The evolution of day beds and benches

At first glance, you could say that day beds are a new element when it comes to interior design, especially compared to recliners, sofas and manners. In spite of this, the truth is that this piece of furniture has been around for many years and its roots are as old as those of the chair, for instance. In case you have never had anything to do with architecture, design and furniture manufacturing, then it is quite simple to confuse the term with others that have slightly the same meaning. For example, a lot of people do not make a clear distinction between sofas, settees, daybeds and couches, but the difference actually lies in the evolution of each piece. On the one hand, while the settee evolved from the armchair, which has chair-like legs and arms, the sofa on the other, developed from the day bed (to which long frames and supports were added).  As you can see, this piece of furniture has known a great evolution until it became famous as today’s Barcelona bench reproduction.

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The real significance of the day bed

This piece of furniture was initially created to provide support, such as a chair, but not enough comfort, like the bed. The form of the item suggested a posture in between lying down and sitting up, which made it the perfect addition to any room, except for the bedroom. Modern domestic furniture has adopted this object since it provides a lot of comfort, while also keeping any living room away from the idea of sleep. The evolution of this item was shaped in the 16th century, by French craftsmen who started manufacturing it for aristocratic clients. Since the piece first became famous in France, it is better known as “chaise longue” (large chair), a name often used both by clients and manufacturing companies. The noun “couch” is also quite popular, especially in America, and is a derived word from the French verb “coucher” (to sleep). However, even if this piece of furniture became famous due to French manufacturers, the history of this stylish item dates back ages ago.


Egypt, Greece and Rome – the most ancient benches in the history

Records of the first benches and day beds claim that the item was alive in Ancient Egypt and Rome. It was used especially by wealthy families, to perform various activities while reposing: resting, eating, playing games and so on. Apparently, the most elaborated versions of the chaise longue used to exist in Egypt, where the item was a place to rest in the desert climate. Ancient hieroglyphics reveal that Egyptian day beds had a rectangular form and were made of wood frames and interwoven stripes, similar to a mattress. In certain European cultures, even meals were served while lying down, which is why the presence of chaise lounges was more than welcomed. At some point, the day bed became almost a mandatory piece in Roman houses, and it was used for multiple purposes (reading, writing, talking or eating) in bedrooms, libraries and dining rooms.