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Day Bed vs. Sofa Bed: Differences? Similarities?

A photo of day bed and sofa bed.

What are the differences and similarities between a sofa bed and day bed? I prefer a sofa bed myself, but totally understand the appeal of a day bed. Besides, if you’re torn and have the space, buy both because they each offer different benefits.

We explain these differences in detail here listing out pros and cons of both day beds and sofa beds.

What is a Day Bed?

White day bed with several pillows.

Day beds, while they appear to be a regular sofa, actually function as both a sofa and a bed. They usually use twin size mattresses, which will limit the number of people who can sleep on a day bed at one time, but have a solid back for sitting and two arms, so they offer a very comfortable place to rest.

There are no moving parts on a day bed, making them very easy to use without worrying about how to switch the piece of furniture back and forth from a bed to a sofa.

Because they are thought of as being very comfortable for sitting and sleeping both, day beds are great in any home but are especially perfect in a guest room or spare office for housing overnight guests. Because of their smaller size, they are preferable in smaller homes and can even fit into a large bedroom to offer more sleeping space.

Day Bed Pros and Cons


  • Because of their small size and the fact that they have a built-in twin mattress, they are the perfect size for a single person who needs or wants to sleep alone.
  • Some day beds come with optional trundle beds. While the trundle eliminates storage space under the furniture, it does offer even more sleeping space for guests.
  • You don’t have to move any furniture around or rearrange your room to be able to use a day bed as either a bed or a sofa.
  • Day beds come in a variety of styles and colors that can be used to match and complement the rest of the room and home décor.
  • The day bed itself is relatively inexpensive, making it a great option for anyone who is on a budget and needs to be able to buy two pieces of furniture for a relatively low price.
  • Because the day bed acts as extra seating during the day, it can take the place of a sofa. This is especially ideal in smaller homes, as it eliminates the need to buy multiple pieces of furniture. Whether used in a family room or a bedroom, day beds offer a lot of versatility.
  • Day beds are ideal for people who do not have a private bedroom, as they can easily be disguised as a regular sofa when guests come over to visit.
  • They are much shorter than traditional sofas and won’t offer seating for as many people.
  • If you are unhappy with the mattress on your day bed, it is very easy to go and buy a new one that will be more comfortable. This makes it incredibly easy to adjust the support, softness, or firmness of your new mattress without having to buy a whole new piece of furniture.
  • They are deep enough to use a lot of pillows when you are awake and the day bed is acting as a sofa. For people who love to decorate with pillows but hate feeling like they are being pushed off of the sofa because of them, then this is a great option.


  • If you tend to leave your bed unmade everyday, then the day bed may not be for you, as unexpected guests or family members may feel uncomfortable sitting on an unmade bed to talk or to watch TV.
  • They only sleep one person, which means that if you have more than one overnight guest, you will have to find additional places for them to sleep and be comfortable. Additionally, if you ever have a partner or get married, then it will be almost impossible to share the bed with them.
  • The seating depth on a day bed can be very deep, which makes it uncomfortable if you want to be able to lean back while using the piece of furniture but don’t like the feeling of your feet dangling above the floor. Additional cushions may be necessary to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible when sitting on a day bed.
  • Because of the way that they are designed, if day beds are pulled out from the wall, they can look out of place and bulky in a room. If you don’t have space along a wall for your day bed, then it may not be the best choice.

What is a Sofa Bed?

Fabric sofa bed in a decent cream shade.

While a hidden bed inside of a sofa may sound too good to be true, with a sofa bed, you will enjoy the best of both worlds – a sofa that is comfortable during the day and that pulls out into a full bed at night when you or your guests need a place to sleep. They come in a variety of styles, making it very easy to find one that will work well in your home.

Furthermore, they offer a lot of flexibility for your living space. Depending on the size of your home, they are a great option for people who don’t have a dedicated guest room.

It’s preferable to use a sofa bed when you want to offer accommodations to your overnight guests but don’t have any other place for them to sleep. Because the sofa bed is not obviously a bed, many people will not even realize it doubles as a sleeping place, which ensures that your living room looks as traditional and put together as you want.

They offer plenty of place to sit and sleep, so people who have a smaller budget or a smaller home that doesn’t have a lot of room for multiple pieces of furniture will benefit from buying a sofa bed.

Sofa Bed Pros and Cons


  • While sofa beds are much more expensive than other pieces of furniture, it’s important to remember that you are buying two pieces of furniture for one single price. If you do not already have a sofa or a guest bed, then this is the ideal solution, although it may be overspending if you don’t need both pieces of furniture for your home.
  • Sofa beds are available in many styles, colors, patterns, and types of upholstery, which allows buyers to find the perfect piece for their home without worrying about the cost of having to reupholster the piece if it doesn’t work perfectly.
  • These pieces of furniture look much more like a sofa than a bed, allowing owners to create a gorgeous living room around them.
  • It’s easy for more than one person to sleep on a sofa bed, which ensures that your guests will have enough space when they stay over.
  • Because they are longer than day beds, they offer much more seating. Additionally, they are not as deep, so people won’t feel uncomfortable trying to find a suitable position on the sofa.


  • No matter how high-quality the sofa bed is, over time, it will begin to wear down and become very uncomfortable for sitting and sleeping. This is because there is a large metal bar that runs right through the middle of the mattress to offer support, and the mattress around it will begin to sag and become uncomfortable.
  • When the mattress needs to be replaced on a sofa bed, there is no easy way to do this and results in the whole piece of furniture having to be thrown out and replaced.
  • Stains or simply changing your mind about the upholstery on your sofa bed leads to a very high bill if you choose to have this piece of furniture reupholstered. In addition, only a professional can complete the work, and you will be without your sofa bed for a long period of time while it is done.
  • Sofa beds are incredibly large and very heavy, making them almost impossible to move on your own. You will usually need help to move a sofa bed even to a new location in a room and getting it to a new home is even more difficult. Maneuvering through doorways is hard and often requires taking the door off of the hinges to make more space.
  • Unless you have cleared out space in front of the sofa bed before it is time to use it, it is very difficult to pull out the bed quickly to get someone settled in for the night.
  • Moisture that gets trapped in the mattress from someone sleeping on the bed needs to be removed by letting the bed air out before it is folded back up. If this does not occur, then there is a high chance of mold forming in the sofa bed.
  • It can be incredibly difficult to change the sheets on a sofa bed due to how the mattress is attached and pulling the bed out of the sofa itself is very hard as well. Many elderly people need help getting the bed stretched out and pushed back into the sofa.
  • Sofa beds are much more expensive than day beds. This can cause a lot of people to rethink their purchase, especially if they will not be using the bed very often.
  • The bottom of a sofa bed comes almost all of the way to the floor, which does not allow the piece of furniture to look light or spacious at all. This also makes it impossible to store any items under the sofa bed, and anything that gets accidentally knocked or rolled under the sofa bed will be trapped until you take the time and make the effort to move the bed.