What is the Difference Between a Daybed and a Twin Bed?

If you’re looking to buy a new daybed but you’re wondering if a twin mattress will fit on it or if twin bedding will work, you’ve come to the right place.

What is the difference between a daybed and a twin bed? The biggest difference is that a daybed usually has armrests and a low backrest which makes it more suitable for sitting on whereas a twin bed might only have a headboard on the one end. Both can be exactly the same size.

There are several more differences between daybeds and twin beds. In this article, we’ll explore each one in-depth.

Is a Daybed the Same Size as a Twin Bed?

As long as your daybed is a twin daybed for adults, there is no difference in size… daybeds are “sized” exactly the same as regular bed dimensions.

That also means that:

  • a narrow twin daybed is the same size as a narrow twin bed (75″ x 30″)
  • a twin daybed is the same size as a twin daybed (75″ x 39″)
  • a twin xl daybed is the same size as a twin xl bed (80″ x 39″)
  • a full (a.k.a. double) daybed is the same size as a full-size bed (75″ x 54″)

Since the daybed has been created to fit the corresponding mattress size perfectly, the frame itself (just like normal beds) sometimes has an extra inch all around to allow a standard twin mattress to fit inside it.


Either way, they’re made to fit exactly the same size mattress.

Manufacturers do this to make it much easier to buy the right mattress or bedding.

You’ll need to check your daybed to see if it’s a narrow, twin, twin xl or double.

Twin daybeds are by far the most common size, followed by narrow twin daybeds.

But wait…

Is a daybed smaller than a twin? Only when the daybed is a “Narrow Twin”. This means that the daybed is only 30 inches wide (instead of 39) so it’s a bit more like a sleeper cot and isn’t very comfortable for adults.

Difference in Height

This is where things get interesting…

A daybed is usually around 14 inches off the ground although this number varies considerably. (This is just enough to accommodate a trundle bed underneath as long as there’s no center post blocking the way.)

By adding an 8-inch mattress on top of your daybed, the sitting/sleeping surface will be at the ideal height of around 22 inches.  (It’s lower than your average chair but higher than your average bed.) See this article for more.

Beds are often slightly lower.

Even though the numbers vary wildly here too, the average twin bed is about 12 inches off the ground. (It seems that most manufacturers haven’t made under-bed-storage a priority.)

Of course, you can add any mattress height you like to either a daybed or a regular twin bed.

Difference in Frames

A twin bed might have a headboard at the top end of the bed. In some cases, there’ll be a footboard too but it usually won’t match the headboard height.

This creates an asymmetrical look to the twin bed and visually confirms which is the top end and which is the foot-end of the bed.


A daybed is very different though… since it’s meant to face “sideways” and also be used as a couch, the armrests at the narrow ends are the same height and shape. There’s no head or foot end on a daybed, only armrests.


There is usually a backrest behind the daybed too. Something that would look completely out of place on a regular twin bed.

Difference in Length

We’ve established that the size of a daybed matches the name of the bed size it’s been given exactly. So if it’s a twin daybed, it’ll be the same size as a twin bed and if it’s a narrow twin daybed, it’ll be the same size a narrow twin bed.

There one more unusual dimension where this also applies…

There is a bed size called twin xl. It has a twin width of 39″ but a length of 80″. It’s a whole 5 inches longer than a regular twin bed or mattress.

Thankfully, when buying a twin xl daybed, you’ll know that it also matches the dimensions of a twin xl bed.

Note, twin xl daybeds can be a little weaker to sit on since the frame is longer and has to be reinforced to handle weight in the middle. Since we don’t really want a center leg on our daybeds (to allow for trundle beds later) a twin xl daybed isn’t always a good option for sitting and sleeping on.

Where to Place It

A twin bed looks a little out of place in a living room. Sure you can turn your regular bed into a daybed, but it won’t look as well suited to the space as a daybed which can also double up as a comfortable couch.

A twin bed kinda belongs where it belongs… in the bedroom.

A daybed, on the other hand, can go almost anywhere!

You can place it in the living room, a guest room, a children’s room, in a wide hallway, or even on the patio. The versatility is endless.

A Few More Questions

Here are some related questions that might help you…

Can You Put Twin Bedding on a Daybed?

Yup, if your daybed is twin size, it’ll have the same dimensions as a twin bed and twin bedding and sheets will fit perfectly. 

It might get a little tricky to “tuck” the bedding on the backrest side of the daybed which means that it may hang over more on the front-end. This isn’t really a problem if you buy symmetrical bedding that doesn’t visually imply that this is a bed only and not a daybed.

Can You Use a Twin Quilt on a Daybed?

Yes, just consider that a twin quilt might be shorter than a daybed.

Remember, a twin bed (and twin daybed) is 80 inches in length, so you’ll want to make sure that the quilt or comforter is around 86 inches long. This will allow it to tuck in symmetrically on both ends without slipping out.


Although there is no size difference, the difference in style, construction, use, and placement couldn’t be more different.

Daybeds usually come in narrow twin (75″ x 30″), standard twin (75″ x 39″), twin xl (80″ x 39″) and even double (75″ x 54″) bed sizes, just like regular beds.

The most common daybed size is actually a twin. This means that a daybed mattress will usually be exactly the same size as a twin bed mattress unless it specifically states otherwise (ie. Narrow Twin).