Updated January 2022
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Buying guide for best futon chairs

Whether you have a small home or often have unexpected overnight guests show up on your doorstep, convertible furniture is one of the best ways to maximize space and have a comfortable bed at your disposal whenever you need it. While futon sofas might be the first option that comes to mind, futon chairs can be an even more convenient space saver in your home.

But choosing a futon chair can be challenging because there are so many options on the market. You have to select the right frame type and material, mattress, and other features if you’re to get the most out of the chair.

BestReviews is here to help. We take care of all the product research so you can have all the facts necessary to make the most educated shopping decision. That means you’ll wind up with the perfect items for your home without getting overwhelmed or spending too much time shopping. If you’re looking to buy a futon chair, our shopping guide has all the advice for choosing the best one for your needs.

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Oak, pine, and maple are commonly used in futon chair frames.

What is a futon chair?

If you know what a futon is, you probably have a pretty good idea of what a futon chair is. While a futon is a sofa or couch that folds out into a bed, a futon chair is a chair that converts to a mattress or bed. Futon chairs are available in a wide array of styles, but because they’re smaller than full-size futons, they usually only fold out to the equivalent of a twin-size bed. That makes them ideal for one guest to sleep on.

Futon chair benefits

There are several reasons why a futon chair can be an excellent addition to your home.

  • Convenient: Even if you don’t have a dedicated guest room, you can easily entertain family and friends from out of town with a futon chair. When guests visit, you simply unfold the chair to create a bed. The rest of the time it serves as additional seating space in whatever room you place it.

  • Space saving: Because it does double duty as a bed, a futon chair saves valuable space in your home. You can have a guest bed whenever you need it without having to take up space with a bed frame and/or mattress that stays out all the time.

  • Affordable: Not only is a futon chair less expensive than a bed but it’s also more affordable than a full-size futon.

  • Versatile: Unlike a full-size futon, which requires a fairly large amount of space, a futon chair is compact, enabling you to place it in nearly any room of your home, including the living room or family room.

  • Lightweight: Most futon chairs are very lightweight, which means you can easily move yours from one room to another depending on where you want your guests to sleep.
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Did you know?
A futon chair provides a sleeping area that’s approximately 75 inches long and 39 inches wide.

Futon chair features to consider

Bifold vs. trifold frame: Futon chairs are available with two types of frames. Bifold futon chairs (the cushions fold in two places) are the most common option. These usually have legs like a traditional chair and some type of rollers to convert the frame from the upright position to a sleeping position. Tri-fold futon chairs (the cushions fold in three places) can have legs, but many of them are cushions that sit directly on the floor. Futon cushions that sit on the floor don’t have a frame.

Frame material: Futon chair frames are typically made of either metal or wood. Metal futon frames, usually matte black or silver-colored steel, are fairly durable and often more affordable than wood, making metal an ideal choice if you’re on a budget. Both color options can coordinate with a wide array of décor. Wooden frames are very durable and heavy, but these can be more expensive than metal. These are available in a variety of different woods, including maple and cherry, as well as with both stained and clear-coat finishes.

Size: Most futon chairs fold out to form a sleeping surface that’s roughly the same size as a twin mattress, a comfortable fit for one person. However, some futon chairs don’t provide a large enough sleeping surface for an adult to sleep on comfortably when fully stretched out. Pay attention to the chair’s unfolded dimensions to see if it offers enough space for your needs.

Some futon chairs are larger in their upright position than others. You can find chaise longue futon chairs that allow you to extend your legs when sitting up, so you only have to fold down the backrest to fully recline when you want to sleep.

Mattress/cushioning: Most futon chairs include the mattress or cushions that enable the chair to be used as a bed. However, some styles only include the frame, so you have to add cushions to use it as a bed. While you’ll pay less for a frame, you’ll have to buy the mattress or cushions separately, so you won’t end up saving much money.

The type of filling in the cushions or mattress plays a significant role in the durability of the chair. Cotton foam cushions are the most common type for futon chairs and are usually fairly rigid to resist sagging. Cotton polyester isn’t as dense, so it tends to sag fairly easily and doesn’t hold up as well with heavy use.

Upholstery: Futon chairs are available covered in a variety of upholstery materials. You can find styles that use cotton, linen, faux leather, and other fabrics to complement nearly any interior design. Some futon chairs have removable covers, so you can easily take off the cover to wash it when it gets dirty.

Futon chair prices

Futon chairs range in price based on the quality and type of frame and mattress or cushions. You can expect to pay between $70 and $450 for a futon chair.

Inexpensive: A trifold futon chair or a bifold futon chair that doesn’t include a mattress or cushions is usually the most affordable option, ranging from $70 to $115.

Mid-range: Bifold futon chairs with metal frames and built-in cushions usually cost between $110 and $200.

Expensive: Bifold futon chairs that have wooden frames and built-in cushions typically cost from $200 to $450.


  • Think about the chair’s folded and unfolded dimensions. When you’re choosing a spot for your futon chair, make sure to consider how much space it requires when fully extended in the sleeping position. Try to set it in a location where you won’t have to move any heavy furniture to open the chair.

  • Add an air mattress. If a futon chair isn’t quite as comfortable as you’d like for sleeping, consider topping it with an air mattress or camping pad.

  • Add a comforter. Placing a comforter on top of the futon chair can also add extra cushioning to make guests more comfortable for sleeping.
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A futon chair for visiting overnight guests is an ideal addition to a dorm room or studio apartment.


Q. Can a futon chair be used as a permanent bed?

A. A futon chair works best as a temporary bed for guests or in emergency situations, but it isn’t the best option as a permanent bed. That’s because most futon mattresses don’t have enough cushioning to provide adequate support. If you sleep in a futon chair for more than a few days at a time, you could end up with some aches and pains like a stiff neck or sore back.

Q. Can I change the mattress on a futon chair?

A. Some futon chairs have a removable mattress or cushions so you can replace the mattress if it doesn’t provide enough support or wears out over time. But there are some models, including trifold futon chairs, with cushions that are fully attached to the chair, which means you can’t replace them.

Q. How sturdy is a futon chair?

A. Most futon chairs can support a good deal of weight. However, it’s important to check the weight capacity of any model you’re considering. Most chairs can accommodate at least 200 pounds, but some models can hold over 350 pounds.

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