What Is The Difference Between A Couch And A Sofa? (Explained) 

Last Updated on September 25, 2022 by

A couch comes from the French verb “coucher,” which means lie down. A sofa is derived from the Arabic word “suffah,” which means a wooden bench covered with blankets and cushions. Mainly, sofas are meant for seating, while couches are often for lying on. This is a slight difference that many don’t recognize except the designers. 

There were slight variations in layout between the sofa and couches as time went by. The word sofa refers to upholstered benches with cushions, arms, and enough space for people to take a seat. On the other hand, a couch refers to a chair without an armrest that is visibly smaller than a sofa.

It would appear useless to differentiate the two when considering that they both serve the same purpose. However, understanding the difference between furniture is an occupational requirement for experts in the design and the furniture business.

Differences Between A Sofa And A Couch

Differences Between A Sofa And A Couch

1. The Origin Of The Name

The term couch, as stated earlier, originated in France. The term “couche” was modified to the couch, and people took it up and started using it. On the other hand, the sofa originated from the Arabs. However, after many years, the two terms can be used interchangeably with couch referring to small sofas. People from the USA mostly use the word couch to refer to cushioned seats.  

2. Their Meaning

American heritage dictionary describes a couch as an article of upholstered furniture with a back on which one can sit and recline when resting. It also goes further ahead to state that the couch can accommodate two or more people simultaneously.

In layman’s terms, a sofa is a comfortable couch with an armrest and cushions. People from Britain use the word sofa to describe a big comfy couch found in the living room.

3. Their Fashion And Style

A couch can be described as family room furniture; a sofa is a long, upholstered piece of furniture that can be converted into a bed when the need arises.  

4. Size

Sofas are bigger than couches and therefore provide more seating for four or more persons. It can even have a pull-out bed, meaning sofas occupy more floor space than the couches. Conversely, couches are smaller and seat 2-3 persons comfortably. 

5. Functions

There is a visible difference between a couch and a sofa in their functions. Couches are more casual and used in informal settings such as a cozy living space or entertainment room. 

On the other hand, sofas are more formal and used in offices and living rooms as they give out a classy and elegant vibe. 

Couches VS. Sofas

Distinguishing feature Couch Sofa 
Origin of the name Originates from France Originates from Arab
Meaning With armrests Without armrests 
Fashion and styleFamily room furniture long, upholstered piece of furniture that can be converted into a bed
SizeSmall and seats 2-3 persons comfortably Big and seats at least four persons 
Functions Used in informal settings such as entertainment rooms Used in a formal settings such as living rooms and offices 

Different Types Of Sofas

Different Types Of Sofas

The different types of sofas include;

The Standard Sofa

If the comfortable seat in your living room has 2 to 3 seats, it is a standard sofa. This sofa has no extra features or additional items to make it more comfortable.

The Chaise Sofa

A chaise sofa is similar to a standard sofa but with an extended seat on one side. With this sort of couch, you can sit on it and stretch your legs on the extended part for extra comfort.

The Corner Sofa

A nook sofa consists of two sofa sections that connect at a right angle. They are called corner sofas because they should be placed in the corner of your living room and they also form a corner once attached. It creates more sitting regions and leaves room for people to move about. It is more appropriate for big houses with many residents.

Why Should You Choose A Sofa Over A Couch?

When it comes to indoor decor and furniture, what you like and your taste goes a long way to dictate what you want or desire.

When it comes to choosing a couch or a sofa, it is no different. Your taste will dictate what you prefer. However, this does not mean that knowing the difference between the two terms will not be helpful to you.

If you are looking to get a seat to accommodate your whole family, you will want to purchase a sofa. For a more comfortable, spacious, and informal setting, you can get a couch. It is more favorable for snuggling as you watch your TV shows and just relaxing

Many interior decorators also suggest a couch for the rooms to entertain guests with tea or drinks.

If you love afternoon naps, a couch is more dependable than a sofa.

Do Couches And Sofas Only Fit In Certain Rooms?

Interior design is not rigid and strict, its rules are flexible, and one can almost do whatever they feel is right. There is no single way of decorating and furnishing your home. Whatever preference you have is right in your own eyes.

Even though interior design is seen as lawless, some people are strict, and they need to put specific furniture exactly where it should be. If you are such a person, place the sofas in the living room and the couch in the room where you will be working, hanging out, or playing some indoor games.

Some designers also recommend couches for guest rooms, your home office, or even the balcony.

What Is A Sette?

A sette was famous or well-known back in the middle ages. It resembles a sofa, but it was made entirely of wood, and it was elegantly carved to make a unique design.

What Is A Love Seat?

Initially, the love seat, as we call it nowadays, was made for women back when ladies used to wear wide dresses. The chair was wide enough to accommodate a lady in a wide dress without overflowing onto the floor.

In recent years, its use has changed. It got its name, a love seat since it can sit two people perfectly. That name suits the seat because we as a society suggestively linked it to match-making.

What Is A Chesterfield?

Chesterfield is a word used by most Canadians to refer to a sofa of any kind. 

People in the United Kingdom use it to refer to an overstaffed and button-tufted sofa made of leather.

Final Thoughts

A couch and a sofa meant two very different things in the past; the difference most likely had something to do with the armrests. However, the difference between the two has become blurry as people have been using the two terms interchangeably. Most people use couches to refer to small sofas, but designers and manufacturers use the proper term for ideal items. 




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