Futons are a versatile home accessory with a wide range of usages. Lightweight, portable and easy to store, these simple padded mattresses
make great guest beds and can be used as a decorative feature as well.
Nowadays, you can choose between Japanese-style and Western-style futons. The traditional Japanese futon or shikibuton
is made from natural materials and stuffed with soft cotton padding. They often come with removable covers and may feature decorative patterns or tufting. Western-style futons are thicker and are often mounted onto a wooden or metal frame. They can be laid flat to form a bed or folded up to create a comfy chair or sofa.
Whether you opt for a Japanese- or Western-style futon depends on if you are looking for a practical bedding solution, a more permanent fixture or a minimalist design feature
. There are also a wide range of futon accessories available that you can use to complement and enhance your futon. From protective tatami
mats to slats, frames and even futon shelves, you can create the futon setup that suits your home.
What futon accessories do I need?
What futon accessories you choose depends entirely on your needs. If you’re looking for a more luxury futon setup, you might want to purchase a folding frame, patterned cover and some additional soft furnishings. Conversely, if you’re aiming to save on space, a futon trundle drawer might be a practical option. Below is a summary of the main futon accessories available:
A protective mat is an important accessory if you have a thin, Japanese-style futon. Traditionally woven from rushes with a flexible rice straw core, these slim platforms protect the fabric from abrasions and also stop it from getting damp and musty. Tatamis give slightly under pressure, making them very comfortable to sleep on. The woven mats also make an attractive decorative feature in a minimalist or Scandinavian-style home.
Western-style futons are often paired with a wooden or metal frame to create a sofa bed. The simplest of these are the bi-fold and tri-fold varieties. These frames are composed of wooden slats with no arms or headboards. They can be folded out to create a bed or angled to create a basic chair and have a minimalist, organic look. If you have a slightly thicker futon mattress, you might want to opt for a more substantial frame with integrated armrests and legs. These frames have more of a classic sofa bed look and may be comfier as well. They are easily converted into a bed by simply pulling out the hinged central platform. Some frames come with the mattress attached for added convenience.
Much like standard bed linen, futon covers come in a wide range of materials and designs. Traditional shikibuton covers are made from 100% cotton and come with a zip for easy removal. They are available in a variety of different colours and are usually feature a heavy duck weave for durability. Most Japanese-style futons come with their own cover but check before you buy! If you plan to mount your futon on a frame, you can also purchase slipcovers to protect the mattress. These are designed to fit snugly over the futon when folded up so that you can use it as a chair or sofa.
What futon accessories are the best?
To find the best futon accessories for your home, think about the amount of available space you have and how you want to use it. If you want easily stowable guest beds, a thin futon that can be rolled up and stored is probably your best bet. Conversely, if you are creating a Japanese-inspired living space, you might want to purchase additional accessories such as scatter cushions, woven mats and possibly some ladder-style shelves to play with different levels in the room.
It is also important to factor in comfort. Not everyone will be comfortable on a traditional padded futon so more contemporary memory foam designs and structured frames may be a better option. You can also choose between single, double or king-size designs, depending on how many people you need to accommodate.
Finally, it is important to take into account materials when buying futon accessories. Traditional cotton futons will last for many years with the correct care but they do require more upkeep than their synthetic counterparts. If you have kids then an easy-clean futon with a zipped cover is a practical option. Finally, if you are looking for a futon that can be used outdoors, it should have a weatherproof cover made from Sunbrella or similar fabric.
Can futon covers be washed?
The easy answer is yes! However, like with any type of bedding, it is important to follow the care instructions provided with the cover so that you do not damage the fabric. Spot-clean organic stains with a little water mixed with detergent and make sure they are completely dry before use. Cotton covers are prone to mould and mildew so make sure to regularly flip them and dry outside in the sun whenever possible. This will also kill any dust mites. Synthetic covers are usually machine washable but if you have any doubts, handwash in cool water then stretch out flat to dry. Consider purchasing a slipcover if you have a sofa bed-style futon as this will protect the actual mattress from dirt and stains.
Where to buy futon accessories?
The Houzz UK website offers an ever-expanding range of futon accessories, with everything from wooden frames and traditional tatami mats to futon toppers and bolster pillows. Explore the site to find the right furnishings for your home.