Sofa beds and wall beds offer a similar benefit: a sleeping surface you can tuck away when not in use. While the purpose is the same, the method of achieving the goal is different. Breaking the comparison down by different factors helps you get a better idea of which option is best for you.
Comfort is the biggest factor in choosing a bed. You may save space, but you won’t get much sleep if you choose an alternative bed option that isn’t comfortable. In general, a wall bed is more comfortable than a sleeper sofa, and it all comes down to the mattress.
A sleeper sofa uses a thin mattress, usually only about 4 to 5 inches thick. It needs to be flexible enough to fold up into the sofa, so the mattress doesn’t generally provide a lot of support. For a night or two, it may not be bad, but, for a regular sleeping option, it can get uncomfortable fast. While sleeper sofa mattresses have improved over the years, they still don’t give quite the support and cushioning of thicker mattresses like those you find on wall beds.
On a sofa bed, the mattress goes directly on top of the metal frame, which has metal bars going across for support. Without those bars, the mattress would sink, but those support bars can add to the discomfort. If you choose a sleeper sofa with a thin mattress, you may end up feeling the bars through the mattress while you sleep — especially after it’s had a few years of use.
A wall bed uses a sturdy platform to hold the mattress, so it provides one large surface for support rather than individual bars that can cause pressure points. You also have greater versatility when it comes to the mattress for a wall bed. Most wall beds accommodate mattresses as thick as regular bed mattresses, which gives you a lot more cushioning. The most comfortable Murphy bed options use thicker mattresses.
If you’re choosing a sofa bed or wall bed as a place for occasional guests to sleep, comfort may not be as big a concern — although you don’t want your guests to be uncomfortable either. If you’re choosing a space-saving option for yourself, a Murphy bed for daily use is usually the most comfortable choice.
At the end of a long day, you just want to sink into your bed to relax. Most space-saving options require you to set up your bed before you can do that. When comparing Murphy beds vs. pull out couches, the convenience factor in setting up your bed is something to consider.
A wall bed is easy to set up when you’re ready for bed. You can simply pull the bed down into position and jump right in. Wall beds are usually much easier to set up and put away than pull out couches. They don’t feel heavy when you pull them down into position or put them back against the wall. The hinge on the bed is designed to let the bed easily go up and down as needed, so you don’t need a lot of muscle to get your bed ready or put it away. Wall beds also have straps to hold the bedding in place, which saves you the hassle of making your bed every night, and removing the bedding before you can put it away in the morning like you would need to do with a pull-out couch.
While a sofa bed offers both seating and a place to sleep, it comes with a major drawback — you can never fully move the sleeper sofa out of the way. It takes up a little less space than a regular bed when you’re using it as a couch, but it still takes up a significant amount of space in your room. If your goal is to save as much space as possible, the sofa bed isn’t the best option.
A wall bed can fold completely up against the wall, leaving the floor space below open for any activities you choose. That ability to completely open up floor space makes a wall bed a much more versatile option. The bed disappears against the wall, so it looks sleek and modern. And if you need the seating, you can choose a wall bed with an integrated sofa to get the same seating you would with a sofa, with the ease, convenience, and comfort of a wall bed.
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