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When you think “sleeper sofa” do you picture a stiff, boxy and uncomfortable couch? Same, or at least we used to. It turns out there have been some major advances in the world of sleeper sofas over the last few years (who knew?), and many of the newer designs are comfortable and—dare we say?—chic. Now turning our living room into a temporary guest room when the in-laws show up unannounced again doesn’t seem like such a horrible idea. But first we had one quick question…

What’s the difference between a sleeper sofa, a sofa bed and a futon?

We tend to use these terms interchangeably, but they actually each have slightly different meanings.

  • Sleeper sofas are sofas that have a built-in mattress hidden underneath their couch cushions. Think: The pullout couch your best friend so graciously let you sleep on when you visited her back in college.
  • Sofa beds pull out to create a bed using their existing cushions—there’s no mattress underneath. In other words, no hassle of removing excess cushions.
  • Futons fold down flat to make a bed and are typically less spacious than a sleeper sofa or sofa bed. Apartment owners, this one’s for you.

The TL;DR? Sleeper sofas, sofa beds and futons are three different variations of couch/bed hybrids, so make sure you know which type you’re looking for before you start shopping. Here, find the best of the best in each category.

RELATED: The Best Mattresses in a Box, According to People Who Have Slept on Them

Sleeper Sofas

Wayfair

1. Wayfair Custom Upholstery Sarah Square Arm Sofa Bed

Best Overall

This simple sleeper sofa comes in 146 different colorways, materials and patterns, so you can be sure there’s one that’ll go with your existing decor. When the ‘rents come over, just lift off the seat cushions, pull out the queen size mattress and you’re good to go. According to buyers the couch itself is made from high quality material and the mattress is more comfortable than most other pullout couches.

Buy It ($1,080; $770)

Walmart

2. Mainstays Traditional Loveseat Sleeper with Memory Foam Mattress

Best Value

Looking for something a little more wallet-friendly? Opt for this loveseat sleeper from Mainstays. At $499, it’s more affordable than most sleeper sofas to begin with, and it’s currently marked down even further to $369. But don’t worry: In this case, the lower price doesn’t mean lower quality. Reviewers even go so far as to describe the memory foam mattress as “amazing” and “very comfortable.” Just note that some say the cushions are a bit stiff, if that’s something that bothers you.

Buy It ($499; $369)

Pottery Barn

3. Pottery Barn Comfort Sleeper Sofa with Memory Foam Mattress

Splurge-Worthy

Leave it to Pottery Barn to design a pull-out couch that sounds even comfier than our actual bed. Featuring extra-deep seats and memory foam cushions, the brand guarantees that as soon as you sit down, you’ll understand why it’s called the Comfort Sleeper Sofa. When it’s pulled out, the couch converts into a queen bed complete with a five-inch-thick memory foam mattress. Choose from 11 different fabric types and tons of color variations within those types until you find something that matches the living room.

Buy It (From $1,899)

Wayfair

4. Willa Arlo Interiors Cia Square Arms Sleeper

Best Compact Sleeper Sofa

Need something that’ll fit in your studio apartment? Go with this compact sofa from Willa Arlo Interiors. Its 52 inch width is big enough for you to lounge and watch TV on but won’t overwhelm the space. It doubles as a twin-size bed when needed and even comes with throw pillows to make decorating a little easier.

Buy It ($640)

Raymour & Flanigan

5. Palliser Furniture Elick Full Sleeper Sofa

Best Mid-Size Sleeper Sofa

If you’re looking for something slightly more substantial than a loveseat, but don’t quite have enough space for a sectional, this 77-inch-wide model is a great fit. The body and arms are crafted from buttery soft top-grain leather for a sleek look, and the sleeper part pulls out to reveal a full mattress that’s just big enough for two.

Buy It ($2,500)

Wayfair

6. Red Barrel Studio Padang Sidempuan Sofa Bed

Best Leather Sleeper Sofa

We get it; you want a sleeper sofa that isn’t so obvious. With this cushy leather style, guests will never detect that this couch is holding a queen size mattress underneath. It seats three and sleeps two with ease. Pro tip: You might want to invest in a mattress topper for the mattress, since some buyers say it could use a bit of extra padding.

Buy It ($1,180)

Raymour & Flanigan

7. American Leather Harris King Sleeper with Gel Mattress

Best King Size Sleeper Sofa
Large sleeper sofas are typically hard to come by, so this 86-inch-long one from American Leather is pretty impressive. It has a king size gel mattress that provides support and a cooling effect that’s great for hot sleepers. Basically, your guests might start fighting over who has to sleep in the guest room once they’ve tried this alternative.

Buy It ($4,629)

Pottery Barn

8. Pottery Barn Buchanan 3-Piece Sleeper Sectional with Wedge

Best Sectional Sleeper Sofa

Set this sectional, which seats up to five adults, up in front of your TV, and you’re sure to become everyone’s favorite house for football Sundays. One loveseat houses a gel-infused memory foam mattress too, which you’ll definitely appreciate when your sister-in-law decides she wants to turn her afternoon visit into a week-long stay.

Buy It (From $3,577)

Sofa Beds

Wayfair

1. Zipcode Design Sabine Armless Sofa Bed

Best Overall

This compact loveseat is a great addition to any living room, kids’ room or home office if you’re pressed for space. It seats two and folds out easily to become a twin bed that can comfortably fit one adult, just in case your brother can’t find an Airbnb the next time he’s in town. Reviewers say the bed is firm but comfortable, and the addition of a few cozy blankets definitely helps.

Buy It ($320; $300)

Wayfair

2. Latitude Run Tannis Twin Futon Chair

Best Value

As the name suggests, this design from Latitude Run is really more of a chair than a sofa, which helps bring the overall cost down. When you want to use it as a bed, just toss aside the matching throw pillow, unzip the bottom to reveal two support legs, fold out the seat cushion and you have yourself a twin bed. “I love this chair. It’s sturdy and comfortable, great color and easy to put together and fold up or down,” writes one reviewer.

Buy It ($216; $202)

Wayfair

3. Latitude Run Bellemy Sofa Bed

Splurge-Worthy

This L-shaped sofa bed is so popular it’s currently sold out in four shades. The left side extends out into a twin-size bed the same length of the chaise, making this couch an ideal guest bed for two—or just a comfy spot for a movie marathon. Even better? Lift off the top of the chaise and you have a hidden storage bin for throw blankets, extra throw pillows and whatever else you want to tuck out of sight.

Buy It ($750; $700)

Wayfair

4. Zipcode Design Evan Square Arm Sleeper

Best Mid-Size Sofa Bed

Over 1,000 five-star reviews praise this sofa bed’s comfort, functionality and easy assembly. It pulls out into a full bed but takes up way less space while in sofa form, making it a great alternative for those who don’t have a guest room.

Buy It ($677; $640)

Amazon

5. Lilola Home Lucca Reversible Sleeper Sectional Sofa

Best Reversible Sofa Bed

This sectional is reversible, meaning you can configure this sectional with the chaise on the left or the right depending on what goes best with your space. And just like the one from Latitude Run, the chaise features a convenient storage compartment under its cushion. When the bed is extended, it transforms into a roomy twin.

$649 at Amazon

Wayfair

6. Ebern Designs Lizeth Sofa Bed

Best Tufted Sofa Bed

Prefer a tufted look? This style from Ebern Designs features tufted linen on both the back and seat cushions. And unlike most sofa beds, which tend to be elevated, this one opens up straight onto the floor, so guests don’t have to worry about feeling a potentially painful metal rod underneath them.

Buy It ($480; $450)

AllModern

7. Blu Dot Thataway Chesterfield Sleeper

Best Modern Sofa Bed

If your home is filled with modern, minimalist clean lines this sofa will fit right in. The high-density foam seat cushion unfolds to make a cushy 79-inch-long bed. TBH, it looks like a perfect fort-making opportunity for the kids too.

Buy It ($1,999; $1,499)

Amazon

8. Delsit Kids 2-in-1 Flip Open Sofa

Best Sofa Bed for Kids

Designed for kids between ages 1 and 4, this mini couch is a cute (and functional) addition to your child’s bedroom. The seat folds out into a 31.5-inch-long bed that’s ideal for story time before bed. In fact, they might get so comfy that they forgo their actual bed for the night.

$70 at Amazon

Futons

Wayfair

1. Willa Arlo Interiors Nia Velvet Square Arm Sleeper

Best Overall

This couch has racked up almost 9,000 five-star reviews thanks to its chic design, easy assembly and soft velvety material. The back folds down into a futon so easily this just might become your new favorite afternoon nap spot. Customers do note that it’s a little bit stiff, so if you prefer a sofa you can really sink into, you’ll want to pass on this one.

Buy It ($510; $416)

Amazon

2. Serta Rane Collection Convertible Sofa

Best Value

This simple contemporary design is made by Serta (you know, the mattress company), so it’s cushier than your typical futon. Reviews say it’s good quality for the price, and setup is a total breeze. Tall shoppers, you may want to keep looking if you’re planning to sleep on this since it’s only 66 inches long.

$159 at Amazon

Urban Outfitters

3. Urban Outfitters Greta Recycled Leather Sleeper Sofa

Splurge-Worthy

If a leather couch and a bean bag had a baby, it’d be this futon. The slouchy, low to the ground design is upholstered with soft recycled leather and filled with recycled foam. It has a sturdy metal frame that you can tilt back when you want to use it as a bed. Keep in mind that it’s currently backordered until November 25, so you’ll have to wait a bit for it to arrive.

Buy It ($899)

Amazon

4. Novogratz Tallulah Memory Foam Futon

Best Memory Foam Futon

This vintage-inspired futon’s cushions are filled with memory foam that’s soft, yet supportive. Like the designs above, its back folds down to create a spacious bed that visitors won’t mind spending a few nights on. With six different velvet shades, you’re bound to find one that compliments your decor.

$369 at Amazon

Amazon

5. Novogratz Brittany Sofa Futon

Best Mid Century Modern Futon

This linen upholstered mid-century modern couch is so elegant, it’ll easily become the focal point of any room you set it in. Push the back down to create a 81.5-inch-long bed that even your tallest friends should be able to crash on. Psst, right now it’s on sale for over 40 percent off.

$307 at Amazon

Wayfair

6. Red Barrel Studio Full Futon and Mattress

Best Futon with Storage

If you’re opting for a futon over a sleeper sofa or sofa bed, chances are you don’t have a ton of room—which means you need all the storage space you can get. This futon will come in handy since it has drawers built into the base. Plus, it folds down into a full-size mattress, which is pretty rare.

Buy It ($640)

Wayfair

7. Brayden Studio Twin Pillow Back Futon Chair

Best Futon Chair

This convertible oversize chair is basically a cross between a sofa bed and a futon. Unroll the seat cushion, and it becomes a chaise we can totally picture ourselves curling up with a book in. But if you fold down the back, it turns into a twin-size bed. The best of both worlds, if you ask us.
Buy It ($390; $320)

Wayfair

8. DHP Milo Kids Sofa Futon

Best Futon for Kids

Stick this in the playroom for easy additional seating that doubles as a comfy spot for them to snooze during sleepovers. It’s only 46 inches long, which makes it ideal for kids under the age of 11, according to parent reviews. Did we mention it’s currently on sale?

Buy It ($159; $125)

RELATED: The 14 Best Throw Blankets to Cozy Up Your Space for Fall, Starting at Just $25

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