and USB ports, too, according to the brand.

Dimensions: 95.3 x 41.3 x 33.9 in. | Sleeper size: queen | Cushion fill: n/a | Upholstery fabric: polyester blend | Warranty: 1 year | Fabric care: vacuum | Colors: 6

Best sleeper sofa chair: Thomasville Convertible Sleeper Chair

What we like

  • Has a lumbar cushion
  • Easy to unfold

Something to note

  • Nothing to note at this time

This sleeper chair, which has a 4.4-star average rating from 76 reviews at Costco, is perfect for those with small living rooms. You can transform it into a small sleeper with a lumbar cushion, using the pop-out function. When unfolded, the sleeper turns into a comfortable cushion around the size of a twin mattress.

Dimensions: 41.5 x 51.7 x 32.7 in. | Sleeper size: twin | Cushion fill: n/a | Upholstery fabric: polyester | Warranty: n/a | Fabric care: vacuum | Colors: 1



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How to shop for sleeper sofasPrioritize the type of sleeper sofa you want

As mentioned above, there are three main types of sleeper sofas: fold-out beds that compress under the cushions of the sofa, sectional sleeper sofas and futons. Fold-out beds are best for people who prefer a firmer sleep surface since many come with an innerspring mattress. They’re also good for people who like to customize their sleep surface since you can replace the mattress with a different type of topper.

Shopping for a sleeper sofa? Here’s how to make sure it’s actually comfortable (12)

Sectional sleeper sofas have a compartment underneath the cushions that expands and lifts to create a large surface area for sleeping, including armchairs that unfold. Sectionals also often have a chaise that doubles as storage. They’re good for people who like having a more versatile sleep surface, since you can lie flat on the chaise itself or unfold the entire sofa for more room.

Futons, which are typically much smaller than traditional sleeper sofas, are Japanese-style beds where the back of the couch folds down to create a flat surface to sleep on, according to Barnard. “They are great options for those with limited space who prefer a firm or semi-firm mattress,” he says. That said, if you do decide on a futon, it’s best to opt for ones with a down feather fill rather than foam, according to Randolph. “This makes the mattress more flexible and able to be fluffed when reopened, making it comfortable for both sitting and sleeping.”

Make comfort a priority

If comfort is your main concern when shopping for a sleeper sofa, you should consider the upholstery fabric and the fill of the cushions (see more on this below).

If you’re shopping for a pull-out couch, then consider the mattress type. Generally, memory foam is super soft, while innerspring is on the firmer side.

You can also consider getting the couch altered if you have the option, says Sarah Barnard, an interior designer at Sarah Barnard Design. “When considering sleeper sofas, look for manufacturers that offer customization options,” she says. “A custom sofa can be tailored to support personalized needs and preferences like seat height and depth, organic and vegan textiles, and cushion fillings.”

Upholstery and fill

Many sleeper sofas come with different types of upholstery and our experts recommend looking for ones made with quality performance fabrics, like polyester, linen and microfiber. “Performance fabrics are usually 100% solution dyed acrylic, which means it’s easy to clean and extremely durable,” says Randolph.

Most sleeper sofa cushions are made with polyfoam or a down feather blend fill, according to Randolph. Polyfoam is more common and firm, while down feather blends are softer and more expensive.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Robbie Randolph is a realtor based in Greenville, South Carolina, who also runs a business that focuses on interior staging and style.
  • Sarah Barnard is an interior designer at boutique design firm Sarah Barnard Design, based in Santa Monica, California.
Why trust NBC Select?

I’m a commerce editor at NBC Select, where I cover home, kitchen, cleaning, wellness and outdoor content. For this story, I spoke with two home experts, including an interior designer and a realtor, about the best sleeper sofas and how to shop for one online.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

Cory Fernandez

Cory Fernandez is a commerce editor for Select on NBC News.

Shopping for a sleeper sofa? Here’s how to make sure it’s actually comfortable (2024)
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