Futon Mattress

Before you purchase a futon mattress you should think about how you plan to use it. The reason behind this statement is not to discourage you at all, in fact, quite the opposite. The reason is to ensure that you get exactly the kind you are looking for and one that will meet or exceed your expectations. Is this a lot to ask from your futon? Well, if you keep reading, you’ll learn more than you probably knew about futons and why you might just be making an even better choice than you first thought.

I’m sure that you already know that there are many different styles of futon mattresses available on the market. If not, we’ll introduce you to some of those here. If you did know this, then maybe you are just looking for a little more clarity on which one might be the best choice for you. Hopefully, you’ll have a better idea by the end of this article as well.

Futons come in the ‘older’ cotton, poly, and wool blended foam infills as they always have. These styles are more often than not the most inexpensive ones. These are the ones that used to get such a bad rap back when they first appeared on the market in the West. You see, futons have been used for hundreds of years in Asian countries. They are most popular in Japan and it is the traditional style of mattress there. However, the Japanese futon mattress is actually quite a bit different than the style we use in the West.

A traditional looking Japanese room with futons.

The traditional futon consists of two parts: an upper quilted part called the kake-buton and the bottom, mattress portion, is called the shiki-buton. The way that this system works is that they are both laid on a mat, a tatami, and slept on. In the morning, they are both beaten, traditionally with a bamboo cane, to clean and then aired out to dry. This allows them to be refreshed each morning. It also allows the room in which they were used to be open and ready for other needs. It is part of the lifestyle in countries like Japan where a more minimalist design is appreciated.

Like with many great designs, they become adapted over the years and with different cultures. This is just as true with the traditional mattresses as it is with futon design. In the West, we have taken the futon and made it into a more functional piece of furniture. Here, we use them as both sofa-couches as well as beds. The types of bed frames that can be used with a futon vary as well; we’ll discuss this below.   The style of mattress that we have built is a stretch from this traditional style. What we done is make them more like a conventional mattress; adding inner coil springs, memory foam and even toppers. So, the futon of today is nothing like the kind that you may remember from your high school or college days. The reason why those got such a bad reputation was because of poor infill materials leading to a very thin mattress that quickly flattened. This ultimately led to the mattress being uncomfortable and non-supportive, as well as having the bed frame pressing into your back. It wouldn’t be too uncommon to wake up with back pains or other aches related to sleeping on a poor quality mattress.

The more common types of frames are made of wood. Some manufacturers or mattress stores will include a bed frame with your purchase. These are often less desirable in terms of quality, but this is not always the case. Some frames are made of tubular steel and powder coated to help them resist rusting or corrosion that could damage your futon cover.

A custom mahogany frame with storage.

You can always have a custom bed frame built just for you. These will almost always be more durable and fit your needs and specifications more precisely. Often, these incorporate storage or shelving. They may also include headboards and or other unique features like under-mattress storage.

These frames are typically found in bi-fold or tri-fold styles. The difference in frames comes down to how they will be folded to create the sofa position. It affects the mattress as well. It will be much simpler to purchase a futon that you plan on using more for a sofa to get a tri-fold design. The reason behind this is that it can fold easily into a smaller profile and the mattress will be made of the more flexible materials, like cotton and wool, with the foam inserts.

If, on the other hand, you plan on using your futon as your primary sleeping arrangement, then you can utilize either a bi-fold frame or a fixed-platform bed frame. The material used for such a mattress could be one with the inner-coil springs or have a thicker profile. This is what you should consider to make the mattress a more comfortable and longer lasting one.

It is still more likely that your conventionally manufactured mattress will last longer than a futon. Some factors that go into this are the in-fill materials, synthetic fabrics and the frame of the mattress itself. More often than that, however, you will likely be considering a futon mattress as a secondary sleeping situation or for extra seating in a home office or entertainment room.

Alternative Futon Bed Choices

If you share the concerns of many about these off-gassing ideas and threats, then you should examine some of the different alternative forms of futon beds and mattresses. These include things like the organic cotton futon and materials made with hemp. The organic cottons are the easiest to come by and have the most trusted names in the field supporting them. The materials like hemp, bamboo and even choices like wool or latex foam are also available.

You might even be considering a kid’s futon for your child’s first ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ bed. This is an exciting time for both the parents and child, so it should be a special bed. The more popular choices for these first beds are the themed beds; cartoon characters, movies, or playful frames made of race cars, princess carriages and the like. These are more for the child than the parent, but the mattress is an important thing to consider as well. Another option is a bunk. There are futon bunk beds that serve the same function and work in just the same way as a traditional bunk bed does. This could have also been included in the discussion of the futon frames above.

You can start with a twin and move up to a full futon when they grow or their room space allows. There are many options here and considering which one is the healthiest way to rest your little one’s head down on each night is of the utmost importance. Research does show how important sleep is and it is even more important for it to be free of gaseous by-products and other harmful chemical residues, regardless if it is for you or your child.


One main factor affecting cost will be the size of the mattress. The smaller it is, like a twin, the less expensive. There are queen size futons, but you will be harder pressed to find a king size mattress in this style. There are custom orders available for larger individuals, though. In fact, you might be surprised to know that many athletes prefer futons because they can be custom ordered to fit them.

For the more simple versions of this type of bed, you can think in terms of the low $100s USD. This would include styles that are made of just cotton, cotton-poly’s and wools with the various styles of foam padding. For a more luxurious type of futon, with inner coiled springs, memory foam, toppers and the like, you can expect to pay upwards of $500 USD or more. Also, you’ll pay more for the organic cotton futon beds and the alternative materials because they just aren’t as heavily sought after as of yet. These things will change as well.

As your browse around, consider what it is that you really want to use your futon for and then find the manufacturer or site that can best deliver that for you. Brand names, such as Sealy™, Simmons™ and Beautyrest™ all make futon mattress es, so you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable with the quality that is available. Also, you can shop the larger online retailers like Amazon and Ebay to find a better deal. Thanks for stopping by and get a good night’s rest.