Folding beds (also known as fold-away beds) nominally share a common feature in being able to save space by virtue of having a compact storage configuration when not in use. But this single common, well-known feature belies the fact that folding beds are highly varied in their sizes, styles, quality, costs and construction. Therefore choosing the right one entails a bit of thought not only about the bed itself but also the particulars of the surrounding decor and the circumstances of usage. Here we discuss five types.
A “wall bed” is unique amongst folding beds as it completely hides a bed away. But in spite of its suggestive name these beds do not go into a wall, rather they fold up to become part of a cabinet, desk or other furniture. Desk beds convert into desks with the writing surface becoming the underside of the bed when folded out. In the same vein, a cabinet bed has a double identity of a cabinet by day and bed by night. They are a great option for residences short on space that need functionality doubled into each piece of furniture.
Folding beds also come in sofa or love seat forms which have greater portability than wall beds. These are available in the same sizes as standard beds. Additionally, they serve a secondary purpose as sitting furniture when not in use as beds. To assist in their portability, most have wheels that make it easier to roll into and out of storage areas. The sitting surface and the sleeping surface are different with the latter tucked into the innards of the couch when in its storage configuration.
The futon, ubiquitous in college students apartments, serves a dual purpose much like the sofa or love seat bed. The difference is that for the futon the sleeping surface is the same as the sitting surface. Futons vary in price, largely determined by the quality of the layering and fill. The fill has a large effect on the comfort level whether it is functioning as a seat or bed. High quality fill means that the futon stays firm but does not lose its shape over a short period of time.
The simplest type of folding bed for the home is the standalone fold-away cot. It consists of a metal frame that closes up in a standing, clamshell configuration. The mattress may or may not be folded also depending on the model. The advantage of this type of folding bed is that it is straightforward, simple, easy to roll out of sight. There is no need to contemplate whether its unfolded state fits in with the decor of the house. On the other hand, one must find storage room specifically for the standalone cot.
The final folding bed we consider is the travel cot, used by people taking extended camping or road trips and have a vehicle to carry light furniture. The travel cot generally has a very simple, thin mattress, or in the case of camping air beds, an air-filled mattress. It is the most no-frills, valued mostly for its ease-of-portability rather than its comfort level. Travel cots have light-weight construction so are more limited in their dimensions so before purchasing confirm that it will support the height and weight of people who might use it.