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How to Make a Futon Feel Like a Couch

Shelley Frost

Simple updates and accessories make a futon look more like a couch to fit in with the decor. Extra padding makes the futon more comfortable.

With a few simple design changes, you can upgrade a futon to make it look and feel less like a dorm accessory and more like an actual couch. From the comfort of the cushion to decorative accents, the modifications help the futon blend in with your home decor.

Upgrade the Mattress

Futon mattresses aren't all equal. Basic futon mattresses are only about 2 to 4 inches thick and come with a plain cotton filling. While functional, these mattresses aren't as comfortable as a couch's cushions. Upgrade to a thicker futon mattress for a softer feeling. Mattresses are available that are anywhere from 5 to 10 inches in thickness.

Higher end futon mattresses are not only thicker but also have better interior construction for greater comfort. Dense foam, coils and memory foam are often used in these mattresses. Test out different futon mattresses at a furniture store before ordering a replacement.

Hold It in Place

Because futon mattresses aren't secured to the frame, they sometimes slip and shift when you sit and lie on them. To create a stable seating option more like a couch, use special futon mattress gripping pads on the frame. The grippers often come in strips with adhesive backs. The foam top of the gripper keeps the mattress in place.

Cover the Mattress

If your current futon mattress is comfortable enough for you, you can upgrade its look to mimic a couch with a futon cover. The covers come in a variety of colors and designs -- both solids and patterns -- and fabrics, including twill and suede materials. Some covers come with cording around the edges to better resemble the look of couch cushions.

Add Pillows

Accent pillows that coordinate with the color and pattern of the futon cover add a decorative and comfortable touch to the futon. The pillows also look like the decorative elements you might put on a regular couch.

Use bolster pillows on either end of the futon along the arms, to create the feeling of upholstered arms found on a couch. Place large accent pillows along the back of the futon. Futon mattresses typically lean back more than traditional couches, so the pillows on the back can minimize the angle. Fill the space in with smaller accent pillows to create an upscale look.

Blend With the Room

When positioning and accenting the futon, treat it as you would a couch to make it seem like a main piece of furniture in the room. Position it within the seating arrangement of the room, and add end tables on either side of the futon and a coffee table in front. Add lamps on the tables to provide task lighting when the futon is in use.