By: Jason Guanso

September 12, 2020

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Sofa vs Couch: What’s the Difference?

We often use different words to mean the same thing – like when customers say they’re looking for a new bed when they mean mattress.

Is that the same issue with sofa and couches?

Is the sofa the same thing as a couch? Or are they fundamentally different?

The truth is there is a lot of overlap between a sofa and a couch, but there are some key differences between the pieces of furniture – it’s just that those key differences don’t really matter anymore.

Let’s explain.

What is a Sofa?

A sofa is, traditionally, a wooden bend covered with cushions or blankets. But it’s evolved since then to mean many things.

In fact – fun trivia, the word sofa comes from the Arabic word suffa which means ledge or bench

The main point is sofa is more of a formal piece of furniture.

It has cushions, upholstery, two sofa arms, and enough room for – usually – at least three people.

There are several types of sofas, including sectional sofas and sleeper sofas.

What is a Couch?

A couch can be seen as a more informal sofa.

Before present-day, couch actually originated from Old French couche, which was a verb meant “to lie down.”

There’s some evidence that chaise longues, so called “fainting couches,” were the first real couches.

But now if ten people walked into a store and looked at a couch, some would call it a couch and half would call it a sofa.

Sofa vs. Couch: So, is There Any Difference?

The differences between a sofa and a couch are starting to disappear. Historically, a couch was meant for lying down, whereas a sofa was meant for more sitting up right.

But you won’t see that difference when shopping for the best sofas or the best couches. The truth is, furniture companies are going to use the terms that they think work the best to convince their customers to buy.

If a furniture brand is trying to push luxury and affluent lifestyles, it’ll market their piece of furniture as a sofa. If one is going for comfort, family night in front of the TV, then they’ll label it as a couch.


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