Return of the futon

Ah yes, it was so hot in the 70s. If you were a starving student or just managing to scrape it together in your first apartment, you had a futon. With or more likely without a frame, the futon operated as your bed, couch, desk, and dining table. Graduating to more “grown up” furniture, a real bed and a proper couch and table came later.

Today’s stylish futons are a comfortable and versatile option to the sofa beds.

Ah yes, it was so hot in the 70s. If you were a starving student or just managing to scrape it together in your first apartment, you had a futon. With or more likely without a frame, the futon operated as your bed, couch, desk, and dining table. Graduating to more “grown up” furniture, a real bed and a proper couch and table came later.

The futon is once again making tracks as a must have home purchase, but there are style and comfort improvement that have moved this versatile mattress up several notches. Comfort is the first consideration and there have been major advancements in the mattress industry.

Using environmentally sensitive materials that are layered to suit a variety of sleep postures, you have your choice of the original cotton pad, memory foam, coil, and wool wrapped futons. Futon frames now come in a variety of good quality woods including teak, and oak as well as metal. They easily convert from bed to couch and will fit into any decor style. The huge range in futon covers makes it easy to switch your look from summer to winter as quickly as changing your bed cover.

It’s worth checking out the possibilities at your neighbourhood futon or furniture store or do some investigating on the net.

Shown here is Gold Bond’s Soft Touch double and single futons set up in a cozy country living room. www.goldbondmattress.com. If you are looking for futon covers in every style from kids to contemporary, www.siscovers.com is a good source.

One other aspect that appeals to me given the awkward staircases I’ve had to contend with – even a queen-size futon mattress and frame is foldable and easy (in comparison) to move into those top floor flats or basement apartments.

Dear Debbie: I’ve got a teak dining table that is quite marked up. It’s been well used by the family for 30 years. I hate the stains and would love to update the look. Can it be painted? It’s been oiled regularly, how do I remove the oil pre-painting? Thanks for any help and ideas. – Linda

Dear Linda: With any solid wood table it is possible to remove the stains and nicks by sanding. Just like a hardwood floor, it can be refinished. However, it sounds like you want a complete change. Before you paint, sand and wash to remove the oil, then prime with a good quality high hide primer that will cover up the stains. Now you are ready to paint, and finish with a couple of coats of varnish for protection.

Dear Debbie: I have a two-storey house and would like to put some colour on the walls. There is oak wood trim on the doors and windows. Do I have to paint my wood trim white? I’d hate to do that but I’m getting tired of my plain walls. Thank you for helping me with my dilemma. – Judy

Dear Judy: There is no reason to cover up the wood trim. Traditional homes are filled with colours and patterns that complement the natural wood tones. Do some research into the historic colour palettes and you will find shades that will light up your home.

Sage green, warm pinks or soft blues should all work well. Be careful with yellow as it is not so easy to blend with certain wood tones.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com.

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