Futons have proven to be one of the most efficient, comfortable, chic, space-saving pieces of furniture in history. That may seem like quite a lot of hype to place on such a humble, under-rated bed but its true. Consider the futon history dating back to what many believe were the first known futons as early as the 13th century Japan; the original futon was no more than bedclothes stuffed with cotton and wool in the 17th century placed upon a mat. Placed directly onto the floor at night and conveniently rolled up and put away in the morning, original futons were certainly a far cry from what we know them as today, although there does seem to be a bit of similarity there. Clearly useful space savers in tight quarters from the beginning as rooms needed to be multi-functional; futons were aired out or folded up each morning. With space at a premium, daylight saw family life and activities occurring in the same area previously used for sleep.
Futons continued to progress in comfort and functionality as the years went on and other types of material began to become readily available. As they plumped up to look more like a mattress, popularity was almost exclusive amongst the wealthy until around the 19th century. Prior to the industrial revolution, futons weren’t easily obtained by the masses as they were too costly for the general population. Nikishawa, a Japanese manufacturer has been in the futon business for over 440 years, making not just the futon but also futon accessories, along with the line of pillows, sheets, and futon fittings to make it worth your living space.
As futons traveled around the world in their own inexplicable, yet comfortable way, history seems to show that they were in use not only in Japan and throughout Asia, but also by families with limited living space in various forms. Consider nomadic travelers or tourists if you will. To a tourist traveling light may mean sleeping in a tent in a sleeping bag, however, a futon would be much more comfortable and possibly warmer as well. In fact, a sleeping bag on top of an air mattress is very similar to old style futons!
Today, western style futons are available in countless styles, utilizing wood and metal bases with an enormous amount of color options to synch your décor. If you’re using your futon to sleep on, consider purchasing a wooden model with slats beneath the futon mattress allowing sufficient air circulation to dry your futon each day. Air circulation has been proven in preventing mold, mildew, mites and the smell of your perspiration to accumulate, keeping your futon fresh and prolonging its valuable use as a space-saving furniture option. Check out our guide if you are interested in acquiring one for your home!
Regarded as an inexpensive alternative to the traditional couch or sofa, a futon that unfolds into a comfortable bed is not only valuable in limited space living but can be a great investment for much less money than conventional furniture. Another interesting tidbit is, while futons are considered lightweight, convenient, and cost-effective, they are also used as a deterrent by police in Japan as a non-violent alternative for unruly or inebriated offenders. They are rolled in a futon rather than resorting to using weapons as a calming non-violent alternative for transport, very snug indeed.