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Futon Mattress- A Japanese Space Saving Bed

Some people when they hear the term futon mattress, real back to their college dormitories. The hard and foldable bed which can be converted to a couch is the first image that appears in their mind. This image of a dorm room bed has affected the popularity of futon mattresses, but they are indeed very useful and versatile.

When was it first introduced?

Japanese people have been using futon mattresses for centuries. Shikibuton, as they are called in their language, can be folded and stored away in the closet facilitating the use of bedroom for other purposes during day time. The versatility of the futon bed captured the world attention after the Second world war. The Americans began using them around the 1980s and it revolutionized the mattresses in India almost a decade later.

Are Futon Mattresses hard?

Modern Futon mattresses are not as hard as the ones that you used in the college dorms. Still, they are much firmer than other types. The Japanese believe that their traditional firm mattresses help to align the joints in the right position and hence preventing overstretching and thus joint pains.

If this is not what you had in mind, go back to our types of mattresses page.

When are they best used?

Futon mattresses are best when you are concerned about the space in your small apartment. When you cannot afford to waste the space for a bed and a couch, you can opt for futon mattresses which serves the purpose of both. You can also use it as a guest mattress as it can be rolled up and can be stored in the closet.

What are Futon mattresses made up of?

Futon mattresses are traditionally made up of cotton, horse hair or rice straw and hence it is 100% natural. But nowadays they are going through many changes and are available stuffed with memory foam or padded spring coils.But even though they are not as soft as other types, it is better to prefer the traditional cotton stuffed one if you want to enjoy the advantages that the Japanese envisioned while designing their mattress.

What are the different types of Futon mattress frames available?

Frames for futon mattresses are available mainly in two types in India. They are 

  • Wooden frame – The classy looking wooden frames give a plush look to the room. Also, the hardwood frames are long lasting. Take care to choose frames with closer slats as there is a chance for the mattress to sag if the space is too large.
  • Metal Frame – If you don’t want to spend much money on the frames, you can go for metallic ones. They are sturdy and offer a more contemporary look

While you are at it, check out what latex mattresses are.

Where to buy Futon mattresses in India?

Though it is not as common as other types, futon mattresses are available in India. There are online stores which makes them available at the doorstep within a few days. If you not a fan of online shopping, you can find it in IKEA or some branded furniture shops in your area.

How much does it cost?

Futon Mattresses are much affordable compared to other types. These types of mattresses are available in India from Rs 4000 onwards. But an average cost is around Rs 15,000 for decent quality Futons.

What are the benefits of using a futon mattress?

There are multiple benefits for using a futon mattress. They are

  1. Affordable – Unlike some mattresses which makes your wallet light, futon mattresses are less costly. They are available in a variety of price range but all of them are comparatively less expensive.
  2. Saves space – The greatest advantage which makes futon mattress favorite among those who live in very small space is that it can be rolled up and stored in some convenient place. Futons when converted to the couch only takes up less space than a conventional one and can easily be converted back to a comfortable bed. Because of the space-saving, they can be used in studio apartments, dormitories and other confined spaces. It is also suitable to be used as guest beds.
  3. Versatility – The most appealing factor of futons is that they are convertible from a bed to a couch. This is a very useful property for many, who do not want to spend extra money on a couch and cannot afford to waste the space required for it. For studio apartments, and home offices this is a real space saver. As beds are only required at night, it is converted to a couch and can be used during day time. 
  4. Flexibility – Futon mattresses are very flexible. This makes it easier to move it around from room to room and is easier to dust and aerate the mattress. It can also be rolled and taken away if you are on the move. Though it is not as suitable for camping as air beds, it surely can substitute for it if necessary. The flexibility also makes it easier to store it in the closet or any convenient space available in your small living space.
  5. Health benefits – Japanese believed that sleeping on the Shikibuton is good for your health. The traditional mattresses made of horsehair or rice straw were much firmer than the cotton stuffed one that is available in the market today. But still, those who use them are all praises for the pain relieving properties of the futon mattress. 
  6. No bed bugs – As the futon mattresses can easily be hanged out in the sun, it is less susceptible to bed bug and dust mite attacks. The drying, dusting and aeration of the bed makes it much fresh and avoids dust accumulation which is a big problem for most type of mattresses
  7. Less weight – They are of much less weight compared to other types of mattresses. You can move it in and out of your room without muscle cramps. This is a great advantage as it facilitates easy portability and ease of hanging in the sun.

What are the problems of using a futon mattress

  1. Less Comfort – The main complaint the users raise about futon mattresses is that they are not very comfortable. The firmness of the bed is difficult to cope with for some who are used to sleeping in very soft mattresses. Before, futon mattresses were thin and did not provide much padding from the wooden frame that supports it. This and the flimsiness of the mattress added to the discomfort. But modern futon mattresses are much thicker.
  2. They require more caring – Futon mattresses require to be aired and hanged in the sun intermittently. The traditional Japanese discipline is required for this constant caring. This can be quite daunting for those who have a hectic work schedule or if you are lazy to do such stuff.
  3. Needs restuffing – Though the futon mattresses are known for their durability it has to be some times refilled with cotton. If it is not restuffed, it can cause sagging in a few years. This will affect the comfort level of the mattress. Some also complain that pure cotton is not easily available in the market is much expensive. Also the restuffing is not an easy task and many times you have to depend on someone skilled in the job to do it for you. 

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