Sofa vs Futon

Not sure if you need a sofa or a futon in your home? Maybe I can help you there. Most people don’t actually know the difference between a sofa and a futon but trust me, they are from two different furniture worlds.

You probably were in the same line of thought, that as long as I can sit on it then it’s probably a sofa. Strictly speaking, not everything fluffy that you can sit on is a sofa. There’s actually a difference between a sofa and couch, but that’s not what we are on about today let’s stick to our context of sofas and futons. 

So let’s start with the obvious, a futon is not a sofa, at times it can come shaped like a sofa, but it is not a sofa. Generally, those who actually know that a sofa and a futon function differently think that a futon is a sofa that also doubles as a guest bed. It’s not completely wrong, but get me here. 

If you’re looking for a reason to buy a futon over a sofa or the other way round, shouldn’t you at least know the full truth? A futon back then was and in some parts of the world still is a padded unsprung mattress that can be folded in two. However back to modern-day translation, a futon is actually a  convertible piece of furniture that can dual as a bed or a sofa, depending on what you want to use it for that time. 

We all know what a sofa is right? let me just say it, it’s a long upholstered seat with a back and arms for two or more people. A couch rarely has arms, but as I said I won’t get into that today. Moving on Sofas and futons are quite similar to the eye, which is why most people call both pieces sofas.

Like a sofa, a futon can come in different styles as well. You can find loveseat futons, sectionals and so forth. Some even come shaped as regular sofas. Some futons come with traditional styles, contemporary, modern, minimalistic, classic and many more.

Like any sofa, you can either sit, lounge or take a nap on a futon. If you want, you can even set futons in your living room. It can be a decorative feature or a practical piece in your home. I believe the fact that you can actually use a futon as a sofa is why most people classify them under sofas. but let’s check on the differences looking at; size, cost, practicality and space efficiency. Let’s look at a basic futon and a basic sofa

One of Our Favourite Futons:

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It’s a beautiful and uniquely designed piece that comes with different accessories ranging from cup holders to removable armrests that may function and can function as a pillow when adjusted to a bed. Besides it being your regular sleeper, this futon caught our eye because of its elegant look and multifunctional properties.

See futons have their own common design that sets them apart from regular sofas.

One of our favourite Sofas:

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This L-Shaped sectional sofa comes as a linen fabric couch definitely worth the buy. With this one, you will freshen up your home. It’s mostly designed for small spaces such as apartments, studios, condos and so forth. It’s basically a demonstration of your unique taste and style and will have your guests and friends crowding at your home. 



Practicality is basically how you use them, let’s look at a sofa. With a regular sofa, you use it for lounging. You may as well set it in one of your favourite rooms in the house, right? Basically a sofa is designed for resting taking a breather. It doesn’t even require much assembly, you get and you can start using it as soon as possible. 

You can sit, have a glass of wine or tea, you can sit and chill back with your friends and family. You know the usual, watch a movie, have a snack, read a novel, snuggle with a loved one(could be a pet) or even take those regular naps. Problem is that’s all you can do with a sofa, I mean try taking a long sleep session on your sofa, should I even start with the aches and pains you’ll feel afterwards? 

If it’s a sectional then yeah, configure it, but that’s all right? What if you have guests over and you don’t have an extra room in your house? there’s a possibility or renovating your bedroom and you can’t use it anymore then what? 

We introduce the futon now, A futon is designed for both sleeping and sitting. You can work with it as a regular sofa during the day. Some recline and some don’t, but either way, you know you can sit and lounge during the day. In the evening just pull it out and there you have it, a full-on bed. 

Now I’m not saying that a futon is as comfortable as a bed, that will depend greatly on the quality and thickness of the mattress, but yeah. A futon is a mattress that you can either fold in or put out. Most come with a wood frame, so you have a platter to sleep on and won’t have to stick with the hard ground.


Looking at the size, sofas vary in size, from single sofas to loveseats and so on. Sofas are designed to accommodate at least one person to a larger number. Looking at the size we also talk of space efficiency.

A sofa is quite efficient. when it comes to space-saving, generally because sofas come in different shapes and in different sizes, to accommodate different spaces. For example, if you want to utilise a 4 corner room, you may as well get an L-shaped sofa. If you feel like you want to furnish a round room, moon-shaped sofas are there, and you may as well pick one that goes with the room shape and that will suit your style. 

Now with a futon, it’s quite different. Futons have a very regular shape. Most actually come as 2 seat sofas or loveseats. The major difference is that some have arms and some don’t. A futon is also space-efficient, yes, but that’s because most futons aren’t as diverse as sofas. You can’t find an l-shaped futon, they are basically one shape with different styles that’s all. 

However before you discard a futon, remember that a futon also functions as a bed, so imagine you have a one-roomed apartment, there’s really no space for a bed and a sofa. With a futon, you have both with the space of only one. During the day you can use your futon as a sofa and for lounging, and in the evening when you want to sleep, just stretch it out and you have your bed. unlike a sofa, a futon is dual functional and at times can be trifunctional, making it space-efficient as well.


Do you know how a regular soda can cost you thousands just because of the brand and upholstery? Well yes, sofas are more expensive when compared to a futon. I mean looking at sectional sofas, even if its a very simple design it can and will cost you so much more than your average futon. 

The worst part is that you can get a cheap sofa, but automatically it won’t be as comfortable as the expensive, so it’s like a negative relationship between sofas and their comfort. The cheaper it is, the less comfortable it’s likely to provide, the more expensive it is the more comfort it’s most likely to give out. however, don’t discard the sofa already, I mean there are cheap sofas out there, that are very comfortable, but like it or not, that sofa will not be as durable or as comfortable as the expensive one.

Here we have the average futon. Depending on the brand and the style, it could be cheaper than your regular sofa, or it could be more expensive. With technology nowadays, some futons can recline automatically with a press of a button, and obviously that will make it quite pricey, some are manufactured with expensive materials making them expensive as well. But generally, looking at an average futon and an average sofa, you’ll find that futons are cheaper to buy, maintain and repair, unlike your regular sofa. 


Let’s say you’re quite particular when it comes to the effect a piece of furniture will have on your style. Well, Sofas are varied, They come in so many different styles, shapes and upholsteries. You can never go wrong when buying a sofa because there are so many styles to choose from. Starting with a regular classic sofa, for simple settings obviously these just balance out anything. Then we go to sectional sofas, that are either modular or reversible. 

So many shapes, to suit so many styles from mid-century, bohemian, contemporary, rusty, minimalistic, you will never run out of ideas with a sofa, because they are so varied and so innovative. Sofas will either balance out your interior and on that note, we have sofas that are designed for outdoor use as well. For example rattan sets, that can turn your yard into something spectacular. This is one of the best things about sofas. They will never let you run out of ideas.

Now when we look at futons, yeah sure they can set out as a sofa depending on the situation. But generally, they are less varied. Futons have this general look, you can actually tell its a futon because of the framing style that’s used. They aren’t as varied as you’d want them to be, at the same time, they don’t just have one style. 

Sure you can find them in different upholsteries and shapes, but they are almost mono-styled. Which may take away some points for them, But depending on the upholstery you can set them for different interiors. Some are designed for both the look and function, for example, the Yateech Futon, which is more than just a regular futon.

Why A Futon?

It all comes back to you. Which of the two between a sofa and a futon is more convenient and practical for you. I mean futons are great when you need a quick rest, or if you open up a sleep space in a smaller room. They are affordable and will cost you less in the long run. With a futon, you have both a bed and a sofa, so you generally don’t have to get a bed right away. 

Unlike regular sofas, futons will actually be great for long term sleeping arrangements. In the case, you have visitors over and they are staying for like a week or more, at least they don’t have to crowd up on the couch in your living room. So if you want to get a futon, at least now you know that it’s affordable, practical, space-saving and multi-functional. This is where it wins over a regular couch.

A sofa is more expensive, even in the long run, as repairs and maintenance costs may actually exceed those of getting a futon. A couch is heavy and may be difficult to move. You’ll find that with a regular sofa you can just set it out in the living room and no matter how cramped up you won’t have any issues. With a futon, however, if you don’t have enough width in a room then you can’t stretch the bed and obviously it will seize its functionality as a futon. 

It will just be a sofa, so why not just get yourself a sofa to start with. There’s really not enough space to sleep comfortably on a couch, I mean yeah sure you could find a comfy position but what happens when you roll over and fall or when you wake up with a stiff body? Besides all that a sofa will take up so much width in a room, if you have a small room, the sofa will likely fill it up like the actual elephant in the room.

Why A Sofa? 

So though we’ve looked at the futon in detail. I know it looks like a better decision but let’s also consider what a sofa has over the futon. See A futon has one basic design. The mattress is folded and it can be turned to a bed in a snap. Let’s check on comfort, Sofas though expensive they are comfortable to sit on and even relax. Most sofas are durable and can stand heavy usage day in and out.

There are so many variations to sofas nowadays that you can probably find an alternative to anything you want. Looking at a sofa, it can reach you to maybe 15 or even 20 years of service, buy a futon definitely wouldn’t last that long. Sofas have thicker cushions that won’t give out any time soon, and some sofas also come with bedding facilities. Check for example a sectional sofa that is reversible. 

So you’ll notice that sofas can actually be better than futons at times. Futons tend to have a down to earth look, and so if your style is quite expensive and your taste is quite exotic, futons may not actually be the best idea for you. I mean futons are basically sided with a tight budget. If you can’t afford a sofa and a bed, then most likely you will go for a futon. However, that doesn’t bother you then why not get yourself a futon and let it be. I mean as long as you’re happy with your decisions then you’re good to go.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I’d say both have their ups and downs. Clearly your choice will depend on what your urgent need is, Functionality, Practicality or Budget. Both are good choices for different purposes. I mean a futon could work as a decorative piece in your home and offer services of extra bedding when needed.

At the same time, Sofas are deeper and will actually set out a look in your home, but in terms of practicality, it’s limited and not as suited for all facilities like a futon is. So yeah, This is all I can say, but truly the final decision is up to you. So I guess it’s time for me to take my leave and I also guess I’m done with this.

Lastly, the sofas are very comfortable. Coming in different variations, some can be fluffy and warm, others creating cozy spots for you in your homes, but then again, can you really compare that to the comfort a futon will give you. See with futons they tend to take up more space when counting their capacity to accommodate people.

You may need to buy a certain number of futons to accommodate everyone. I hope I managed to set a few things straight for you and I hope you will make the right choice for yourself. It’s a process that you don’t have to rush at all. Enjoy your shopping and make the best of it. Be sure to also see our Sofa vs Sofabed post.

Elissa Smith
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