Bed SetteesWhen you have house guests do they sleep in comfort or spend restless nights grappling with an over-inflated air mattress in your living room, a sleeping bag on the floor, or a saggy camp bed? In these days of ever-shrinking living spaces, accommodating guests can be a nightmare. But, instead of telling friends and family that there's no room, wake up to the comfort of today's bed settees.

Today's generation of bed settees offer astounding comfort as well as space-saving smartness. In fact, more and more shoppers who begin looking for stationary sofas are discovering that for not much more they can upgrade to a bed settee and effectively add a guest room to their homes.

"Bed settees have come a long way from their boxy, back-breaking ancestors," said Paula Hoyas, product manager for major upholstery at La-Z-Boy. "In addition to being more comfortable than ever, today's bed settees are available in fashionable styles to blend with any décor from traditional to contemporary. And, given the wide variety of great looking fabric options, no longer do you have to compromise style for function."

When shopping for a bed settee, bear in mind that the primary purpose is seating. In fact, in most cases, a bed settee will be used as a bed only 15 to 20 percent of the time. So, look for the same features you would in a stationary sofa. Pick a design that gives your seating needs and style preferences, as well as one that features a comfortable mattress for sleeping.

Additionally, Hoyas offers the following tips to those in the market for bed settees:

  1. Insist on a hardwood frame. The strongest and most durable frames for any type of sofa, including bed settees, are those made of kiln-dried hardwood or a combination of kiln-dried hardwood and furniture-grade plywoods. Avoid brands that use softer woods, such as pine.
  2. Look for an easy open-and-close mechanism.  Bed settees should lift up and out in one smooth motion. There should be no squeaking or sticking.
  3. Avoid bed settees that feature grip handles or straps that can break or pull off. Look for units designed with a lock-down bar to ensure proper closure as well as easy opening.
  4. Feel smooth edges on all inner mechanisms. All parts of a bed settee's inner mechanisms should have smooth edges to prevent bed clothing from ripping or snagging. However, it's still smart to remove sheets and blankets before closing the unit.
  5. Check the mattress. A quality mattress will comfortably support the body at the shoulders, hips and lower back. For the best comfort and support, La-Z-Boy recommends and uses 80-90mm cm thick mattresses featuring firm inner-spring construction.
    "When it comes to bed settees, it is important to note that a thicker mattress doesn't necessarily mean more comfort," said Hoyas. "In fact, thicker mattresses often are designed with softer springs so that the mattress can easily fold back into the sofa frame. In most cases, these softer springs are less durable and offer less support than a better-constructed thinner mattress."

Finally, put it to the test. Just as you would test drive a new car or try on a new suit, you should test drive your furniture before you buy it. While in the store, open up the bed settee and actually lie down. Make sure to twist and turn to fully test the mattress. You may feel a little silly, but remember, you're determining the comfort of a bed settee that will care for your guests for years to come.