Futons withstand economic downturn through 2010

January 27, 2010 by aaron · Leave a Comment 

Thanks to new innovations in futons and futon technology, there are many new styles available that shoppers will be interested in learning about. Some of the latest futons to hit the market include new models made by Strata Furniture. Strata makes futons which have special wall hugging features that do not require their futons to be moved a significant distance from the wall.

These types of futons are ideal for those using their futons daily as well as others who prefer ease and quality over budget. Futons made by Strata do not require you to slide your futon along the floor and away from the wall each time you want to convert your futon into a bed. Instead, the utilize a brilliant design that allows their futons to be extended outward while keeping the legs of the futon stationary.

Other exciting models have continued to stand the test of time regarding fashion. One example comes from a reputable company that has been in business for some time. Night and Day Furniture, a company based in Vancouver, Washington, makes a truly unique two-toned futon called the Aurora. Other pleasing futons in their line include the Twilight, the Nightfall futon and the Orchid futons.

A giant among futon manufacturers, Lifestyle Solutions provides tremendous variety and solid quality throughout their various price points. Their futons include innovative models such as the Dio futon, the Manila futonand the Kobe futon.

As the economy continues to adjust, hopefully pulling itself up by its bootstraps, there will likely be a slew of new futon designs to hit the market. In the meantime, futons continue to be a logical choice for those who need multi-purpose furniture. One reputable dealer of futons claims that 35% of their in-store futon sales are made by those putting their futons in family rooms, another 35% go into guest rooms, 25% go into bedrooms, and the remaining percentage of futons sold occupy other spaces within the home or office.

“We’ve seen huge fluctuations in business over the past couple of years,” says Gabe LeBlanc of Futon Planet. “Still, futons are great products that occupy an important niche, and while people have smaller budgets, they are still finding futons to suite their needs at a price they can afford.”

Buying a Sealy Futon Mattress

September 30, 2008 by FM · Leave a Comment 

Sealy futon mattresses are sold online under dozens of names and a myriad of configurations. Many of these futon mattresses use cotton batting in the surface layer, creating an entry level feel that may not be desirable. Our tips should help you make a decision on the best Sealy futon mattress for your money.

Comparing Sealy Futon Mattresses

The Sealy futon mattresses you are most likely to find in your local futon store or an online retailer are generally variations on a theme. The outer layers will consist of a cotton batting backed by a foam under layer. The remaining portion is usually composed of springs or foam. Tiny changes in composition allows most futon companies to list a half-dozen Sealy futon mattresses under a myriad of names that are essentially the same mattress.

Sealy futon mattresses offer you one of the rare instances where you will want to shop by thickness. Many of the licensed manufacturers overestimate the thickness of their futon mattresses, so be sure to call your futon retailer to confirm the actual size of the futon mattress. Futon owners have reported receiving “8 inch” Sealy futon mattresses that are barely 6″ thick in the center. If your futon retailer is hesitant to recommend their Sealy futon mattresses, it is likely because they are inferior to other futon mattresses at the same price point.

Some futon retailers feel obligated to offer their customers Sealy futon mattresses because of the strength of the brand and consumer awareness. Like any other important purchasing decision, be sure to open a line of communication with your futon retailer.

If you have an opportunity to try out a Sealy futon mattress in your local futon boutique, it may change the way you feel about Sealy futon mattresses as a brand. Because of this, some brick and mortar stores simply don’t display these futon mattresses on their sales floor. It is our specific recommendation that you try a Sealy futon mattress prior to buying one, or at least speak in length to a futon expert regarding the quality of their Sealy futon mattresses.

New Convert-A-Couch Collection from Handy Living

September 23, 2008 by FM · Leave a Comment 

You may be familiar with the Convert-A-Couch collection from Handy Living that turned the world of sleeper sofas upside down. These ultra popular sofas are actually futons due to their removable mattress and hinged operation. Recently featured as a Best Buy from Consumer’s Digest Magazine, the convert-a-couch has been a favorite at Futon Magazine. While we strive to be as neutral as possible in all of our articles, we simply can’t come up with much to say against the quality and comfort of a Convert-A-Couch. The new Siesta line promises to deliver the same comfort in new styles.

Siesta Convert-A-Couch Collection

Madrid Casual Convertible by Handy Living

The Siesta Convert-A-Couch collection by Handy Living features 5 innovative “sofas” that lay down to a comfy full size bed. The first of these futons in disguise that caught our eye was the sleek Cancun Convert-A-Couch. The Cancun features slim, sleek, contemporary lines and an attractive over-scaled cushion design. The Cabo Convert-A-Couch offers a similar style with a more modern tufted cushion design. If you crave something a bit more transitional, the Baja Convert-A-Couch adds a slight sleigh curvature to the arms that contrasts the busy cushion tufting.

Looking for something even more traditional, the La Paz offers large scale cushions and classic curved arms while the Madrid ads fluffy, comfy, pillow-top armrests. This is good news for those of you who enjoyed the now-discontinued Fusion and Melody Convert-A-Couches (the Jazz Convert-A-Couch is also discontinued, if you’re keeping score).

It’s very noticeable that the original Convert-A-Couch has been phased out of production, save a few models. It’s only speculation on our part, but we’re willing to bet it has to do with the popular response and loads of feedback, positive and negative, that Handy Living has received for its original designs. It has been said that many of these changes will address shipping size and packaging, as these generally ship in oversize boxes that rarely see care from shipping companies.

How does a Convert-A-Couch Work?

Convert-A-Couches use a premium innerspring mattress that is split between two cover sections. This split is difficult to notice when used as a bed, so we wouldn’t lose sleep over it. The conversion process is simple to do and gravity assisted. To lay it down as a bed, simply lift the front cushion section to lay down the back and unlock the hinge, allowing it to lay flat. To put it back up, simply perform the same motion again to re-engage the hinge. A “handy” space below the convert-a-couch allows for the storage of seldom-used items, or seasonal decor. We personally think its a good home for your sprawling DVD collection.

Beyond the basic utility, the Convert-A-Couch offers you a soft sitting and sleeping experience that rivals high end mattresses. At a price that equals what you’d pay for a mid-grade futon and frame, the Convert-A-Couch is a great occasional sleep solution for houses across the country.

Simmons Futon Mattress Review

September 18, 2008 by FM · Leave a Comment 

Simmons futon mattresses are one of the few nationally recognized mattress brands that specializes in futons. If you’re in the market for a Simmons futon mattress or just a futon mattress in general, this guide can help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Simmons Futon Mattress Licensing

Bordeaux Futon Set by Simmons Futon

The Simmons brand futon mattress is typically a futon made by a private label company under a license from Simmons to print their label on their mattresses. This isn’t to say that the mattresses are “fake” or “phony”. Many of the products you use every day, from cell phones to carbonated soft drinks, are distributed on similar licenses. What you do need to realize are two key factors in this equation: cost and quality.

Futon mattress manufacturers selected to carry high-end labels like the Simmons futon mattress brand have been thoroughly inspected by Simmons to meet their criteria for quality, efficiency, and capability. The manufacturer has proven that they have the precision machinery and skilled workers needed to craft a high quality futon mattress. They have also demonstrated their access to high quality raw materials at discounted rates due to their buying power and market presence. In addition, the manufacturer in question must have implemented a top notch quality control process and an efficient production cycle to keep costs down. Big name brands like Simmons futon mattress are careful when selecting manufacturers, as the consumer will associate the quality of the final product with the Simmons brand.

On the other side of the coin, you must understand that a portion of the final product price is passed from the retailer to the manufacturer, and another portion is passed from the manufacturer to the licensor. This roughly translates to a higher overall cost. This is justified by the exceptional quality you will receive when ordering a thoroughly refined product, specifically a complete Simmons futon set.

Simmons Futon Sets

Corsica Futon Package by Simmons Futon

One thing to know about Simmons Futon Sets: they look exactly the same as advertised, if not better. I’m sure that you’ve had an experience, perhaps with a tasty hamburger from a fast food restaurant, where the final product looked nothing like the picture your ordered from. It’s become so commonplace in marketing that we’ve begun to accept and expect to be presented with a picture that grossly exaggerates the products quality. Many futon sets you order online look nothing like the pictured item, usually because the picture includes a mattress that is over twice as thick as the futon “pad” you will receive, and is wrapped in a futon cover that could easily cost 8 times the value of the cover that is included in the futon package. Not so with Simmons futon sets.

Simmons futon sets include thick wood frame that is heavy by futon standards. The operation is smooth and many of the frames have features not found on any other futon frame, such as magnetic latches for storage bins and fold-away side trays. The included futon mattresses are supportive, offering a comfortable sleep that rivals many traditional mattresses. The mattress casing is tufted to fit the futon snugly; the casing will never sag or wrinkle like a poorly sized futon cover. The mattress looks more like upholstered furniture than anything else. Simmons futon sets include everything pictured, even the coordinating pillows! While definitely pricey (expect to pay over $800 for a full size) Simmons futon sets are the easiest way to get that “magazine home” look.

Simmons Futon Mattresses to Avoid

Switching gears, it’s important that we talk about the lower end Simmons mattresses. Remember that a low end mattress that is built to be economical is sold at very little markup, and you will inevitably get what you pay for. Because of the licensing cost, it is important to consider what percent of your purchase is invested in materials.

Let’s pretend that licensing the Simmons brand to your futon mattresses costs $20 per mattress. In an $800 futon set, this equates to 97% of your money being applied to building a great futon mattress and frame, and only 3% going to Simmons for the licensing and the name. However, when buying an entry-level Simmons futon mattress for $199, you’re essentially buying a $179 mattress for more money. Considering how much of that money goes to shipping the materials from overseas, labor costs, and shipping the mattress to you, the final product may not be much more than a thin pad with a Simmons label attached. In this particular instance, you might be better served buying a generic brand mattress, or manufacturer direct.

August Lotz: Quality and Diverse Selection

August 5, 2008 by FM · Leave a Comment 

August Lotz has been in the futon business for a long time and has a reputation of building some of the sturdiest futon frames on the market. Using solid hardwoods like maple and oak separates August Lotz from other futon frame manufacturers who use cheaper rubber woods and other materials. Further, August Lotz was recognized as America’s Best Buy by Consumer Digest which has helped to push consumers towards seriously considering August Lotz over other brands when measuring differences. Here you will review three very different models that help to outline their diversity in futon frame designs.

Manhattan futon frame by August Lotz The Manhattan futon frame is a bold departure from the skinny mission arm style that most futon manufacturer’s have sought to create subtle variations on. Its center support is really a shelf that is ideal for storing books and other objects. With August Lotz patented front operation, the Manhattan is equally desirable in terms of function as it is appeal in terms of style.

For those who love modern and artistic furniture pieces the Manhattan is well worth their consideration. If you the same way, and appreciate the Manhattan’s large scale look, then you will be glad to know that this futon frame is one of the most solid on the market.

Lodge Pole futon frame by August LotzOk, so the Lodge Pole is made of pine wood, but it is one of the only futon frames that is and further, the Lodge Pole design is capturing the best in a pine wood futon frame. This rustic design is ideal for cabins and other types of outdoorsy rooms and natural homes. With its oversized armrests, front loading operation, and Consumer Digest’s recognition, the Lodge Pole is really a great model.

White futon frames as peaked and slumped in popularity. It seems as soon as they are available to the market, there is no demand. When manufacturers discontinue their white futon frame models and supply drops, there seems to be a sudden surge in demand and then the cycle starts over again as manufacturers scurry to get a white model futon frame back to market.

Southgate futon frame by August Lotz While it is still difficult to say how this trend might affect August Lotz’s Southgate futon frame in the long run, it is fair to say they get bonus points for original design. The Southgate breaks with the traditional cottage style white futon frame and moves in the direction of merging a white picket fence-look with a modern sloping rear leg support. The result is breathtaking and definitely upscale.

The Southgate will easily satisfy any number of design requirements. From Florida rooms, to Cape Cod beach-front mansions, to grande Southern estates, the Southgate is truly a white futon frame that will softly compliment spaces calling for white furniture pieces.

Whatever your style requirements, it is likely that August Lotz has a futon frame style to suite. Well worth your consideration, Futon Magazine gladly endorses August Lotz as one of America’s better brands.