For those of us not fortunate enough to have a guest room, sofa beds are about the only way to accommodate visitors short of asking them to check into a hotel. But the good news is that makeshift beds are no longer the cumbersome eyesores they once were.
Consider the aptly named One Night Stand from Blu Dot. It boasts a streamlined design with stainless-steel legs, comes in cool grey or rust and folds out into a queen-sized bed. It can be ordered through numerous sources, such as www.2modern.com, which ships internationally.
The Flip (right) is a sofa that, as the name suggests, flips open into a rectangular bed. Designed by Tim Power for Italian house BRF (www. brfcolors .com), the piece converts in seconds, going from a couch into a bed by a simple rearrangement of interconnecting cushions. This piece is perfect for those who can't quite work out the knobs and levers often associated with sleeper sofas. E-mail info@ brfcolors.com for shipping details.
Designer Francesco Binfare has created the Damier sofa bed for Italian firm Edra (www.edra.com). Essentially a double chaise longue, this simple design comes with several options, including a flat double bed. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, the Milan-based showroom, for shipping details.
Kartell's Trix (left, www.kartell .it) is a trio of large, sturdy foam cushions held together by giant rubber bands. It is the ultimate multitasker, going from a pouf to a couch to a bed. It can be ordered in black, white or orange. Call Kartell Hong Kong (tel: 2810 0408) for details.
Other options include the Lubi, from CB2 (cb2.com), which is the budget line of furniture store Crate & Barrel. Described as a day bed, the item is a stacked double mattress in rust or mocha leather. In one incarnation, it looks like the kind of thing you might find in a therapist's office and is a perfectly viable bed for one person. However, flip one mattress over and it becomes a queen-sized bed. Requests for international shipping can be made by fax to 630 527 1448 or telephone 630 388 4555.
While you're at it, have a look at the Twilight from Design Within Reach (www.dwr.com). Its thick stacked cushions can be used as two twin beds or pushed together to form a queen. It comes with an adjustable bolster with three positions for back support. The company will ship from the United States through a freight forwarder.