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Day Beds - What You Need To Know

Updated on March 11, 2016
Pictured: A typical day bed design, they're often placed in the living room or large bedrooms.
Pictured: A typical day bed design, they're often placed in the living room or large bedrooms.

An Introduction To Day Beds

It’s questions like these that get asked fairly frequently by customers who come to visit any showroom. Day beds are quite an uncommon choice as far as what bed people typically buy when they need a bed is concerned. This is surprising, considering the design of many day beds, they cater more to recent trends of contemporary bed design than the alternatives. While day beds are currently catering to more recent tastes and preferences, day beds have been around a lot longer than you may think, and taking a brief look at their history can tell us more about the popular bed type and their unique appeal.

What Are Day Beds?

The history of the iconic design

Day beds, as an actual piece of furniture, originated in both ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. There are numerous different depictions of pieces of furniture that look like day beds on relics from both civilisations. Day beds were originally designed for sitting and reclining. If you’ve ever seen a piece of pottery from ancient Greece where someone is being fed grapes while lying on what looks like a bench with a cushion at the top, you’re more than likely looking at a day bed.

The Asian day bed rose to popularity upon its creation. It was quite common for the day bed to be built into the wall of a house with no legs to support it. It was most likely fixed into a small alcove designed specifically for that feature. Versions of day beds found in China with legs did not come about until the Ming period (1368-1644). Asian day beds were almost completely constructed from wood or bamboo.

After the French brought about the design of the modern day bed design we all know and love, they put an interesting spin on it between the 17th and the 18th century, making day beds out of cast iron. The idea of elaborate cast iron designs rose in popularity very quickly, with blacksmiths creating more and more intricate and delicate designs as time went on. Societies on other continents picked up the idea of a metal day bed frame very quickly and it became the norm for a while. These days, day beds can be a mixture of metal and wooden, with designs catering to more.

The Design Of Day Beds

The more recent designs became so intricate that simplicity began to rise in popularity. Now, day beds are actually more often appear quite bland in design, but they work well both as a centrepiece and as furniture designed to complement the theme/décor of a room. Day beds today have moved away from the classic French design considerably similar to the chaise longue.

The different styles of day beds

A good example of this would be a simple wooden day bed. Featuring two rails as there would be on a normal bed frame with a headboard and footboard, there is commonly a long back rail. This is the feature that makes it a day bed instead of just a bed. This back rail allows for an assortment of cushions to be placed comfortably as you would a normal sofa. The two end rails that would be a headboard and footboard on a normal bed act as just that, yet double up as armrests when the day bed is not being used for sleeping.

The headboard/footboard/armrest arrangement commonly found in wooden day beds is very rare in metal day beds, they usually feature a very thin frame. A spindle-esque metal bar does not make a very good arm-rest, however it’s easily manageable: cushions truly are a blessing.

As for the height of day beds, it’s important to consider the fact that they are meant to function as both a sofa and a bed, so don’t expect it to be the height of your average bed, in fact you should expect it to be a little lower, more like the height of an actual sofa. That design and the long back rail are what makes a day bed a day bed, essentially. Having said that, it’s not uncommon for day beds to be even lower than your average sofa. In fact, some of the more contemporary, abstract designs are very low, so low that the legs hold the frame mere inches off the floor.

When a Day Bed Is For You

Day beds are, in essence, a convenient and space-saving alternative to … you guessed it, a bed and a sofa. The applications of day beds have very few restrictions. They’re an excellent choice if you’re looking to move into a place with limited space. With a day bed, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a low or sloped ceiling, it’ll fit in there just fine, not to mention that even with their reduced height they still provide ample storage space underneath the frame. Also take into account when thinking about how much space you can save with a day bed that in having a day bed you eliminate the need for either a bed or a sofa. That leaves a huge piece of space available either in another room, or at all. This applies especially to small apartments where space is tight.

Space saving qualities

As well as being an excellent space-saving option, day beds look good. They’re modern, they’re sleek and efficient. Not only that, but they’re cheaper than normal beds too. A day bed will improve the atmosphere of a room greatly, it’s a contemporary breath of fresh air that’ll make you wonder why you never got one before.

Where To Put A Day Bed

Here, there, anywhere. That’s the beauty of day beds, they’re adaptable. They’re small enough to slide into the corner of a room and have as an extra sofa, they fit the description if you’re looking for a way to add that finishing touch of style to your bedroom. You can use it as a centrepiece. The possibilities are endless, it’s up to you to adapt your day bed to make your life easier.

What Bed Makers Say

Get Laid Beds (bed maker in Britain) have been developing day beds since 2013, when rising demand of the bed type meant more and more customers were making inquires from the bespoke bed manufacturer. A spokesman of the company (George - workshop carpenter) said:

A quote from industry

"Day beds are a great way for customer to add a guest bed in their house in a subtle and elegant way. It comes as customers are increasingly turning to furniture that can have multiple uses. Day beds are a popular choice among customers who are struggling to fully commit a room into a bedroom, such as their living room or a spare office room, a day bed is a great way in utilizing the best of both"

"Day beds are popular among customers who are struggling to fully commit a room into a bedroom. From a living room, to a spare office, customers are utilizing day beds as the best of both [worlds]"

"I think day beds, as a general design, will become increasingly developed into more contemporary and modern frames. We are always listening to our customers and we've noticed an industry shift into more contemporary day bed designs ourselves already. We want to continue offering more choice to our customers so our alteration service plays a big part in offering this to our customers"

Interview details

This interview took place on the phone on the 23rd of February, 2016. A special thanks to Get Laid Beds and George for talking to us at Guide Me To Bed, as well as providing photos for this editorial. Any inquiries for Get Laid Beds are asked to be directed to hello@getlaidbeds.co.uk.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

We think day beds will become popular, and will go beyond the niche it's currently targeting. While general family sizes are decreasing, we as consumers are looking to expand the capabilities of our homes, and this allows us to do just that. With house prices rise, we may see more and more day beds being developed and sold to expand the number of bedrooms

Whether or not they're right for you, the one thing you should consider is whether there is a need for expanding the number of bedrooms you have at your home. A day bed can easily be replaced with a sofa, and vice versa, so you should start to consider a day bed along with pull out sofa (or sofa-bed) to make sure you expand the choice that's available to you. This is also a great technique to ensure you're getting your new home furnishings at a competitive price too. However, we know that an increasing number of people are searching for elegant and stylish furniture and for that reason, if you need to fit a new bed into your living or office room, then consider visiting a bed showroom to see if its something that works with you and your home.

Let us know your thoughts

If you have a day bed already, why not let us know what your thoughts are on it in the comment section below.

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