Futons are fun, but since you’re here you already new that. What’s not fun is trying to figure out how much size you will need for one in your living room, or if they use the standard mattress sizes you find in regular beds? 

Don’t fret, we cover all these points and more (including a short detour into Japanese history). But I digress…when it comes to futons, size does matter.

How big is a futon?

As much as I would like to give you a straight answer in inches inches, the truth is that futon size depends on a few factors. 

Firstly, we have to take a look at standard mattress sizes, since these will largely dictate the size of your futon when folded open.

Secondly we have to be clear on what you are referring to as a “futon”. This form of bed originated in Japan, but has since taken a different shape in the western world. More on that later…

Futon Mattress sizes

Thankfully, futon mattresses sizes come in regular US mattress sizes, except you are limited in choice when it comes to some of the less common XL variants. That means futons are most commonly available in the following sizes:

Twin (38″ x 75″) & Twin XL (38″ x 80″)

Twin size futon mattresses are the smallest (and least expensive), of the standard futon mattress sizes. Twin mattresses are designed for single sleepers who are not active during the night and want to save space in their bedroom, apartment, or dorm room.

Twin XL size mattresses are the same width as the Twin, but 5-inches longer.

  • Designed for single sleepers
  • Smallest standard futon mattress size
  • Most affordable

See our review on Twin Size Futon Mattresses if you are looking to buy one.

Full (54″ x 75″) & Full XL (54″ x 80″)

Also known as a Double, modern Full futon size mattresses are made for single sleepers who require something more a bit more spacious than a Twin.

Full XL size mattresses are the same width as the Full, but 5-inches longer.

  • Designed for single sleepers
  • Wider than the Twin

Read our Full Size Futon Mattress guide if you are in the market for one of these.

Queen (60″ x 80″)

Queen size mattresses are the gold standard in the industry today, and the same holds true for futons. They have a width suitable for sharing, and a length that works for all but the tallest people (XL variants can fix this). 

  • Designed for couples
  • Most affordable and practical futon size for couples

See our review on Queen Size Futon Mattresses if you are looking to buy one.

King (76″ x 80″)

Designed for couples who want spacious luxury, King size futon mattresses are great for couples with one active and / or very light sleeper, allowing for plenty of space for one person to move around while not bothering the other. 

  • Designed for couples
  • Most spacious standard futon mattress

Read our King Size Futon Mattress guide if you are in the market for one of these.

Japanese futons compared to Western “futons”

To many westerners, a futon bed consists of a wooden slatted sofa that transforms into a bed, but this is a distant relative to the traditional Japanese futon. 

Traditional Japanese Futons

In Japan, the houses are small and futons were beds which could be folded up and packed away when morning came.

The traditional futon consists of three parts, namely: 

  1. the mattress, “shikibuton”
  2. the duvet, “kakebuton” 
  3. and the pillow, “makura”

What is important to note is that in japan, sleeping on a futon means sleeping on the floor, with only the thin mattress (shikibuton) as cushioning for your body.

Western Futons

Western-style futons, which typically consists of a mattress with a low, wooden base, differ substantially from their Japanese counterparts. As we mentioned before, they have the standard, twin, full, queen and king dimensions, and are too thick to fold. 

Don’t forget the arm rests!

Many western futons also include arm rests, which have to be taken into account when calculating the width. 

Here is an example of a western style futon currently sold on Amazon.

Serta Cypress Double Sided Innerspring Queen Futon Mattress, Khaki, Made in the USA

Notice how, in the product description, the manufacturer has stated the dimensions.

But these dimensions do NOT take account for the arm rests. These are the standard Queen size mattress dimensions.

Make sure that the manufacturer has either included arm rest dimensions, or you will need to add an extra 6-8 inches “wiggle room” if you want were hoping to squeeze your futon into a tight space.

Total Width Required = 80 + 6 to 8 inches for armrests

Wrapping Up..

Futons, whether Japanese or Western are a great addition to any home, especially those where space is at a premium. We hope that our guide on choosing the correct futon mattress size was useful, and that we have answered the question: “How big is a futon?” once and for all.

Thanks for reading. And be sure to visit our Futon Review if you feel like adding one to your living room.