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Why Are Futon Mattresses So Low? 5 Reasons Explained

Although sleepers find comfort while lying on a futon mattress, they can’t stop wondering about the low profile of a futon. This question has raised a lot of curiosity among users.

They can recall the mattress’ origin to discover how this design works. This article will give a detailed answer to this question and discuss some interesting facts about these traditional futons. Let’s follow our post!

Why Are Futons So Low?

A futon mattress is a Japanese-style mattress with a low-lying framework to sit directly on the floor. Modern models have folding characteristics that allow them to turn into a recliner, for example, a bi-fold futon or a tri-fold futon.

Japanese traditionally place the mattress on the floor to sleep on, and modern designs maintain this idea even for contemporary products.

So why do Japanese people want to place their mattresses that way? There are five reasons for this tradition:

Good For Back

Japanese people are health-conscious. They understood that lying on a hard, low-to-the-ground bed would benefit their backs because this sleeping posture keeps their spine aligned in a relaxed position. Hence, their mattresses often have a low design.

Good For Back


This form of mattress sits low on the floor to support your back while sleeping. Moreover, it helps avoid severe weather conditions and saves more space in your room.

Summertime in this country is extremely hot and humid. As a result, the people here considered creating a low futon mattress.

Resting on futons over tatami mats is more relaxing and does not retain heat like lying on thick mattresses in some other countries. Furthermore, lying low on the ground is pleasant because this help regulates your body temperature cooler.


As mentioned above, the design of a futon mattress help saves more space in your room. It can’t be too thick since you place the futon mattress on the floor. Hence, you can easily roll it up and store it.

if you don’t use it, you can leave it in the corner of your room and save space for any activities. At night, you can pull it out quickly for sleeping.

Read more: How To Keep Futon Mattress From Sliding


Futons are lightweight. Hence, you can take them outside and let them be exposed to direct sunlight to disinfect and kill bacteria.

Moreover, clearing the rust out of your mattress is easy. Even when it’s low and contacts more dust, you won’t call the maintenance task a nuisance.


As aforementioned, these mattresses are “made-in-Japan” products.

Many designers prefer conserving their roots. Hence, most of the models you can find on the market are low to the ground, similar to their original designs.

The original design remains

How Does The Futon Work?

How can the mattress support your sleep when it sits too low on the ground? You need to refer to the mattress’s working process to answer this question.

Traditional Versions

Traditional Japanese futon mattresses have simple designs, but they look so stunning and functional that many people use them to furnish their rooms.

There are three components in a Japanese futon:

  • Shikibuton: the mattress
  • Kakibuton: the comforter
  • Makura: the pillow

The Shikibuton has three cotton layers and is foldable. Although you can place it directly on the floor, Japanese people prefer laying a Tatami underneath.

Tatami is a grass or reeds woven mat. It offers more support and cushion to the mattress while making it breathable. To sleep on a Japanese futon, simply lay down the Tatami, unfold and put the mattress on, and there you go. You can also use pillows and comforters if necessary.

Traditional Versions

Modern Versions

Most modern futons are convertible thanks to a kit of mechanical arms. You can also secure them into different reclining positions.

Metal has become more prevalent in furniture, and futons achieved another evolution in their mechanisms. For example, manufacturers used metal sliders first to help move the mattress freely.

Additionally, futon mechanisms and layouts have developed and will likely evolve over time. Some makers cut costs to create cheaper products, while others are passionate about working on systems and designs.

Are Futon Sofas Features Similar To Japanese Futons?

Futon sofas are becoming popular because they are cheap and easy to store. These features help them outweigh sofa beds. They have gained a lot of recognition in Western countries. However, they still have the same design as their original version, which is meant to sit low to the floor. This idea is for good reasons.

As they were the initial inspiration for furniture design, there are still many Japanese characteristics of futon sofas. Moreover, futon sofas are close to the floor, so they are still super comfortable even when turned into a sofa.

Both the futon sofa and the Japanese futon have a low profile. The only difference is that you can replace a sofa with a futon sofa when necessary.

A futon sofa can be replaced with a sofa when needed.

Do Any Other Benefits Of A Futon Mattress?

The low profile of futon mattresses is famous. Apart from this feature, the mattress also has other benefits that you may consider and want to try. Here are some of the benefits of futons:

Easy To Maintain

Futon mattresses are simple to keep clean since they are simple to fold and store when not in use. Additionally, they often just need to be spot cleaned with a moist cloth or routinely vacuumed to get rid of dust and dirt.


Solid sofa beds, especially those made of high-quality materials and requiring a great deal of craftsmanship and innovation, may be rather costly.

Futon mattresses are often more affordable than traditional mattresses, making them a great option for those on a budget. Besides, their multiple uses make them become a cost-effective choice for small spaces.


Another great plus of futons is that they can transform your room into a guest room in seconds. You can quickly pull out your spare futon when you have guests, even invite them to stay overnight.

This kind of mattress doesn’t take up a lot of space. Meanwhile, if you buy a sofa bed or a bed, you have to consider the interior space that the furniture takes up.

Read more: Best Trundle Bed Mattresses

Why are futons so low?- Some other benefits to expect


Futons are low to the floor to support your back, save space, prevent harsh weather elements, and keep your room tidy. Though newer products come with advanced features, they still maintain the low profile originating from Japan.

Does this article respond to your expectations? Don’t forget to share this helpful article with your friends and loved ones.

Thanks for reading!


Why are futon mattresses thinner than traditional ones?

For ease of folding and storage, a futon mattress must be thinner. Additionally, as futon mattresses are intended to be used as both a sofa and a bed, they must be flexible and simple to fold. Thinner materials like cotton, foam, or polyester are more suited for this use.

Why are futons low to the ground?

In Japan, futons are typically placed on tatami mats, which are a traditional type of flooring that is close to the ground. Its design also helps it easy to fold and store the futon when it is not in use.

Is a low-profile futon mattress better for my back?

They understood that lying on a hard, low-to-the-ground bed would benefit their backs because this sleeping posture keeps their spine aligned in a relaxed position.

David Elkie

David Elkie

David Elkie is the CEO at Banner Mattress. He has been in the writing and editing business for the mattress, bedding accessories and décor industries for over 20 years.