In today’s modern age life is complex. Just managing to survive can be a complicated balancing act of work, fun and social relationships but at the end of the day everyone retires to their own bed. In its simplest form, futon mattresses unrolled over the floor, the entire room becomes a bed and comfort is available anywhere. These futons are classy in their simplicity and timeless appeal.
The futon mattress has been around for a long time and is arguably the oldest form of bed ever, besides finding a comfy patch of moss. Though many attribute its origin to Japan, which has embraced this style of bedding for thousands of years, its simplicity has been found in most ancient cultures. Futon covers allow the mattress to stay clean and can be regularly changed and washed or simply beaten like a rug, as the Japanese do with specialized bamboo sticks.
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While many people associate any futon with poorly made, mass produced cheap futons made from thin metal tubing or flimsy soft wood, traditional futon mattresses have no frame and are simply unrolled on the floor turning the entire living space into a giant bedroom whether it be on the main floor or upstairs. This functionality has defined a lifestyle in Japan where rooms are adaptable and usable in many different ways. There is no point in having a room that is only used for sleeping, a relatively mundane task that occupies only a portion of the day.
The sofa-bed futons that are widely used today in college dorms, small apartments, and even elaborately decorated houses are a recent adaptation which uses the traditional mattress but elevates it off of the floor with a frame like a traditional bed. But that’s not all--the bed folds into a comfortable couch. The design genius responsible for this westernization of this traditionally Asian bed is William Brouwer, who had the insight and built the first folding futon in 1982. Since then his design has been mimicked by countless designers and companies around the world with many cheap, flimsy variants of his original hardwood, stable design.
To accomplish the task of supporting at least 3 grown men watching a heated football match, a task most beds are not engineered for, Brouwer used hardwoods such as oak and cherry to create frames that are just as strong today as they were almost 30 years ago. These same construction methods and materials are used today to build some of the highest quality futons, and there are many competitors which has created a huge variety in craftsmanship, materials used, sizes, styles and of course quality.
There is an incredible market for new and used futons, futon covers, frames and mattresses because of their comfort and functionality. Not only that but they have style as well and can instantly turn a less often used bedroom into a comfortable lounge that rivals the living room, or transform a cramped studio into a multi-use space capable of almost any event.