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Sofa with a dolphin mechanism: everything you need to know about the furniture you like

To make the sofa comfortable and durable, you need to choose the right way to transform it. We will tell you everything about the dolphin mechanism and help you make the right choice!

What is a dolphin mechanism?

Initially, the dolphin sofa transformation mechanism was used only in corner systems, where it was in great demand since it made it possible to obtain the most spacious place to sleep. Later it was successfully used for straight varieties, including small chair-beds. It is a roll-out type, and in the case of the corner version does not require additional free space for unfolding.

It consists of two elements, one of which is located in the roll-out section, and the other in the seat. The transformation mechanism is a durable steel structure mounted on wooden guides. It works quite simply. During the unfolding process, two blocks roll out from under the seat, one of which is recessed into the other. They form a spacious mattress.

Using a system of levers and springs, one of the sections rises to the level of the other, where it is securely fixed. There are several variations of such designs, but the principle of their operation is unchanged. The durability of the product largely depends on the quality of the material from which the frame is made. If it is cheap, low-quality steel, there is a high probability that during operation it will become deformed and fail.

Design Features

The dolphin is variable and can have many modifications. The sizes of products vary: from small transformable chairs to multi-seat corner sofas. Armrests can be made of wood, “soft” or absent altogether. Particularly in demand are models with shelves, small drawers, or niches built into the armrests. There is also built-in lighting, which is not very functional, but beautiful.  

Structurally, all systems are divided into three large groups:

  • Direct. Furniture of various sizes, folding forward. Its distinctive feature is the absence of a drawer for storing linen since the space under the seat is occupied by a roll-out platform.  
  • Angular. Equipped with an attached corner section. There is always a storage compartment here, which is very convenient. In some models, the angle can be changed if necessary. 
  • Modular. It is assumed that there will be several blocks differing in size and purpose. With their help, you can assemble functional systems that are ideal for certain rooms.

How the dolphin sofa unfolds

Regardless of the type of furniture, the process of transformation into a bed is the same. It is completed in three simple steps.

  1. We remove the cushions from the seat if they are present in this model. 
  2. We take a special loop or handle and completely roll out the lower block. In some models, a characteristic click is heard. 
  3. Lift the lower part of the module up and pull it towards you. As a result, the section rises and becomes flush with the seat, forming a berth.

To fold the structure, it is enough to do all the operations in reverse order. First, you need to lower the retractable element, then roll the section into place. If there are pillows, they are placed on the furniture. If the mechanism is working properly, all manipulations are carried out without much difficulty. True, in order to lift the retractable unit you will need to make some effort. But for an adult they are insignificant. 

Why choose such furniture

Various variations of the roll-out dolphin are in great demand. This applies to corner models, straight ones, and modular ones. Of their most significant advantages, it is worth noting the following:

  • Can be used in any size room. This sofa is quite compact, but when unfolded it provides the most spacious place for sleeping. It can be installed close to the wall or at some distance from it, thereby zoning the room.  
  • Ease of use. The transformation process is very simple. There is no need to raise the back, like for books, or unfold the blocks, like accordions. To unfold the dolphin, you just need to roll out the section and lift it to the level of the seat. True, you will have to make a small effort, which may be too much for the child.  
  • Comfortable sleeping mattress. It will be like this if you purchase a model with high-quality assembly. Since there is a joint at the junction of the two sections, a height difference is possible, which will be felt by a person lying down. If the assembly is carried out correctly, there will be no drop and the user will receive a flat, comfortable mattress.
  • Reliability and durability. The dolphin mechanism in the sofa, a video review of which can easily be found on the Internet, is durable and suitable for long-term use. You just need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and perform all manipulations with furniture very carefully. On average, the design can withstand at least 1000 transformation cycles. The higher the quality of the material and workmanship, the longer they will last.

Corner and modular systems have another advantage in the form of a spacious drawer for storing bedding. It can only be located in a corner section or in an add-on module since the space under the seat of a standard product is completely occupied by a roll-out unit.   

Possible problems and how to solve them

The design has a few significant flaws. These include the common problem for all roll-out products with the potential danger of damaging the floor covering by the rollers of the draw-out section. Therefore, if the room has laminate, parquet, and similar materials, you need to make sure that the rollers are made of soft rubber or silicone. They will not damage the finish. 

It is not advisable to place such a sofa on a carpeted floor. The soft cloth will interfere with rolling out the block. And if the pile is high, there is a chance that the threads will wrap around the roller axle. This will prevent them from rotating normally and will put additional unwanted stress on the frame. If it is made of low-quality steel, the frame may become distorted and even break.

These are the most significant pros and cons of the design. Breakdowns are also possible, like any other furniture. To prevent them, manufacturers recommend proper care of the product. In addition to regular cleaning of the upholstery, it is planned to carry out a whole range of measures:

  • Cleaning transformation units from dirt and moisture. This will prevent rust and dirt from accumulating, which will interfere with the normal operation of the mechanism.  
  • Lubrication of rubbing parts. They must move freely along the guides, otherwise, the system may become deformed.
  • Cleaning the rollers and axles on which they are mounted from debris and lint. This is especially true for furniture that sits on carpet.

And a few more useful recommendations. No objects, even small ones, should be placed under the sofa. They can prevent the system from functioning normally. If some difficulties suddenly arise during the process of assembling or disassembling furniture, there is no need to try to complete the process at any cost. Excessive pressure, jerking, and excessive force can cause moving parts to break. According to the instructions, it is best to return everything to its original position and carefully try again. 

How to choose the “right” design

When choosing the optimal system for your home, you need to take into account the internal content, which determines the degree of comfort of the furniture and its durability. There are two filling options: springless and spring. The first involves the use of foam rubber or polyurethane foam of various brands. The latter is more durable and convenient to use and is a good alternative to spring systems. Foam rubber is less elastic and quickly loses its properties.

Filling with spring elements also comes in two types. Designs with dependent parts are a kind of “snake” of springs, each of which is connected to its neighbors. Such mattresses are elastic and take the shape of the body quite well, but only until one of the elements breaks. This is followed by subsidence and loss of shape. In some cases, sharp edges of parts may penetrate through the upholstery to the outside.

Blocks with independent springs are the most comfortable and durable. Here, each element is enclosed in an individual case. This allows the mattress to take the most comfortable shape for the person lying on it. Such products are considered orthopedic, the most comfortable for a good night’s sleep. 

Dolphin sofas are considered one of the most popular. They are chosen for living rooms, kitchens, and even bedrooms. But you need to understand that they can become a full-fledged replacement for a bed only if the filling is chosen correctly. It is optimal if it is an orthopedic block made of independent springs.  

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