Ideas for Alternatives to Beds for Guests

bed alternative ideas for guests

If you are looking for a solution to add extra bedding capacity to your home. Here are my top tips and ideas for alternatives to beds.

Maybe you regularly have visitors to stay and you need a temporary bed just for a few nights. Or maybe your children are growing up and they like to have friends for sleepovers.

Of course, it would be lovely to have a separate room to accommodate guests but we have to be realistic, not every household has that kind of space.

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With bed alternatives, you broadly have the following options:

  • inflatable bed
  • trundle beds
  • futons
  • floor mattresses
  • day beds
  • pull out sofa bed
  • camp cot
  • folding bed on Wheels
  • Murphy bed {wall bed or pull down bed}
  • sleeper chair
  • ottoman sleeper guest bed

What Are The Different Bed Alternatives?

There are many types of bed alternatives. I have listed them below, with some product recommendations.

✅ Inflatable Beds

Generally, the best guest bed air mattress has the following features. Plenty of height, an integrated air pump, and a comfortable flocked mattress cover.

 Luxury Air Mattress with Built-in Electric PumpLuxury Air Mattress with Built-in Electric Pump


✅ Trundle Beds

Trundle beds make great guest beds for small spaces.

Basically, they are a small bed frame that is in wheels. On the frame you place a suitable sized mattress.

Once the bed is finished with, it can be neatly stored under the bed. Perfect for guests and children’s rooms.

 Bunk Beds with Trundle Bed, Drawers and ShelvingBunk Beds with Trundle Bed, Drawers and Shelving


✅ Futons

Futons are a very popular choice as a guest bed. They are versatile as during the day they function as a couch.

In some small apartments they can be successfully used as the main bed.

Futons have a clever mechanism that allows the back to drop down and the whole futon slides forward to make a double-sized bed.

 White Futon with Memory Foam MatteressWhite Futon with Memory Foam Matteress


✅ Floor Matteresses

This is a great option for guests that are young and only staying a day or two.

This mattress is very comfortable as it is made from memory foam. After use, it can be rolled up and stored in its own bag.

This mattress is also designed for camping.

 Comfortable Memory Foam Floor MattressComfortable Memory Foam Floor Mattress


✅ Day Beds

These are beds that can be used as sofas during the day. They quickly transform into a proper bed at night.

Ideal for rooms like home offices and craft rooms, that are unoccupied and not slept in most of the time.

The one pictured below has the added benefit of a trundle bed for more sleeping capacity.

 Metal Framed Daybed with Trundle WhiteMetal Framed Daybed with Trundle White


✅ Folding Bed on Wheels

Here is a great solution for putting up the occasional guest. Ideal for your children’s sleepover pals.


  • comfortable 5-inch foam mattress that has 1 1/2 inches of memory foam on top
  • quick and easy to set up, just roll the bed to the desired location open the mattress up.
  • has an easy to wash cover.
  • 4 wheels make this easy to move around for storage


  • although the metal frame is strong and sturdy it can only take 300 pounds in weight.
  • you need to have a suitable space to store the folded up bed

Foldable Roll Away Guest Bed

✅ Ottoman Sleeper Guest Bed

If you are short on space but have room for an ottoman this is a great solution for an infrequent guest.

The clever design is revealed once you remove the cover. As underneath is a frame that once folded out becomes a single bed.

When this is not being used as a bed. This piece of furniture has many uses from a foot rest to an occasional table.

Ottoman Sleeper Guest Bed

✅ Sleeper Chairs

This is a great solution for making the occasional guest feel welcome and looked after.

The chair is a contemporary design that is has a fabric cover. The metal frame can be pulled out to make a single bed. (There is an option for a sofa sized pull out bed).

When it is not being used as a bed it becomes a comfortable chair for a contemporary style living room, bedroom, or home office.

Things I like about this chair

  • attractive enough for a living room
  • the cover can be removed for washing
  • takes up little space when not in use
  • quickly converts into a bed so suitable for daytime naps!
  • light and easy to move

Things I don’t like about this chair

  • it may not fit in with your decor.
  • only available in two colors, brown and blue

Folding Sleeper Arm Chair

✅ Camp Cots

These are a great solution to putting up guests. If you are a family that goes on camping trips you can find the camp cots that you already own.

Alternatively, you could buy one and keep it stored for when visitors are staying overnight.

What I like about these is they take up tiny spaces when folded up for storage.

Comforatble Camp Cot With Matteress

✅ Wall Bed or Murphy Bed

These wall beds are a great space saver. These are the perfect system for tiny apartments or homes where you would like your guest to stay in comfort.

During the day it is no effort to flip the bed up leaving plenty of space for other activities.

This could be installed in a room that has other uses like a home office or a sewing room.

It has plenty of built-in storage, as there is a practical yet attractive shelving unit attached to the bedframe.

This is designed to take a mattress up to 12 inches deep. So any guest you have a guaranteed a good night’s sleep.

Because it takes a nice deep mattress, this is the perfect system for a tiny apartment, as this would be suitable for sleeping on permanently.

Frequently Asked Questions About Guest Beds

How do you accommodate guests in a small space?

My advice would be to buy an inflatable mattress that will go directly on the floor. Avoid those with frames as they take up space when not in use.
These types of mattresses take up very little space when deflated, and can be stored in attics, sheds, basements, or garages.

Should you give up your bed for a guest?

This entirely depends on the circumstances. If you have invited people that are elderly or very dear to you as parents or grandparents, then I think you have a duty to provide the most comfortable sleeping arrangements you possibly can. That might mean giving up your own bedroom.
Young healthy people rarely mind sleeping on sofas, inflatable mattresses or futons.

What is a Murphy bed?

This is a bed frame that is designed to be lifted up by a lifting mechanism. Once the bed frame and matteress is lifted up and secured, the room can be used for other things.
These are very popular in studio apartments, where they can be the main bed.

What is a Day Bed?

This is an item of furniture that has a comfortable mattress on a frame with (usually) a frame around the back and side.
It is used as a spare bed for guests or for napping in the daytime.
When not in use it is generally furnished with throw pillows and a throw to cover the mattress. Once this is done it will resemble a sofa.
Because it has a frame these beds are great for sitting on to relax, watch TV or read on.

What is a trundle bed?

This is a bed that is designed for guests to sleep on.
The bed itself is on wheels and when not in use it is simply pushed under your permanent bed so it is out of sight.
It is usually a single bed, so is perfect for children’s rooms so they can have friends to stay.


When considering what kind of bed to buy for guest to sleep on. You need to consider two principal things, the frequency your guests might stay and the amount of space you have.

Clearly, if a guest is only staying one night there is no point investing in expensive pieces of furniture and a camp cot or an inflatable mattress would be suitable.

If space is very short and your guests don’t stay too often I would buy a good quality inflatable bed.

If you have a room that has other uses like an office or a craft room then consider a day bed, futon or sleepover sofa.

A sleeping solution for you if you have regular visitors is a murphy or pull up wall bed. As the bed frame can take a proper mattress, ensuring your guest has a great night’s sleep.

best bed alternatives for house guests