When out-of-town family and friends come to stay, there’s always one crucial question to answer before they arrive: where are they going to sleep? The answer: a comfy sofa bed. Buying a bed for your guests to sleep on is a big decision and there’s a vast selection on the market, so let’s unpack exactly how to find the best sofa bed to suit your guests and your home.
Ensuring the absolute comfort of your guests is paramount; it’s a matter of manners and hospitality. But so is investing in furniture that’s durable, useful, stylish and truly a good fit for your home.
Where to place your sofa bed
Consider which room the sofa bed will be located in, who will be using it and even the time of day it will be used. Perhaps the sofa bed will be located in the rumpus room, for example, where, by day, it will be primarily used as a sofa by kids or teens. If so, durability and stain-resistance (or washable covers) should be high on the priority list – after all, if children are about, spilled drinks and ninja kicks are never too far away. If the bed is likely to be used by someone with mobility issues, it should be roomy, supportive and high enough to easily get in and out of – you don’t want your guests feeling cramped, sleep deprived or, worse still, waking up with aches and pains. The bed should also be simple to set up and pack away for you! Finally, it’s essential to think about aesthetics and find a piece that will not disrupt the existing flow or style story of your home.
“Will it mainly be used as a sofa with the bed used infrequently? Or will the bed be set up more regularly?”James Whitta, VP of product design, Koala
Which is more important, sofa bed comfort or style?
Sofa beds have had a bad reputation in the past, but they’ve come a long way. To guarantee your guests’ comfort, look for models that feature an inner-spring or a memory foam mattress – much more comfortable than a basic foam mattress. A sturdy steel frame is also key. James Whitta, VP of product design at Koala says you need to focus on the sofa bed’s primary use. “Will it mainly be used as a sofa with the bed used infrequently? Or will the bed be set up more regularly?” asks James. “If it’s the latter, and especially if the bed will be used by adults, focus on the comfiest bed rather than the most stylish sofa to ensure your guests enjoy a great night’s sleep.”
Modern sofa bed style
“The days of hiding the ugly sofa or old bed in the spare room are long gone,” says Lounge Lovers stylist Jason Granziera. “The modern sofa bed can make a real style statement and also be comfortable enough to use every day as a sofa or bed. But what you choose as guest bedding must also reflect your personal style and fit harmoniously into the space available.” In short, if it’s not a ‘disappearing’ rollaway, then it needs to look good. With so many configurations, customisations and price points, there’s no need to settle for something you don’t love.
How big should your sofa bed be?
“Consider the scale of the furniture within the space and whether the piece you’re looking at will accommodate one or more people,” explains James. “Think about all options for placement, orientation and its storage capabilities and, crucially, consider the footprint of the bed when it’s fully extended. If you’re choosing a sofa bed, check the dimensions so you know exactly how much room both the sofa and the bed will occupy.”
Pullout sofa beds: High tech or low tech?
Look for a piece that transforms easily in one or two simple movements, and disappears just as simply. You don’t want to be wrangling a difficult contraption or having to seek out extra helping hands or a brains trust. If children are involved, it’s also important to choose a mechanism that is safe for adventurous little fingers. “I recommend low-tech, bi-fold formats because they deliver the easiest set-ups,” says James. “That way you don’t have to fuss with buttons levers or hinges.”
How to clean your sofa bed
Accidents are bound to happen, so removable, washable slipcovers and stain-resistant fabrics are well worth considering. Microfibre, wool and leather are all sensible choices.
How much should a sofa bed cost?
Of course, budget considerations also come into play. Think about how often the bed will be used and the genuine comfort requirements of its primary users. These factors will help determine a ballpark figure you’re prepared to spend. Naturally, you’ll pay more for construction longevity, premium fabric and bespoke size customisation.
How to style your sofa bed
So you’ve found your guest bed. Well done! What’s next? Add fresh, natural linen and pillows in both low and high profiles. Extra cushions, a mattress protector, a lamp and a side table will also ensure your guests feel welcome. A night light in the hall is also always appreciated, as is a carafe of water and glasses next to the bed.
Our top tips:
- Style the bedside table with a jug of water and a floral touch
- Create space to unpack or spread a blanket at the foot of the bed for five-star polish and to save your linen from soiled suitcases
- Add cloud-like comfort with a topper or luxury bedding such as the A.H. Beard ‘Nature’s Rest Verde’ mattress topper from Domayne
- Freshen up the room by throwing open the curtains by day and lighting a scented candle at night ahead of evening arrivals
- Check linen supplies including towels, pillows (and pillow protectors) and blankets
Our pick of the best sofa beds
Koala Beauty sofa bed in Cappuccino, Koala
Available in six statement colours, the newest addition to Koala’s popular sofa bed lineup is the Beauty sofa bed. Featuring elegant cushioning, it effortlessly transforms from a sofa to a bed that features the brand’s Kloudcell topper, which is the definition of comfort. Plus, it has four hidden storage compartments that are perfect for storing away extra bedding and pillows for your guests.
Cove chaise sofa bed in Manhattan Sand, Lounge Lovers
Elegant, hard-wearing and easy to live with, choose from two neutral colours and a left- or right-hand corner setup with this hard-wearing 100 per cent polyester sofabed. Super versatile, this classic shape would sit well in many interior styles – from coastal to classic – and you can even have it as a classic three-seater without the chaise if space is an issue.
SORRENTO leather modular sofa bed in Bendigo Taffy, Freedom
Leather? Tick! Modular? Tick! Chaise? Tick! Who knew you could get a sofa bed in leather? This laid-back beauty is available in five different colours and crosses aesthetic borders from 1970s retro through cool contemporary to modern farmhouse style. Relax back into oversize comfy cushions along the back and armrest and stretch out to enjoy a classic chaise setup. Living room bliss, equally at home in a rumpus room where the holiday action is, then pull out the spring mattress to stay overnight.
Stunner sofa bed in Billy, Koala
In keeping with Koala’s no-fuss manifesto, the ‘Stunner’ is designed for a small footprint in a tight space and is a clever construction of timber and foam. Storage drawers under the seat pull out for a simple flip-out bed assembly. Try and time your friend’s visit with Koala’s 120-night trial to get instant feedback on the comfort.
Noosa 3-seat Hamptons Queen sofa bed in Navy, One World
$3102 (usually $3649)
Not only will this sofa bed give you the option for guests to stay, but it also has removable covers, so maintaining it is a breeze. Crafted with a combination of memory foam and feathers for ultimate comfort, but be warned – your guests may never want to leave.
Alexis 3-seater sofa bed in grey, Lounge Lovers
$699 – use code ‘TAKE30’ for 30% off at checkout
This stylish sofa bed from Lounge Lovers features classic-styled button tufting and sleek tapered wooden legs. Fitting nicely in any modern or retro-leaning home. Plus, with its high-quality foam construction, you can be sure it’ll be a comfortable piece whether it’s used as a sofa or a bed for when guests drop in.
Emma sofa bed, Emma Sleep
Made from sustainably-sourced materials while featuring built-in hidden storage solutions within the armrests, it’s one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you’ll invest in. Engineered for comfort and is sleep-ready in less than two minutes.
Laura Hill Sarantino corner sofa bed in grey, Myer
Looking for a sofa bed with a chaise? This one by Laura Hill is just that. Constructed with a linen fabric on the outer and paired with minimal wooden legs, you’d never suspect it is quietly a sofa bed waiting for unsuspecting guests.
Foret 3-seater modular corner pullout couch in grey, Matt Blatt
Also available in black, this three-seater sofa bed has an interchangeable chaise, allowing you to configure it in a way that works best for your space. Plus, with an internal storage compartment – it’s the perfect spot to store extra bedding for your guests.
Anica 3-seater boucle sofa bed in cream white, Luxo Living
$499 (usually $2000)
Transform this on-trend boucle sofa into a comfortable bedding solution when the kids have friends over. With a simple click-clack design, this sofa transforms into a two-person sleeper, effortlessly.
Southern Stylers Plast 3-seater velvet sofa bed in green, Temple & Webster
The tufted backrest of this sofa bed brings a classic look in rich green or black velvet, perfect for a formal lounge or study. Twin bolsters up the luxe factor and once removed, the sofa easily converts into a bed for two.
Koala Foldaway mattress, Koala
Koala’s newest addition to their extensive sleep range is the Foldaway mattress. The famous comfort of a Koala mattress is now available in a portable and easy-to-pack-away size. It is ideal for unexpected visitors, sleepovers or even the odd camping trip.
Ashley sofa bed in Indigo, Coco Republic
You’d never guess that this stylish sofa hides an aluminium frame and a sprung mattress inside. We think the secret lies in the piping detail, though if that’s not your thing, opt for one of almost 30 fabric colours and textures – with or without piping.
Malibu sofa bed, Provincial Home Living
$3999 (usually $4999)
Also available in a dark, moody grey tone, this clever sofa has a memory foam mattress and frame inside the long section for easy activation. When extended, the bed extends to occupy the footprint within the L-shaped unit.
Venice 3-seater sofa bed, Lounge Lovers
LoungeLover’s Venice sofa bed features removable, linen blend slip covers in a crisp white shade. It’s perfect for coastal-style and contemporary homes. The frame is made from solid and engineered wood and is guaranteed for 24 months. Also available in Corinthian grey cloud and Corinthian grey stone.
Reogrand smart sofa bed package, King Living
Oozing contemporary style, this compact silhouette would sit beautifully in a study or office space. The back cushions incorporate a power recliner for maximum sofa comfort and don’t need removing to extend it into a bed. The steel frame comes with a 25-year guarantee, which adds weight to the appeal of removable covers. Plunder the extensive King fabric range for a finish that suits your own aesthetic.