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What Is a Daybed?

Mattress Guides
Read Time: 5 minutes
  • A daybed, combining elements of a bed and couch with armrests, backrest, and a twin mattress, serves as a space-saving, multi-functional piece, ideal for those with limited space or in need of an extra guest bed.
  • The daybed’s practical design makes it a space-efficient choice, particularly for studio apartments, offering both daytime seating and a comfortable bed at night, often featuring additional storage or pull-out trundle beds.
  • With flat, traditional, and modern designs, daybeds complement diverse decor styles. Understanding the distinctions helps in choosing the right type, while the choice of a supportive mattress, such as a medium-firm hybrid, enhances both seating comfort and nighttime sleep quality.

A daybed is a hybrid between a bed and a couch. Instead of a headboard and footboard, there are two armrests at the top and bottom of the mattress. There’s also a backrest along one side.

The common mattress for the bed portion of the daybed is a standard twin mattress, 38 inches wide and 75 inches long. You can also purchase daybeds designed for full mattresses (54 inches wide and 75 inches long), although these are less common. Most people style daybeds with colorful throw pillows and blankets to create a comfortable place to sit during the day.

Why Have a Daybed?

Most people invest in a daybed because they either don’t have a lot of space or they need an extra guest bed (or two—some daybeds have pull-out trundle beds underneath). Thanks to its functional design and comfortable sleep surface, a daybed is an effective seat during the day and a cozy bed at night. They also can provide additional storage space, and many have built-in drawers under the bed.


The daybed is a practical choice if you don’t have much living space. People with studio apartments especially like daybeds because they provide them with both a sofa and a place to sleep. Transforming a daybed into a seat is a simple matter of making the bed, tucking in the top blanket, and decorating it with cushions and throw pillows.


Daybeds are popular thanks to how functional they are. During the day, you can style it into an attractive couch-like seat, and at night, you can pull the blankets back and sleep in it like a normal bed. It is also easy to redecorate if your decor style ever changes—simply find a fresh cover and some new pillows or bed shams.

Different Kinds of Daybeds

A day bed adds style and function to your space, especially if you don’t have a guest room or any extra beds. No matter what home decor style you have, there’s a daybed that can complement and enhance your space. Here are the three most common types of daybeds:

The Flat Daybed

The flat daybed is the most basic version of this multi-functional item of furniture. It is similar to a single or twin size bed but with a minimalist bed frame and upholstered cushions instead of a mattress. Flat daybeds are a simple way to add more seating to a room and extra sleeping space for guests. The downside to this version of the daybed is that it doesn’t have any back support.


A traditional daybed frame is made of metal with an ornate back and armrests. These almost always have the same dimensions as a twin mattress. It looks similar to a bench but with a much more spacious seat. These daybeds are easy to style into an attractive seating area during the day, then function as a twin bed at night.


Modern daybeds have a bit more range than the other two: some have wooden or wicker bench-like frames, and others are designed to look similar to a couch. The couch-looking daybed has an upholstered back and armrests, usually with a twin size mattress as its base.

The wooden or wicker daybed frames are similar to traditional daybeds but simpler and made of wood instead of metal. With a careful arrangement of cushions, you can make the bed look like a couch for lounging.

Furniture Similar to the Daybed

There are a couple of items of furniture that are commonly confused with daybeds. While they are similar, a daybed has a decidedly unique design and function. Let’s take a look at some of the ways these items differ from the daybed mattress.

Sleeper Sofa

Sleeper sofas are sofas with a bed inside that you can pull out. These usually have either a full (53 inches wide and 75 inches long) or queen size mattress (60 inches wide and 80 inches long) inside.

Unlike a daybed, a sleeper sofa is just a sofa until you pull the bed out, then it’s just a bed until you fold it back inside the sofa. It isn’t both at the same time.


Futons look similar to couches, but they can fold down into a bed whenever necessary. The futon mattress is usually a thick upholstered foam pad that functions both as the seat cushion and the mattress of the bed.

Like the sleeper sofa, a futon is different from a daybed because it isn’t a bed and a seat at the same time. It transforms when you fold the futon into a flat surface. A futon is also different from a daybed because it doesn’t have an actual mattress. Because it doesn’t offer very much support, we don’t recommend using a futon as your permanent bed, though a futon mattress topper can improve its comfort.

Get the Right Mattress For Your Daybed

A daybed is a great way to optimize the space inside your home. However, this isn’t the most important part of this adaptable piece. The vital part of a daybed is the mattress, especially the type of mattress you use.

Make sure the mattress on your day bed provides plenty of healthy support that helps your body stay in a neutral position during the night. A neutral position keeps your neck, spine, and hips aligned. A medium-firm hybrid mattress with at least 800 coils is sturdy enough to be a comfortable “couch” during the day and firm enough to accommodate your sleep needs at night.


Does a daybed need special bedding?

While a daybed functions just fine with regular sheets and blankets, bedding explicitly made for daybeds takes it to the next level.

For example, a daybed comforter is made of sturdier material than a standard one, making it better equipped to have people sitting on it during the day. The comforter also has a long front panel and slits on either side of its four corners to accommodate the armrests.

Are daybeds comfortable for adults?

Daybeds can be comfortable for an adult, depending on what size mattress it has. A standard twin size mattress is the most common bed size and can comfortably fit one adult of average height and weight. If a twin isn’t big enough for you to sleep comfortably, look for a daybed with a full or queen mattress.

What is the weight limit for an average daybed?

The weight limit for an average daybed is 400 pounds, including the mattress’s weight. This limit allows for 3-4 people to sit on the daybed at one time. A daybed can also accommodate up to two adults at night.

Is a daybed the same size as a twin mattress?

Daybeds are typically the same size as a twin mattress: 39 inches wide and 75 inches long. Narrow twins (30 inches wide, 75 inches long) are also popular daybed mattresses. You can find daybeds with full (53 inches wide, 75 inches long) and queen (60 inches wide, 80 inches long) mattresses, but those are much less common.

What is the difference between a daybed and a sofa bed?

The main difference between a daybed and a sofa bed is how they transform from a seat into a place to sleep. A daybed is a mattress with two armrests and a backrest instead of a footboard and a headboard. It functions as a seat during the day and a bed at night and requires virtually no work to transform into a bed.

A sofa bed, also known as a sleeper sofa, looks like a regular couch. Underneath the cushions is a folding bed, you can pull out at night.

Is a Daybed Right for You?

If you have limited space or are looking for a creative way to incorporate another mattress for guest bedroom into your home, a daybed is a great solution. They provide good support at night, like a traditional bed, while offering a comfortable place to sit during the day.

It’s easy to adapt a daybed to fit your unique style. Simply choose covers, throw blankets, and pillows that complement your home decor. If you think a daybed is suitable for you, be sure to spend time finding a high-quality, supportive mattress that is well suited to your sleep style.

Meg Riley Certified Sleep Science Coach

Meg Riley is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and a full-time writer focused on sleep and mattresses. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sleep Junkie.

Meg started to focus on the sleep industry in 2018. Since then, she has written over 70+ articles on sleep hygiene, product reviews, and the newest trends in the mattress and bedding industry.

A non-exhaustive list of some of the topics she has written on: the effectiveness of alarm clocks, how to prevent jet lag, the NREM & REM Sleep Cycle, and causes and treatments of Restless Legs Syndrome.

Meg Riley has her undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University where she studied Advertising and Public Relations and wrote articles on the student experience for College Magazine.

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