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Whether you’re hosting family and friends or children’s sleepovers, you don’t have to rely on a spare bedroom to accommodate overnight guests. Investing in a sleeper sofa can easily transform an office, family room, or any living space into an incognito guest room, and with Black Friday sales in full swing, there’s no reason to pay full price. Before you shudder at the thought of purchasing an eyesore of a couch that offers a mediocre night of sleep, let me assure you that things have changed.
These days, it’s impossible to even distinguish sleeper sofas from their one-trick-pony couch counterparts. With styles that range from sleek and modern to tufted and traditional, not to mention endless upholstery options, finding one that looks good isn’t hard. They also come in all sorts of sizes and configurations. Need a sectional sofa that can seat loads of people during the day and transition into a bed at night? Don’t worry; they exist.
If comfort level is a concern, we get it. We’ve had some rough nights spent tossing and turning on lousy sleeper sofas ourselves, but mattress technology has evolved, and you can find options that rival traditional beds. You just have to know what to look for.
What to Look For When Buying a Sleeper Sofa
There are many key factors to consider when shopping for a sofa, such as size, fabric, style, function, and cost. The list of criteria is even longer when looking for a sleeper sofa, like finding a sofa that’s equally comfortable for sitting and sleeping. For guidance on what matters most, we drilled interior design experts Bradley Odom and Jennifer Hunter for their best tips.
For any sofa, regardless of whether it’s a sleeper, Odom looks for cushions that have sinuous springs wrapped in foam and down. “No matter how many times you sit in one spot, the cushion will always bounce back,” he says. He also recommends sofas with hardwood frames instead of those with plywood and cardboard. As far as sleeper sofas go, he acknowledges how much they’ve evolved. “I think sleeper sofas have really come a long way in the last couple of years in terms of both comfort and style.” He recommends looking for manufacturers that don’t rely on a middle bar to support their mattresses. As for style notes, he leans toward options with a “wide stance and masculine lines” that make for a stunning headboard when the bed is pulled out.
Hunter also avoids the middle rod when possible and opts for extra-plush mattresses (think: thick memory foam) for support. Another piece of criteria she believes makes a big difference? Paying attention to mattress length. “Sleepers often have shortened mattresses by up to five inches,” she warns. Finding a sleeper sofa with a full-length mattress will help with everything from ensuring your sheets fit to feeling truly comfortable.
You should also take time to consider where you’ll put your sleeper sofa, who you envision will be using it, whether it needs to fit into a small space, and if it needs to be large enough to sleep multiple people. Do you prefer the look and feel of fabric, or do you love leather? Do you have kids or pets? If cleaning maintenance will be an issue, would you prefer a slipcover you can throw in the wash, a performance fabric you can easily spot-clean, or leather you can wipe? Ahead, we found 10 of the best options based on every shopper’s different needs, with many of them steeply discounted for Black Friday. Our top choice is the West Elm Shelter Sleeper Sectional With Storage ($3,898-$4,848) because of its versatility, but we’ve found a variety of choices everyone will love.
— Additional reporting by Anvita Reddy