History of the Daybed
Buying a daybed can be a difficult choice, this history will hopefully inspire your interest in a unique and beautfully functional piece of furniture.
The Origins of the DayBed
The daybed has a long evolution through human history. As with most furniture, itís origins are first documented in households of the Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Used as both sitting and for reclining, the early daybed shared many characteristics of the ordinary bed. Simple forms of wood or iron which depending on the wealth of the owner become more elaborate in decoration and quality of materials. Later constructions of wood with elaborate ivory inlays and gilding became the standard for royal households.
Asia, Africa and early American civilizations also designed various styles of daybeds. Usually taking the form of low platforms used for reclining or laying down developed around the globe. The materials and construction methods varied, but most started low to the ground and over a long period of time began to have legs which brought them higher off the floor and eventually evolved into a more precise form.
The Asian DayBed
In Asian most societies also developed the daybed concept of a frame to raise the sleeper of the ground. The Chinese used platforms to sit, sleep and recline. This Chinese platform was a multipurpose furniture item with early versions actually built into the structure of the house. They were used for sleeping, reclining and resting. The addition of legs to these daybeds did not arise until the ming period. Wood and bamboo were the most common materials for the Asian daybed designs.
The Birth of the Modern DayBed
The daybed we would find most familiar to the modern daybed was introduced in France in the 1500-1600 and influences most styles of what we define the daybed as today. The daybed became a specific style, with a variety of leg designs, fabrics and decorative motifs due to the flourishing French furniture industry. The form of most modern daybeds originates on stylistic elements of this period including making daybed ends of equal height. The daybed also began to be positioned length wise against the wall rather than with a higher headboard placed against the wall like a regular bed ordinarily is.
Iron daybed design originated in france in the late 17th century as casting iron became more widespread and techniches became more sophisticated. Blacksmiths became widespread and applied their expertise at crafting utilitarian items into more decorative designs. Designs varied widely but the campaign style of daybeds became extremely popular due to the portabilty and durabilty and were frequently used by the military. Daybeds served a very utilitarian but comfortable purpose. During Napoleonic Wars, officers had campaign chairs that could be easily converted into a sleeping daybed and the style spread from this use. By the mid 1870ís America had a widespread demand for iron daybeds. Manufacturers became more elaborate in their use of casting and design to make the variety and beauty of the mundane daybe into a more attractive item.
While the early origins of the daybed were in usually in wood, the complexity of wood daybed designs have continued to evolve to this day. Building on early French and later Vicorian designs, the modern wood daybed ranges in style from contemporary; sharing basic design with platform beds; to very elaborately carved items. Wood daybeds are also available in a wider variety of woods than ever in history. Durable, versitle and limited nedd for space have made the daybed perfect for many applications in the modern home.
Today the choice of styles, materials and shapes of daybed designs is huge. For every daybed there are hundreds of variations allow the consumer to match even the most difficult decor. Iron, wood, leather and wicker are just a few materials used to make the daybed one of the widest categories of furniture design. The daybed is incredibly versatile offer extra sleeping space, a place to sit or recline and enjoy a book. The designs offer maximum amount of variation yet take up very little room. Daybeds will continue to evolve and will remain one of the most popular furniture items into the future.