Futons are adjustable, foldable furniture that double as a couch or a bed depending on the position. Futons consist of a frame, a mattress and a cover. Many futons are very inexpensive, making the furniture desirable to those on a fixed or low income and who move residences multiple times, such as college students or young professionals. The lifespan of a futon depends on a number of factors: quality, maintenance and preference being the most important.
The supporting frame of a futon can be wood or metal. Hollow metal frames are inexpensive, yet prone to more problems as they are not easily fixed unless you own a welding torch. Futon frames have adjustable sliding tracks that allow the futon to convert from sofa to bed and back again. People who primarily use the futon in one position put less wear on the adjustable mechanisms, thus lengthening the lifespan of the furniture. "Futon Life" magazine recommends a wood frame with metal reinforcement as the best futon design. The higher the quality of the futon frame, the longer the futon will last. Hardwood frames are durable, but cost more. Hollow metal frames are inexpensive, but many are poorly constructed, put together with inferior hardware and prone to breakage.
Futon mattresses can be replaced should the original one become unusable, but sometimes replacement comes with considerable costs when you figure in the mattress price and shipping or delivery rates. Mattresses used on futons are filled with cotton, wool, foam, sponge and other synthetic fillers. Mattresses may take the form of a large sack filled with stuffing that may or may not have tufting or buttons sewn to reduce bunching of the inside materials. Other futon mattresses consist of layered batting or compressed filler. Some futon mattresses contain springs or coils wrapped within a cotton or wool batting. "Futon Life" magazine suggests that any mattress measuring less than 5 inches thick will be unsatisfactory over time as the frame below will be detectable while the user is sitting or sleeping. Keeping the mattress free of stains, moisture and allergens, such as dust and pet hair or dander, will lengthen the lifespan of the mattress. Choosing a mattress that doesn't sag or bunch will prolong its usefulness, allowing you to keep the futon mattress longer.
Futon Cover Replacements
Like the futon mattress, futon covers may be replaced once the original one has faded, shrunk or is otherwise in disrepair that can no longer be fixed. Most futon covers feature one opening that closes with zippers, hook and loop tape, snaps or buttons. Zippers are more difficult to repair as a sewing machine with heavy duty capabilities is typically required, as well as the sewing skills necessary to repair the mattress. Futon covers usually are machine washable and clothes dryer capable. Choosing a washable futon cover in a breathable fabric, such as cotton, with a metal zipper is a sturdier choice. Replacing a futon cover will extend the life of a shabby-looking futon that has a sturdy and functioning frame.
Because you can replace futon covers, you can change the look of your futon to suit your individual decor tastes or changing room environment. The futon frame itself cannot be altered in style, but wood and metal can be painted with the appropriate paint to change the colour. Choose a futon frame design that you believe you will like for many years to come, rather than what is popular at the purchase time.
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