The reasons to be in the market for a futon are numerous, usually if you’re moving into a new house or apartment or looking for an inexpensive alternative to a sleeper sofa for an existing one. Either way there are several options available to you and, a couple of points to consider prior to rushing out and forking up for the first futon you lay eyes on.
What is the desired function for this new piece of furniture? Highly desired because they are inexpensive and can double as both couch and bed depending on the circumstances, the fact of the matter is that not all futons are created equal. When I moved into my most recent apartment I brought absolutely no furniture with me and ended up sleeping on the floor for the first night. I’m used to roughing it and figured it wouldn’t be a big deal, but after that first night man did I think otherwise.
Bottom line, I hit up craigslist and went and snatched up the first futon I could find at a decent price, just to get up off the floor that second night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much better. The mattress was extremely thin, worn thinner in places from use, and the feeling of the bars through the material was obvious. If I were using this particular model as a sofa instead of a bed it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal, but lying on thinly padded metal bars all night long does not make for restful sleep. You may end up paying more for a thicker mattress, but it’s still going to be cheaper than buying an actual bed complete with box springs and will be just as comfortable.
New versus used is another common question. There are arguments for and against each. New is more expensive, usually disassembled, and may require extensive shopping around to find the best deal. On the plus side, for those of you with allergies you know for sure it’s never been exposed to animal dander (or anything else “questionable” for that matter) and if you’re planning to resell down the line it’ll go for more than something that was already somewhat worn when you got it. Likewise, buying used will afford you some great deals for furniture that is otherwise not in your price range, and yet there is the uncertainty of where it’s been (in the home of a smoker, for example.)
Another important point is transporting your new futon home. That futon I mentioned earlier? I was living by myself at the time and had to get a fully assembled futon out of my truck, up a flight of stairs and into my apartment all by myself. If you’re on your own and small in size than this can pose and significant problem – depending on your selection. If the mattress is relatively thin it shouldn’t be a problem for one person to carry, but the assembled frame is far too wide and awkward to manage on your own. Buying a new futon eliminates this problem because the frame will be in pieces in a compact box. With a used one, there’s still always the option of hiring help, or disassembling the bigger pieces of the frame yourself (usually a simple task requiring only a set of a hex keys (Allen wrenches) and a Gerber or regular pliers.
Whatever you choose, there are ways around any obstacle, so don’t let the prospect of moving it alone or paying extra to avoid cat hair stop you from getting a great deal on a cheap sleeper. These are simply a few points to keep in mind to ensure nothing /too/ important gets overlooked in the frenzy of shopping and buying.