How To Fold A Futon Mattress

As you probably know futon mattresses originate in Japan. But they are unbelievably comfy, so they have become popular in the Western world too.

Each one has two sections — the mattress and the frame. Just like beds, they come in multiple sizes so you can find the one that fits your home perfectly.

But how do you fold them?

Generally speaking, they are very easy to fold. Plus, if you move house, you can simply compress them to fit nicely into the truck or van.

The specific way your futon folds depends on the type of futon you purchased and the manufacturer you bought it from. Not to mention that the frames will open in different manners too.

Don’t stress! We are going to tell you exactly how to fold each type of frame so you can have your place looking spick and span in no time. Ready? Let’s get into the details.

Typically, your futon will expand and contract by opening and closing the locking mechanism. Whether your futon frame is wooden or metal (aluminum usually since it is so lightweight), this will be how it works.

Across the United States of America, the bi-fold futon frames are the most popular. Why? Because you can swap them between their sofa and bed states with ease. 

The loveseat type is generally used solely as a sofa, comfortably fitting two people at a time. However, you will need a separate mattress and Ottoman to turn it into a suitable bed. Therefore, they aren’t as common (although they look fantastic).

The tri-fold is the smallest variety. The mattress is far thinner than its bi-fold and loveseat cousins. So, it tends to be used as a super space saver. Although, it could be argued that they are all space-saving designs.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Folding Bi-Fold Futon Frames

We figured it was only right to start with this one since it is the most popular across the US.

If you have already purchased one, you will know that the twin futon mattress is the perfect size for this type of frame. You do not need to purchase an additional Ottoman because it is designed to be a sofa and a bed itself.

Here is the three-step guide on how to fold it.

Step One: Remove The Bedding

First of all, you need to take off the bedding. If you skip this step, it will likely become tangled in the frame’s hinges and render the mattress far too chunky to fold in half.

Step Two: Fold It Lengthwise 180 Degrees

Next, you need to fold it lengthwise. Depending on your specific model, it should reach 180 degrees.

Step Three: Close The Frame

This requires some simultaneous action!

Lift the back section of the frame at the same time as you push the seat part. This will turn the seat into a flat platform, with a perfectly positioned backrest.

And that’s it!

The Step-by-Step Guide to Folding Loveseat Futon Frames

These guys come in multiple sizes namely, twin, full, and queen. Depending on the manufacturer you purchased yours from, it may have two mattress sections or just one long mattress.

However, they are dissimilar from the bi-fold frames (which we have just discussed) because they have a lounger extending from their base. In most cases, this goes between the futon and seat base when you fold it up.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the simple step-by-step guide to folding your loveseat futon.

Step One: Separate The Mattress From The Frame

To start with, you must remove the mattress. It just won’t close otherwise.

Step Two: Fold In The Legs (If It Has Any)

Your model may not have any legs, in which case, you can move onto step three. But, if you have bought a futon with legs, then you need to stick with us.

Unfortunately, we can’t tell you exactly how to fold in the legs because each one is different. However, it should be fairly self-explanatory. Just don’t continue with the steps until they are safely out of the way.

Step Three: Push The Lounger In

Now, push the lounger that extends out of the futon into the frame. It tends to go between the seat panel and the base of the futon.

Step Four: Lift the Back

Finally, just lift the back part into position. You should hear a click when you get it right (especially if your frame is made of metal).

Great! You are all done!

The Step-by-Step Guide to Folding Tri-Fold Futon Frames

As the name suggests, this one concertinas down three times. By the time you are finished, it should look like a nice, neat zig-zag.

The downside with this one is that the mattress tends to be thin. Why is that, we hear you ask? So it can easily fold into thirds. Any thicker, and you would need to buy a vacuum packer to get it into this position!

Alongside all of this, there are three parts to the futon frame — the Ottoman, the back part, and the seat platform.

Yes, you could argue they are the most complicated type of futon to fold up. Nevertheless, we are going to tell you how to do it!

Step One: Take The Mattress Off

You must make sure to take the mattress off before you begin to close the frame. It will cause all sorts of problems if you don’t!

Step Two: Push The Ottoman In

Once you have removed the mattress, push the Ottoman into the frame.

Step Three: Lift The Back Part

The above step will allow you to lift the back part up into the correct position.

Step Four: Fold The Mattress

All you need to do now is to fold the mattress in such a way that it covers the seat and the backrest. There should be enough left over to tuck in and secure it.

Bear in mind, while you may want to relax on this every chance you get, you should not use it very often. Since the mattress is very thin, it will wear down rapidly. So, to preserve the lifespan of your brand-new futon, keep its usage low.

Your Burning Questions, Answered

What If I'm Still Confused After Reading This?

If you still have all the paperwork that came with your futon, this shouldn’t be a problem. Inside the box, you should find some instructions from the manufacturer that states exactly how to fold that particular model.

Is Folding and Opening a Futon Dangerous?

We think that the word “dangerous” may be a bit of an exaggeration. However, if you aren’t careful you could be injured. It’s unlikely to happen, but a lack of common sense (i.e. not keeping fingers away from hinges) may cause some bruises.

Why Is My Futon Mattress Slipping When I Use It?

This is a really simple thing to solve and is just down to improper gripping on the base.

To ensure it stops slipping, you need to use foam or rubber strips. The foam kind comes with sticky backs that hold onto the frame permanently. They are super hard to remove so we would suggest you purchase the rubber ones. Having said that, if you have one of the thicker mattress options, you are better off purchasing the foam strips as they provide a more secure lock.

When applying the grips, you need to make sure that you put some on the seat slat and the backrest. Otherwise, you will have to put up with a pretty wonky night’s sleep — and who wants that, right?

For When You Need a Refresher, This Section Is Here to Help

Your futon’s particular folding style depends on the brand and the style of it (i.e., whether it is a bi-fold, loveseat, or tri-fold type).

In the Western world, the bi-fold futon style tends to be the most popular. It boasts an easy to use design, even though you might not be able to fold the thicker mattresses as neatly as others.

The loveseat and tri-fold varieties come with an added extra — the Ottoman. This restricts their folding abilities (which you will know if you purchased this kind).

Regardless of your futon frame’s type, you need to make sure you know the exact mattress dimensions for your make. Otherwise, you will not find it easy to close and open it. 

Alongside all of this, ensure you are pushing, pulling, unlocking, and locking the correct sections. The first time you do it, you might find that it’s tricky to know which bits do which maneuvers. But over time, this will become second nature. After all, practice makes perfect!

One last thing before we leave in you peace — remember that it is easier to fold your futon frame once you have taken the mattress off. You will avoid any injuries or caught material this way.

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