How to choose the perfect guest bed
Last updated: October 2023
What is a guest bed?
A guest bed is essentially named after what it is – a bed for your guests – and there are lots of different types of guests beds available. Some are ideal for last-minute sleepovers in the living room, while others are designed as a stylish piece of furniture for a spare bedroom.
Which beds are best for guests and spare rooms?
The most important factor when deciding which guest bed is best is whether it's a temporary or permanent sleeping space. Our guest beds are all either multi-use or able to be hidden away, making them perfect for short-term use if you don’t have a full spare room. For a spare room where there’s room for a permanent bed, explore our storage bed guide instead.
The list below highlights all the different types of guest beds we have on offer. Each bed has its own benefits depending on you and your guests’ needs.
Sofa beds are a great space saving and multifunctional choice. By day, your guests can sit comfortably; by night the sofa transforms into a comfy bed space. This versatility makes them ideal for living rooms, spare rooms and guest bedrooms.
You can choose from different sofa bed mechanisms. For example, an A-frame mechanism works by you pulling it out at the front, with the sofa back folding out to create the bed and mattress surface. With clic-clac frames, you simply drop the back all the way down to make a bed or create a recliner position by dropping it back only slightly – it makes a ‘clic clac’ noise as you move it.
Don’t be fooled by the name – a day bed isn’t just for daytime napping! A day bed is a lot like a sofa bed, as it can often have a pull-out mattress or storage drawers and gives you an area to sit on during the day. The main difference between a day bed and a sofa bed is that day beds tend to have a headboard and foot board resembling a regular bed, whereas sofa beds look just like sofas until you convert them to a sleeping space.
A folding bed is great if you only have guests occasionally or don’t have a spare room to use as a guest room. You can easily fold it up and store it vertically, so it doesn’t take up much space when not in use. When folded, a folding bed typically measures from around 101cm (H) x 77cm (W) x 23cm (D) to 120cm (H) x 80cm (W) x 30cm (D) - and weighs around 18.2kgs - but we recommend checking the weight and folded dimensions of the model you’re buying. When guests come to stay, it’s easy to move the folding bed into position by gliding it on its castors, then simply fold it down and add your guest bedding.
Mattresses included with folding beds tend to be around 10 cm deep and you can buy fitted sheets that are specially designed for them. Depending on the size of your folding bed, add a single or double duvet and some comfortable pillows.
Perfect for sleepovers or guests that crash out after a house party, air beds are quick to set up and provide a comfy sleeping space. They come with an electric pump so they’re easy to inflate and they’re puncture-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about an air bed deflating in the night. These versatile beds pack up into a box for storage, so they’re ideal if you’re short on space.
You can sleep on an air mattress every night if you wish, without compromising on comfort. Depending on how you’re using your air bed, add the bedding of your choice, from a king size fitted sheet and duvet to just a sleeping bag.
What should you consider when choosing a mattress for a guest bed?
If you choose a sofa bed, folding bed or air bed, you won’t require a separate mattress for your guest bed.
However, you’ll need one or more standard single mattresses for a day bed, and you can choose from our selection of memory foam, pocket sprung and traditional sprung single mattresses. As guest beds are only used occasionally, spending between £100 and £250 will get you a good mattress. Our traditional spring mattresses are at the lower end of this budget and are ideal for guest beds. For more comfort, you could upgrade to pocket spring or memory foam mattresses.
It’s important to choose the right comfort grade for your day bed mattress, as a mattress that’s too soft or too firm could be uncomfortable for your guests. A medium mattress is the perfect balance for guest beds. Just add standard single bedding for each mattress and your day bed is good to go.
Which guest bed is most comfortable?
If you're considering a guest bed, then your guests’ comfort is probably one of your main priorities while they're staying with you. However, temporary guest beds such as sofa beds and air beds don't have the best reputation for their comfort, so which one is best?
The best choice when it comes to a comfortable guest bed is one that allows for a regular mattress such as a day bed or trundle bed. These are designed for daily use and will be much thicker. As mentioned above, if you can purchase a separate mattress, there are lots of options to help with comfort levels.
If you need a guest bed that can be put away, such as a sofa bed or fold-away bed, then you can still make sure that your guests have a comfortable stay. Our temporary guest beds are high-quality products and have come a long way in terms of comfort. However, we would highly recommend a mattress topper for guest beds with thinner in-built mattresses, these will add depth to the mattress and help cushion any firm elements.
How can you add to your guest’s experience?
Once you’ve chosen your guest bed and mattress, think about how you can maximise your guest’s comfort. Add soft, cosy bedding and comfortable pillows, and if you have a separate guest room, dress it up with furniture and finishing touches that make it feel inviting to guests. For inspiration, check out our article on How to make a comfortable guest bedroom.
Shop our full range of guest beds.