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Nelson Daybed
Iconic Designs

Nelson Daybed

About the Design

Like many modernists, George Nelson (1908–86) relished design that solved a problem. And there’s probably no more common design problem than not having enough space. A daybed, the Connecticut-born writer, architect and furniture maker reasoned, is “ideal for the bedroom that has to double as a sitting room.” Nelson’s versatile design — particularly with its slim profile and unassuming legs — fits neatly into a compact space, both in its small square footage and its quiet presence.


Nelson conceived an early version of the daybed for use in his own home in 1941. By 1948, he had perfected the design and presented it to Herman Miller, where Nelson had been director of design since 1947. The furniture maker has called his work as a designer “to do much more with much less,” and the final design for his daybed is the culmination of one of Nelson’s trademark efforts to simplify to the greatest degree.


A single, honed wood platform is supported by four graceful legs, either in wood or a more industrial-looking brushed-steel hairpin. Atop this basic frame rests a boxy foam cushion; side bolsters, which are removable for the quick transition from sofa to bed, are optional.


Nelson famously referred to his moments of creative inspiration as “zaps” — though the term appears to imply immediate, fully formed ideas, the daybed proves that sometimes a moment of genius is really the distillation of a long period of perfecting that idea. The piece is still manufactured by Herman Miller today.


George Nelson Nelson Daybed

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George Nelson, Modular Sofa and Table Seating System, 1966 for Herman Miller
By George Nelson, Herman Miller
Located in Munster, NRW
George Nelson for Herman Miller, 1960s, United States. Very fine Modular §seater sofa by George Nelson (1908-1986) for Herman Miller. This sofa has a metal frame with square chro...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Sofas

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Mid-Century Modern Early George Nelson Herman Miller Walnut Daybed Chaise, 1950s
By George Nelson, Herman Miller
Located in Keego Harbor, MI
For your consideration is a rare and beautiful, walnut wood daybed or chaise, by George Nelson for Herman Miller, circa 1950s. In excellent vintage condition. Can be used as is, orig...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Daybeds

Materials

Walnut

Vintage George Nelson for Herman Miller Daybed Cot Sofa Chaise Lounge
By George Nelson, Herman Miller
Located in Rockaway, NJ
Mid-Century Modern George Nelson for Herman Miller daybed in very good original condition, circa 1950s.
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Daybeds

Materials

Maple