Say the words "sleeper sofa" in polite company and you’re likely to elicit a chorus of audible groans punctuated with a colorful expletive or two. Everyone, it seems, has had a similarly pained experience with the less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts piece of furniture. Beset by sinking mattresses, horizontal bars that dig into your back, and stale crumbs in every nook and cranny, the sleeper sofa has a universally negative reputation that may be well earned. Thankfully, that reputation is also outdated.
To review a new crop of sofa beds we recruited Apartment Therapy cofounder Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, who believes that sleepers have been saddled with a set of misplaced expectations. "They’ve got a bad rap, and they should," he says plainly. "But only because everyone compares them to beds. They’re not beds." The double-duty divan’s space-saving multifunctionality and improved design, both aesthetic and empirical, has all but resolved its identity crisis.
We’re nothing if not optimists, and we believe you can enjoy a Gene Kelly double feature followed by a good night’s rest. Gillingham-Ryan agrees: "Sofa beds are incredibly useful whether you’ve got a small or large place, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to get something that’s just ‘less evil’ than the uncomfortable sleeper you may remember." Lie back and relax as we recover a pocketful of loose change and unravel the hidden secrets of the sleeper.