Good fold-out bed for exchange student?

We will be hosting an exchange student this fall, and rather than take up space with a regular bed, we thought we'd get a chair that folds out into a single bed. Do you have one that you like that you would recommend? My home office is probably where we'd put it, and it's on the small side, so bonus points for narrow profile of the chair itself. Extra bonus points for attractiveness of the chair and comfort of the bed. :-) Runner up idea is a roll-away bed that would get stored in the basement when not in use. I'd welcome feedback on this idea as well! Thanks in advance! Lisa

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Hi Lisa -

I've been toying with the same idea. The one that seems to be both looking nice and of good sleep quality is from Ikea, but it's definitely not cheap. Ikea Vallentuna I will follow this thread to get more inspiration :-)

Ummmm I think you need to prioritize creating a private and pleasant space for this student, thousands of miles from home and family, just like you would want for your own child ... Right? It doesn't sound like you are able to really host someone. Will your office be their private space all afternoon and evening when they're home? They will need that. They need to contact their friends, do homework, and have PRIVACY. Like all teens. I have hosted several exchange students and even at 18 they are still KIDS, because they're anxious about all the novelty. They need privacy. They need a comfortable real bed. They may be a tall person - will your bed fit them? Stuffing an expanding chair into an office doesn't sound like a situation that would be approved by the huge international exchange program that we worked with. 

Since you've asked for feedback, I have to say that if I were an exchange student, this would not make me feel very welcome unless it's genuinely comfortable to sleep in. There are some chairs that are also single futons. An attractive and functional one is not likely to be cheap, but will be a great long-term investment. Foam breaks down quickly; we've had good luck with a mixed wool/cotton futon with innersprings, purchased at the Futon Shop. Whichever way you go, please test out what it's like to sleep on.

Please think through some way to offer this student a little privacy and a decent place to sleep. Perhaps a loft bed with room underneath for studying and relaxing? Or at least get a folding screen.

Of course, I do understand you probably have tough space constraints; but you do want the student to feel there is a small corner of earth that temporarily belongs to him/her.

This message makes me sad, as I was friends with many exchange students in high school (+20 years ago) and some were treated horribly while others were included as part of the family. I still keep in touch with many of them. It seems you want to accept the money that comes with having an exchange student, but don't want to provide them with a real bed and bedroom. I would feel unwelcomed if I traveled across the world and was going to be sleeping in a narrow chair for months.

That being said, I've slept on these type of chairs. They are fine for a night or two, when you need a place to crash, but I wouldn't call them comfortable. Kaiser uses them in their maternity ward for spouses too. However as a long term solution for a child who is going to live with you, I think you should get a real bed, or if you don't have the space- maybe you should consider not hosting an exchange student.

Hello, I have to agree with the previous posters (and meant to respond last week). My jaw dropped at the thought of a sleeper chair-as-bed situation in an office! If you mean the type they  have in the hospital (like a lazy-boy recliner that folds out flat) then no, that will not suffice for a teenager as their only bed for more than a couple nights. I think you'll need to buy a real bed (or a futon at the very least) and find a private space for this student in your home (or not host them at all). Best of luck!

Hi, OP here.  Seems like in my attempt to be brief and to the point my original post didn't include enough detail, leaving many of you jumping to unpleasant conclusions and judgments.  I shall attempt to clarify in the hopes of generating more helpful recommendations like that put forth by the first responder (and the folks on Nextdoor):  

We will have this student for 10 days in the fall, and my child will stay with their family abroad for a similar amount of time in the spring. It's a true exchange program through my child's high school and we are paying so my child can participate, not receiving compensation for hosting. We will turn over the office/bedroom to this student for the duration of their stay.  The office/bedroom was my child's bedroom for 15 years (it's nursery-sized and cozy and worked well as a small bedroom with a twin bed) and now holds a piano, my child's desk, some bookshelves and the ubiquitous pile of stuffed animals yet to be purged.  It also has a spacious closet for clothing.  We will move the piano into my room temporarily to make room for the bed, and deal with the stuffies. More if we need to do so to make it liveable and comfortable, but a single/twin bed should fit easily, as it did when it was my child's bedroom. 

I lived with a family abroad as a teen through an immersion/homestay program where the family was paid to host and I slept on a pull-out couch in their living room for several months. The room had a door that closed, but I also made sure to fold up the bed each morning so the room could be used if needed. The family was warm and welcoming, and didn't have the means to do any more than they did. It was a terrific experience.  

My parents have an IKEA couch in their living room that unfolds to a queen sized bed, mechanically kind of like a futon but the mattress is far more comfortable, that we sleep on when we visit them, but this bedroom/office/nursery in our house is really only big enough for a twin. 

My hope was to find a solution that is comfortable for this visiting child while not also requiring a permanent guest room or a complete overhaul for a 10-day stay.  I think it's great when folks have the space and extra rooms to devote one for that purpose, and they are very lucky for it.  But not everyone has that kind of space. I feel privileged that we can afford to contemplate the purchase of a special piece of furniture so guests and visiting students can stay with us in relative comfort. 

I thought a nice and comfortable sleeper chair ideal, as it could live in that room permanently, and also be used for future short-term guests, teenage sleepovers, and for when grandparents come to visit and my child gives up the bigger bed and bedroom for them.  I thought that would be a better solution than a roll-away bed (which can also be quite comfortable if you get a good one), that would have to be moved each time a guest came to stay and wouldn't be as easy for spontaneous sleepovers. 

I was brief in my original post because I didn't think wading through a lot of this extraneous detail would be necessary in order to generate specific recommendations for furniture, but had forgotten how judgemental BPN can be sometimes. 

I would welcome additional, specific suggestions on sleeper chairs, roll-away beds, or some other piece of furniture I haven't thought of.  

CB2 makes a great twin daybed/lounger that can also convert to a full/queen bed if out in a larger space, it is very light and comfortable, durable mattress. I would recommend a topper to make it more comfortable (a bit firm) but it is simple and comfortable. They are about $900 new but can frequently be found checking on Craig’s List. With some cozy sheets and pillows and a topper I think it would make a great bed for a 10 day stay.