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.

While futons are a great way to save space the functionality that allows them to transition from a bed to a sofa comes at the price of increased complexity. They have more parts to wrangle and keep track of when it comes time to assemble or disassemble them. The assembly instructions for your futon are an essential resource when putting the futon together. But what do you do if the instructions become lost or are in a foreign language? Here are some tips that will help you assemble your futon with minimum fuss.

If you do have instructions then they should have a list of all the parts required for the futon. This should be somewhat readable even if it is in a foreign language. The first thing you should do is go through all the parts you received and check that they match up with the parts list. If any parts are missing then you will either need to replace them or return the futon to the seller. There’s no point continuing with the assembly unless all the parts are present.

The instructions may also include a list of the tools you will need. If necessary you can work out which tools are required by looking at the screws, bolts, and other joiners that hold the futon together. Many kit futons will just require an allen key and will usually provide that key with the packaged futon. Ensure that you have the tools you need handy before you begin the assembly process.

Once you’ve checked that all the parts and tools are present you are ready to begin assembling your futon.

Futons come in a variety of designs. While it’s difficult to come up with a set of assembly instructions that cover every futon design, most futon manufacturers follow a basic pattern in the construction of their futons. This makes it possible to create a basic outline on how to disassemble and reassemble the more common types of futons.

Here we are going to be covering a basic bi-fold futon frame, as it is probably the most common type of futon. Futons generally consist of three types of main parts – the decks, the armrests, and the stretchers. The armrests will usually include the main legs that support the futon.

To begin with you will need to connect the stretchers to the armrests. Lay the armrests to the left and right of each other and place the stretchers between them. Work out which of the armrests should go on each side and which stretcher is designed to go at the front and back (they may not have a preference) and position them accordingly. Identify which joiners are needed to connect the armrests to the stretchers and use them to connect the stretchers to the armrests. Avoid tightening the joiners too much at this stage, as you may need to remove them as you work out what goes where. The joiners should be tight enough to hold the futon frame firmly in place though, as too much movement may cause damage during the assembly process.

To connect the decks first lay them on the ground and organize them so that the front deck is at the front and the back deck is at the back. Line them up at the points where they hinge together and then use the hinge joiners to join them up at the hinge point. The joiners used here will be more complex and more robust than the ones used for the stretchers and armrests as this is a movable hinge. Look for clevis pins and/or cotter pins in the collection of joiner parts. The joint between the decks should connect up so that the two decks swivel at the hinge point. If they don’t swivel effectively then you are probably using the wrong joiners.

The back deck may come with slide rollers already attached. If they are not attached then you will need to track them down in the collection of parts and attach them to the back deck yourself. Look for small plastic cylinders that are generally either black or white in color. These are usually attached with clevis pins and cotter pins.

Place the assembled deck onto the frame with the slide rollers placed into the grooves that run along the arms. Make sure that the deck is the right way around.

If you are confident that all the pieces are assembled correctly then it is time to tighten up all the joiners. Make sure you don’t over-tighten them as this could strip threads and damage the futon frame.

Once you have the futon frame assembled you should try converting it between a bed and a sofa to ensure that the mechanism is working correctly. If there are any issues then you will have to try to identify the problem and fix it. Check that the slide rollers are correctly positioned in the armrest grooves and that they stay in the grooves as the futon converts. Make sure that the rollers can turn freely. Check for any parts that are rubbing together or which are impeding the conversion process. Also check for anything which may be a manufacturing or other defect. Any defect that you can’t fix yourself will require that the futon be returned to the seller for refund or replacement.

Put the mattress on the futon frame and see how well it works as both a bed and a sofa. Check that it is comfortable and that no parts are poking into the mattress. Check for any unfinished edges in the frame that may damage the mattress or catch on bedsheets, cushions, or clothing. If necessary you may need to use a file or sandpaper to smooth any rough edges or surfaces.

At this point your futon should be fully assembled and working correctly. With luck and good maintenance it should provide you with many years of use.

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