From your college student’s dorm room to having guests stay with you, futons have found their niche in nearly every culture. They are probably the most versatile piece of furniture in existence today and can be made to fit custom bedrooms sets, living room decor and especially to tie rooms together if you have exposed areas like fitted wardrobes or other custom made furniture. After choosing from a style above you can match that to what kind of functionality you want out of your futon. The better quality will most likely only be suitable for bedding purposes, but that is not to say you can’t find a high-quality cotton futon for other purposes.
One thing is when doubling as a piece of living room furniture it will need to endure lots of folding. Flexibility is key in this regard and a lighter material may be better suited for this purpose. Choose one of the first three varieties above. According to foamglobes.com futon mattress research and guide, foam futons are perfect for this kind of furniture as it retains its shape better while still providing adequate support. Most can be purchased for $300 or less. A futon frame and mattress are often purchased as a set. Another accessory you want to try and include in your purchase is the futon mattress cover. This will help protect your futon mattress from losing its shape and becoming lumpy.
Different Types of Futon Mattresses
Since its popularity in Western civilization, the futon mattress has gone through a myriad of changes and styles, but it originated in the Far East, Japan. It has always been used as bedding but in Japan, the futon was more a thin frameless mat that was placed on Tatami (rice straw) mats and was easily folded up and fit into a closet when not being used. This fits perfectly with the Japanese practice of minimalism, where often the sleeping quarters served as another room as well.
Once the tradition came to Western culture it was adapted to bed frames and made with thicker batting as opposed to the thin two-inch batting formerly used. Eventually, the frames were made to fold over on themselves to double as a sofa frame, further adapting the Japanese minimalist style. Today futon mattresses are made with sophisticated accessories to increase their lifespan, such as futon covers. These prevent moisture from seeping into the cotton causing sagging and lumping.
Most people aren’t aware that when selecting futons, there are several options to choose from other than the standard 100% cotton variety. While cotton futon mattresses are the most affordable, they aren’t the most durable and will require more frequent replacement than other options. The lifespan of a standard cotton design under daily use is about five to seven years. You can prolong this with a high-level maintenance routine but they are somewhat difficult to manage as their soft form makes them hard to maneuver.
Let’s first look at the cotton futon mattress and then we’ll discuss other options.
Futon Mattress Styles
The Cotton Futon Mattress
Bulkier than its Japanese predecessor, this mattress is entirely filled with cotton and has a cotton cover. It’s a firm mattress, but it can still be easily folded over to form a sofa or loveseat. Often it comes with a wooden futon frame that is also easily maneuvered into a sofa or bed position. It is very prone to moisture, especially that from sweat and requires a routine airing out. Flipping and rotating the mattress every few weeks will also prevent lumping from occurring.
Cotton Foam Futon Mattress
This is the most popular of the futon as it holds its form better than 100% cotton futon mattresses and is still relatively inexpensive. The mattress is firm and resilient to shape loss yet still allows for a comfortable sleeping experience. The core is made of several layers of foam and is surrounded by cotton batting. The more foam layers, the softer the mattress will be, the lighter and easier to maneuver and an overall reduction is lumps and sags. The shape will hold for about ten to twelve years before needing to be replaced.
Wool Futon Mattresses
Wool futon mattresses aren’t very common as many people have allergies to wool. Still, they are a natural insulator, making them eco-friendly and best for cool climates. These mattresses also have foam cores as wool doesn’t hold its shape well on its own and also require futon covers as they are incredibly absorbent and will quickly lose their shape. They require as much if not more maintenance than the all cotton futon mattress.
Polyester Foam Futon Mattress
The less cotton used in the bedding the longer it will last and that is very true for synthetic fabrics like foam and polyester. Polyester provides the firmness and support that you want in a futon mattress. It has a foam core with a single layer of cotton around the foam to add softness. Polyester foam futon mattresses can support all body types as they are highly resilient and maintain their shape for a long time and can be as comfortable if not more comfortable than Talalay latex mattresses. The mattress itself is lightweight and very durable for everyday use. When it comes to maintenance, you can expect to need to flip and rotate it every three months.
Futon With Innerspring Mattress
It’s hard to label this as a futon mattress as it resembles a typical box spring mattress. You can get it in any size up to the king, whereas most futon mattresses only come in as large a size as full. Within it are springs encased by several layers of foam? It is not designed to fold up and therefore can only be used for sleeping purposes. This limits its functionality to a futon bed only. It is bulkier than the others and much more expensive. It will last as long as commercial mattresses and requires only light maintenance, including being flipped every six months.
As with most quality products pricing will reflect in the design. But with futons the lesser the quality of materials, the less you want to use it for sleeping. Cotton futons do best as sofas or as guest beds. If you want one as your main sleeping surface, it would be a better investment to go with an innerspring futon mattress. These will cost you more initially but will outlast any cotton variety three times over.
What Makes Futon Mattresses So Comfortable?
There are several words that could sum up the experience sleeping on a futon mattress will afford you. Comfortable is one. Sleep-able, cozy, lulling, the list can go on. Mixed with the right kind of support and materials, the comfort level of a quality futon is unsurpassable. If you get one that can double as a sofa or loveseat then you’ve added functionality to the list of exceptional benefits. The fact that it is easy to maintain is another plus.
You might not think of quality when someone mentions futon. After all, futons are for students and first-time apartment renters, right? Absolutely not. There are several futon mattress manufacturers that produce high-quality futon mattresses that will outlast any contemporary mattress. They can be stylish and fit with any number of furniture styles. The low lying frames and mattresses can compliment the minimalist look as well as fit with any vintage retro chair or other vintage furniture from the 1950′s and 60′s.
Sleep is one of the most important processes in your life. You need quality sleep to function well. Manufacturers make quality futon beds because they want your business. They want you to spread the word about their particular futon frame and mattress and so they are going to manufacture something that will last and afford the comfort of a good night’s sleep.
Each manufacturer will use materials to produce quality sleeping conditions. That is why the cotton futon mattress has gone through so many upgrades and transformations. And while even the highest quality futon bed will be expensive compared to standard cotton batting futons, they will compare favorably to contemporary mattresses.
These traditional mattresses a wide range of materials in their production which also requires large amounts of chemicals to make them flame retardant and sleep safely. However, these chemicals have been related to a number of health issues. Even with a futon mattress cover, the bed is still made with only a handful of materials which don’t require any chemicals.
That is not to say that a particular manufacturer will not use the same chemicals from a standard bed mattress on its contemporary bed futon mattress. You will need to check with each maker to get a better understanding of how theirs is made. You may not find many options in natural materials unless you opt for 100% cotton futon mattresses but there are some in-fill designs made with the eco-friendly consumer in mind.
In-fill simply means materials used in making the mattress. Cotton foam futon mattresses are common in-fill materials. Polyester can be used with foam. There are mattresses made with individually wrapped innerspring as well. These particular mattresses are made for sleeping purposes only, however. Something a little more “natural” would be a cotton wool blend. Wool provides firmness to the mattress as well as a natural insulator. Being a wicker fiber, it will last longer than a cotton only futon with mattress.
How Can I Make My Futon Mattress More Comfortable?
If you have a futon mattress that is fairly old and maybe sagging in and around the middle, you may be able to salvage it enough to get a few more years out of it before it needs replacing. By all means, though, you should never compromise your sleep and waste nights on a mattress that doesn’t provide comfortable sleep, but here is a tip that can help if a discount futon mattress isn’t on the horizon. For one, you can try to dry out your current mattress by putting it outside in the sun for a few hours on each side. Sometimes the cotton batting inside the mattress absorbs moisture; this causes lumping and sagging to occur. Taking a moment to air dry it in the sun can bring your futon back to life.
Other than that you can look at discount stores for some affordable futon mattresses. Many of these stores carry Tempur-Pedic and pillow-top futon mattress pads that can be laid on top of your mattress to “fluff” it up. This is an economical way to save money while still getting the comfort you need from your futon mattress at night.