There are a whole host of new or used cheap sofa beds that you can buy. On the lower priced end of the spectrum there are simple futons that are little more than a simple wooden frame with a folded over mattress and cover. These are typically low to the floor and only suitable for very occasional use. As you move up the price scale you get to sofa beds that start to resemble real sofas. You can choose a couch in a whole range of different colours, dimensions and styles.
The designer sofabeds are obviously less cheap, but are built of more sturdy materials suitable for more frequent use. At the higher end of the scale you can buy corner sofabeds in leather or fabric that really do look quite smart. I’d even say that you could use one of these as your main couch in the living room, and just pull it out for use as a sofabed whenever you have guests to stay.
Types of Sofa Beds
Just like regular sofas, there are many different types of sofa beds that you can buy that are suited to different purposes, here are the most common types starting with the cheapest:
The Single Sofa Bed
As the name suggests, this sofa bed is more of a chair that turns into a low bed. These are typically the foam variety that unfolds and lies flat on the floor. When in the folded-up stage they do have the appearance of a very casual chair, and you wouldn’t want to sit on it for long. Probably more suited to kids bedrooms than as a part of regular lounge furniture. Starting from a price of approximately £50 however (Argos) if you’re looking for a very cheap and somewhat cheerful solution then this may be it.
The Wooden or Metal Futon Sofa Bed
Made famous by Ikea, a futon is typically a wooden frame that holds a folded-up mattress. Sometimes futons are on small legs, or some have castors / wheels to enable you to pull the bed out a bit more easily. It also means that you won’t be sleeping directly on the floor. Ikea also do some metal-framed versions of futons that generally serve the same purpose, although with a bit more sturdy construction. You can buy a wooden futon sofabed from anywhere around £100 (Argos) to £3-400 (Ikea) if you opt for the more sturdy metal frame version.
Real-Looking Foam Sofabeds
As you move slightly higher up the price spectrum (although you can still pick these up for a minimum of £95), you get to the sofa beds that start to resemble real couches. Typically they are smaller in width, a two seater sofabed being the most common. Some have more ornate arms and seat cushions that are more like a real sofa. These are less flimsy in construction and you could happily sit on one of these for longer periods of time. Although they probably aren’t to be recommended for permanent use as a couch, I would be happy sitting on one for longer periods of time than a futon that doesn’t even have any side arms. The main downside with this type however, is that the cushions you lie on when made into a bed are just constructed of foam. These usually lie flat on the ground and are easily compressed and distorted. Although I’m not certain about the quality, Ikea has one that looks really smart for a price tag of just £95. Even the cheaper ones are typically in the £95-£300 price bracket.
Metal-Action Sofa Beds
These are the closest thing you will get to feeling as though you are lying on a real bed. Most sofas within this category have a metal fold-out system that extends into the bed. They usually have a sprung base, or sometimes have a woven base that is pulled taught by springs. A slimline mattress then sits on top of the base. Due to the fold-out metal construction of the sofabed, this has a number of advantages. Firstly it is a lot more robust and capable of withstanding more weight and more frequent usage. Secondly it is more comfortable as the bed base is suspended underneath the mattress. Finally, they benefit from being raised significantly off the floor. To reiterate this means you will sleep more comfortably, and will probably stay warmer as you won’t be in direct contact with the floor. When used as a sofa they are almost robust enough to be used as an everyday couch, and definitely comfy. The downside is that all the complex mechanism means they aren’t really a cheap sofa bed. A good metal-action sofabed could be bought for around £300+.
Leather Corner Sofa Beds with Storage
Okay, so maybe these can’t really be classed as a low cost sofa bed, however we have included these as they are excellent functional replacements for your lounge furniture. If you’ve got limited space then you may want to consider buying a corner sofa bed as your main couch. It is likely to be as comfy to sit on as a regular sofa, especially the leather variety. They are also built to be used on a day-to-day basis, as you would expect from a higher price tag. Many of the larger sofabeds (and the corner ones) have in-built storage to allow you to store bits and pieces that usually hang around in living rooms such as magazines, books and remote controls for example! If you buy one of these corner sofa beds brand new then you are looking at a price tag of £800-£1500+. Obviously this is quite prohibitive if you are looking for a budget guestbed, so why not check out eBay for some cracking deals. Sofas are funny things on eBay – there is pretty much always an oversupply of sofas, and so you can grab a bargain just by looking around. When you’re creating your search don’t forget to order the results by distance so you can see how far away they are from you.