The day bed’s popularity has re-emerged where its dual purpose now lends itself to studio flats where it can function as a settee as well as a bed.
Historically it was the preserve of wealthier families to own daybeds and since Jacobean times, a member of the family could retire to one during the day as its name suggests. These beds, often covered in satins or tapestries, were placed in the drawing room or library and the lady of the house could retire after lunch with a book or to have a nap. She would retire to her bedroom to sleep.
The day bed transmuted into a ‘chaise longue’ borne of the French influence when it was introduced as such into Chippendale’s Director of 1762. The chaise now had an upholstered look more attuned to that of a settee and its basic build changed very little over the next 150 years, although styles of this particular piece of antique furniture changed with the clean lines and scrolls of the Regency period to more exaggerated forms and higher backs of the Victorian era.
The late Edwardian type of chaise longue reverted back to the plainness of the Jacobean day bed and the more ornate chaises became very unfashionable. This taste for the plain rather than the ornate persists and modern day beds usually made of tubular steel and having sprung mattresses, now perform this dual function of being a settee and bed that Jacobean daybeds and the chaise longue were never designed to do.
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