A daybed (or day bed, both spellings are correct) is probably one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you can purchase. In a century where both space and utility are at a premium, furniture that converts from a sofa to a bed fills a unique niche in the industry.
Though now viewed in a more accessory light, historically the daybed has been an integral part of many cultures’ domestic routines. The ancient Greeks reposed on klines during their post-banquet gatherings; in India, the god Vishnu is traditionally represented resting on a daybed formed by the great serpent Shesha. Daybeds became a popular fixture in European households through the Victorian era because of their fusion of form and function.
The versatility of a daybed comes from the fact that it can be used as either a sofa or a bed. Most daybeds are comprised of a frame that includes two arms and a back, mimicking the structural frame of a sofa. Canopy daybeds and sleigh daybeds are two other popular structural options. Frame materials run the gamut from wood to wrought iron to wicker, each material imparting a different style to your room.
The difference between a daybed and a sofa lies in the seating area. Instead of pillows, a daybed is cushioned by a mattress, which allows the daybed to transform to a bed as need dictates, making it the perfect piece for a guest room. Unless advertised as a full-size daybed, a daybed generally takes a standard twin-size mattress.
Daybed mattresses are often supported by a link spring, a sturdy metal frame that bolts to the daybed frame. A link spring allows for additional space under a daybed so that a trundle unit may be accommodated. There are two main types of trundle units: pull-out trundles and pop-up trundles. A pull-out trundle accommodates a mattress and rolls out from underneath the daybed but does not elevate. A pop-up trundle is a metal mattress frame that can be rolled out and elevated to the height of the daybed. In general, if the same kind of mattress is used on both the pop-up trundle unit and the daybed itself, the daybed converts to a king-size bed. When the trundle unit is no longer needed, it can be compressed and stored underneath the daybed. This feature makes daybeds that can accommodate a pop-up trundle unit ideal for guest rooms: when guests visit you can provide them with a king-sized bed; when they leave, the daybed transforms to a space-efficient sofa.