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By Leah A. Zeldes, Brand Publishing Writer
Summer is ending. Before you know it, the weather will be getting chilly up North, and — as every Floridian knows — that means visitors will be flocking to the Sunshine State. When the holidays roll around, even if you have a dedicated guest room, you might need extra sleeping space for family and friends for big get-togethers.
The solution? Replace your ordinary seating with a sleeper sofa.
Sleeper sofas have come a long way from those heavy, lumpish hide-a-beds with the iron bar in the middle of your back, says Lynn Goral, a designer with Baer’s Furniture, a collection of fine furniture showrooms with 15 locations throughout Florida. “It’s a trampoline base,” she says. “The sleepers nowadays are very good."
Modern sleepers can be just as comfortable as regular beds and as attractive as regular sofas. You have your choice of mattress styles from traditional to memory foam — the latter among the most popular today.
Memory foam mattresses have layers in different densities to contour to your body shape. The higher-density memory foam softens when it senses body heat and molds to a warm body, while lower-density memory foam molds to pressure. Sofa beds also come with traditional innerspring mattresses and pillow tops.
When choosing your sleeper sofa, says Goral, “Don’t skimp on price.” Best quality means your investment will last longer and have the most comfortable mattress.
Shop for a sleeper sofa the same way you would a bed. Ask for them to be unfolded and lie down. When you find one that you like, spend at least 15 minutes lying on it. Then check how easy it is to unfold and refold, and what needs to be removed to turn the couch into a bed.
“Get an attached back instead of separate cushions,” Goral advises. That makes it nicer for your guests to sit up in bed, and means you don’t have to remove and find a place to stash so many cushions before you can unfold the bed.
Whether you need a sectional, couch or arm chair, you can find one with a bed built in. Sleepers come in sizes from king to twin, so you can put one into almost every room. “They sit firmer,” says Goral, compared to the softest furniture, but otherwise sleepers are as comfortable and good looking as regular sofas and chairs, so there’s no reason not to use one anywhere you’d put upholstered seating.
When shopping, take measurements to make sure your room can accommodate the sleeper when it’s unfolded. A king-size mattress measures 76 inches wide by 80 inches long but typical sleeper sofa mattresses are usually narrower and shorter. Still, that makes for a very large sofa when you add in the back and arms. Most commonly, sleeper sofas feature mattresses in queen size (60-by-80) or double (also called “full size,” 54-by-75).
Sleepers with twin or single beds, a mattress 39 inches wide and 75 inches long, take up little space and are a good choice for smaller rooms. Even if you have space for a large sofa, a pair of twin-size sleeper chairs can give you more versatility when housing guests.
According to Erin Doland of Unclutterer.com, “Sleeper chairs are fantastic additions in small spaces because they work double duty as seating and guest accommodations. One of these multitaskers in a living room or office is perfect when you don’t have a guest room or space for a larger sofa sleeper.”
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