Daybeds vs. Sofa Beds

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Whether you live in a studio apartment or just don't have a designated room to accommodate guests, daybeds and sofa beds offer sleeping and seating space with just one piece of furniture. Daybeds are three-sided frames made for twin-size mattresses. A sofa bed is a couch with a pullout bed, which folds up and fits inside the sofa frame when not in use. Both options have benefits and drawbacks.

Seating Comfort

  • If you'll primarily use the piece for seating, sofa beds are the more comfortable option. Though sofa beds don't have the spring system of a regular sofa, sitting on them feels much the same.

    The depth of a daybed is typically greater than the seating depth of a sofa. While you can minimize that depth by adding pillows, they don't provide the same back support as a sofa back with cushions. If your daybed hides a trundle bed underneath, the seating height may be greater too. Combined with the depth, your feet may dangle uncomfortably when you sit upright on a daybed.

Sleeping Comfort

  • Though sofa beds feel better for sitting, daybeds are typically more comfortable for sleeping. A daybed frame holds a real mattress. Depending on the frame, it may also require a box spring. While mattress quality and comfort varies, most regular mattresses provide more support than the thin, folding mattresses used in sofa beds. Even with high-quality sofa beds, you sometimes feel the frame through the mattress. If you host guests frequently -- or if you're choosing your own bed for a studio apartment -- opt for a daybed.

Aesthetics

  • When they're not pulled out, sofa beds look like regular sofas. You can give a daybed a sofa-like look with the right bed treatment and pillow arrangement, but few people will mistake it for a real sofa. Unless your sleeping needs outweigh aesthetic considerations, a sofa bed looks better -- especially if you're placing it in your primary or only living space. Save the daybed for a home office, seldom-used den or another area where you don't entertain.

Flexibility

  • Though sofa beds are usually the better-looking choice, daybeds are more flexible. If you're sleeping just one person, you don't have to move the coffee table to unfold the mattress. If you keep a trundle under the daybed, you can sleep two guests who'd feel awkward sleeping together in a shared sofa bed.

    At 75 inches long plus the frame, daybeds take up less space than most sofas, so you have more placement options. Because a daybed is a real bed, you can use it in a guest or child's room if your space needs change. Buying a new cover and pillow shams costs less than having a sofa bed reupholstered, so it's less expensive to get a new look if you redecorate. You can also remove the bed treatment for cleaning accidental spills.

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