Round Up: Modern Sleeper Sofas

May 19, 2012 | Alex

The modern sleeper sofas market is dominated by what i like to call 'fancy futons'. The fabric may be better quality, the mattress 4x as comfortable and the folding mechanism far superior to the beast that haunted my college dorm room, but with only 3 post-graduation years under my belt, I'm not ready to go back to a futon.

I know. I get it. "The genius is in the simplicity...", "it's practical," "it's affordable" (Except when it's not. I'm looking at you, Ligne Roset.) But I'm just not ready to go back to that place. Even DWR's perennially popular Twilight Sleeper and Sliding Sleeper  can't fool me. Futons, every last one. $2,000+ futons.

So if you eliminate the futons, that basically leaves you with an air mattress, right? Wrong. Thanks to the quirky geniuses at BluDot, Gus Modern and a few others, you may rejoice modern sleep-sofa seekers! You have the power to choose.  In fact, there are a plethora of exciting alternatives to an air mattress or futon. I highlight a few of my favorites below, with a pros/cons run-down of the ones I've tested.

For more options, check out Bobby Berk HomeRoom & BoardDWRUrban OutfittersCB2, and the other usual suspects.

Of course, you can opt for an air mattress, and as such, I have included a token air mattress in my round-up. In fairness, the Room & Board air mattress is a cut above most run-of-the-mill air mattresses.

And at the very end, in recognition that not everyone is as futon-averse as I, I do sheepishly include a few fancy futons.

Queen/Full Sleepers

1. Gus Modern Flip Sofa Bed -  Baldwin Mist, Cashmere Carbon or Orillia Owl. 86w x 35d/22sd x 31h - $1,999

Evaluation: Ryan and I ultimately crowned Gus Modern's Flip Sofa the grand prize winner. It had the highest overall score in our categories: sofa comfort, bed comfort, budget friendliness, ease of transition from sofa-to-bed and aesthetics.   It's equally comfortable for sitting as for sleeping and the transition couldn't be easier.  To me, there are only 1.5 design flaws (arguably just 1, since they found a work-around for the other): 1. When two people are sleeping side-by-side, the person on the inside has to crawl over the armrest or their sleeping partner to escape; 1.5. You can't use a fitted sheet, because the back of the mattress is connected to the sofa. As a work-around, the white lining you see in the photo adheres with velcro, detaches for washing and is meant to serve as your fitted sheet. In reality, it's a little scratchier than most bed sheets.

We eagerly await its delivery next week!

2. BluDot Diplomat Sleeper Sofa - Coal, Cocoa, Pebble, Stone. 80w x 30d/21sd x 30h - $1,899

Evaluation: The Diplomat was a very close runner-up. I especially love how it looks and feels like a platform bed when it's folded out. There were two minor issues, which put together, were a deal breaker for me: 1. the seat is very shallow. I couldn't imagine myself curling up to watch TV or read a book. While I really loved the elevated bed concept, I kept remind myself that it was going to be used as a couch 90% of the time; 2. See how the guy in the photo is perched on the front half of the bed? There's a reason for it. The top half of the sofa (that folds forward to become half the bed) is infinitely more comfortable to sleep on. The back half, which rests on the leg frames, is just "eh" on the comfort level. I didn't want any fights breaking out over who got to sleep on the comfy half. As the wonderful sales team at BluDot SoHo pointed out, you could put a 1" memory-foam mattress topper over it to smooth out the difference. Absolutely true, but like most NYers, we do not have the space to store a queen-sized 1" memory-foam topper for guest use.

3. BluDot One Night Stand Sleeper Sofa - (Pebble, Persimmon, Smoke, Stone) 80w x 32d/22sd x 30h - $1,799

4. DWR Traversina Sleeper - Ecru, Grey, Light Grey, Plum Sand. 92.5w x 42.25d x 23.75h - $3,200 10-12 wks

5. Ligne Roset Mostra by Didier Gomez - Variety of fabric and leather upholstery options. 73.25w/81w x 39.75d x 31h - $4,925-$10,485

EvaluationBeautiful, comfortable and superbly designed. You'd never guess it was a sleeper. Super easy transition to a bed (although it is a two-hander for most people-- you've got to put your back into it). Alas, it starts at $5,000. So that would be a big fail in the budget-friendly category. And the budget-friendly category reigns supreme.

6. Innovation Silenos Plus Sofa - Dark Brown, Sand. 95W x 35D x 31H" - $1,499


7. CB2 Lubi Graphite Sleeper Daybed - Graphite. 79w x 32.5d x25.5h - $899

Although it's technically a daybed, not a sleep sofa, I thought this was neat because it works as a twin or as a double.

Twin Sleepers

7. CB2 Piazza Velvet Storm Sofa - Storm or midnight. 81w x 42.5d x 26h - $1,299

Yes, I recognize it's not a sleeper sofa. But it's so deep! And the back cushion lifts off! I would sleep on this thing. And I'd sure like to watch movies and eat popcorn on it.

8. West Elm Tillary Sofa - Variety of upholstery options. 74.5w x 38d x 27h - $799.00

Again, not officially a sleeper, but certainly functions as one. I haven't tested it myself, although I did hear a report that it's quite firm-- whether that is a negative or a positive, I leave up to you.

9. DWR Havana Sleeper Sofa (w/ storage) - Oatmeal. 88.5w x 39d/27.5sd x 21h - $3,500

Evaluation: This is a beautiful sleeper. Typically, you have to make design compromises when you opt for a sleeper. With the Havana, I wouldn't feel like I was compromising on the sofa. Clean, contemporary lines and a deep seat for lounging. I also love that it has a storage compartment. That said, for $3,500, I would want a sleeper that comfortable sleeps two people.

10. Urban Outfitters Night & Day Convertible Sofa - Timberwolf, night black, taupe. 84w x 35d/23sd x 34.5h - $589

Evaluation: I've heard mixed reviews on the quality and comfort of Urban Outfitter's furniture, but you can't beat the price for a good looking mid-century modern sleeper. I do wonder how structurally sound that folding back is-- maybe I'm missing something from the photos? One reviewer on the website claimed that their back collapsed shortly after purchase, so maybe I'm not missing anything.

Token Air Mattress

Room & Board - Townsend (Dakota Grey) 92w x 41d x 26h - $1,999 in stock

Evaluation: The Townsend is another model where I wouldn't feel that I was compromising on the sofa. In fact, the Townsend was in the running before we decided to go the sleeper sofa route. One important caveat on the design: Room & Board has a Townsend on display in their SoHo showroom (and in most of their showrooms, I would imagine), however, the sleeper model is a couple inches taller to accommodate the mattress mechanism. For a low-slung modern sofa, this could throw off the proportions in a noticeable way. The bottom line is that it's an air mattress. It's a firmer, more comfortable air mattress than most, but it still feels like an air mattress. I suppose that if I wanted my guests to sleep on an air mattress, I could spend $200 on one of those high quality air mattress that have an "air boxspring" for elevation. Room & Board does make a foam mattress line of sleepers, called their Comfort Sleeper collection, but it comes only in traditional styles.

The Futon's Wealthier Relations

Ligne Roset - Nomade-Express (variety of fabric upholstery options) 80w x 43.25d 37.5h - $3,785-$5,145

Room & Board - Encore (micro red or micro grey) 82w x 37d x 30h - $899

Room & Board - Elke (natural, brown/black or special order) 79w x 38d x 25h - $1,099