At the close of the day, we often look forward to relaxing on comfortable seating. In most cases, that comfortable spot is the couch. Or, wait…maybe it’s the sofa. While a sofa and a couch are very similar, there is actually a distinct difference between them. Let’s take a brief look at their history and discuss some characteristics that define each piece.
A Little History
It’s not entirely clear when either first came into being, but sofas and couches have two very different origins:
Sofa: Derived from the Arabic word “suffah”, which is used to describe a bench that has been covered with cushions and blankets. A sofa was commonly known as a “fainting couche”–a place where corset-wearing ladies could rest and catch their breath.
Couch: Comes from the French word “couche”, and is used to describe a piece of furniture with no arms used for lying. History hints that couches were highly popular around the Victorian period.
There are distinctive differences between a sofa and a couch. Those differences are typically found in style, size, and function.
A true couch features one or no arms, as well as a tapered back. It may also feature back cushions. Some often refer to a traditional couch as a “chaise”. A sofa, on the other hand, is what we commonly find in the average home. Sofas are upholstered, have two arms, and a uniform back. They also seat more people than a couch does.
When compared to one another, the size difference between the two becomes apparent. Generally, a couch is meant to seat 2-3 people, whereas a sofa will sit 4 or more. For those with small spaces, a love seat would be a wise purchase, being that it is essentially a small sofa.
The function of sofas and couches also vary. Couches are often favored by people who have smaller spaces or wish to seat fewer people. They are also typically associated with informal settings where casual entertainment takes place.
Sofas tend to be used more in larger homes or rooms. Due to their representation of style and class, they are generally associated with formal occasions. Additionally, they are an optimal choice for people who often entertain a larger crowd of guests.
While they have their differences, sofas and couches have similarities as well–primarily when it comes to materials used to make them.
Traditionally, the frames of both types of furniture are made from wood. However, you can also find frames made of stainless steel, laminated board, and plastic.
In regards to fabric, both can be covered in various types. Sofa and couch fabric can be found in natural, synthetic, and blends. Natural fabrics tend to provide more comfort, while synthetic fabrics generally provide more durability. Natural-synthetic blends seem to be the best of both.
Is One Better Than the Other?
Not necessarily. Honestly, your personal needs will determine which piece of furniture will be best. However, now that you’re a bit more knowledgeable about the two, you can go to the store and the right selection with confidence.
Come visit us at one of our retail locations or shop online! Looking for one of our discount designer fabric stores near Addison? Stop by our Cutting Corners location in Dallas, Tx (located off Midway between alpha and Spring Valley) for great deals on upholstery fabrics in a variety of designer styles and patterns.