Futon furniture comes from the Japanese mattress that is used as a bed. The futon is a mattress that is about two or more inches thick that is placed on the floor. The mattress is filled with cotton stuffing. During the day the mattress is packed away. The American version of the futon comes from this Japanese concept, except the mattress in on a frame, which can be wood or metal. It appeared in America in the later 1960s and today is considered to be a space saving inexpensive piece of furniture.
Today, the American version of the futon comes in different shapes and sizes. The frames can be from five feet to seven feet wide. The futon is a chair or a sofa during the day and a bed when it is opened up at night. They come as either a bi-fold or a tri-fold. This refers to the number of times the mattress is folded or bent as the bed converts to a sofa. A bi-fold sleeper turns into a sofa by pulling up the back of the wood or metal frame. A tri-fold involves an extra fold and is a little more cumbersome to work with.
The futon that is considered to be a less expensive alternative to a traditional sofa or bed is a space saver. The basic metal frame futon with a mattress can be purchased for less than one hundred dollars. But not all futons are cheap. Futon frames range from the plain metal frame to the more elaborate wood design frames in almost every kind of wood and finish. They can be plain or very elaborate but they assemble with eight or ten screws. The frames can cost up to seven hundred dollars or more. There is also a great deal of variety in the futon mattress today, from the simple cotton filled Japanese version. A futon mattress can range in price from one hundred dollars to over six hundred dollars depending on the tastes of the buyer.
The nice thing about the futon is the cover, which the owner can change at any time. The buyer can chose from a colors, patterns and textures, with and without pillows. The price of the covers without pillow can range from about thirty dollars to about two hundred dollars. A high end futon can cost about fifteen hundred dollars, so even though they are space savers, they aren’t always inexpensive space savers.