As with most forms of furniture, futons are available in more varieties than you can count. Futon frames have automatic locking mechanisms that hold them folded up in a couch shape to prevent the frame from sliding forward and flattening out accidentally. Depending on the type of frame, you pull either on the seat or the back to unlock your frame.
Move the futon at least 1 foot away from the wall; the model's assembly instructions should have the exact clearance you need.
Grab the two handles on the front of the seat frame, or if the frame does not have handles, grasp the edge of the seat frame.
Pull up on the frame or both handles to disengage the locking mechanism. As you pull up, start to pull toward yourself. The futon frame should begin to flatten out.
Step back while continuing to pull, to give the futon room to fully open up. Continue until the frame is fully unfolded. Some models require nudging the edge of the frame away from you to lock the frame in a flat position. To unlock one of these frames to refold it into a couch position, reverse the nudging process and pull the edge of the seat frame forward.
Move the futon away from the wall to give it clearance.
Stand between the wall and the frame and pull out the portion of the back "A" that is closest to you.
Continue to pull and lift; the frame should begin to unfold.
Set the edge of the frame down on the support leg—the smaller leg attached to the edge you've been pulling.
Push on the frame's edge once it's completely flat to lock it in bed position. To release the lock and refold, pull the edge back toward you and lift from what is normally the "A's" top hinge.
Some basic metal futon frames come with a three-sided bracket (that looks like a rectangle missing one side) that fits into two holes in the inside edges of the frame halves. This helps prevent the frame from sliding back up into a couch position accidentally if the frame is moved or hit. Installing and removing this bracket is simple—push in and pull out—but involves lifting up the entire mattress to access the holes.
The futon mattress may be heavy and this will affect how quickly you can unfold the frame.
Suzanne S. Wiley
Suzanne S. Wiley is an editor and writer in Southern California. She has been editing since 1989 and began writing in 2009. Wiley received her master's degree from the University of Texas and her work appears on various websites.