Posted by: thefutonshoppaloalto | March 15, 2010

Hello world!

The Futon Shop has been around for 33 years and still going. I myself have only been here for 2 but from the stories I’ve heard of the small futon makings starting at local levels (small shack even), to the bustling 11 california stores now, it has grown quite a lot.

So what is a futon?

“A futon is a flat mattress with a fabric exterior stuffed with cotton, wool, or synthetic batting that makes up a Japanese bed. Futons are sold in Japan at speciality stores called futonya as well as at department stores. They are often sold in sets that include the futon mattress (shikibuton), a comforter (kakebuton) or blanket (mōfu), a summer blanket resembling a large towel (taoruketto), and a pillow (makura) generally filled with beans, buckwheat chaff, or plastic beads.

Futons are designed to be placed on tatami flooring, and are traditionally folded away and stored in a closet during the day to allow the tatami to breathe and to allow for flexibility in the use of the room.”[wikipedia]

So futons were originally made thin so they could be easily rolled away and stored to save room. This would help a densely populated region save on space and make for more room if the living space was small. They were also used on the floor on top of tatami mats.

Today, you can still get these futons. Here at The Futon Shop (and outside of Japan as well), our futons look slightly different in that the actual futon(mattress) goes on top of a wood frame. These frames are usually folding frames that can convert the futon into a couch when it’s not used as a sleeping arrangement. Likewise, the frames we carry (usually solid wood) can be easily converted into sleeping surface when needed. You can also put these futons on top of platform bed frames with slats (to allow it to breathe).

This arrangement makes for a duel purpose sofa-bed with numerous different futons that we make. Most are about 8-9 inches and are made in layers that support it’s property to bend when needed.

one of the wood frames we carry

In addition to the futon, we carry slipcovers that we make ourselves in our main warehouse in the heart of the bay, San Francisco. They come in various fabrics, colors, and patterns as well. Most are stain resistant material like microsuede in which you only need a warm cloth and some water to get rid of the stain. This makes for a comfortable and easily maintained sofabed. Someone dumped a bucket of cookie dough on it? Take off the whole slipcover and throw it in the washing machine then put it in the dryer when it’s done washing.

Note:  In no way, do we condone dumping a bucket of cookie dough over your slipcover.

Well, that’s it for today. Hope this information helps those out there that has never seen the modern futon! If you are still interested in looking a bit for yourself check out our website:




  1. Wow! Sooo cool u have such a great blog……Excellent! I’ll be checking it out often……..

    • Thanks Matt! I’ll be off tomorrow but expect more futon goodness when I return!

  2. Go Vinny! Go!!

  3. Very nice blog Vinh!

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