Day beds combine the formality of a sofa with a long, horizontal surface suitable for sleep. As such, day beds accommodate the length and breadth of least one person. A day bed can be used as a large bench or a chaise longue in a living room, but can also provide a place for an occasional overnight guest or a short afternoon nap.
‘Barcelona Day Bed’, designed in 1929 by the minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and manufactured by Knoll International, is probably the most iconic modern day bed. Classically proportioned, its luxurious leather upholstery, complete with a cylindrical cushion, creates perfect counterbalance to its stainless steel legs in a masterpiece of formal elegance and comfort.
Over the years, several successful iterations of this design have been launched: in Flemming Busk’s ‘Ziggy Daybed’ for Globe Zero 4, the headrest can be slotted into different positions within the upholstery; Scott Fellows’s and Craig Bassam’s ‘Daybed’ makes its base out of wood; while designs such as Poul Kjærholm’s ‘PK80™’ for Fritz Hansen, or Luca Scacchetti’s ‘Orizzonte’ for Rossin omit the headrest, essentially becoming large, comfortably upholstered benches.
Some designs, on the other hand, add backrests. In one of the ‘Day Ded’ variants, designed by Mario Prandina for Plinio il Giovane, the backrest stretches only half the length of the model; in Morelato’s ‘Divano Letto Giò’, low, bulky back-cushions can be removed to create a wider space for sleeping; and Pino Pedano’s ‘Essenziale’ has an upholstered seat, its bare wooden backrest made comfortable with simple cushions.
Some designs wish to remain essentially minimal, but try offer some degree of flexibility with an adjustable back support, transforming the day bed into a chaise longue. This solution can be observed in Farzin Adenwalla’s ‘The Bombay deck recliner’ for Bombay Atelier, which combines cane-woven panels with stainless steel legs; Antonio Citterio’s ‘Air’ for Flexform, which hides a includes storage space under its adjustable seat; and the plush ‘Ile Club’, designed by Piero Lissoni for Living Divani, whose slender steel frame supports a comfortable seating cushion.