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Daybeds Buying Guide

A Place to Sleep Night or Day: a daybed buying guide

A daybed is ideal for bedrooms, children’s rooms and home offices. They are beds that do not convert into a sofa, but can be used as a couch in a multi-purpose room such as a TV room, a sun room or family room. In homes where space is at a premium, a daybed can be a welcome addition. During the Victorian era, daybeds became a popular household furnishing because they combined form with function. They are versatile and attractive, available in a variety of styles and materials, typically wood or metal or wood/metal, and are suitable for any décor, from modern to traditional.

The Frame

The frame of a standard daybed is comprised of two arms and a back, imitating the basic structure of a sofa. Depending on the brand or manufacturer, daybeds can be one of two types, either link spring or platform-style, which refers to the method of how the mattress is held in place.

  • A link spring is a metal grid that acts as a box spring, and is attached to the frame to support the mattress. There is usually a gap between the frame and mattress to allow for bedding and making the bed.
  • For platform-style daybeds, the mattress is supported by either a bnkie board or a slat rack. A bunkie board, resembling a box spring without the coil work but thinner, fits inside the frame and is designed to support the mattress evenly.
  • Slat racks designed for platform-style daybeds are a series of metal or wooden slats that are connected o the sides of the frame with screws.

The Trundle

A trundle unit is a bed frame specifically designed to hold and store an additional mattress underneath the daybed. The most common types of trundles are pop-up and pull-out.

A pop-up trundle unit with a built-in link spring specifically designed to be used with standard daybeds can be conveniently stored underneath the daybed. When needed, it can be rolled out and elevated to same height as the daybed, converting it into a standard king size sleeping area, or two twin beds.

A pull-out trundle accommodates a mattress like the pop-up kind, but does not usually elevate. It is pulled out from beneath the daybed like a drawer or rolled out on wheels or a glide mechanism.

The Mattress

A daybed is designed to hold a twin mattress. Twin or single mattresses are 39” wide by 75” long. If you already have a standard twin mattress on hand, you will be able to use it on your daybed. Futon mattresses intended for flat sleeping surfaces such as a platform bed can also be used for daybeds. If you will be regularly using the daybed for sleeping, choose a mattress that is at least 6 inches thick. Mattresses specifically made for daybeds tend to be thinner than ones meant for a standard bed.

If you are purchasing a standard  innerspring mattress:

The firmness of a mattress depends on personal preference and comfort level. Depending on the brand and manufacturer, comfort levels are presented in a variety of ways but can generally be broken down into three basic categories—firm, medium and soft. For a good night’s sleep, the mattress should make you feel relaxed in addition to providing you optimum support.

While firmness directly relates to how your body feels when lying down, support refers to how the mattress will cushion you at contact points like the hip, shoulder, stomach or back. How well a mattress supports you depends on the quality of construction and the materials used.

A mattress is made up of ticking (the outer layer), several layers of top, middle and bottom padding, and insulated padding, which lies directly on top of the springs to prevent them from being felt by the sleeper.

The actual coil component of the mattress is approximately 6” high. Coils can be configured in a variety of ways including sense and respond, hourglass and individual pockets. Coils insure the even distribution of your body weight throughout the length of the mattress. They are cushioned between the insulated padding and the bottom padding layers.

If you are purchasing a daybed/futon mattress:

Daybed/futon mattresses fall into three general categories: cotton/foam, innerspring or memory foam.

Mattresses made of a cotton/foam mix will allow the mattress to breathe, while the foam helps it to keep its shape. Support, comfort and durability depend on how the materials are layered, the quality of foam and cotton used, and the thickness. Choose a mattress that has been “overstuffed” which means that it is thicker than the size of mattress you purchased in order to minimize compression problems associated with foam.

The innerspring daybed/futon mattress resembles a standard innerspring mattress. To ensure maximum comfort select one intended for a platform bed rather than a futon sofa. A coil system made up of 300 plus coils depending on the brand/manufacturer, is cushioned between layers of cotton/foam padding. As with standard mattresses, the quality of mattress will depend on the configuration of the coils and the strength and thickness of the metal used to make them. An innerspring futon mattress will feel firmer than ones made with foam.
The all foam daybed/futon mattress is considered to be the softest and most comfortable. The foam makes them durable, as well as lighter than a cotton/foam futon. They are constructed by layering different types of foam, and can include medium density, high density, flat and connvoluted or egg carton foams. Convoluted foam is commonly used in the top and bottom layers (so that it is on top when the mattress is flipped) because it helps evenly distribute the weight aplied to the mattress. Foam daybed/-futon mattresses are also known for providing maximum support.

Bedding and Accessories

The Cover

If you are using your daybed for guests only, you might want to save making the bed until your visitors arrive. For everday use, select a daybed cover, which lies directly on top of the mattress and is floor length, giving the daybed more of the appearance of a sofa.

Daybed Bedding Sets

Part of the charm, feel and look of a daybed can be attributed to its linens. Unless it is based on an obvious theme intended for children, the frame of a daybed can be used for either an adult or in a kid’s bedroom. It is the bedding that will give the room its particular character. For a sophisticated feel, go tailored; for the princess look, choose soft frills.

Daybed bedding sets typically include a comforter, a number of shams and a bed skirt.

  • A daybed comforter is 52” wide x 99” long while a standard twin comforter is 62” wide x 86” long. If you would like to use a regular twin sized comforter on your daybed, keep in mind that you will have a 10-inch overhang (width) to contend with and it will be 13” shorter than a comforter designed for a daybed.
  • Shams are decorative pillow coverings. They will harmonize the pillows with your comforter and bed skirt (if you choose to use one) for a polished look.
  • A bed skirt is the fabric that falls from just below where the mattress sits to just above the floor, blocking the space below the daybed from sight. It is particularly useful for hiding a trundle unit, if you plan to add one. Note: you won’t need a bed skirt on a daybed with a pull-out trundle.
  • Accent pillows are typically the same fabric as your daybed bedding set, and are geometric in shape, such as round or square. They can also come in complementary solid colors and are available in a variety of sizes.
  • Bolsters are cylindrical pillows. Even though they come in a number of sizes, their general shape is long and rounded. This style of pillow is perfect for a daybed that will be used as a sofa because it will make leaning back more comfortable.

What Type of Daybed Should I Choose?

A daybed is a very versatile piece of furniture and can be used in virtually any room of your home. The type of daybed you choose will ultimately depend on the room you intend to use it in; the existing décor; and who will be using it.

Canopy daybeds have four posts which supports a metal frame usually covered in fabric that hangs over the sleeping area. It is a classic choice for a child’s or teen’s room, because the canopy gives it an elegant, softly romantic feel. Canopies come in a variety of styles, including canopies made of a roped wire detailing. For a more romantic feel, create a canopy with lots of draped material. A canopy frame can be added to most four poster daybeds where the posts are of equal height. Most canopies will not include the material; this will allow you to match it with any bedding or window treatments you already have on hand.

A chaise daybed is an ideal place to sit, or have a good night’s sleep, depending on the manufacturer, brand and type. They are available in a number of styles, designed as a place to stretch out for a nap, as a comfortable place to read or relax, as a place to sleep or as a lounger.

Reminiscent of the Victorian era, a sleigh day bed combines traditional elements with contemporary comfort. Even though this type of bed is most closely associated with the traditional style, sleigh daybeds come in a variety of different finishes, including lighter ones that will fit in with almost any décor, both classic and modern.

Standard daybeds are available in a number of styles, and can feature trundle bed additions. Even though they do not convert from a couch to a sleeper like a sofa or a futon, the one thing all standard daybeds have in common is they are adaptable. They can be made to appear like a couch while functioning as a primary or additional sleeping space.

What Kind of Material Should I Choose?

Engineered woods are processed by using heat and pressure to glue wood fibers together. One type of engineered wood is medium density fiberboard or MDF. MDF is more affordable than solid wood, but just as strong and durable. A daybed made of MDF and a combination of veneers or laminates will give it the strength and feel of a hardwood.

Usually referring to the surface finish, aminates are produced by pressing layers of plastic, metal or wood together, then sealing them with a thermosetting resin. They are commonly used to make home furnishings because they are durable, easy to care for, and economical. They can be patterned, a solid color or have a simulated wood grain. A daybed with a laminate finish is usually contructed of an engineered wood to which the laminate has been applied.

Wood veneers are made from thin slices of real wood. They are glued to the piece of furniture using heat and pressure. Since it can be applied to any smooth, flat surface, this is a popular material for ready-to-assemble furniture. It is not as expensive to manufacture, while giving furniture the texture and appearance of genuine woods.

Considered to be the most durable material for furniture, genuine wood daybeds are constructed from wood cut from the trunks of trees like pine, mahogany or oak. They are more expensive than engineered wood products. If your budget allows for a daybed made of real wood, it will be durable and long-lasting.

Metals are a popular material for daybeds because they are strong and easy to keep clean. Pure metals are generally too soft, too brittle or chemically reactive. Alloys, made by combining two or more elements, make the metal stronger and more stable. Choose a durable finish or one that is resistant to corrosion. Frames made from sheet metal are more solid than ones made from tubing, but a daybed made from heavy gauge tubing will retain strength and durability, while being lighter and less expensive to ship.

What Style of Daybed Should I Select?

There are some kinds of beds, like the sleigh bed that we immediately identify with the traditional style because of their silk finishes, graceful curves and flowing lines. Inspired by the trends and social customs of the past, traditional daybeds can vary from the sleigh bed, which first emerged in the Victorian era, to more simple forms as reflected in Colonial designs.

Transitional style contrasts austere lines with gentle curves, and natural wood finishes with lustrous metal accents. It also utilizes neutral palette finishes like taupe, tan and vanilla. Since it merges contemporary with traditional, a transitional daybed will easily blends in with a wide range of designs and fashions.

Emerging from the second half of the 20th century, contemporary style underplays the ornate lines and rich textures of traditional furnishings. Modern/contemporary bedroom furniture is known for its simplicity of line, shape and form. Geometric and minimalist, contemporary frequently mixes textured elements such as chrome accents with wood tones.

Country style daybeds combine more formal stylings with rustic charm for furniture that is cozy and welcoming. They can retain a distinctive period flavor like Mission, Shaker or English Country. Country style furnishings are almost always constructed of wood, ranging from light to medium finishes, but metal country style daybeds are becoming an increasingly popular choice.

What Else Should I Keep In Mind When Choosing a Daybed?

If you would like the daybed to seamlessly blend in with the décor of a living room, family room or den, choose one that is made of wood. Wood daybeds tend to resemble traditional sofas more than metal or wood/metal daybeds.

When using a trundle unit, plan on stripping the mattress before retracting it beneath the daybed: this will prevent the bedding from becoming torn or caught up in the link spring or other parts of the frame.

If you are purchasing a daybed with a pull-out trundle unit, check the manufacturer’s description for weight specifications, especially if you are buying the bed for older children or adult guests.

When shopping for daybed bedding, look for comforters and accessories made of microfiber or a heavy-weight fabric; this will ensure that your bedding is durable and long-lasting.

If the design of the daybed has a low back and sides, keep this in mind when purchasing a mattress: you don’t want its height to cover up the details of the bed that you found so attractive in the first place.

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