Published On: Mon, Jun 4th, 2018

How to choose a stylish and functional sofa bed for a tiny condo

With more Torontonians living in apartments and condos than detached houses (44 versus 40 per cent, according to Statistics Canada) — and Montreal and Vancouver following suit — many Canadians are looking for multipurpose pieces of furniture to meet their needs in a more limited living space.

One of the most important piece of home furnishings is the bed, and for those in tight quarters, the solution might be a sofa bed.

44 per cent of Torontonians live in an apartment or condominium.
44 per cent of Torontonians live in an apartment or condominium.  (Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star File Photo)

A sofa bed may seem simple and conjure up images of a frumpy and uncomfortable piece of furniture in your grandparents’ basement, but it can be surprisingly complicated.

Interior decorator Nikki Fisher-Gigault of NFG Designs shares her top tips on buying a stylish and functional sofa bed:

Style counsel: Gone are poufy couches with rolled arms, floral patterns and pleated skirts. Instead, there are stylish futons and sofa beds that reflect a more contemporary style, Fisher-Gigault said. There’s no longer need to settle for a frumpy piece of furniture.

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“The industry has come a long way in terms of the actual style of the sofa bed,” she said. “There are more clean lines, squared arms and really clean, modern and simple looks to cater to every style in your living place.”

If space is an issue, look for a sofa bed that has room to stow the cushions away when in use, as well as built-in drawers for storage.

Test it out: Once you’ve found a look you like, it’s time to test it out.

Most couch seat cushions are made from foam, Fisher-Gigault says, and you want things to be a bit firmer than ideal as they will soften over time.

Try opening and closing the sofa bed to test out the mechanics and frame construction as well — you want something that moves smoothly and that’s not too complicated.

Mattress quality is also critical if you ever want your guests to visit again. The coil spring mattress used to rule the day, but memory foam is likely your best bet in the modern sofa bed world.

“Memory foam is trendier and will store away easier than traditional coil mattresses — plus, they will hold their longevity as well,” Fisher-Gigault adds.

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Measure, measure, measure: It may seem obvious, but make sure your living space will fit the sofa bed — and that includes building elevators, stairs, hallways and door frames for the move-in.

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Don’t cheap out: Just because it’s possible to buy a super cheap sofa bed, it doesn’t mean you should. Fisher-Gigault recommends going for a mid-range model, or something in the $ 1,200 to $ 2,200 arena.

“I would avoid the really inexpensive models, especially for people who live in smaller spaces like condos,” she says, noting a quality sofa bed can last decades.

“This is a piece of furniture that’s really versatile and you’re going to use it a lot. Invest in this piece, because if you’re flipping it from the sofa to the bed often enough, you want to get the longevity out of both features.”

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How to choose a stylish and functional sofa bed for a tiny condo