Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Welcome to MONEDEROsmart. Today we are going to talk about the futon, a versatile, uncomplicated piece of furniture that blends in with different decoration styles and is common in homes from East to West.

The futon brings cosiness to any environment, indoors or out. The larger models, with a wooden base, can replace a sofa or even a bed. The smaller ones can be used as cushions on benches.

Are you interested in buying one for your home? Then keep reading this article, because we’re going to talk about the different models, how to combine them with your decoration, give some buying suggestions and much more.


  • There are five futon models: shikibuton, kakibushi, zabuton, zafu and Turkish puff. Each model has its own shape, size, coating and indication for use.
  • The main feature of the futon is its malleability, which means that it does not take up so much space in the home. Unroll it to use and roll or fold it up to store it again.
  • The futon support furniture is also low. Usually this structure is made of wood, but you can find versions made of metal, steel, masonry and pallets.

The best Futon: Our Picks

Futon combines comfort, functionality, simplicity and practicality, characteristics valued by the oriental culture. You will find models in different shapes, sizes and uses. We have selected the best ones for this Ranking.


Buying Guide

A cozy corner is ideal to rest after a long day of work. Chairs, armchairs and sofas are good options for relaxing, but have you ever thought about buying a futon? Besides being soft and versatile, it adds a touch of beauty to your decor.

If you are not familiar with the product, check out our Buying Guide. In addition to presenting the various models of futons, we will give you some tips on how to use them in different areas of the house, suggestions on where to buy them and notions on prices.

Imagem de uma mulher deitada de bruços lendo um livro em um futon verde.

The futon brings comfort and beauty to the environment. (Source: Katarzyna BiaÅ’asiewicz / 123rf)

What is a futon?

Many people do not know it by name, but futon is a cushion, which can be used as a sofa, replacing the mattress, covering benches and chairs and as a puff in indoor and outdoor environments.

The futon is low, pliable and flexible, these features enable it to be folded in different ways. And you can store it easily, because of the ties on the sides.

The filling varies from one model to another, but can be foam, cotton or materials of synthetic origin. The outer cover can be made of cotton, polyester, canvas and fine fabrics such as silk and linen.

What style of futon suits me?

The term futon is used to designate other pieces, such as the Kakibushi, Shikibuton, Zabuton, Zafu and the Turkish puff. We will talk about the characteristics of each model throughout this section.


The shikibuton is the most commonly used type, as it replaces the mattress. This model is rectangular and can be dense or pliable. It should be placed on top of a tatami or frame to provide comfort.

Did you know that in Japan, people believe that sleeping close to the ground ensures that the earth absorbs bad energy, renews good energy and provides a more peaceful sleep?

The traditional shikibuton is thin but very firm and, together with the lower height of the bed, brings some health benefits such as improvement in blood circulation, muscle relaxation and correct sleeping posture.


The Kakibushi is a type of folding puff that can also be used as a small mattress. It is ideal for those who have little space at home, as it can be stored easily.

Imagem de futon Kakibushi.

The Kakibushi futon can be used as a small mattress. (Source: AnikaSalsera / 123RF)


The zabuton is similar in shape to a pillow, so it is used on benches, sofas or chairs. This style of futon can be made of cotton or fine fabrics like silk and linen.


The zafu is also similar to a cushion, the big difference is the round shape. The zafu is often used as a meditation pillow to help maintain balance and good posture.

Turkish puff

The Turkish puff is ideal for external areas, as it can be used directly on the ground and is thicker than other models. Generally, the covering is made of materials resistant to humidity and heat.

Where can I use futons?

The futon can be used in various rooms of the house: in the living room, children’s and adults’ bedrooms and in external areas such as balconies, terraces and gardens.

In the living room, you can place the futon on a rug or on top of a wooden structure. In this environment, the futon serves as a sofa, but does not take up as much space because it is smaller and lower.

An excellent option for the living room is the kakibushi, replacing the sofa. You can also distribute some zabutons or zafus on the floor, for people to sit on.

In the bedroom, the futon can serve as a single or double bed, if placed on top of a tatami or structure. The futon is also an excellent option if you usually receive guests at home.

Imagem de um futon rosa.

When used as a bed, the futon brings numerous health benefits. (Source: Buenosia Carol / Pexels)

In the children’s room, the futon is an excellent option because it gives the child freedom to move around without the risk of falling from great heights, stimulates learning and observation skills.

This is the philosophy of the Montessori method, which suggests replacing the conventional cot by a futon, not to confine the little ones between bars. If you are going to test the method, it is worth consulting a specialist.

For bedrooms, we suggest you choose a Shikibuton futon, you can find single or double models.

For outdoor areas it is recommended to look for a futon covered in acrylic fabric, waterproof or at least buy a cover with these characteristics, to protect the futon from the action of the sun’s rays and humidity.

Our suggestion is to use a Turkish puff, designed for outdoors. You can also place a kakibushi to be used as a sofa or puff.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a futon?

The futon has numerous advantages beyond the versatility of use. One is that it takes up little space, giving the feeling that the room is larger. In addition, being a neutral object, the futon adapts to any style of decoration.

The futon is easy to handle because it is light and flexible, so you can change its position whenever you want to test new possibilities for use. In addition, this cushion is ideal for those who can’t adapt to or don’t like very high beds.

One negative point is that the proximity to the floor makes the mattress more susceptible to dirt (this is one of the reasons why the Japanese don’t use shoes at home).

If you are buying a futon to sleep on(shikibuton), choose carefully, as some models are uncomfortable. Ideally, you should buy a thicker model so that you can adapt to it little by little.

  • Optimizes the space of the room
  • Adapts to different styles of decoration
  • There are five styles of futon, in different shapes, materials and indications of use
  • It is lightweight and easy to handle
  • The futon serves as bed, sofa, puff and cushion
  • Some models are uncomfortable
  • Proximity to the floor increases exposure to dirt
  • Being lower, it is difficult to combine the futon with other furniture in the house
  • At first, it is difficult to get used to the lower height

How to keep futon?

To prolong the life of your futon, you must take certain precautions. Cleaning should be done with a hoover and never with water, as the lining and filling are made of fabric.

Eventual dirt and stains should be removed with a little water and neutral soap, but the procedure should be done quickly so that the humidity does not penetrate the layers of fabric.

Sporadically, try turning it, as we do with the mattress, to avoid deformation of the structure and uneven fading of the piece.

To avoid the smell of mould, it’s essential to give the futon some air from time to time. The sun will also do you good, but avoid leaving it out for too long, as the sun’s rays will damage the fabric.

How much does it cost?

Futon prices vary, the cheapest are the models zabuton and zafu, which cost from £15. You will find excellent quality options for up to £ 50 and more expensive versions, which reach £ 200.

The kakibushi is also affordable, there are cheaper models between £80 and £150. If you choose one that comes with a solid wood structure, the price goes up to around £1,500.

The shikibuton is the most expensive model, costing between £700 (single) and £1,000 (double), but these prices do not include the structure.

Purchase criteria: Factors to compare different futon models

Now that you already know the different futon models, it is time to know which features should be taken into consideration at the time of purchase, to choose the right model according to the environment, your home decoration and preferences.

  • Model
  • Structure
  • Design
  • Base

We will explain each of the items below.


There are five futons models: Kakibushi, Shikibuton, Zabuton, Zafu and the Turkish puff. We explain the characteristics of each and the indications for use in the table below, check it out:

Indication of use Format Advantages
Shikibuton For sleeping Rectangular, dense or pliable Good for your health
Kakibushi As a sofa or child’s mattress Folding pouf Softness and ease of storage
Zabuton For sitting or supporting the head Square cushion Simpler or more sophisticated fabrics
Turkish puff In outdoor areas, directly on the floor Square cushion and thicker Waterproof fabric cover
Zafu For meditation Round cushion Helps to maintain good posture


The structure of the futon varies, there are thinner models with a thickness of 5 centimetres and taller ones around 15 cm, enriched with latex to prevent deformation of the structure.

The filling can be cotton, foam or synthetic materials. The lining can be cotton, polyester, acrylic and sophisticated fabrics such as silk and linen.


You can find futon models in different styles: plain, geometric, floral, striped prints, etc. You can mix prints of the same colour palette to make the room look elegant.

Imagem de um futon azul com almofadas em cima ao lado de um tapete.

The futon looks good in any environment, bringing a lot of coziness. (Source: Katarzyna BiaÅ’asiewiczl / 123rf)

You can also find models in just one colour pattern:

  • White: Gives a neutral touch to the decoration;
  • Red: Brings personality to the space;
  • Blue: Guarantees a modern look;
  • Grey: It is an excellent option for children’s rooms, since it disguises dirt.


The futon base can be made of wood, metal, steel, masonry or pallets of different materials. The board can be adapted to receive shelves and drawers, to optimize the organization of the room.

Imagem de um quarto com um futon cinza claro.

Choose a base that matches the rest of the room. (Source: Katarzyna BiaÅ’asiewiczl / 123rf)

Choose well the structure of the futon, pallets, for example, are cheaper, but the durability is low. If the board is complete, the ventilation decreases and the care with cleaning and hygiene doubles.

(Source of the highlighted image: Katarzyna BiaÅ’asiewicz / 123RF)