The Origin of the Futon Mattress

What used to be a simple part of Japanese homes has now become a very popular worldwide. The futon mattress originally was made of a simple cotton cover that was about two inches thick. Households first placed a straw mat on the floor before placing the futon which was the normal sleeping area back then. The word ‘futon’ in fact originated from the Japanese word that means ‘bedding’.  Just how though did this piece find its way out of the borders of Japan and into the global scene? Let’s consider a brief history.

The reason for its invention in Japan was due to the fact that rooms needed to be used for more than one purpose. This would mean that during the day, it could serve as a dining room or some other purpose but at night turned into a bedroom. This simple way of saving space was adopted by a furniture designer, William Brouweran.

He concluded that if the futons could be used in Japan, they surely could be useful in his hometown, Boston.  The many apartments that had started shooting up gave him the idea of using these Japanese beds.

The only thing that stood in Brouweran’s way was the idea of sleeping on the floor which wasn’t very appealing to Americans. They and many other western countries preferred to have their beds above the ground. This meant that the traditional futon wouldn’t be sellable if it kept its design.

This led to the invention of the first modern-day futon which was a bed that could be converted into a couch when needed. This was made with a thicker mattress and was elevated. It became the first modernized futon.

Since Brouweran’s idea became a hit, his designed was adopted by other designers all over the globe.  To date, the futon mattress has become an extremely popular alternative worldwide.