Sunday, February 21, 1999
Sofa-cum-beds are used not only in homes that lack a spare bedroom but in studio apartments as well, where one room is doubled as a bedroom at night and a sitting room during the day, writes Harkiran Sodhi
AS the number of people increases and space decreases, space-saving ideas and devices go at a premium. Bungalows, earlier were made to accommodate a family of five-to-six children at the minimum, and the sprawling lawns and the sheer size of all the rooms, particularly the bathrooms, showed that space was ample. Those were the days when everything was made on a large scale and the size of rooms apart even, the furniture was no exception. Generous-sized sofas and chairs were the norm as were the very large beds, much larger than the double beds now adays.
Due to limited space, the size of everything was cut down, from the house, rooms to the size of the furniture. Many of us in India are now facing what the West did some years ago. In order to run our lives efficiently within the limitations of space, we have had to adopt many of their ideas.
There are ideas that we can incorporate into our homes to help ease the cramped space and make many areas more liveable and roomy.
Beds are perhaps among the most space consuming items in most homes. These are often the problem areas also for those homes, which do not have the benefit of a guest bedroom. Sofa-cum-beds were the Wests answer to this problem. These sofa-cum-beds were used not only in homes that lacked a spare bedroom but in studio apartments as well where one room doubled as a bedroom at night and a sitting room during the day.
These sofa-cum-beds are neatly fashioned and it is often difficult to tell that they actually pull out into a bed. These are like regular, upholstered sofas. You can lift up the cushions and fold down the flaps to open into a bed, as the cushions placed on it fit like a mattress. Besides the fold-down option, sofa-cum-beds also come in a pull-out from where the cushions also form the mattress for the bed.
Sofa-cum-beds are more expensive as compared to other options available but are quite comfortable. Since the sofas are made with an armrest, the bed too has a slight support on both the sides. This can be used by the elderly or the handicapped to lever themselves up. The main drawback of this is the cost factor. When the need arises to upholster the sofa again or get new cushions it will be on the expensive side.
There are many varieties that you can choose the sofa-cum-beds in. In India, chair-cum-beds are now available. These come in single and double-bed options and fold up to make a seating arrangement. When they are opened they are the size of a bed (single or double depending on whether it was a chair or sofa). These have the advantage of not needing anything picked up and are extremely simple to open and close. The fabric that is used on these sofas is part-polyester and is easier to clean. The drawback is that since this style of bed is made from foam and has no wood in it, there are no armrests.
This makes it a fun bed for the younger generation but not a viable option for the elderly or overweight. Getting up from these beds can be quite different for those who have problem knees. Those who are used to the traditional wood-based beds, this would be much too soft and not give their bodies the support they are used to. These beds are best used in the childrens bedroom where they can be used as chairs in the day and opened up for their friends to spend the night when needed without cramping up their room with a large bulky conventional bed. Being all foam they are also safe for babies and toddlers who could injure themselves on other beds.
Today futons are gaining in popularity, as they are cheaper on the pocket being made from wooden slats rather than all wood. Also they are more airy and casual looking which fits in with the decor and look today. Futons are also very popular primarily as they are said to be better for the back due to their firm contours.
You can get your futon in single or double-seater choices, the single-seater would make a single bed and the double-seater a double bed. Dunlop, cotton or polyfill is used for the mattress on top and this is then opened out for the bed or rolled up for the sofa.
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