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10 best sofa beds: Space saving furniture that’s perfect for overnight guests

The Independent
The Independent
 2021-10-14

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Extra space is a luxury many of us cannot afford, but we mustn’t let our limited floorplan dictate our sense of hospitality. Enter the trusty sofa bed, a hard-working furniture piece with dual functionality.

If you haven’t purchased one in a while, you’ll be pleased to learn that the contemporary sofa bed has evolved. No longer do we have to put up with clunky fold-out mechanisms, bumpy seat cushions and paper-thin mattresses if we want our settee to transform.

Look for modern click-clack styles or those with a simple fold-down function if you’re after an occasional bed that has a quick, one-person turnaround. These designs can be found on the more affordable end of the price scale and often prove surprisingly plush and cosy.

For something more substantial, you’ll find a wealth of sofa beds with the conventional folding metal frame and mattress combination.

Unlike their stiff and uncomfortable predecessors, modern versions have smoother pull-out systems and luxurious feather-wrapped or memory foam mattresses.

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How we tested

All the sofa beds we tested scored high on comfort and functionality. And with thoughtful design across our selection, we were able to whip up a cosy bed for our guests without the backache in no time.

The best sofa beds for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Snug the small biggie chaise sofa bed: £2,799, Snugsofa.com
  • Best for student digs – M&S logan small double sofa bed: £299, Marksandspencer.com
  • Best mid-priced sofa – Dreams gallway 3 seater clic-clac sofa bed: £899, Dreams.co.uk
  • Best for comfort – Swyft model 04 3 sofa bed: £1,995, Swyfthome.com
  • Best leather sofa bed – Sofa Workshop Alfred sofa bed: £3,995, Sofaworkshop.com
  • Best for occasional use – Darlings of Chelsea Beckenham sofa bed: £1,792.70, Darlingsofchelsea.co.uk
  • Best for under £500 – Habitat kota 3 seater sofa bed: £385, Argos.co.uk
  • Best for small spaces – Made haru single sofa bed, pine green velvet: £249, Made.com
  • Best for traditionalists – Sofa.com teddy sofa bed: £1,325, Sofa.com
  • Best for everyday use – Sofas and Stuff Oxwich sofa bed: £2,087, Sofasandstuff.com

Snug the small biggie chaise sofa bed

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Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

  • Seats: 4
  • Sofa size: 254.5cm x 158.5cm x 98cm
  • Bed size: 254.5cm x 183cm x 98cm
  • Delivery: 2-3 working days or next day (Tuesday to Saturday)
  • Warranty: 15 year frame guarantee

It’s hard to imagine how a plush and sprawling L-shaped sofa bed like this can arrive in manageable boxes designed to fit through the most awkward spaces, and yet, it does. As with all of Snug’s seating offering, the small biggie chaise is simple to put together with clear instructions. In a choice of four durable polyester velvets – choose warm grey, midnight blue, pine green or toft teal – the sofa bed boasts super comfy, super plump back and seat cushions, while its gently curved arms further add to the cosy, contemporary cloud-like aesthetic.

Very slightly elevated, this one is finished with smart turned hardwood legs and the chaise section has the option of added storage. We think the extra £120 is well worth it for storing bedding. With a smooth action, and a quick rearranging of the cushions, the small biggie transforms into a guest bed in a jiffy. The premium compact mattress is perfectly comfy, thanks to its supportive foam core and soft fibre quilting. Your house guests will love it.

Buy now £2799.00, Snugsofa.com

M&S logan small double sofa bed

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Best: For student digs

Rating: 8/10

  • Seats: 3
  • Sofa size: 120cm x 89cm x 78cm
  • Bed size: 120cm x 190cm x 78cm
  • Delivery: 8 weeks
  • Warranty: 10 year guarantee

Often the simplest designs are the most impressive. We loved the way this piece unfolds, with the central section staying firmly in place while nifty extra sets of legs pull out at the top and the foot to create a cosy bed in an instant. Ideal for student digs or older kids’ bedrooms, the logan is a compact furniture piece that equates to a standard small double once unfolded.

This one comes in a choice of five plush velvets: light grey, dark grey, dusty pink, ochre and teal, and boasts tall, tapered wooden legs that hint at mid-century modern design. For the purse-friendly price, this one is seriously impressive: well-crafted and with great design. We loved its luxe futon-like look.

Buy now £299.00, Marksandspencer.com

Made haru single sofa bed, pine green velvet

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Best: For small spaces

Rating: 7/10

  • Seats: 1
  • Sleeps: 1
  • Sofa size: 42cm x 77cm x 52cm
  • Bed size: 182cm x 77cm x 13cm
  • Delivery: Dispatched in three working days

It’s rare to find a single sofa bed that doubles as a handsome, grown-up armchair and so we were particularly taken with Made’s offering. In plush velvet, and with its tapered and angled wooden legs, the Haru offers cocktail chair glamour with a mid-century twist. Thoughtfully designed, the piece unfolds into a comfy bed in a matter of seconds with hidden legs that are discreetly zipped up within the frame. We loved that this one can transform into a stylish recliner, too. Simply keep the back rest up, extend the lower section, and put your feet up.

Buy now £249.00, Made.com

Dreams gallway 3 seater clic-clac sofa bed

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Best: Mid-priced sofa bed

Rating: 9/10

  • Seats: 3
  • Sofa size: 218cm x 87cm x 89cm
  • Bed size: 218cm x 112cm x 66cm
  • Delivery: 5 weeks
  • Warranty: 1 year guarantee

At just under £900, this is a great mid-priced option if you want a sofa bed that’ll leave your overnight guests happy – but one that won’t break the bank. With its slimline silhouette, you wouldn’t know this mid-century inspired number could transform into an occasional bed, but with clever design and a nifty click-clack mechanism, the back of the piece simply folds down and becomes flush with the two generous seat cushions.

In fact, as quick and easy turnarounds go, this one proved the quickest and easiest of our roundup. The gallway comes in a small range of velvet-like fabrics – choose green, grey, navy or orange – and boasts elegant, tall, turned and angled legs. Stylish and comfortable in equal measure.

Buy now £899.00, Dreams.co.uk

Darlings of Chelsea Beckenham sofa bed

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Best: For occasional use

Rating: 8/10

  • Seats: 2
  • Sofa size: 152cm x 100cm x 92cm
  • Bed size: 116cm x 200cm
  • Delivery: 14-16 weeks
  • Warranty: 12 months

Stylish and practical, the Beckenham offers a comprehensive list of configurations including eight sofa bed sizes, a wealth of upholstery fabrics, and options when it comes to the mattress, seat cushions and wooden leg finish, proving this one to be a shrewd investment piece that fits perfectly within your space.

Handmade to order, it’s practically bespoke. This is a classic sofa bed with a hidden metal frame that folds out with ease to create a nifty occasional bed in the living room. We think it’s worth the upgrade to a memory foam mattress to guarantee your guests a good night’s kip.

Buy now £1792.70, Darlingsofchelsea.co.uk

Habitat kota 3 seater sofa bed

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Best: For under £500

Rating: 7/10

  • Seats: 3
  • Sofa size: 90cm x 189cm x 102cm
  • Bed size: 189cm x 123cm x 123cm
  • Warranty: 1 year

Habitat’s simple and affordable Kota sofa is a perennial best-seller, and it’s easy to see why. Its click-clack mechanism allows the back of the seat to fold all the way down, taking you from sofa to bed in a matter of seconds, which is ideal if you’re after a speedy change around without the faff. The sofa bed’s enveloping pillow-like form works beautifully both as a contemporary settee and a generous bed mattress. When horizontal its measurements are the equivalent of a small double, making it perfect for one if a little cosy for two. But it is ideal as an occasional extra bed. Choose from a small range of fabrics and finishes including the vibrant orange.

Buy now £385.00, Argos.co.uk

Sofa.com teddy sofa bed

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Best: For traditionalists

Rating: 9/10

  • Seats: 3
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Sofa size: 227cm
  • Bed size: 227cm
  • Delivery: 8-10 weeks
  • Warranty: Lifetime guarantee on frame

Available from loveseat up to three-seater – and with a two and a half seat option in the mix – this sofa bed is an immediate classic. We loved its sumptuous shaping: the heavy scroll arms and strong backrest belie its otherwise slouchy look. It’s sturdy beechwood frame supports a feather scatter cushion back and wonderfully deep and cosy seat cushions. Elevated with stylish, turned wooden legs, the piece offers a good sleeping height, too, once the metal frame and comfy mattress are unfolded. This one is available in a great range of upholstery fabrics, in colour, texture and pattern, which proves a tough choice to make.

Buy now £1325.00, Sofa.com

Sofas and Stuff Oxwich sofa bed

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Best: For everyday use

Rating: 8/10

  • Seats: 3
  • Sofa size: 95cm x 96cm x 202cm
  • Delivery: Dispatched 12 weeks
  • Warranty: 15 years

If you prefer a sofa with a firm seat, this simple and elegant number could be for you. The Oxwich sofa bed features a clean-lined silhouette with a nod to the mid-century aesthetic. We loved its continuous back and armrests and its plush, angled, cushioned back. This is another sofa bed that contains a discreetly tucked away metal frame and mattress, which both opens and closes with ease and proves a comfy occasional bed. Choose from a three-seater or a compact three-seater if you’re after a shrewd space-saver, alongside a vast range of fabric options, which will pull the piece in either a contemporary or classic direction.

Buy now £2087.00, Sofasandstuff.com

Swyft model 04 3 sofa bed

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Best: For comfort

Rating: 9/10

  • Seats: 3
  • Sofa size: 208cm x 94cm x 86cm
  • Bed size: 208cm x 135cm x 59cm
  • Delivery: 24 hours
  • Warranty: 15 year frame guarantee/2 year fabric guarantee

This is one seriously comfy sofa bed – and that’s thanks to its ingenious design. Rather than relying on a pull-out mattress, the seat and back of the Model 04 becomes the mattress itself – and therefore sleepover guests are treated to an impressive 300 pocket sprung bed to sleep on.  As with all the modular chairs and sofas from Swyft, this one arrives in separate, manageable boxes and is a doddle to put together.

We loved the thoughtful design details: a mattress topper – and indeed, storage space for the mattress topper, plus the way the arms can easily come away if you do need a few extra inches when the piece is in its bed configuration. As a furniture piece that’s bound to get a lot of use (and abuse), we were pleased to note its super durable fabric, too. Choose teal, vine, brick or light grey velvet, or pumice, shadow or seaglass linen.

Buy now £1995.00, Swyfthome.com

Sofa Workshop Alfred sofa bed

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Best: Leather sofa bed

Rating: 8/10

  • Seats: 3
  • Sofa size: 252cm x 105cm x 79cm
  • Bed size: 252cm x 211cm x 79cm
  • Delivery: 12-14 weeks
  • Warranty: 5 years

This is one seriously slouchy looking settee. Within its modernist lines and chunky silhouette, it hides a sizeable metal bed frame and comfy mattress, and converts into a cosy extra bed in a jiffy, thanks to its easy to manoeuvre gliding mechanism. We loved this one for its extra-wide arms and angled backrest, making it impossible not to relax in. In a wonderfully soft and tufted leather, the sofa bed is a luxurious and imposing statement piece. Choose from a range of muted earthy tones including “tumble waxed cigar” and “tip dyed camel”.

Buy now £3995.00, Sofaworkshop.com

Sofa beds FAQs

What is the most comfortable sofa bed?

The days of lumpy, hard, cramped sofa beds are gone – the best on the market at the moment could probably fair quite well next to your normal bed. However, when picking one there are three things you should consider in terms of comfort: the upholstery, the kind of mattress and the size.

Generally, there are two types of sofa bed: the “click-clack” kind, for which you simply fold down the back, and the pull-out kind, which tends to provide more room and comfort than the former.

Whichever one you decide to opt for, it is recommended you consider how plush or durable the upholstery will be and whether you want a soft or firm mattress.

Click-clack vs pull-out: Which sofa bed type is better?

This will depend on what you want out of your sofa bed, from convenience to comfort and price. Given that they simply “click” into place, and don’t require you to remove any cushions, click-clack beds tend to be easier and quicker to assemble. They’re also cheaper than their pull-out counterparts, while their smaller size makes them better at saving space.

Of course, if you’re looking for a more luxurious sleeping experience – and don’t mind a little extra faff setting your sofa-bed up – a pull-out option may be your best bet.

The verdict: Sofa beds

Snug’s small biggie chaise sofa bed feels truly luxurious and it proves to be as cosy as it looks. The foam mattress is surprisingly comfy and we loved the extra addition of hidden storage via the chaise section. Sofa Workshop’s Alfred sofa bed , despite proving a practical piece, does not compromise on style. It’s not cheap but it is a big-impact, contemporary statement piece, and we loved its imposing presence.

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For more comfortable seating, read our guide to the best affordable leather sofas to upgrade your space on a budget

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