Futon vs. Daybed: 11 Differences That Matter

Futon vs. Daybed

Whether you want to save space in your room or looking for the perfect piece of furniture for the overnight guest, futons and daybeds have different functions but can serve similar purposes. Although it seems like there are few differences between them, they are very different from each other. 

The two pieces of furniture each have different functions. While they are both useful as a space-saving place to sleep or relax, it is important to compare them. The price, aesthetic, comfortability, assembly, and size are all important factors that help you choose which is right for you.

Difference in Definition

Knowing the difference between a futon and a daybed and understanding each’s advantages and disadvantages will help you make a more informed decision. Before making a decision, consider what you’re truly looking for in a sofa/bed combination. There are a few main differences between a futon and a daybed. 

Perhaps the most significant difference between a futon and a daybed are their definitions. Their primary purpose is what sets them apart from each other, though they can still serve similar functions as you see fit. Understanding what a futon and a daybed were made for will help you decide which one will fit your home. 

What is a Futon? 

What is a Futon
Black Futon

In sum, a futon is a mattress that folds into a couch. They’re simple to use, too. When it’s time to sleep, the mattress folds out. When it’s time to entertain, it folds back in. Futons are perfect if you don’t have enough space for a couch and a bed. Therefore, they’re popular pieces of furniture for small spaces, like studio apartments or offices. 

Futons come with the mattress already installed. The great thing about futons is that they can come in single, twin, full, and queen sizes, so there are plenty of options to fit your space. One downside of the futon is that the mattress isn’t usually as thick, so it can be very uncomfortable and take on wear and tear quickly

What is a Daybed? 

What is a Daybed
Daybed with 2 Drawers

A daybed is a multipurpose piece of furniture that saves space and adds an aesthetic to your home. They act as both a bed and a sofa, but you don’t need to pull anything out or fold anything up. They typically come in a twin or full size, and you often have the buy the mattress separately. However, there are more extensive options. 

So, what’s the difference between a daybed and a regular bed? Daybeds typically have a headboard that goes along one side of the bed (where the back of a couch would be) instead of its head. This makes it look more like a sofa when not in use as a bed. Many daybeds come with storage underneath. Some even come with a pull-out mattress (Trundle Bed) for an extra bed!

They Have Different Functions

Futons and daybeds are similar in that they both save space, but they can serve various functions. Their weight, size, and comfortability all factor into how they work for your home. Daybeds are ideal for sleeping, while futons are better for sitting. 

Futon Functions

Futon frames are lightweight, and the entire bed is comfortable to move. They’re ideal for small spaces, university dorms, and other areas where you could use an extra bed on occasion. Many people use them as their main couch or bed or add them to a guest room or living room. They’re budget-friendly and easily adjustable to your needs. 

While they’re cheaper and easy to use, most futons are relatively uncomfortable and aren’t adequate for long-term sleeping use. You can find aesthetically pleasing futons that will add décor to your room for a higher price tag. 

Daybed Functions

If you’re looking for something more decorative, a daybed is the way to go. They’re ideal for lounging and reclining in living rooms or covered porches. They’re the perfect piece of furniture for guests to sleep in as you simply just need to take down a few pillows to turn it into a bed. 

Twin-size daybeds look like loveseats and add pretty décor in a small room. When not used as a sofa, it can easily be an extra bed in your bed or living room. Parents also often use them to transition young children from the crib because you can add a short rail to the side if needed. 

Which is More Aesthetically Pleasing? 

The style of a piece of furniture is an important consideration when shopping. Do you want something modern, or are you looking for a vintage touch to your bedroom? For the most part, many people opt for daybeds because they can add an attractive touch to any room theme. However, futons are simple to decorate to make them match your room. 

Daybed Styles

Daybeds come in a variety of types and styles to match any room. These are a few of the top materials in which daybeds are available.

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Fabric

Metal daybeds often feature intricate designs that appear more vintage. Wooden and fabric daybeds offer a more classic or contemporary look. 

In addition to different materials, daybeds come in various styles and accessories. Some daybeds come with underneath storage where you can hide clothes, shoes, and other knickknacks you don’t want to lay out.

Some come with a trundle, which is an extra frame that slides out from under the bed. You can add a mattress to make an extra spot to sleep. There are also pop-up trundles, which allow you to turn a twin-size daybed into a king. Many parents buy daybeds with drawer trundles because it makes for an easy sleepover set-up. 

How to Decorate a Daybed

The first thing you want to do before styling your daybed is to pick colors. They should match or complement your room’s colors so that the daybed will enhance the room’s look. Choose three colors – one of them being the color of your bed’s frame. 

Add fitted sheets to your daybed, mainly if you plan on using them to sleep a lot. Lay the comforter over the mattress, and don’t fold it in at the ends. If you aren’t going to use it for sleeping, a mattress cover will work just as well. 

Pillows are a daybed’s best friend! Decorate with a lot of pillows of varying colors and textures. Keep larger cushions in the back for ultimate comfort. The accent pillows should be front and center. Finish your daybed with one or two throw blankets for added comfort and décor. Now you have a cozy spot to curl up!

Futon Styles

Futons are Japanese, so they commonly come in more contemporary looks. While a lot of them look similar in design, they can come in a variety of materials: 

  • Wood Frames
  • Metal Frames

Wood frames are very sturdy and longer lasting than metal frames. However, metal frames can sometimes give more comfort for sleeping. Some futons come with arms, and some don’t. Most of them would match a contemporary style. 

How to Decorate a Futon

Most futons don’t require a lot of decoration or styling, but there are a few things you can do to level up your futon. If your futon is made of leather or similar material, add a few pillows and maybe a throw blanket. When it’s time to sleep, consider adding a mattress pad and fitted sheets for extra comfort. 

You can also explore different fabric futons that are more comfortable. Again, they just need a few throw pillows and a blanket to make them a cozy spot to relax. If you bought a futon that sold a mattress separately, don’t forget to buy a futon cover that matches your room’s colors and theme. 

Which Takes Up More Space? 

The amount of space you save with a daybed or futon ultimately depends on the size mattress you wish to purchase. If you’re trying to save space, you’re likely looking for a twin-sized daybed or futon. 

While futons are functional for small spaces, there’s one big problem: you need the space to unfold it into a bed. You might have to move around a coffee table or other furniture every time you want to use the futon bed. Or you’ll end up leaving it as a couch because it’s too much work to unfold it. 

If you have enough space to unfold your futon fully, then this won’t be an issue. At this point, it’ll effectively save space and keep your room looking neat and tidy when not using your futon as a bed. 

Daybeds, on the other hand, can arguably save more space. They don’t need to unfold or take up more space to become a bed. They stay the same size, whether you’re using it as a sofa or as a place to sleep. You can even purchase daybeds with extra storage or another bed underneath to save more space. Futons don’t typically have the option of additional storage. 

Price Differences

Another significant difference between futons and daybeds is the price. Futons are small and usually have wire or metal frames, so they’re very affordable. You can get a reasonable futon that comes with cup holders on Amazon

Futons are ideal if you’re on a budget and can’t spend a lot of money on furniture. They don’t require an extra purchase of a mattress, either. Of course, if you want something more luxurious, there are more expensive futons available. 

That being said, daybeds are the more expensive option. They’re usually heavier, made of wood, and require a real mattress. Many daybed frames don’t come with the mattress, so you’ll have to incur an extra expense to buy one. If you want the extra storage or bed underneath, expect to spend a little more. 

However, there are budget-friendly daybeds available. Most affordable daybeds come in twin size with a metal frame, but no mattress with it. You can get a metal daybed frame on Amazon. Need a mattress? There are several affordable options available, including this spring mattress

Mattress Size Matters

Both futons and daybeds come in various sizes, whether you want a small twin size or looking to spread out on a queen or full. A bigger mattress will take up more space. If you’re looking for a space saver, stick with a twin. 

If you want a large bed, futons come in extended sizes but will still fold up into a couch, saving a lot of space. More enormous daybeds like queens are harder to find and usually a lot more expensive. They also take up a lot of space and don’t look quite pleasing in a living room or porch. 

Which is Harder to Assemble? 

Assembly can often be an essential factor in whether you buy a futon or daybed. If you want something with quick and easy assembly, a futon is right for you. Maybe you have more time to assemble a solid piece of furniture. In that case, the daybed is the way to go. 

How to Assemble a Futon

Futons are typically very easy to assemble and only come with a few pieces you need to put together. It’s one of the simplest pieces of furniture to build. WikiHow put together a comprehensive online assembly guide to help you assemble your futon. As with anything requiring assembly, read the instructions provided for a clearer picture. 

Futons come in different versions, including bi-fold, tri-fold, trifold with no arms, etc. While each is different, they have a similar assembly process. Here’s how to assemble a bi-fold futon: 

  1. Organize the parts and make sure you have everything. 
  2. Connect the arms to the stretchers using provided screws. 
  3. Connect the front and back sections.
  4. Attach the sliding rollers (if they’re not attached already).
  5. Place the deck into the frame. 
  6. Tighten all the screws. 
  7. Test your futon before putting it on the mattress. 
  8. Put the mattress on. 
  9. Sit back and relax. 

How to Assemble a Daybed

Daybeds often require a little more time and energy to assemble. If you spend a little more money, some furniture stores will deliver pre-assembled daybeds, so you don’t have to worry. However, most places require you to build it yourself. 

Your daybed will come with instructions on how to put it together. Here’s how to assemble a daybed, according to Hunker:

  1. Attach the side rails to the back using specific screws provided in the packaging. 
  2. Repeat the above step with the other side. 
  3. Attach the frame mounts and fasten them using pliers and a wrench. 
  4. Fasten the mattress support to the frame mounts. 
  5. Fill the screw holes with grommets (mainly for aesthetic purposes). 
  6. Place your mattress over the springs and add linens and pillows. 
  7. Relax and enjoy your new daybed!

Which is More Comfortable?  

If you’ve ever slept on a futon, you may know they’re not the most comfortable – especially the cheap ones. If you plan to sleep on your futon every night, consider investing in a thicker mattress. 

According to the Sleep Judge, you can often feel the metal or wooden slats that support the mattress, which can cause a lot of back problems. A futon mattress is also not as supportive as a regular mattress. They’re often really thin and more pillow-like. They also don’t come in a lot of sizes. 

On the other hand, you can control how thick or firm your mattress is for a daybed. Most come separately from the frames, so you can choose whichever mattress will keep you sleeping like a baby every night. Also, you can get a pop-up trundle to make the daybed bigger for a very relaxing sleep. 

What’s a Good Mattress for My Daybed? 

Choosing the right mattress will have a significant factor in how well you – or your guests – sleep at night. If you’re looking for something cheap that no one will rest on a lot, then choosing the right mattress doesn’t matter quite as much. However, consider the following from the Sleep Foundation

Mattress Types

Several types of mattresses benefit different kinds of sleepers: foam, innerspring, hybrid, latex, and airbed. Foam mattresses don’t have any coils and are ideal for relieving pressure and isolating motion for couples. 

Innerspring mattresses have coils to support you, but they don’t relieve a lot of back pressure. They’re bouncier and less durable. However, they’re one of the most affordable mattresses on the market. Hybrid mattresses are a combination of foam and coils and are bouncy and contouring to the body. 

Latex mattresses are similar to hybrid mattresses and are more environmentally friendly. Airbeds feature an air chamber as their support, and users can add or remove air with a remote to adjust firmness. 


A mattress’s firmness, or how hard or soft it is, is vital for a good night’s sleep. Firmness is mostly up to your preferences. However, the Sleep Foundation recommends softer beds for side sleepers and medium to extra firmness for back and stomach sleepers.  

Which is More Durable? 

The durability and life span of futons and daybeds mainly depends on their quality and how often you use them. The cheaper the bed, the more likely it won’t last past a few years. For the most part, daybeds are more durable than futons. 

Futons will typically last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, depending on how much you use them. If it’s strictly for guests and rarely used, it could last longer than ten years. Daybeds, on the other hand, are usually higher quality and will last for years. The bed frame will continue functioning long after you replace your mattress, too. 

Cleaning a Futon vs. a Daybed

How often will you need to clean a futon or daybed? As with most things, it depends on how much you use the piece of furniture. Futons require a more intensive cleaning process than daybeds. 

How to Clean a Futon

Regularly cleaning your futon will ensure your sofa/bed keeps its quality. Whenever you notice your futon getting dirty and dusty, it’s time for a deep clean. WikiHow provides three ways to clean your futon: 

Regularly Cleaning a Futon

Be sure to regularly clean your futon cover to keep it from building up a lot of dirt. Cleaning and deodorizing your futon are quickly done in four steps: 

  1. Unfold your futon and vacuum the cover.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda over the cover and let it sit for about an hour.
  3. Vacuum the baking soda. 
  4. Dust the frame and wipe it down with a cloth if it’s metal. 

How to Remove Stains from a Futon

Accidents happen. When you need to remove a stain from your futon, there are a few practical ways to get rid of it. As soon as the spill or accident happens, blot out as much of it as possible. 

  1. Lay down a paper towel and press down firmly to remove as much as you can. Do not rub the stain. 
  2. Mix half vinegar and half water and pour it over the stain.
  3. Sprinkle baking powder over the stain. 
  4. Mix a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of dish detergent. 
  5. Pour the mixture over the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes. 
  6. Blot the stain with a paper towel and let dry. 
  7. Vacuum the get rid of baking soda. 

These are just two common ways to clean your futon and remove gnarly stains. There are numerous ways to keep your piece of furniture clean. 

How to Clean a Daybed

Daybeds are relatively easy to clean. If you know how to clean your bed, then you’ll have no problem cleaning a daybed. The frame just needs a dusting and wipe down on occasion to keep it sparkling. The mattress is the most challenging part to upkeep. 

According to Consumer Reports, you should clean your mattress a deep cleaning two times a year. Many mattresses come with a manufacturer’s label outlining how often to clean, rotate, etc. When it comes time to deep clean your mattress, use these instructions as a guide:  

  1. Take off all sheets and bedding and wash them in a machine. 
  2. Remove any fresh stains before deep cleaning (see above for how to remove a stain from a futon mattress). 
  3. Vacuum the mattress with the upholstery attachment. 
  4. Spot treat any dry strains with an upholstery cleaner or odor remover. 
  5. Sprinkle baking soda over the mattress and let sit for up to 24 hours to deodorize. 
  6. Vacuum the mattress again to remove the baking soda. 

Consider adding a mattress pad to protect your mattress and keep out moisture. The extra layer that a mattress pad adds also protects your mattress from pesky insects like mites and fleas. 

Which is Better for Guests? 

Both futons and daybeds are great for guests. Which you choose for your guest room depends on what you’re looking for. If you don’t plan on using it a lot for sleeping, a futon will last longer. However, a daybed may be more comfortable to lounge on. 

The daybed is ideal if you have people sleep over a lot. You can even get a daybed with a trundle (a second bed that slides out from underneath) if you have multiple people staying over. Futons are not quite as comfortable and may be more of a last resort. If you’re on a budget, the futon is the way to go. 

On another note, futons are great for entertaining. They provide the perfect spot to sit in front of the TV or enjoy each other’s company.


Futons and daybeds are similar pieces of furniture that serve slightly different functions. Futons are couches that fold out into a bed when it’s time to sleep. Daybeds are a mattress that can act as a sofa because the headboard is on one long side rather than the end of the bed. 

The most significant factors to consider when purchasing a futon or daybed are comfortability, design, and function. Choosing the right one for your home depends on what you’re looking for. 

Futons save a lot of space and are very budget-friendly. They’re popular for small apartments and studios, but they’re not incredibly comfortable. Using them as a regular sleeping bed can cause many back problems and keep you from getting a full night’s sleep. 

Daybeds can be as comfortable as you make them because you purchase the mattress you want. While they typically have a higher price tag, they can add an aesthetically pleasing spot to lounge and sleep. Many daybeds come with underneath storage or a trundle for extra sleeping space. 

Both types of furniture have their own advantages and drawbacks. Whether you want a pleasing-looking piece of furniture or a spot for guests, futons and daybeds are an excellent piece of furniture for any home. 



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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