Murphy Beds, futons, and pull-out couches are all space-saving beds that share many similarities, which range from how they’re marketed to how they’re used. But because of their many resemblances, it can be hard to differentiate between them when the time comes to buy a bed.
When looking at the details between the three, which include their builds, functionality, etc., these beds are quite different, and knowing these distinctions can significantly impact which one you put in your home.
Comfort is perhaps the most significant aspect of sleep, and each bed offers a different sleeping experience.
Sofa beds are subject to thinner mattresses due to being constrained by the size limitations of the sofa frame. The mattress will need to be thinner to fold in on itself, meaning that thicker mattresses (or those of a certain material) cannot be used.
Futons have a less durable mattress and are prone to wear and tear from doubling as sofa cushions and backrests. While this accommodates how light they can be (and lets them be easier to move around), it does compromise how comfortable they are and how long they’ll last from overuse.
On the other hand, Murphy Beds can handle a thicker mattress that isn’t subject to constant sitting or being folded. Since the frame folds into the wall/frame, the mattress can retain its shape and can even handle mattress toppers for added comfort that doesn’t need to be removed when storing.
The benefit of Murphy Beds, futons, and pull-out couches is their ability to serve as more than one piece of furniture. This is especially helpful to families needing multi-purpose rooms or renters seeking better ways to market their rental homes.
Although Murphy Beds cannot offer seating in the way that a futon or pull-out couch can, they provide more in terms of versatility. Preference, then, comes down to whether you simply want to sit with your bed frame or want a bed frame that can also act as a closet, an office area, and so on.
The main selling point between these three sleeping options is that they’re meant to be space savers, something that benefits families or individuals living in small spaces. But the question is, just how much space does each save?
Futons are always present in whatever room they’re in, but because they don’t require too much external furniture movement in the way a pull-out couch would, they live up to their space-saving reputation. The only con in this regard is that they can’t be stored or put away, so space cannot be created by them folding into themselves.
This differs from Murphy Beds and pull-out couches, which house the main bed components within themselves. What separates the two is that pull-out couches, when used as a bed, may require rearrangement to allow the bed some space — this could be a coffee table pushed aside or ottomans stacked on each other.
One thing to consider is that between the three, Murphy Beds are the only ones that don’t require constant set-up of bedding, pillows, etc. Everything placed on a Murphy Bed can be left when the bed is stored (or pillows, if bigger, can be put in one of the units).
Since futons and pull-out couches act secondarily as sofas, bedding must be constantly removed/set. Essentially, more moving parts are required for a futon or pull-out couch to be “ready,” whereas a Murphy Bed can just be pulled down and ready for use.