There are so many things to think about at Christmas. Not just what to buy for your 90-year-old father or whether to opt for the traditional turkey or something a little different like a rib of beef, there’s the age-old problem of how on earth you’re going to accommodate the extra overnight guests. Fortunately, there are now plenty of different types of beds and mattresses designed specifically for the expected or even unexpected guests.
If you don’t have the luxury of a spare bedroom, perhaps you could fit a sofa bed in a separate sitting room or study room. Sofa beds are available in different sizes – two seaters or three seaters. If space is tight, opt for the two seater version which will comfortably sleep one person but could be a tight fit for two people, often only providing a sleeping width of 120cm (4ft) or less.
There are generally two styles of sofa bed mechanisms or actions. The first type has a metal frame that folds out from underneath the seating area to reveal a mattress. The mattresses can vary in depth and construction – the deeper the mattress, the greater comfort and support provided. This type of sofa bed is generally the most expensive type and is a good option if you regularly have guests.
The other main type of sofa bed mechanism is known as the ‘click-clack’ type, due to the sound of the ratchets that enable you to simply fold the back section of the sofa into a flat position to form the sleeping surface. They are ideal for the occasional one night sleep-over and can be bought for as little as a couple of hundred pounds. They are not as comfortable as the more traditional sofa bed and the sleeping area is often limited due to the upright arms.
Z-beds and fold-out sofa chairs are a great option for single guests and don’t take up as much room as a sofa bed. Cheaper models are made entirely from hinged foam cushions with better models having a metal action. Z-beds fold up neatly and can be stored in a large cupboard.
A good option in children’s bedrooms is the hideaway bed, often referred to as a trundle or truckle bed where a second bed is hidden underneath the main one. They simply roll out and better models allow the second bed to be raised to the same level as the main bed. In most models, the underbed allows a standard UK single size mattress to be used.
Inflatable air mattresses are another choice for the occasional sleepover and have become popular in the last few years. Price and quality vary considerably with some coming with their own pumps or self-inflation devices. Easy to store and simple to inflate, they can vary hugely in quality so don’t expect the cheapest ones to be the most robust.