How to Make a Daybed Look Like a Couch

A daybed offers lots of sleeping space in a small footprint in guest rooms and kids' rooms, especially when it includes a slide-out second bed. It's a versatile piece that's expected to morph into a couch by day -- or until the next sleepover. Some models are like couches, with upholstered back, arms and three-sided headboard. Others are "backless," with side-framed panels that may resemble couch arms or may be panel wood or wicker. Even a twin mattress pushed lengthwise against a wall can work. With the right pillows, decor and accessories, you can achieve the wow factor in your bed-to-couch transformation.

Lot of cushion
credit: Rainer Sturm/iStock/Getty Images
Layer a daybed with cushions for a couch-like effect.

Back to Front

One difference between a daybed and couch is the seat depth. When you scoot all the way back on it, even on most of the cushy upholstered models, your feet will probably dangle off the floor. So to make functional seating out of the piece by day, use pillows to take up some of this space and create a couch-like backrest. Oversize throw pillows or floor pillows work well for a daybed with a three-sided headboard. If your daybed is unframed, place it lengthwise against a wall or corner to stack cushions on it.

Armed With Pillows

On some daybeds, the side rails, panels or "arms" may be too high or narrow to be comfortable. In that case, position a plump round pillow or plush bolster on each end to form more couch-like elbow rests. Both the three-sided design and backless daybed with headboard and footboard ends or panels hold these pillows in place. With an unframed design, rectangular pillows stay in place quite well. For stylish color play, match arm pillows to back pillows, but choose a contrasting seat or mattress cover -- black and white, for example, or red and gray. For a monochromatic design, craft or purchase matching mattress and cushion covers of durable cotton or microsuede.

Throw in the Extras

Eye-catching toss pillows and a good-looking throw blanket in the room's accent color help to make the couch transformation more convincing. Choose one or two decorative pillows in solid colors pulled from your decor. For a livelier design, add a few more pillows with large, vivid patterns matching the room's theme. Brightly colored or boldly patterned pillows draw attention away from the daybed "evidence." Drape the blanket casually over the back and one arm of the daybed.

Staged to Perfection

Decorate around your daybed as you would around a couch, but with its dual purpose in mind. Place a side table and reading lamp at one end and a potted plant or magazine holder at the other. Hang art on the wall above and lay an area rug at its feet. A handsome trunk makes the ideal coffee table for a daybed -- it doubles as storage for cushions or bedding. A pair of storage cubes or ottomans offer a more modern version of this coffee-table solution; they're also easy to move out of the way or position as bedside tables when needed.