Written by Michele
Last Updated

Hi, I’m Michele, and I am a pseudo-interior designer with a passion for re-decorating homes. My main purpose is to make refurbishing your homes a whole lot easier by sharing some buying tips when choosing furniture items. At the same time, I want to share some of the design tips I’ve learned along the way.

How to Make Sure You Get the Right Mattress for Your Futon

The most important part of futons when it comes to comfort is the futon mattress. Whether you use your futon primarily as a bed, a couch, or regularly switch between them the mattress is the thing you will come into contact with the most. No matter how well made the futon frame is, if the mattress is a disaster to sit and sleep on then your experience with your futon will be a negative one. So what should you look for in a mattress to avoid making a bad purchasing choice? Here’s a few things to consider.

When choosing a mattress for your futon it’s important to think about the use that you will be putting the futon to. Are you planning on mostly using it as a bed and sleeping on it yourself, or will the futon be used as a stowaway bed for accommodating the occasional guest? Will it be used primarily as a bed or a couch, or will you regularly convert between them? The main factors here are comfort, space, and how often the futon mattress ends up being folded.


The first thing to consider is the thickness of the mattress.

A thicker futon mattress will be better for sleeping on as it will provide better support and have less chance of the futon’s frame poking into you as you sleep. Thicker mattresses will be harder to fold though, and will take up more space when the futon is stowed away. A thicker mattress will also tend to pop out more when the futon is used as a couch unless it is secured to the frame in some way.

A thinner mattress is the better choice for occasional use and for where the futon is frequently converted into a couch when not needed as a bed. It will also take up less space when stored. If you just need the futon as a backup bed then this mattress type may be a good choice. Your primary concern should be your comfort when sleeping though, so think carefully before choosing a thinner mattress. If you are a lightweight person then a thin mattress may be perfect to sleep on as your body will not be heavy enough to compress the mattress to the point where you feel the frame. A heavier person may not fare so well with a thin futon mattress.


Next you need to consider the composition of the mattress.

All cotton futon mattresses are generally cheap and are convenient to fold. These are probably the nearest you will get to a traditional Japanese futon mattress. They are quite comfortable at first, but will eventually develop lumps in the cotton and will compress down and become hard. They need to be aired regularly to prevent mold caused by moisture that builds up in the mattress. They may also attract tiny pests that find the cotton material a great place to make a home and your body a great source of food.

Foam core mattress are the next step up. These are a similar price to all cotton mattresses but come with a foam layer sandwiched between layers of cotton. More expensive ones can come with multiple layers of foam. These can be harder to fold but the foam layer makes them more resistant to hardening and developing lumps. Anti-bacterial foam may also be used to prevent the build-up of pests, and may also prevent the mattress from developing unpleasant smells as the bacteria break down organic material that accumulates in the mattress.

Inner spring mattresses are the most expensive, but can also be the most comfortable. If more than one person is sleeping on the futon then an inner spring mattress will isolate the movement of each person so that the other sleeper is not affected. These mattresses are usually heavier and harder to fold than all cotton or foam core mattresses, so are best suited to cases where the futon is used primarily as a bed.

If you just need a cheap futon for occasional overnight guests then a thin all cotton or cheap foam core mattress may be the best choice for your futon mattress. If you will make regular use of the futon for sleeping on then a thicker and more expensive foam core or inner spring mattress will give you more comfort and a better sleep. Carefully consider the use you will be putting your futon to before making your mattress purchase, and if possible test the mattress to ensure it suits your needs. The more time you spend ensuring that the mattress you purchase is the right choice for you, the less time you may spend regretting a bad choice.

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