The word Futon is a Sino-Japanese word and a Futon mattress is traditionally called a shikibuton. In the West the mattress itself is now called a Futon mattress. The advantage of a futon mattress is that it can be used as a bed at night and then rolled and stored away in the day. It can be also be of the folding kind which looks like a sofa when folded. These futon mattresses have become very popular with students and people who want to use a room as a living room during the day and as a bed room during the night. The Japanese place the futon mattress on a tatami flooring while in the West it is placed on a metal or wooden frame which can be folded like the mattress in the day to form a sofa.
Traditional Japanese futon mattresses are filled with cotton only. The name futon is really of Chinese origin being adopted by the Japanese and it means cattail (Fu) + round (Ton). The western futon mattress consists of two to three thick layers of cotton interspersed with pre-compressed foam layers. The cotton is pure virgin cotton which is shredded and rolled into paper thin layers which are piled one over each other and then compressed into thick layers which are used in the manufacture of the futon mattress. The foam sections too are very clean and made from raw materials which are non toxic and thus fit for use by humans as layering in futon mattresses. Springs can also be added to a futon mattress. Memory foam in a futon mattress is a good choice because it recovers its shape quickly when it is not in use.
Futon mattresses are available in various sizes like full size, queen size and twin size. The colours available in futon mattresses are just amazing and have a range from white to blue, green, red, yellow, black and grey. The thickness of futon mattresses is either six inches or eight inches. Futon mattresses have gained popularity in the west only in the twentieth century with some entrepreneurs cashing in on the student market. These original futons were inexpensive but had strong futon frames with six inch cotton mattresses. The market expanded from the student community to all the small sized apartments in America. These futons could be used and then just thrown away. In fact no body ever threw away a futon frame or a futon mattress. It became a part of the home giving service in some corner of it.
Futon mattresses are perfect for an office room in the house which can be used as a guest room. A futon mattress can be placed anywhere in the house to make an informal comfortable sitting space. It can be placed in the porch in the basement or in the covered backyard. A futon and a futon mattress is an example of how global the citizens of the world are becoming adapting and adopting things from various countries to make comfortable furniture for the West. It can be said the versatile futon mattress is a must for every home.