If you decide on a sofa bed sleeper, you have to make sure there is enough room to pull out the bed. You have to have at least 88” from the back frame of the sofa till the front of the mattress. Sofa bed mattresses are usually less than 5” thick and are not very comfortable. There are upgrade mattresses for sofa beds but they still do not suffice for daily use long term. For these sofa beds, you have to imagine yourself taking off the cushions and opening and closing this every day. Keep in mind that if you have a coffee table or anything else in front of the sofa bed, you will have to move it each time you open the bed.
Next you have your convertible sofa beds, or click clack sofa beds. These sofa beds do not contain a separate mattress. In essence the mattress is part of the frame where you sit and sleep. Most convertible sofa beds are not designed for everyday use and the mattress tends to be very firm. Sitting and sleeping on this on a daily basis will wear the sofa bed much faster. The best convertible sofa bed for studio apartments for everyday sleeping is Innovation.
Innovation designs sofa beds that are built to withstand everyday use as a sofa or a bed. They contain 7 to 10 inch pocketed coils in the frame which compares to a firm conventional mattress. These sofa beds are of superior quality but will retail for over $1000. If you think about it logically you are actually investing one price for two different products; a bed and a sofa which function as one piece. If you use a lower end convertible sofa bed as an everyday bed, you will notice wear and tear much faster.
To answer the initial question, “Is a sofa bed or futon better as my primary bed in a studio apartment?”, the answer is the futon. Many people who are not familiar with the futon think the opposite. This is most likely due to the fact that the only experience with a futon was when they had a cheap one in college or perhaps they slept on a friends futon once or twice and it was uncomfortable. The advantage of having a futon is that it is a completely separate mattress. Futon mattresses are generally about 8” thick and contain different ingredients. With a futon, you can choose the style of frame, the comfort of the mattress and the cover. Down the road if your futon gets stained, you can replace the cover. If your mattress doesn’t hold up well, no problem, you can change the mattress. If the frame breaks, you can replace the frame. A futon is customizable, piece by piece. A sofa bed or convertible sofa bed is not.
A futon will save you space if it opens the horizontal way. You will not have to constantly move your coffee table out of the way nor will you have to find a place to put all the seating cushions aside when you open the mattress. A futon mattress is simply a mattress that bends. Nowadays, futon mattresses are better made. There are more choices from basic all cotton, to cotton and foam, all foam no cotton, organic, innerspring, latex and memory foam.