Not everyone has the luxury of having the extra square footage tied to an extra bedroom for the occasional visiting guest or sleepover. However, we all typically have that occasional guest that comes to visit and deserves a comfortable place to rest their head each night. Rollaway beds are the perfect solution for households that regularly need an extra sleeping space for sleepover guests, but don’t have the room for a full-sized bed.
They also serve as an excellent option for those restless nights or warm summer evenings where sleeping elsewhere sounds like a perfect solution to your insomnia. The ease of storage and setup make them a convenient, and helpful extra bed to have around.
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A rollaway is a folding frame that supports a standard twin sized, or full sized mattress (queens may also be available, but are hard to come by) and is called such due to how many of the designs are equipped with wheels to help roll the bed in and out of its storage place. Most rollaways generally fit easily into a closet space or under a bed, to be out of the way when not in use- but unfold into a full sized frame for your guest’s comfort. They are also great choices for smaller living areas, such as dorm rooms or apartment lofts.
Near the turn of the 19th century multiple patents relating to folding beds were sought by innovative thinkers in response to crowded living conditions within working class neighborhoods. Living quarters were often small, occasionally fitting multi-child families into one bedroom apartments. Single men and women looking for work would also room together for both saved money, and lack of affordable housing.
Some of the first designs were created to be multi purposeful and would fold up during the day into writing desks, but by the 20th century a simplified folding bed became a more affordable, and convenient choice that would eventually become the rollaway we know today.
Rollaways are typically made with a durable steel frame which can often support 300 lbs or more, and generally come with wheels to make storage easy and convenient. A trampoline type base, wooden slats, or steel mesh serve as the mattress support decking, and many of the mattresses used are considered of high quality material. What they all have in common is how the fold and latch to stay secure in storage. Some even come with storage bags so they can be stored in garages or sheds without fear of ruining the mattress.
Different sizes are readily available with the most common being a twin, or cot size (slightly more narrow than a twin). But twin XL, Full, or even queen can also be found.
Even though rollaway beds aren’t considered extremely pricy when compared to a regular bed frame and mattress, it is an investment and you should consider the reasons you are exploring it as an option in the first place.
Do you have a small space and are looking to open up a living area further, or are you solely searching for a guest bed? If you are planning on using your rollaway as a daily bed, you might want to consider one that has a dual purpose and can serve as a side table when folded up. A rollaway may not even be your best choice either, and you might want to explore a Murphy bed option.
If you have guests regularly and know it will get a lot of use- then a higher end, more durable bed should be what you are looking for. Rollaways are more focused on the occasional guest convenience market, and not for consistent heavy usage.
Young children and smaller adults can obviously fit more easily on a cot or twin sized mattress than a larger, heavier adult. Twin XL sizes are longer to help accommodate longer bodies, and full or queen sized beds are worth the extra cost if you know you will be having couples visiting rather than invest in two separate beds.
Most rollaways fit well into a closet, but some are narrow enough to be stored under a permanent bed frame as well. If you really do not have a place indoors for storage, but do have room in a garage or shed, consider a bed that comes with a storage bag to help keep it clean when not in use.
I think it’s safe to say that as an extra bed option, or space saver, a rollaway bed is a product to seriously consider. Not only is it a convenient solution to guest bedding, but is multipurpose for your own needs, and packs easily for temporary sleeping spaces during moves or even longer-term sleep solutions.
A variety of sizes and options are available to meet both space and comfort needs, and my personal pick is the Zinus Sleep Master Traveler Deluxe due to its smaller storage size, and thicker mattress. As a temporary set-up it seems a sturdy choice, and if it was needed for an extended time, it's spring supported decking is a decent alternative to add another, thicker mattress or padding if needed.
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