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How to Make Your RV Sofa Bed a Comfortable Place to Sleep

How to Make Your RV Sofa Bed a Comfortable Place to Sleep


avatar   Scott
Trip Date 11/30/2020
Posted On 12/24/2020 09:15:30

United States | Camping | Hacks | Customizations | RV | RVing with Guests | Sofa Bed | Fold-Out Bed | Pull-out Couch | Storage | Sleeping on a Sofa Bed | Memory Foam Mattress Topper | How to Store a Mattress Topper in an RV



Have you ever gone RVing with guests?

We recently invited some family members to join us on a long RV camping trip. In the three years that we've owned "RV There Yet?", it's always been just the two of us traveling together. Because we wanted our guests to be comfortable, before they joined us, we tried to brainstorm everything that would be different with four of us living inside of our RV.

The most obvious difference would be sleeping arrangements - our sofa bed would be put to use for the first time ever! Don't miss this article to see what we learned about sleeping on a sofa bed (also known as a fold-out bed or pull-out couch). Hint: A memory foam mattress topper will make everyone who is traveling together much happier!

After pondering how to store a mattress topper in an RV, we decided on a sofa bed customization. If you like RV hacks, you won't want to pass this one up! It's quick and easy to do, and gives you the perfect storage place for your extra mattress topper during the day or at any other time when it's not being used.

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Testing the Comfort of the Sofa Bed

Have you tried sleeping on the pull-out couch in your RV?

We assumed it would be fine for only two weeks of sleeping, but decided to test it out for ourselves. After pulling out and setting up the bed, we put a mattress pad and sheets on the bed - just like our guests would have. Our plan was to spend 2 - 3 nights sleeping on the pull-out couch, just to make that sure that we were comfortable.

Here's what we learned: We couldn't even make it through one night! The mattress was kind of hard, and it had a lump in the middle right where it folded. Ugh!


Unfolded (and Extremely Uncomfortable) Sofa Bed

Unfolded (and Extremely Uncomfortable) Sofa Bed

Memory Foam Mattress Topper

To address the problem, we settled on a 3-inch memory foam mattress topper. We have a similar one on the main bed in the RV. This mattress topper turns any RV bed into a wonderful and comfortable place to sleep. We don't dread sleeping on our bed, and we didn't want our guests to either!

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We purchased a topper, and it fit perfectly on the fold-out couch. We again planned to sleep on the sofa bed for several nights to ensure that it was going to be comfortable for our guests. This time, we had no issues - we stayed on the bed all night and were well rested each morning.


What a Difference a Mattress Topper Makes!

What a Difference a Mattress Topper Makes!

Once our guests joined us, they both thought that the bed was very comfortable as well. They even asked about the mattress topper, thinking they may want to purchase something similar for their home.

We did, however, run into several issues - all related to storage. Where should we keep the mattress topper during the day when the bed is closed and we want to have a usable sofa?

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Where to Store a Memory Foam Mattress Topper

After considering all of the options, we decided that the best place to store the mattress topper was under the sofa itself. That wasn't as easy as we had hoped:
  • We tried rolling it, but it didn't fit right. (There wasn't enough vertical space and the sofa seat didn't fold up correctly.)
  • Then, we tried folding it into thirds - which almost worked. The bed did fold up into the sofa, making it usable as a couch. The problem was that it didn't quite fold up all of the way. Even after squeezing down the mattress topper and sitting on the couch, the couch seats never quite sat level.


Mattress Topper Folded into Thirds

Mattress Topper Folded into Thirds

We purchased three luggage straps to help keep the folded mattress as compressed as possible. Our goal was to keep it flat so that the bed would fold into the sofa correctly. This worked well enough for our entire trip with our two guests. The seats had just a slight slope, but the sofa was usable and still comfortable to sit on.


Mattress Topper in Plastic

Mattress Topper in Plastic

Raising an RV Sofa

Why would you want to raise the sofa in your RV? Space inside an RV is usually at a premium - especially for large items that you don't use frequently. Maybe you'd like to use the space under your sofa to store a mattress topper!

While there is some storage under a sofa bed, it is very limited. By raising it by just 1.5 inches, a compressed and strapped 3" memory foam mattress topper fits perfectly underneath! The extra space is just what is needed for the bed to fold as designed so that the seat is level.

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Although our trip with family had ended, we now had the mattress topper. Who knows when we might like to have a bed available for one or two additional people to stay the night? So, we decided that when we had some spare time, we would create a place to accommodate the mattress topper so we'd have it whenever we needed it.

Supplies Needed

  • 2"x4" blocks of wood
    • Option A: 1 block for each side of the sofa, each long enough to support both the front and back legs plus 2 additional 2"x4"x5" blocks OR
    • Option B: 6 - 2"x4"x5" blocks (approximate size)
  • 10-12 angle brackets
  • 2 anchoring strips
  • 24-34 1" screws
  • black or brown paint (to match the legs of your sofa)

NOTE: Ideally, my preference would have been to use two 2"x4" lengths long enough to support both the front and back legs of my sofa. However, since we were on the road, I used some scrap lumber that I had available. I allocated one block for placement under each of the four feet of the sofa (4 blocks total) plus 2 blocks for the additional manufacturer placed braces that anchored the sofa to the floor.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Raising Sofa

  1. Confirm that the legs of your sofa fold-out are adjustable so that, after raising the sofa, the bed will still lie level.


    Couch Extension Leg Adjustment Bolts

    Couch Extension Leg Adjustment Bolts

  2. At minimum, paint the wood that will be visible from passengers inside of the RV, preferable to match the color of your sofa legs.
  3. Unfold the bottom part of the sofa bed, leaving the top section open so that you have access to the floor underneath the sofa.
  4. Ensure that you know where the legs and anchors are currently sitting on the floor. (Because of marks left on your floor, you can probably tell exactly where it sits. I added some of my own marks so that I was sure to remember the spots where I wanted to place the anchoring strips which will ensure that the sofa won't move during motion.)

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  5. Remove the manufacturer provided screws and anchors bracing the sofa to the floor.
  6. Close the sofa and move it away from the space where you will be working.
  7. Anchor the wood blocks (or wood length) to the floor with the angle brackets and screws.


    Painted Blocks for Visible Front

    Painted Blocks for Visible Front

    Support Blocks for Legs

    Support Blocks for Legs

  8. Move the sofa back into place - this time on top of the 2"x4" wood blocks. Unfold the bottom part of the sofa bed, leaving the top section open so that you have access to the floor underneath the sofa.


    Sofa Legs Supported on 2"x4" Wood Blocks

    Sofa Legs Supported on 2"x4" Wood Blocks

  9. Use one anchor strip plus screws to brace the wood of each sofa side arm to the wood blocks that you screwed into the floor in step 7.
  10. For extra security, replace the manufacturer provided anchors with the screws removed in step 5.


    Anchoring Couch to Floor Blocks

    Anchoring Couch to Floor Blocks

  11. Adjust the legs of the sofa bed so that the bed is level when open.

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You now should have enough space underneath your sofa-bed to store a 3" memory foam mattress topper!


Our Pull-out Couch (Decorated for Christmas!)

Our Pull-out Couch (Decorated for Christmas!)

As stated earlier, for the best fit, we fold our memory foam mattress topper into thirds. We then tightly strap the topper with three luggage straps. (If you are folding your bed up each day, you can even leave your mattress pad and sheets on the topper before folding it.).


Mattress Folded with Luggage Straps

Mattress Folded with Luggage Straps

We then cover the topper with two plastic trash bags - one over each end - to keep everything clean and dry. (Maybe someday, we'll get a cover that will ensure that no dirt and water can get in!)


Folded Topper Half-Covered in Plastic

Folded Topper Half-Covered in Plastic

Once the topper is wrapped up, it easily slides down into the open space below the sofa.


Stowing Topper Under Couch

Stowing Topper Under Couch

When we unfold the mattress topper at bed time, we've found it easiest to just leave the 3 luggage straps in place underneath the topper. When we are ready to fold it up in the morning, having the straps in place is a time saver!


Folded Topper

Folded Topper

Need Someplace to Hang Wet Clothes?

Are you in search of ways to customize your RV so that it works well for your lifestyle? Check out our article titled "Making a Portable Clothes Drying Area in your RV Shower". You'll find a great hack that you can use to hang swimsuits, drip dry clothes and more. It's perfect for those locations that won't allow clothes lines outside!

RV Hacks or Customizations

What hacks have you made to customize your RV so that it works best for your needs?
How to Make Your RV Sofa Bed a Comfortable Place to Sleep







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