Illustration for the article titled Knowing the Difference Between a Sofa and a Couch Can Make Buying Furniture Much Easier

Photo: Go with the flow (Shutterstock)

This large upholstered piece of furniture in your living room, where several people can sit at the same time, and is probably positioned according to the TV: Is it a sofa or a couch? It might sound like one of those regional language questions (like “soda” versus “pop” versus “coke”), but in this case, a couch and a couch are actually two different pieces of furniture. Here’s what you need to know about what sets the two types of seats apart.

The difference between a sofa and a sofa

While we can use the terms interchangeably now, sofas and sofas didn’t start out as the same type of furniture. Here is Meghan Overdeep from Southern Living with a little history lesson:

Historically speaking, the sofa and the couch are two different things. The term “sofa” would come from the French word “layerWhich is used to describe “an armless piece of furniture used to lie”. On the other hand, Merriam-Webster defines a “sofa” as “a long upholstered seat usually with armrests and a back, and often convertible into a bed”.

In the old days, it seems that the difference between a sofa and a sofa was about the arms – or the lack of them. Which means, technically speaking, “sofa” is the correct term.

But today, most people outside of the furniture and design professions don’t distinguish between the two.

What to know when buying furniture

Although trips to a furniture store or department store are no longer the only way to buy sofas and sofas, some people prefer to test one before buying it, even if they have made their first purchases online. . And it might seem like there are endless options when it comes to sofas / sofas, but once you have a specific size, style, or price range in mind, you might find that your choices are more. limited than you might think.

So if you are looking for a sofa that meets your needs and you are short on it, try searching using the term “sofa” instead. At this point, even furniture makers are using the words interchangeably, so the product description may not match the historical arm / armless distinction (although this can be especially helpful when purchasing furniture. vintage).

But if you’re lucky enough to work with a professional interior designer or shop at a high-end furniture store, there’s a better chance they’ll use the word according to its original meaning.

Another tip: if you are looking to buy a loveseat (a small sofa that can accommodate two people) or a sectional, they can be listed in the category “sofa” on furniture sites.

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