More or Less: Design Within Reach vs. Urban Outfitters Daybed
- The San Francisco Chronicle, 07/12/2009

The daybed is a design superhero, of sorts: By night, it spares weary weekend guests (and hosts) the pains of a pull-out sofa. By day, it serves as stylish seating, the perfect place to curl up with the paper on a Sunday afternoon.

Flexible design has given the daybed staying power, from the ancient Greek kline to the pistachio-hued, wood-and-chrome recliner that modernist George Nelson designed for his house in Long Island, N.Y., in 1948.

Though Nelson's daybed is no longer manufactured in the United States, the iconic design has inspired two appealing alternatives.

In April, Design Within Reach began selling the American Modern Daybed for $2,100, both online and in stores. Nelson believed that designers should "do much more with much less," and the simple, clean-lined daybed uses eco-friendly materials to this end: The maple frame and legs are made of Forest Stewardship Council-certified maple, and the cushions are upholstered in cheerful poppy or charcoal blue postindustrial recycled polyester fabric by Maharam, a family-owned U.S. textile manufacturer that dates back to 1902.

But if $2,100 isn't within your reach, think twice before unrolling the sleeping bag. The Mid-Century Sofa by Urban Outfitters has a similar look, but retails online for $480. The sofa is made of steel and sustainable rubber wood, which is harvested from the fast-growing Pará rubber tree, a South American species. The polyester cushions come in pistachio, red and charcoal, among other colors, and the wooden base is either stained a walnut brown or left in its natural, tawny hue.

The back cushions of both the American Modern Daybed and Mid-Century Sofa can be removed to give extra room to overnight guests. And when the house is yours once again, the covers can be slipped off for an easy clean. Of course, with accommodations so comfortable, don't expect to be alone for long ...