Futons are a great space saving furniture option. Much like their traditional (albeit significantly different) traditional Japanese futons, todays Western-style futons also tend to be multifunctional, allowing a room to have more than one use. For instance, if you live in a small studio apartment, a futon is a great way to have a bed by night and a couch by day, and it’s for this high level of functionality people often opt for futons over traditional bedding.
Because of the way they function, futons generally have mattresses that are not interchangeable with traditional American bed mattresses; if you’re new to the world of futons, a quick primer is in order to familiarize you with the things you need to know when shopping for a futon mattress.
The basics of a Western-style futon mattress
Here is a basic overview of things to know and concepts to be aware of when shopping for a futon mattress compressed for your convenience:
- Western-style futons (like the kind you can buy at virtually any furniture outlet in America) are very different from their traditional Japanese counterparts. They’re larger and instead of being folded up and tucked away into a neat storage space, American-style futons usually can transform into a different furniture type, such as a couch or a chair to maximize utility of the futon itself, but also the room in which it resides.
- Because of the above differences, many of today’s futons come with their own (usually wooden) frame as well as the mattress itself. That being the case, if you’re shopping for a futon mattress to replace an old one that has worn out due to age or changes in room décor, ensure that the new futon mattress you buy is the same size and shape as the previous one you had. The filling, however, can be different. For instance, if the prior filling you had was lumpy and uncomfortable, you may choose to upgrade to something a bit nicer.
- Futon mattresses come with many different types of filling. Traditionally in Japan, they were stuffed with cattails (the plant—not actual cat tails) and later, cotton. Cotton is a common modern futon mattress filler in America too. Felt is also a popular all-natural futon mattress filler choice. Memory foam is a nice upgrade from the cheap foam many basic futon mattresses come with.
- If you want extra comfort, you can always opt for a futon mattress topper to work in tandem with your new futon mattress for added comfort and even to make it fit an old frame better.
- Today’s futon mattresses may come with removable slip covers so you can easily clean them as well as change them out as your décor tastes change over time. With that in mind, if you find a futon mattress you like, but the color isn’t what you wanted, you can cover it up with a futon mattress cover that is more your style, getting the best out of both worlds.