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How To Style A Twin Bed Like A Sofa or Daybed + Shop The Look

For Elliot’s room I found this amazing vintage bamboo twin bed, although I bought it online and I thought it was a daybed. I love that it is as deep as a twin bed, and man have I made use of it in her first year of life. But I still wanted the look of it to be a daybed/sofa instead of a twin bed during the day.

Emily Henderson Nursery Textiles

So we styled it out as such. At first I didn’t think anything of it, and then I thought, wait, why don’t we do this more for twin beds? Why let only daybeds get the full lounge-y sofa treatment? So, we went back and made a little video on how we did that – just some random Tuesday eye candy for you:

1. Get a mattress cover made. An astute commenter pointed out that we didn’t put this in the video (nor in the post at first) and it really is a HUGE reason why this works. We had ours made by Loom – I gave them the exact dimensions and told them I wanted welting and they made it and sent. I honestly don’t remember how much this particular project was because they did my curtains too (which are very, very good – I know I did a post yesterday about budget readymade curtains, but if you are interested in custom curtains I have really loved their work and service). I’ll try to find my receipt and update the cost but I would guess that it was between $200 – $300 (10 yards of quality white linen was used). It zips in the back. Now if you don’t want to go this route you could fold a quilt or of course use a fitted sheet. Once you throw a ton of pillows/blankets on it you might not notice, however if you want a truly high end look a fabric mattress cover is the way to go.

2.  Add a long bolster – this creates a custom look, and gives you something cozy to lean back against. We got ours, again, custom made from Loom Decor, but for a less fancy version you could just get a big body pillow. I wish that we had designed ours to be a bit taller – I think we chose 16″ but once it’s stuffed it came down to 12″ (I didn’t do well in physics as a 6th grader, clearly).

3. Add a throw to help break up the horizontal line of the daybed and bolster.

4. Use two large pillows on either end of your daybed to help ground the corners, and give the bed a more filled out appearance. I like that these two are huge and match, but yours don’t have to be.

5. Mix in an assortment of different sized, shaped, and textured throw pillows in a corresponding color palette. This is the fun part, so don’t be shy.

6. Grab an unsuspecting pet (or child) and force them to cuddle with you, while enjoying the comfort of your well styled daybed. Or lounge in the midday sun, reading a Jane Austin novel, in your vintage linen dress. OR take a nap, because styling is exhausting work. The possibilities are endless.

And if you’re into this look in particular, get it:

Day Bed Get the Look1. Mixed Stripe Pillow | 2. Macrame Pillow | 3. Linen Throw | 4. Forest Wallpaper | 5. Circular Linen Pillow | 6. Rattan Daybed | 7. Linen Pillow | 8. White Shag Rug | 9. Diagonal Stripe Pillow

***Photography by Tessa Neustadt


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7 years ago

Love this! Hoping to do it in my future guest bedroom/office. Urban has a similar daybed right now that I’ve been lusting after…

7 years ago

Absolutely darling and oh so charming. I do wish step 1 would have been: reveal the source for the mattress cover because that is what truly gives this bamboo gem its custom look.
Happy days!

7 years ago

Great timing, Ive been looking into twin bed frames that look more like daybeds for a spare room that’s a playroom/guest bedroom.
I have a completely unrelated question, you guys have a cat – how do you hide Bear’s litter box? Have you already talked about this? We’re in a new home and the only place for our litter box is the bathroom (the only) and it’s pretty unattractive

7 years ago
Reply to  Kathleen

Do you have lower cabinets in this bathroom? I removed the door from one and have a covered litter box on a plastics mat inside the cabinet. Have been meaning to put up a tension rod with small linen curtains on the cabinet opening to disguise it a little but have yet to get around to it. This is not in a highly visible area so it works for me.

7 years ago

I have an old fold down sofa from Urban Outfitters that I keep down to make it look like a day bed. I found a company on Etsy (linenhome) that made a fitted linen sheet to the exact dimensions I needed (80X42) for $55, which is another option. Here’s a far away picture of it:

7 years ago
Reply to  stephZ

The styling needs some major help, but I am working on aquirring pillows and getting rid of that ugly quilt, which the dog likes to lay on.

7 years ago

I love this room so much. That wallpaper just haunts my dreams and I wish I could find the right place to use it.

Anyway, I have done this with a twin bed in a room used for guests and for many other things- it’s the ‘extra’ room in a small apartment. For the bolster, I made a tube with drawstrings on each end (making it pretty with some piping and using two complementary fabrics). Inside the tube I keep all the bedding that isn’t on the bed when it’s being used as a daybed. I just roll up the duvet, the linens and the mattress pads etc. and slip them into the tube to form a bolster. It works great.

7 years ago
Reply to  Caro

that’s a great idea! *steals it immediately*

7 years ago

Super! Will definitely use this my kids rooms!

7 years ago

Who would you suggest going to to get a custom mattress cover made?

I’ve asked a couple of people about getting a cover made for the seat of this couch, but have been turned away by upholsterers and seamstresses.

7 years ago

Lovely room and great post! Any suggestions for particularly vexing styling problem: daybeds with trundles? They are really, really boxy.

7 years ago

Love this post! That nursery is beautiful.
The custom mattress cover is such a good idea! I’ve used a box spring cover (Restoration Hardware sells them) and that looked fine too. Not as nice as a custom cover but better than a fitted sheet, especially if you get one that has texture or quilting, etc.

7 years ago

Ballard Designs and World Market both make ready-made mattress covers, for those who want to get the look for less. I got a burlap one in “marshmallow” from World Market for the daybed in my living room and it looks almost identical to the one in the picture. You might have to tweak the fit a bit as they are universal twin-size covers, but for the savings on something I wasn’t planning to use that often, it was worth the tradeoff!

7 years ago

Emily: in a related future post please consider doing a roundup of great daybeds! Thnx! 🙂

7 years ago

Do these pics show the bolster pillow? I was imagining something nearly bed length and am not seeing that…
In any event, what would you recommend for length of a custom (or non-custom) bolster?
I just ordered my toddler a “big girl bed” which is a proper day bed but definitely want this sort of look with the pillows…

7 years ago
Reply to  Auburn

You can see the bolster in the video. It looks like it runs the length of the bed.

7 years ago

Loving this post, my next place WILL have a day bed ; )

7 years ago

This bed is gorgeous! I love the soft colors with the pillows mixed with the natural wood. My kids are 8,6 and 5, I wish I had gotten ideas like this when I was making their baby rooms. I never thought to put a twin bed in there, it would have been really helpful for those late night feedings while still encouraging them to sleep in their own beds. Your daughters room is perfection!

7 years ago

This could not have come at a more perfect time! Just bought a rattan twin bed at an auction and am trying to figure out how to style it. Thanks for all the awesome tips!!!

7 years ago
7 years ago

Honestly Emily, your blog posts are wearing out my pinning finger. I may need to ice it.

7 years ago

This post is so timely. I’m restyling my daybed by updating the pillows and throws, and love the Rebecca Atwood one you have here. Just ordered it — and bonus, it was on sale! Thanks for the great tips!

7 years ago

I did this before on a twin bed, using a PB day bed mattress cover. I thought all daybeds were of twin dimensions? It worked great and fit perfectly. The only variable would be the thickness of your mattress…same consideration you make when buying a fitted sheet.

I could be wrong…would def. Google “day bed mattress cover” before you consider custom, unless you need a specific fabric.

Thanks for the post!!!

7 years ago

I love it! I love the idea! Thank you for sharing!

7 years ago

Does anyone know where the white and light grey striped pillow is from? It’s not in the video but it is in all the other photos. Thanks!

7 years ago

Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hoping for some more new informative posts.

7 years ago

Emily, I am getting that wallpaper to wrap around dining room, but am trying to decide on dimensions. The scale you have looks good in the nursery, do you recall what dimensions you ordered your mural in? I am thinking 3 sets of a 13×8 but having trouble envisioning it scale-wise. Also, how did you continue the white from the top of the mural up your vaulted ceiling?