Futons vs. Couches: Which Is Ultimately Better?

If you’re moving to a new place and want to get a new bed, or possibly a spare bed for when friends or relatives come to town, you have a few different options. When it comes to a futon vs a couch, one of them will offer more comfort and the other will have more options.

Keep reading to learn the major differences between a futon and a couch so you can make your decision. First though, let’s look at the big pros and cons for each.


In general, futons have these following characteristics:

  • affordable
  • lots of different options
  • some assembly required
  • good for long-term sleeping options
  • can accommodate more than one sleeper at a time


In comparison, couches have these characteristics:

  • expensive
  • hard to move
  • takes up more space
  • can cause back pain if used for long-term sleeping
  • can only accommodate one sleeper
  • very limited sleeping space without a fold-out option

About the Futon

The first futons were produced in the 1700s and were extremely expensive, around the equivalent of $10,000. Nowadays you can get one for about $100. They now come in a wide range of materials, styles, and sizes, with metal or wood frames, and separate mattresses with more or less thickness to suit your preferences.

Futons are both cheap and practical. You can use one in a spare room as a couch or leave it set up as a bed full-time. If your spare room doubles as a sitting room, you can leave it set up as a couch when it’s not needed for overnight guests.

Futons are great for people who are limited when it comes to space. For a kids’ room it is great because it gives them a place to sit when they have friends over, and it’s easy to pull out into a bed. Another way that futons work well is for those people who have a small apartment. The futon can be the couch during the day and the bed at night.

About the Couch

The couch is a mainstay in North American homes. Pretty much every living room and sitting room has at least one. The downfall is that a couch is designed for sitting on, not sleeping, unless you have a couch that has a chaise lounge on one end.

If you’re super limited on space and don’t want a bed in your spare room, a couch will work in a pinch for a single overnight guest. The benefit here is that you don’t have to fold it out to a sleeping surface unless it has a fold-out bed. The downside is that a full-length couch takes up as much width as a king-sized bed, so if your rooms are small, you might not be able to fit a couch into the room.

When it comes to price, couches are definitely a lot more expensive than futons! A simple, well-made couch can cost thousands of dollars. Sectionals will cost you even more. The less expensive couches tend to be less comfortable and might not be as durable as you would hope.


There are many differences between couches and futons. If you’re looking for a long-term sleeping option for one person, or an overnight option for two people, a futon will definitely be your better choice. If you are looking for a piece of furniture that will be solely used for seating, go with a couch. And finally, if you have a small apartment or room where you need both seating and sleeping options, a futon will always be your best bet.