How To Open & Close A Futon the Right Way

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A futon serves as both a sofa and a bed. This is the perfect piece of furniture for a small guest room or office and can serve as the main seating in a living room or family room. Your guests will always have somewhere to sleep, providing they can open the futon. The futon is built to be opened with ease, and it's simple when you know which futon type you're opening.


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Types of Futons

Check what type of futon you're dealing with before you accidentally pull on the wrong part of the frame.

Bifold Futon

Think of the bifold futon like a sheet of paper folded in half and laying on a desk. The paper makes a "seat" with one part resting on a surface and the other half upright. The bifold futon frame is made of two sides (hence the "bi" in bifold), and when pulled out, the two sides lay flat next to each other horizontally with the mattress on top (or, picture unfolding the sheet of paper). When pushed in, the two sides make an upright seat and back. A bifold futon mattress folds lengthwise to look like a sofa.

Trifold Futon

A trifold futon may look like a folded accordion or a backward letter "z". The three-part lounger folds under itself and then pulls out into a full-size bed. It's called a trifold because it folds the mattress into three sections.

Love Seat-Style Futon

The love seat is made of three frame pieces that pull out to lay flat. It usually has two mattress pieces, but some models may have one long mattress that can be folded. The love seat has a bottom section that's similar to the footrest on a lounge chair or recliner that's hidden until use. The third section pulls out from its hidden spot, and the back of the chair is pushed down to lay flat.

How Do I Open It?

Know which futon you're working with? Now it's time to get ready for bed and open it up. Remember to pull the futon away from any walls before you attempt to open it so the wall isn't accidentally damaged.


Opening a Bifold Futon

The bifold futon pulls open from the seat. Stand centered, facing the futon. Grab the bar, handle or base directly under the seat. Some bifolds will have a latch with the handle, so make sure it's unlatched. Gripping tightly, pull up slightly and then pull towards you while taking a step backward. Stop when the futon mattress is flat.

Opening a Trifold Futon

A trifold futon will have a hidden deck in the front of the futon. You'll have to lift up the seat of the futon to unlock the hidden deck. Unfold the mattress (remember, it sits like an accordion or folded in three) so that it's ready to lay on the lower part. Lift up the seat and pull down the third deck. It may have legs that need to be manually adjusted, depending on the model. Some legs will fall out automatically.

Adjust the mattress over the third deck. The backrest will be pushed down to lay flat. Some models have rungs and a brace support that holds the backrest up, like a deck chair. Lift and release the braces from the rungs and lay flat. All three parts should be horizontal.

Opening a Love Seat Futon

Like the trifold, a love seat will have a hidden third deck under the main seat. This will pull out to become the bottom half of your bed.

Lift up the seat of the love seat. The third deck is folded under. Pull out the deck, and adjust the legs as needed. Since love seat futons often come with two mattresses; the third deck is where the smaller mattress fits. Press down on the back of the love seat. Some models will require a pull-up then push-down movement. The back should lay flat.

Close It Up

With each of these models, the steps to close the futon are a reverse of the steps to open them.


Closing a Bifold Futon

Make sure there are no blankets or bedding that can catch in the futon hinges or hinder the mattress from folding in half. Grab the bar at the end of the bed. Lift up and push toward the base of the futon. The futon should glide into a closed position. If there's a latch, make sure it's locked.

Closing a Trifold Futon

It may be easier on the first try to remove the mattress when closing a trifold and replacing it when done. Pull the backrest into an upright position, and adjust the rungs and braces to your preferred level. If there are no rungs, the backrest should slide and lock into place with a pulling and pushing movement.

Tuck the third deck underneath the main seat by lifting the seat as you slide the third deck into place. Fold the mattress so that the backrest and seat are covered. Tuck the remaining part of the mattress under the seating. If the mattress cannot be removed, the futon should fold so that the seat of the mattress looks similar to an accordion with the backrest part of the mattress remaining upright.

Closing a Love Seat Futon

Like the trifold, the love seat closes by pushing the backrest into an upright position where it will lock into place. If it has rungs like the trifold, adjust accordingly. Remove the small mattress from the foot of the bed. Lift up the seat and move the third deck into its hiding place. If it has adjustable legs, make sure they're folded back into the deck before pushing it under the main seat.



Nat Howard is a writer, editor, journalist, and jack-of-all-trades, covering topics from home improvement and design to healthcare and career advice.