In Praise of the Daybed

In Praise of the Daybed

Nancy Mitchell
Jul 3, 2015
(Image credit: Fabien LeMaire)

I'm here to extol the virtues of a neglected and unsung piece of furniture: the daybed. And not the twin-bed-turned-lengthwise-along-the-wall variety, although those are quite useful too, but something more like what you see above: a supremely elegant piece of furniture that's something like your couch's sophisticated and mysterious European cousin.

In fact, the image above, from Fabien LeMaire, is from a Paris apartment, and shows the myriad possibilities presented by a piece of furniture that doesn't really have a back. We Americans really like to be comfortable, and our emphasis on lounging furniture has led us to ignore the potential of 'perching' furniture.

(Image credit: Desire to Inspire)

Not that a daybed has to be uncomfortable. The one in this interior from Desire to Inspire looks like a lovely place to curl up with a book — but its lack of a back means it can be centrally placed without breaking up the space, and serve both sides of the room equally.

(Image credit: Rum Hemma)

Daybeds are especially good for larger spaces with multiple furniture groupings, like this one from Rum Hemma. They provide a bit of separation without creating a visual barrier, and they're great for parties, providing guests with a place to sit while still giving them a little bit of freedom to participate in different conversations.

(Image credit: Desire to Inspire)

But as this interior from Desire to Inspire proves, you don't have to have a huge living room to make a daybed work. The daybed in the center of the room, flanked by groups of chairs on both sides, may be an unusual choice, but it means that the space can be used in many more different ways than one with a group of couches ringed around a television.

(Image credit: Oracle Fox)

I've included this image (from Oracle Fox) really just for the eye candy, since chances are none of use will ever have a room in our homes with 20 foot ceilings that we wish to decorate like a museum lobby. But it's interesting how the two daybeds, with their low profile, really let the rest of the room speak for itself. And I imagine that this space would be great for parties.

(Image credit: Lotta Agaton)

But daybeds, even the very elegant ones, also have a practical side — they are, after all, beds. You can press one into service for a nap, or for overnight guests in a pinch, or push one against the wall and festoon it with pillows for something that functions a little like a traditional couch (as seen in this interior from Lotta Agaton). Really, the possibilities are endless.

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