What is a Daybed? Plus, How to Use One at Home

Daybed with Pillows
Imagine a cozy piece of furniture that offers the best of both worlds – a comfortable couch for lounging during the day and a welcoming bed for a quick nap or overnight guests.

Enter the daybed, a dual-functional and versatile piece that brings together the features of a sofa and a bed, making it a fantastic addition to any home.

What is a Daybed?

“Daybeds are dual-functional, versatile pieces of furniture used as a couch as well as a bed," explains interior design Rasha Rizwan. “Daybeds provide a good lounging area when used as a sofa and provides a space to take a quick day nap or to sleep when the guests come over.”

A daybed is different from a traditional sofa in that it's designed to be more of a hybrid between a bed and a bench than a sofa. It’s essentially a two-or-three-sided bed frame, where the two arms serve as a headboard and footboard when being used as a bed (a three-sided daybed will also have a backrest). This multifunctional furniture piece is perfect for small spaces or multi-purpose rooms, as it can easily adapt to your needs. Daybeds usually have twin-size bed mattresses, making them ideal for sleeping, reading, and lounging.

Daybed with pillows
A daybed in a window space (credit: Hope Austin Interiors)

Daybeds also come in various styles to suit any interior design theme. Keely Smith notes that daybeds can range from "modern to traditional" and can be upholstered in an array of fabrics, allowing you to choose the upholstery that matches your aesthetic, whether you're looking for a sleek, minimalist design or a cozy, traditional type of daybed.

Read more: The Best Daybeds for Sitting Back and Relaxing

Where to Use a Daybed

One of the great things about daybeds is their flexibility in fitting into various spaces within your home — this makes them ideal for homes with limited square footage, as they can serve as both a sofa and a bed. As Rasha Rizwan explains, daybeds can be used in "a living room, bedroom, playroom, office, or guest bedroom."

Most daybeds come with a twin-size mattress offering an additional sleeping space for sleepovers at a moment's notice while still using the top part as a seating area during the day. This extra space is handy in a guest or kid's room, where you may need to accommodate additional sleepers.

Daybed in a nursery
A daybed being used in a nursery room (credit: Hope Austin Interiors)

As Kyle Marquardt points out, daybeds are particularly helpful in small rooms, where their dual functionality saves precious space. They're also perfect for guest rooms, providing a comfortable spot for visitors to sleep without taking up as much room as a traditional bed. In addition, their stylish design makes them an attractive addition to your living area or even a cozy nook in your home office.

Keely Smith highlights the versatility of daybeds by mentioning that they can be used "in living rooms and bedrooms to home offices and even outdoor patios." This adaptability makes them an excellent choice for spaces requiring flexibility, such as multi-purpose rooms or areas with limited space.

Daybed with storage
A daybed with built-in storage (credit: Hope Austin Interiors)

The downsides of a daybed

Though daybeds can be great for small spaces and to add extra lounging capacity to a room, their size is also a disadvantage. Daybed frames only come in the size of a twin bed, so they can only really be used as a bed by children or small adults. A standard bed is better if you are considering using a daybed as the only sleeping option in your spare or guest room.

You also need to be careful about the daybed mattress, as the weight of a box spring will be too much for most daybeds (most daybeds are designed with slats like a platform bed). If you need to replace the mattress your daybed came with, it's best to check with the manufacturer to see what type of mattress you should choose — in most cases, it'll be a spring mattress or sometimes a memory foam mattress.

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Daybed Styling Tips

Add throw pillows

Adding decorative pillows is one of the simplest ways to enhance your daybed's look. As Kyle Marquardt suggests, you can dress up your daybed with throw pillows to create a cozy and inviting look. Rasha Rizwan recommends layering the daybed with contrasting throw pillows in different sizes and bolsters for a warm touch. Keely Smith agrees, suggesting a mix of textures and colors for a stylish and comfortable space.

Add Throw Blankets

Rasha Rizwan recommends placing a throw blanket on top of the daybed for an extra layer of coziness. She also suggests upholstering the daybed in fabrics that introduce colors and patterns that complement the room's design aesthetic.

Add side tables

To bring the space together, Rasha Rizwan suggests adding a side table next to the daybed for extra surface space, perfect for a drink or book. Adding a couple of plants gives the design a stylish and cozy touch.

Storage space

Kyle Marquardt points out that the underside of a daybed can be utilized for extra storage, such as keeping books or extra bedding.

Layer with rugs

Keely Smith advises layering a rug under the daybed to help define the space and add warmth and texture. A colorful or patterned rug can add visual interest to the area.

Use as a room divider

If you have an ample open space, Keely Smith suggests using a daybed as a room divider to create separate zones and add visual interest to the room.

Add artwork

Hanging artwork above the daybed can create a focal point and add personality to the space, according to Keely Smith. Consider choosing a large piece or creating a gallery wall to make a statement.

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Daybeds, Trundle Beds,  Futons, and Sofa beds: What's the Difference?

  • Daybed: As we’ve covered in this article, a daybed is a bed/sofa combo. Daybeds perfect for small spaces, guest rooms, or multi-purpose rooms, as they can function as both a seating area and a sleeping space.
  • Trundle bed: A trundle bed is a low, wheeled bed that can be stored under a full-size bed or daybed, and pulled out when needed. You can often find daybeds that come with a built-in trundle.
  • Futon: A futon is another type of space-saving, multifunctional furniture that serves as a sofa and a bed. Futons feature a foldable frame and a mattress or cushion that can be easily converted from a sitting position to a sleeping surface. Futons are typically more casual and straightforward in design than daybeds, and they're popular in studio apartments, dorm rooms, or other small living spaces where functionality is key.
  • Sofa bed: A sofa bed is a piece of furniture that functions as a traditional sofa and can be converted into a bed when needed. Sofa beds often have a hidden mattress and a foldable metal frame in the sofa's structure.

Meet the Experts

At Living Cozy, we produce our content alongside interior design and home decor experts. In this guide, you’ll advice from:

Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
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