Should You Buy A Pull-out Sofa or An Inflatable Mattress?

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation.

Factors to consider when shopping for overnight guest beds

When you are deciding about sleep arrangements for future overnight guests, you’ll have to take many factors into consideration. Learn the basics of guest bedding options to help you make the right choice.

Airbeds Inflatable beds run anywhere from $50 to $150, which is considerably cheaper than the price range for a pull-out sofa bed. Air mattress advantages include portability (they easily move from room to room or floor to floor when deflated) and storability (when one is deflated, it hardly takes up any room at all and can be stuffed into a closet). One downside of airbeds, compared with sofa beds, is that they may be more challenging and time-consuming to set up. You might, for instance, need to blow air into it manually or plug it into an air-blowing machine.

Sleeper Sofas Until recently, sofa beds had a bad reputation, due to their thin spring mattresses. Thanks to technological advances, however, sleeper sofa manufacturers have started to add foam toppers to pull-out mattresses. The result: a significant improvement in overall comfort. The new generation is slightly more expensive than traditional sleeper sofas, and much more expensive than airbeds, but if you haven’t slept on a pull-out in a few years, test some in the store—you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.

Consider Your Guests Toddlers and young adults may be fine sleeping on an air mattress, but an older, bigger, or less spry person might not be comfortable getting up and down from an airbed that's on the floor. And air mattresses are not an option for babies, due to risks of suffocation from the soft surfacing.

Add Luxe Amenities It’s good to remember that no matter which temporary sleep solution you choose, you can dress it up with some pampering accessories: Think thick, quality pillows, luxury cotton sheets, and a spa-sounds white noise machine. Guests may appreciate extra amenities even if the airbed or sofa bed, itself, is underwhelming. Take a cue from hotels and consider giving them special soap or cozy slippers to make their stay extra comfortable.

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