What Exactly is a Daybed? Here's What to Know About This Comfy Hybrid

Boho daybed under a hanging plant.

Afro Bohemian Living

Contrary to its name, a daybed is not only meant to be slept on during the day. No piece of furniture can tell you where or when you’re allowed to sleep on it, whether it be a sofa, chair, hammock, oversized plush ottoman, or bed. Daybeds can be slept on morning, noon, and night, because when it’s your bed, it plays by your rules.

So what’s the difference between a daybed and a regular ol’ bed? Well, the purpose of the latter is, for the most part, confined to sleeping. Daybeds, on the other hand, can functions for several relaxing, sleep-adjacent activities—like napping, lounging, and sitting—with a design that’s just as versatile. 

What Is a Daybed?

A daybed is a hybrid of a bed and a sofa that is the size of a twin mattress. It is ideal for lounging throughout the day or for small spaces like apartments.

Styling a Daybed in Your Space

If illustrated with a Venn diagram, a daybed is where beds, sofas, and chaise lounges meet. Normally built to fit a twin mattress, a daybed frame will also have a back and sides like a sofa does, but are typically not upholstered. This makes it a popular choice to use in studio apartments, where the living and sleeping spaces are one in the same.

To utilize the daybed for seating, the mattress can be draped with a blanket, duvet, or a specialized slipcover. To provide back support, large throw pillows are piled against the back frame of the couch, and smaller throw pillows can be arranged on the short sides to create a more sofa-esque look. The pillows can be rearranged at will to accommodate whatever function it’s being used for, like lounging for an hours-long Netflix binge, or creating a cozy nest for reading.

Even if you don’t live in a studio apartment, a daybed might be right for you if you enjoy frequently changing up the look of your living space. You can fill up your linen closet with a wide, colorful array of fabrics and pillowcases that can transform the look of your daybed in seconds. Then, when it’s time for sleeping, the decorative pillows and daytime cover are removed, and the daybed transitions from day to night—with a fraction of the hassle of a sleeper sofa. 

How to Use a Daybed for Storage

Daybeds can also be a boon for people looking for additional room in their house for storage. Since they sit high off the floor, there’s plenty of room under a daybed that can be used to stash things out of sight. Some daybeds are sold with drawers or a full slide-out trundle beneath them, which allows for a storage solution that seamlessly blends in with a room’s design.

A daybed with an open frame has great under-bed storage to stash luggage or exercise equipment. And to keep it hidden, a twin-sized dust ruffle can be placed on the bed frame under the mattress. 

Another thing that can be stored under a daybed: another bed. Called a trundle bed, this feature can make the daybed an excellent furnishing choice for a home office so that it can double as a guest bedroom, or a room or finished basement that needs to be open to serving multiple functions. If you have kids, daybeds with trundles are great for hosting sleepovers or to give siblings that share a bedroom more room for playtime.