Generally speaking, a daybed is a three sided bed that consists of a back panel and two end panels with an open front for access. The desirable benefit about daybeds is that they can sit anywhere in a room and the pillows and blankets won’t fall off the bed while being used. By having the two end gables, they can act as a stopper for the pillows instead of the standard set-up of having the headboard touching the wall. Some daybeds have the option of a finished outside back panel which allows you to have the unit away from the wall in the middle of the room. There are many different levels of quality and construction so have a budget in mind before going out shopping. Most daybeds are made of wood and metal but there is no end to how they can be finished. Many are fully upholstered in fabric and leather with or without padding. The nice part about the upholstered versions is that they have built-in comfort if the user wants to lean against them.
Construction of the daybed is paramount. It needs to be well built with glue and screws for all the joinery. Solid stock wood is preferable but I have seen many daybeds built from MDF (medium density fibreboard) that have been strong and long lasting. If the frame is metal be sure that all the connections are machine screws with strong welds everywhere else. If the manufacturer just Brazes (not as strong as welding) the joints, make sure that they are tough enough to stand up.
The most common sizes in the market are twin/single, and double. I am sure if you wanted a king size daybed most manufacturers would be willing to make it for an upcharge. One of the setbacks about daybeds is that it does have two end gables and the user’s feet and head might be touching either end. So make sure you know the height of the person(s) using it because if they are too tall for a twin mattress, it won’t be comfortable for them to sleep on it.
Another nice option with most daybeds is the trundle which can be used for a roll out storage drawer or a roll out bed. The wheels/castors on these units must be high quality in order to take the weight of a single mattress (or bigger), or a drawer filled with storage items, so be sure to inspect them thoroughly before committing to a trundle. If the wheels or castors do not have bearings they might not be able to stand up over time. Make sure that the handles for pulling out the trundle bed or storage are securely fastened to the drawer front so that they do not tear off in the future. Check to see if the drawer handles have metal washers so that they cannot rip through the drawer material when opening and closing. If the bottom pull out is being used for storage, then check to make sure that the bottom is properly supported to take the weight of things inside it.
Having so many styles to choose from does allow people to use daybeds in rooms other than just the bedroom. I have seen them used in family rooms, dens, and outside on a covered porch, to name a few. They can be very versatile. The only factor that one has to consider is the depth of the unit because a twin mattress is standard 39” deep and that is a very deep seat pan for most users. The addition of some large pillows will serve as a supportive backrest for when it is going to be used for sitting rather than sleeping.