5 Things to look for in a Futon Frame
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
1. Can you handle it?
Futon Frames don't just sit there. If we are using them as they are intended, both for sitting and sleeping, then we will be having to handle them, converting them from one position to the other. This should be as easy as possible. Ideally, it should just lean back to a bed. And, when lowered to flat, the frame should just self-lock into a stable bed on its own, without grooves or pegs. Converting the frame back up into a sofa should be easy too, without the need for complicated ratcheting or peg and groove systems.
2. Gotta have wheels
When it comes to futon frames, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Just get one that already has wheels. They don't need to be swiveling coasters like on your office chair, or mini tires like on your wheel barrow. Check the back of the frame for discreet and strategically placed wheels, engineered to give you the flexibility to roll your futon frame from one location to another, and to make conversion as smooth and easy as possible for you.
3. Load bearing joints
A futon frame is as good as its joints, especially the load bearing ones. If sections are kept together just by a couple of bolts or pins or plastic bushings... then those will quickly separate and parts will break. Look for solid structural parts that reinforce key load bearing points in strategically layered design. Of course, none of those layers should be redundant, but an integral part of the mechanism.
4. Hardwood Yes! But hardwood alone does not make up for weak joints.
Look for solid hardwood. Preferably sustainably harvested. Then, re-read point #3 above. If you have a solid hardwood arm joined to a by 2 bolts on each end to a solid hardwood rail, that is then carrying a solid hardwood deck that is sliding up and down along it ... you still have a joint that is only secured by a couple of bolts. Those bolts are very likely to bend from weight and use. When that happens, connected parts break, even if they are real hardwood.
5. Reality Check.
In sitting position, is the seat at sofa height? Is the seat pitched for a real comfortable seating angle? A good test is to imagine the futon frame with tailored box cushions on it. Does it look like a real divan sofa? How about in bed position. Does the frame lock itself, automatically, into a real stable bed? Or because of weak joints, is it unstable and does it wobble and flex in the middle? You want your futon bed to be a real bed when in bed position. That means, stable and flat support.
For a few more Futon Frame tips, check out this Futon Frame Design Comparison.