Sofa BedsThe humble sofa bed - also known as a sofabed or sofa sleeper - is probably one of the most popular and best known forms of
space saving bed you can buy. It provides a simple means of making a spare bed available at short notice whilst also being functional during the daytime.
What is a Sofa Bed?Despite its popularity it's actually surprisingly difficult to define the term sofa bed. We all know it when we see it - but what is it?
The problem comes in part from the difficulty in defining the word "sofa" itself.
DefinitionEtymologically the word sofa comes from the Arabic suffa which was a long stuffed couch or a dias with cushions. Some people define a sofa as being any seat for two or more people. Others insist that a sofa is larger than a settee which seats two people. There is also disagreement about whether or not a sofa needs sides arms.
If the definition of "sofa" is difficult, the definition of "sofa bed" is even more complex. Nowadays you can buy so-called sofa beds in all sizes, including single seat versions. These should, stricly speaking, be called "chair beds". However for simplicity they are often also called "sofa beds", even though this is arguably incorrect.
And what about the Western futon? It sometimes seems as if marketing departments use this term interchangably with "sofa bed".
This variety of interpretations underlines how important it is to know exactly what you are getting before you buy, be it online or in a store. Take time choosing the right one for you.
The simplest thing is probably to define a sofa bed as a convertible multi-functional piece of furniture that can be used as a seat during the day and reconfigured as a bed at night.