No guest room? No problem. Here’s why a versatile sofa bed ticks all the boxes. No longer the poor relation of conventional sofas, sofa beds have evolved to become one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you can own. They’re invaluable both in small spaces, where a well-chosen piece can replace your everyday sofa altogether or for spare rooms that need to serve more than one purpose (doubling as an office or TV room, perhaps).

How do I choose a design?
It’s all down to finding the right shape for your needs and space. Think about where you want to put your sofa bed and how it will be used. If you need it to do double duty for everyday use, look at a fold-out design like the Willis, which sits against a wall and has a fold-out guest bed. Its generous proportions and curved arms are perfect for lounging in front of the TV when guests aren’t in residence.

What if I need something for a small space?
If space is really at a premium or you need extra storage, a compact folding design is your best friend. The Kelso, for instance, has an ottoman-style base for storing bedlinen and accessories. When folded out, it forms a stylish freestanding couch with a firm, comfy foam mattress; its two matching scatter cushions double up as pillows.

The Kelso natural sofa bed
The Kelso natural sofa bed

What else do I need to consider?
Another useful tip for sofa beds is to consider the space around them. Avoid putting heavy items of furniture close by if they’ll get in the way when you need to unfold the bed; lightweight side tables are good for guest spaces where you need to change the layout at short notice, as are portable floor lamps that can be moved to create atmospheric lighting.

What bedding should I choose?
Think outside the box when it comes to bedding, especially if you choose a folding design rather than an extending one. With these, it may be easier to use a padded mattress topper or a large, soft throw in place of a conventional fitted sheet, then add regular duvets and pillows on top.

Any other features I should look for?
Some sofa beds have storage built into the arms for things like books and magazines, and it’s worth looking for extra features like this if your furniture has to work really hard. One thing’s for sure – once you’ve invested in one of these multipurpose designs, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!