Sleeper Sofa vs Wall Bed

Need an impromptu bed? You've got options. Learn the differences between a sleeper sofa and wall bed

For extra sleeping space, here's how to decide between sleeper sofa or wall bed

With the rising costs of housing, the majority of Americans today do not have the large, sprawling homes of the past, with four or five upstairs bedrooms as well as a master suite. Instead, many people live in smaller, more economical houses. This is especially true of both first-time homeowners in a starter home, or for empty nesters who have downsized their living space.

So what do you do when guests come for the holidays, or you want to have grandchildren come for a sleepover? How do you provide a comfortable sleeping space without having to sacrifice your living area, home office, or exercise room? The answer often comes down to two choices, a sleeper sofa, or a wall bed, often known as a Murphy bed. But which is the best choice for your home?

Advantages of a Wall Bed

Clear floor space is the most important element in keeping a room uncluttered in appearance. And what takes up more floor space than a bed? Beds are large and cumbersome, and they are generally meant to be the focal point of a bedroom. But what if you need a bed in a room in which it’s not meant to be the focal point?

A wall bed is a great option in a room where space is of a premium. A wall bed does not require the amount of space that a sleeper sofa takes up. If your make-shift guest sleeping area is in a high traffic area such as an exercise room or dining room, a couch may be a cumbersome, space-hogging piece of furniture that ruins the aesthetic appeal, or the usefulness of your space.

Wall beds are disguised as an attractive piece of furniture such as a cabinet, shelves, or even a desk. Most wall bed cabinets are only 16 to 19 inches deep. When opened, the wall bed becomes a comfortable sleeping area with a bed including a much thicker mattress than what is possible in a sleeper sofa. Many wall beds, when opened, include built-in night tables and storage space, making them a functional and complete bedroom space that can be tidily stored away into a handsome cabinet against a wall, or even into a built-in closet.

Wall beds, or Murphy beds, are easy to use and can generally be folded up while fully made, meaning when it’s time to sleep, the bed can simply be pulled down with the attached mattress already made up and ready to welcome your guests. Wall beds come in sizes from twin up to a king, with the most popular choices being full, double, or queen size. Several companies also offer wall beds that unfold into two bunk beds, ideal for children’s sleepovers, or for your visiting grandchildren.

A wall bed that folds into a desk is a great choice to create a room that is both a home office, and a functional guest room when visitors come to stay.

Sleeper Sofa Advantages

A sleeper sofa, otherwise known as a pull-out couch, is a good choice for a guest bed in a space where a sofa is needed. If you want to turn a den, rec room, or even your living room into a temporary sleeping space, a sleeper sofa is ideal.

Sleeper sofas now come in such a variety of styles and fabrics, that they can fit any decor. Unlike older sleeper sofas, the newer models aren’t always immediately obvious as a pull-out.

A sleeper sofa may have an advantage over a wall bed in some spaces, since they are a piece of furniture that is functional as a sofa for daily use. A sleeper sofa can be used daily as a place to sit and visit with family, or to watch television in the evenings, and then easily convert into a sleeping space when needed. A wall bed on the other hand, while it takes up less space, is still wasted space if it’s hidden in a cabinet that isn’t useful.

A futon, a simplified version of a sleeper sofa, is an inexpensive and versatile option as well.

Disadvantages of Both Sleeper Sofas and Wall Beds

As well as being often hidden in a piece of furniture that isn’t useful on a daily basis, wall beds are generally more expensive than sleeper sofas. They also have attached mattresses, so the mattress can’t be easily replaced.

Some disadvantages of sleeper sofas are the larger amount of space they require, the fact that the mattress is thinner and less comfortable, and also that they are more difficult to convert into a bed. The sofa cushions must be removed and placed somewhere in the room and then the bed has to be made up, whereas a wall bed can be folded and stored with the bedding already in place and simply strapped down. Even pillows can remain on the bed and stored in the built-in pillow box.

Both styles of guest beds have their advantages and disadvantages in regard to space, comfort, and ease of operation. You can easily weigh the pros and cons of both and then decide what is best for the guest area in your home, and for the comfort of your visiting loved ones.

Resources— Quora, Innovate Home, Resource Furniture