Coming from the Japanese word 'shikibuton' which means floor cushion, today's futon is quite different from the traditional floor cushions that are placed on two inch thick woven Tatami mats to elaborate bedding and sofa systems.
But despite the drastic changes of the futon the principles remain the same; saving space and providing comfort. To understand the futon as a whole it is first wise to understand the parts that make up a modern day futon. The first part of the futon, and the part that differs from the traditional futon, is the base or the frame.
The base has come a long way from what started out at a woven mat. When the concept of the futon hit mainstream markets around the world, especially the Western world, the convertible base resembled a shipping crate and this worked well for college students and as a 'backup' bed in many homes. More on discount tickets for cinderella on broadway.
However with increasing advances in technology this type of futon base was revolutionized and today hardwood frames of various styles and designs are available. The frame is still a significant part of the whole futon equation since it helps keep the basic idea of space saving. The futon mattress however, is the second and possibly most talked about part of the concept of the futon. The mattress, at its most basic, is made as a simple cotton mat that is flexible enough to be easily folded and stored for later use.
This is in keeping with the Japanese tradition of saving space since at one time in Japan a single room was used for sleeping, dining etc and this single room was transformed to fit the occasion. Again, what started out as a simple cotton mat can get very complex today since many futon mattresses are still made of cotton, but are manufactured with heavy duty machines that double and triple stitch the mattresses so that they often resemble duvets or comforters and are as comfortable as memory foam mattresses.
The last part of the futon equation is sometimes called the most important because futon covers are really what enhance the futon and gives that traditional idea of comfort. Futon covers today are made from some of the finest upholstery fabrics suck as silk, satin and Egyptian cotton among many others and can match any décor. It is not only what covers the sleeping person, but it is what keeps the futon protected and clean.
In addition futons today offer safety against fires, most are hypo-allergenic and all futons and futon manufacturers are compelled to adhere to the highest production requirements to ensure that futons do not pose any health or safety risk in the home.