Sofa Vs. Couch

You've probably heard the terms "sofa" and "couch" used interchangeably, and may have wondered what the difference between the two is. As it turns out, these two types of furnishings are very similar but not precisely identical.



Traditional sofas were meant to be big, indoor, soft benches. They are covered in cushions and have arms on each side. Sofas come in all shapes and sizes. Petite sofas are also known as loveseats because they can comfortably contain two people sitting right next to one another. 




Couches are generally thought of as more casual sofas. They don't necessarily have to conform to the same structure as the sofa and are usually meant more for lounging than sitting. In fact, the term "couch" is French for "lie down," which is what most people wind up doing on them. They tend to be a little bit smaller than traditional sofas.

Historically, these two pieces of furniture had different functions. Sofas are more common for entertaining guests, and traditionally nobody would ever dream of lying down on a sofa, as it would be extremely impolite. 

On the other hand, couches welcome lounging and are seen as furniture where the family could congregate and lay down after a long day.


Modern Couches and Sofas


These days, very few people think of sofas as indoor benches. We generally use the terms "couch" and "sofa" interchangeably and think about curling up on either one. The difference between the two comes down to region and word choice. Some people grew up using the term "sofa," and others use the term "couch."

Where the couch or sofa is placed in the home also determines its functionality. Many houses have living rooms and family rooms: one designated for the family to relax and the other for entertaining company. These rooms are a throwback to parlors, where people would entertain guests. If a sofa or couch is in a space designated for entertaining, it's probably considered a place where sitting up properly, as opposed to lounging, is appropriate. The fabric and style of the sofa or couch can play a role in this as well. Fancier couches and sofas are for sitting up, not lying down.

Ultimately, whether you call it a sofa or a couch is up to you. Very few differences exist between these two furnishings today. Browse through Watson’s selection of couches and sofas today to find the right match for your home.