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In everyday conversation, the words “sofa” and “couch” are often used interchangeably, but is there actually a difference? In essence, yes and no. Professional decorators will usually refer to all the above as “sofas,” but historically, the difference between a sofa and a couch lies in their design and usage.


Traditionally, a sofa is more formal than couch. With a longer and more structured shape, they are often the more elegant option. Sofas typically feature upholstered seating for two or more people, with armrests on either side. They work well as the centerpiece of a living room or formal sitting area, offering plenty of seating space and a more refined look.


A couch, on the other hand, tends to be more casual in design. Couches may lack the formal structure of a sofa, featuring softer cushions and a relaxed silhouette. They are a great option for more casual settings, such as family rooms or cozy dens, where comfort and relaxation are the priority.

More Options!

While we’re exploring different types of seating, let’s touch on a few more terms you might encounter.

  • Sectional: A sectional sofa consists of multiple sections that can be arranged in various configurations to suit different spaces and seating needs.
  • Futon: A futon is a Japanese-inspired sofa bed featuring a mattress that can be folded and stored to convert it into a sofa.
  • Chaise: A chaise lounge is a long, upholstered chair with a backrest on one side and a long cushion for leg support on the other. It’s perfect for lounging and relaxation.
  • Divan: Unlike a sofa or a couch, a divan typically lacks a backrest. Instead, it features a mattress-like seat supported by a solid base or frame. Divans are often used for lounging or as daybeds, offering a comfortable spot for relaxation or occasional sleep.
  • Loveseat: A loveseat is a compact sofa designed to comfortably seat two people. Loveseats are versatile pieces of furniture that can complement larger sofas or stand alone in smaller living spaces.
  • Settee: A settee is a type of upholstered bench with a backrest, often used for seating in entryways or dining areas.

For more help choosing the right seating for your home, check out our sofa shopping guide!