If you have a limited amount of space and a tight budget then buying a futon can be a great way to make the best use of both your living space and your money. A futon can double as both a bed and a sofa, so you are basically buying two items for the one price. During the day your bed essentially disappears and becomes a sofa which means that the space a separate bed would take up can be used for other purposes. You need both the bed and sofa versions of the futon to be comfortable though and the main component that determines that comfort is the futon mattress. Here are some tips on buying a futon mattress that won’t leave you sore and uncomfortable.
The first thing you should consider is what type of futon you wish to buy, as that will determine the type of mattress that can be used with it. Futons come in two main types: bi-fold and tri-fold. Bi-fold futons fold into two sections when they are converted into a sofa, and tri-folds fold into three sections with two of those sections usually being used for the seat. Since bi-folds have fewer folds they can take a thicker and generally more comfortable mattress. Tri-folds need a thinner mattress as the seat fold needs to bend at 180 degrees. Generally a tri-fold will be used where you only occasionally need to use the futon as a bed and require a less wide sofa version, with the mattress folding along its longest dimension. The bi-fold version is a better choice if you need to regularly use the futon as a bed. In addition to supporting a thicker mattress it is also quicker to convert between bed and mattress as it has fewer folds.
The mattress has four main qualities that define it. These are the firmness, weight, rigidity, and flexibility. These qualities tend to be somewhat interrelated.
The firmness of the mattress is the amount of give it has when the weight of your body is applied to it. The firmness is the result of the density and elasticity of the mattress material. Too much firmness and the mattress will not mold itself to the shape of your body as effectively when you lie down on it. This can result in the mattress applying pressure to the softer parts of your body which will leave you with soreness. It can also result in the mattress pushing up against the lighter parts of your body which can cause back problems, as the shape the mattress pushes your body into may not be a healthy sleeping posture. Too little firmness and your body will not get the support it needs to be comfortable. You may also feel the hard frame of the bed through the mattress.
The weight of the mattress largely depends on the volume of material in the mattress and the density of that material. A heavier mattress may be harder to fold and move about but may be more comfortable to lie on when it is used as a bed. It will also keep its position better than a lighter mattress that will be more easily displaced by the movement of your body. If you are a lighter person with low upper body strength then you may prefer a lighter mattress. A heavier person with more muscle may be better off with a heavier mattress.
The rigidity of the mattress is the mattresses ability to maintain its shape over time when it is being folded regularly, or is used in the folded position for an extended period of time. This is more important if the futon is normally used as a sofa and only occasionally converted to a bed.
The flexibility of the mattress determines how easy the mattress is to fold. This is an important quality if you regularly convert the futon between a bed and a sofa. The last thing you want when you start off a new day is to have a fight with your furniture, so a mattress with good flexibility should be something you take into consideration when buying your futon.
So, when buying your futon mattress you should keep all of these qualities in mind along with the most common use you will put the futon to. If you are buying your futon from a specialized store then talk to the futon sales-person about the way you plan on using the futon and what you expect from it. They should be able to give you some options regarding the dimensions, construction, and material used in the mattress that will suit how you will use it. If you are buying from a non-specialist or online store then do some research and check any reviews that are available to see what experience the buyers had with the mattress. Look for reviews that describe a similar usage to the one you plan on using the futon for. You will likely be using your futon for years to come, so the more time and effort you put in when choosing the right mattress for it now the less trouble you will have with it over its lifetime.