Dolphin-type sofas

The modern sofa bed is one of the main components of any home furnishings these days. It is ideal for small to medium sized apartments or apartments. For convenience and comfort, many different transformation mechanisms have been developed that allow you to turn the seat of such a sofa into a sleeping place. One of the most convenient, practical and attractive is the transformation mechanism called “dolphin”.


“Dolphin” is a kind of the so-called roll-out type of sofa layout. This means that the transformation begins with the movement of the wheels on the floor surface: that part of the berth that is hidden in the bowels of the seat rolls out. This is carried out as a result of physical effort, in other words, the owner must pull on the hinges mounted in the seat and pull the lower unit out. At this stage, it is important not to damage the flooring, so a good structure will definitely be equipped with rubberized wheels..

At the next stage, it is necessary to raise directly the sleeping place itself from the left platform, which, when folded, is in a “drowned” state. To do this, it is enough to pull up on the same hinges, this movement activates the mechanism built into the structure, which raises the platform to the desired height.

At the same time, some constructive nuances are possible that are inherent in mechanisms of various manufacturers and can facilitate the task of lifting:

  1. The presence of a gas lift, which contributes to an easy and quick lifting of the platform;
  2. Various methods of fastening the synchronizer bar, which serves to evenly distribute the load during lifting;
  3. The quality of the roll-out rollers (presence of a silicone or rubber coating);
  4. The presence of several levels of lifting of the platform.

This system has undeniable and time-tested advantages:

  1. Reliability (the sleeping platform is designed for a weight of 200 kg.);
  2. Ease of transformation;
  3. Possibility of daily use;
  4. Budget cost.

The disadvantages of this mechanism are:

  1. Lack of space under the seat for a laundry box, since a roll-out platform is located there;
  2. The ability to get a berth of uneven elasticity, which is due to the fact that the seat is usually more rigid compared to the surface of the platform;
  3. The location of the berth is not very high from the floor level.


The basis of the “dolphin” is a frame on which the seat is located and the transformation mechanism is attached. The inner filling of the seats can be composed of various soft fillings and spring blocks. For the convenience of the owners, corner modifications of sofas are often supplemented with a table, shelves or a bar..

The frame is usually made of the following materials:

  1. Wood, most often it is a dried pine massif; luxury models use beech, ash or oak;
  2. Plywood (the most common is birch);
  3. Chipboard, which is laminated for added strength;
  4. Combinations materials: wood and plywood, wood and chipboard, metal frame and wood.

Solid wood is considered a fairly strong and durable material, but a prerequisite for its high quality is the highest grade of wood, its processing and finishing.

The most durable, as practice shows, are oak, beech and ash, but pine or birch can crack after a few years. An important point when working with wood is compliance with the entire technological chain, the shelf life of the sofa frame will depend on this. A well-made timber should look perfectly flat, have no knots and be smooth.

Plywood also turns out to be a good base for a sofa, but this only applies to those sheets that are made of alternating stripes with a longitudinal and cross section. Chipboard, even covered with a laminate, cannot be called a reliable material for the sofa frame, since the rollers of the mechanism, during transformation, carry out sliding movements along the surface of the frame and rather quickly render the wood chip board unusable.

The frame must be dense and perfectly polished, since a mechanism is attached to it from below to ensure the transformation of the sofa. The best choice for a sofa with a dolphin transformation mechanism is a combination of hardwood and plywood.

The device of the mechanism is not particularly difficult. At the bottom of the sofa there is a hinged roll-out platform attached to the frame. It easily and freely slides out along the rails from the bar thanks to the rollers. In order for the sofa to turn into a sleeping place, you need to roll out and raise the lower platform, this happens with the help of either springs or gas lifts. Not all models of dolphin mechanisms are equipped with additional fittings, for example, stoppers, as this increases the final price tag and is not always welcomed by buyers.

On top of the sofa frame, soft pillows or seats filled with filler are laid. In the manufacture of sofas, the filling can have a spring block at the base covered with a soft filling or be springless..

Soft fillers include:

  1. Coconut fleece, which is a natural product, the main characteristic of which is elasticity;
  2. Durafil – non-woven fabric of synthetic origin, elastic and hypoallergenic, in which bacteria and dust mites do not multiply;
  3. Holofiber – spiral polyester fiber, has spring properties;
  4. Latex – elastic natural material obtained from rubber, resistant and hypoallergenic;
  5. Furniture foam rubber, which is also called polyurethane foam;
  6. Sintepon;
  7. Synthepukh, which is a polyester twisted into a spiral.

Spring filler:

  1. A block of interconnected volumetric springs “bonnel”;
  2. Flat spring blocks “snake”;
  3. Blocks, including springs “hourglass”, each of which is in a separate cover made of fabric.

The latter are also called a block of independent springs. “Bonnel” and blocks of independent springs are classified as orthopedic, as they provide the best quality of sleep.

In models with “snake” -type springs at the base, they are covered with thermal felt, on which the filler is laid. Most often it is furniture foam rubber, the layer of which can reach 20 cm.

Bonnell springs are capable of supporting more weight due to their volume, they are interconnected by fasteners, which allows more evenly distributing the load over the seat area. This design allows the use of a thinner layer of filler, which reaches 4 cm. The independent spring unit, which contains springs in the “bags”, also allows the use of a not very large layer of soft filler and is the most expensive.

Also, in the production of corner sofas, a springless type of filling can be used, which provides additional rigidity. At the base of such a seat is plywood, on which polyurethane foam is laid, which has an increased density..


Choosing a folding sofa with a roll-out dolphin transformation mechanism, you should carefully study the possibilities and features inherent in various designs.

Today in furniture salons you can find a large number of sofas with a sleeping place, and especially fastidious buyers will be able to choose for themselves such an option as an orthopedic sofa, which will provide a significantly greater level of sleep comfort.. A feature of this design is the presence of a lattice at the base of the sleeping block made of special wooden elements, which are called armor. Thanks to them, as well as the presence of a block of independent springs, the weight of the sleeper is distributed most evenly, contributing to the treatment and prevention of diseases of the spine.

Another design feature of the sofa-bed is the presence of storage capacity.. The models of corner sofas – “dolphin” familiar to customers, are produced with an ottoman, or, as it is also called, a bench. It is under it that the box for linen is located, a convenient place for storing bedding. In straight models, there is no such capacity, since the space under the seat is occupied by a folding platform..

Also, sofa models differ significantly in their size. Manufacturers take into account the need to equip both small one-room apartments and spacious halls of hotels or offices. Mini sofas with a dolphin mechanism can be placed in the kitchen or in the hallway. Moreover, for the convenience of customers, models have been created without armrests, which take up very little space..

Popular models

Among the interesting models with the “dolphin” transformation mechanism there are both straight and angular structures:

  • Owners of a small apartment should pay attention to a straight mini-sofa called “Berlin”, compact and neat, with a non-standard design and intended for both the living room and the hallway or kitchen. The frame is made with a combination of wood and metal. The dimensions of this model are 180×106 cm., When it is laid out, a sleeping place of 188×140 cm is obtained, sufficient for one or two people. The filling consists of a “snake” spring block and polyurethane foam (PPU). A feature of this model can be called straight wide armrests made of veneered chipboard, which can serve as a shelf or a table. The same chipboard is used to decorate the horizontal surface of the back of the sofa. This model does not have a laundry box, but there are two rectangular pillows. The cost of a straight sofa “Berlin” depends on the fabric chosen for upholstery and starts from 15 600 rubles.

  • An interesting model of a budget corner sofa is “Atlanta “. Its dimensions when assembled are 245x85x154 cm, when unfolded, you can get a sleeping place of 200×143 cm. This design has a universal angle, the location of which is chosen directly during assembly. The frame is made of a combination of timber, plywood and laminated chipboard. Seat filling – polyurethane foam. The material of the upholstery is most often eco-leather, but you can also order a version of fabric. In the corner compartment of the sofa there is a box for storing linen, equipped with a gas lift device. An interesting design feature is a coffee table equipped in place of one of the armrests, which has two levels of shelves.

This model can be purchased for an amount within 15,000 rubles. thanks to numerous promotions in chain stores.

  • “Philadelphia“- another interesting version of a modern corner sofa with a version of the” dolphin “mechanism. It has a universal angle, dimensions 252x186x75 cm, when unfolded, a berth for two people will be 210×135 cm. The frame is made of softwood lumber in combination with plywood and chipboard. The filler is molded polyurethane foam. The upholstery can be made of fabric, leatherette or eco-leather at the buyer’s choice. There is a niche for storing bed linen. An interesting design idea that gives the Philadelphia sofa individuality is the decor of edging and buttons on the cushions. The cost of such a sofa is 31,270 rubles..

  • An interesting model of a straight sofa with a dolphin mechanism, which is called “Venice”. An elegant two-seater sofa, made in the Art Deco style, has a size of 235×85 cm. from MDF. The upholstery of the Venezia sofa can be made of nine types and colors of fabric, it is possible to perform in a combination of two or three material options. This model does not have a storage box for bedding, but it offers five small throw pillows. You can buy a sofa “Venice” for an amount of 19,000 rubles. (cost depends on the choice of upholstery material).

Moon produces a wide variety of sofas and armchairs. This furniture of the same name is mostly equipped with a “dolphin” draw-out mechanism. The cost of small straight sofas starts from 31,000 rubles, huge modular U-shaped models made in genuine leather upholstery can cost 305,000 rubles. Models can be ordered in the execution of flock, chenille, jacquard. Most of the models are made in a modern style or in the traditions of Victorian classics.

  • Chesterfield is a model of a corner sofa with a pedestal, equipped with a dolphin transformation mechanism. This modification of the corner sofa does not have the usual ottoman, but it has a linen cabinet under the extreme armchair. This model is made in a modern style with classic elements, a distinctive feature is the ability to transform the corner, the location of which is chosen during assembly. The assembled dimensions are 251x99x180 cm, the bed has dimensions 204×139 cm. The filling is polyurethane foam, the upholstery of the sofa is made partly from leather (outer part of the seat, armrests and backrest), partly from leatherette. The cost ranges from 63,000 rubles.

  • A well-known manufacturer of upholstered furniture is the 8 March factory, which produces straight and corner sofas of various sizes, many of which have a dolphin roll-out transformation mechanism in their design. Most models such as corner sofa “Marco”, Has narrow armrests, thanks to which it can be placed in a small room. And here is the large modular sofa “Palermo” can be completed at the buyer’s choice, it will decorate a spacious living room or hall. The filling of the seats is made of spring blocks covered with reinforced furniture foam rubber. The upholstery is in most cases treated with a protective agent such as Teflon, which makes the fabric resistant to stains and wetting. The cost of sofas differs significantly due to accessories and upholstery. There are both budget models and luxury sofas..

  • An interesting design has a small straight sofa with a roll-out transformation mechanism, which is called “Darcy”. When assembled, the dimensions of the sofa are 200×112 cm., The berth is 200×160 cm. Its back, consisting of two parts, is equipped with an independent tilt angle adjustment and is capable of turning into comfortable headrests when the berth is laid out. The frame of the Darcy sofa is made of a combination of hardwood, softwood, plywood and fiberboard. The seats are filled with polyurethane foam, and holofiber is used for the cushions. A big plus of the design is the flexible seat base, which is made in the form of a lattice of orthopedic laths. They are attached to the frame and provide the most optimal resilience for the sleeping area. The upholstery can be chosen from twelve types of fabric, the cost of which will determine the final price of the sofa. The approximate cost is 22,500 rubles.

  • Large straight sofa “Amadeus”, which unfolds using the dolphin mechanism has a length of 240 cm and a depth of 102 cm. The sleeping place will be 200×155 cm. The model has a modern design, soft armrests of medium width are decorated with decorative overlays made of MDF. This model, like all straight models with the “dolphin” transformation mechanism, does not have a box for storing linen, polyurethane foam is used as a filling, soft pillows are filled with holofiber. The cost of a sofa upholstered in fabric of the first category will be 18,000 rubles.

Materials (edit)

The appearance of the sofa depends not only on its design and configuration, but largely on the color and quality of the materials from which the upholstery is made..

Genuine leather is the most expensive material among upholstery fabrics. Its high cost is due to its excellent wear resistance, ease of maintenance and visual appeal. The sofa, made in leather upholstery, has always been considered a symbol of wealth and testified to the high status of the owner..

Currently, the cost of leather furniture is still significant, so these sofas belong to the luxury category. However, on the market you can find so-called hybrid models, in which only the front parts of the upholstery are made of this expensive material: seats, the outer surface of the backrest, the top of the armrests. The rest of the surfaces in such modifications are sheathed with leatherette or eco-leather of a suitable shade, so even a close look can hardly notice the differences.

The fabrics used for upholstery are varied, they are divided into categories depending on quality and cost..

The most common in the domestic furniture market are the following types of fabrics:

  1. Tapestry, which can be called a classic upholstery fabric. It can be made of cotton, polyester or semi-woolen threads;
  2. Chenille, currently the most popular upholstery fabric. In its weaving, threads with villi are necessarily present. This material is always made from two types of threads, for example, from jacquard and viscose or cloth and acrylic;
  3. Flock, which is a non-woven textile material that can be obtained from cotton, wool, polyamide, acrylic or viscose;
  4. Jacquard – amazingly beautiful patterned fabric, at the base of which there can be up to 24 different threads;
  5. Eco leather, also called polyurethane leather, breathable material having a foam structure;
  6. Leatherette – this is a material made of polyvinyl chloride applied to the surface of cotton or polyester;
  7. Microfiber – an analogue of suede made of polyester, which can be either elastic or non-woven.

To increase the service life of the upholstery of sofas, it is impregnated with protective agents, such as Teflon or Scotchguard, which are completely invisible from the outside. This increases the resistance of the fabric to getting wet, and, consequently, to the appearance of oily stains..

Dimensions (edit)

A variety of shapes and sizes is typical for upholstered furniture. Sofas and sofas can be designed both for installation in a small kitchen and for placement in spacious living rooms. Large modular sofas can be assembled according to the choice of buyers from segments, while the dimensions of the main module are, as a rule, 252 x112 cm; ottoman dimensions – 92 x172 cm, corner modules – 112×112 cm.

A folding bed in such modular designs can have a width from 140 cm to 220 cm.

Straight sofas are most often subdivided into double and triple. Sleeping space for any of these sofas will not exceed 160 x 200 cm.

A folding corner sofa will allow you to relax on a more spacious bed, the dimensions of which will be 180 x 200 cm.

How to assemble and disassemble?

The assembly of upholstered furniture when it is purchased is usually carried out by professional assemblers who are provided by a furniture showroom or factory. However, in the event of a move, such oversized furniture will require disassembly and assembly at a new location. Almost every skilled man can cope with this, thereby saving a significant amount for the family budget..

When buying a sofa, you should ask a consultant if there are instructions for assembling and disassembling this type of furniture, this can help in the future to disassemble it for moving..

Consider how to disassemble a corner sofa with a dolphin transformation mechanism with your own hands. Main steps:

  1. All removable elements are removed: covers, pillows;
  2. The back plate is disconnected;
  3. Sidewalls (armrests) are removed;
  4. The ottoman is detached, from which, if necessary, the seat and back are removed;
  5. The transformation mechanism, which is attached to both the seat and the back, is removed only as a last resort.

Particularly difficult when disassembling a sofa can be the fact that the elements holding the parts together can be hidden under the upholstery. In this case, it is necessary to carefully disconnect the material and, during subsequent installation, fix it again in the appropriate place using a furniture stapler..

It is also important to carefully collect all small fastener parts and pack them to avoid loss..

How to assemble and disassemble a sofa with a transformation mechanism "Dolphin", find out in the next video.


Customer reviews and opinions can help to assess how comfortable a sofa with a dolphin layout mechanism is:

  1. It is not difficult to unfold and fold such a structure every day., easy-to-use system, moves smoothly, does not squeak;
  2. “Dolphin” saves space and looks prettier in comparison with the “Eurobook”;
  3. For frequent use as a bed, it is recommended to purchase sofas with spring block;
  4. Retractable platform wheels pass normally on the carpet with a low pile, however, fluffier coatings can cause inconvenience when unfolding the mechanism;
  5. It is recommended to buy a sofa for every day. with orthopedic system (with armor).

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