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What the difference between a sofa and a couch?

Did you know that a sofa is not a couch and a couch is not a sofa? Most people use the term couch to describe a sofa but technically that’s not correct. A sofa usually has two arms and a back, although a sofa can be armless. However a couch has one or no arms and may have a back on the short end.

You may have heard of the term chaise, from chaise longue, meaning long chair in French. Well a couch is an English word for chaise, not sofa. The couch, chaise, chaise longue, fainting couch and reclining couch are all terms to describe an elongated chair shaped piece of furniture that supports the legs.

So the difference in seating position is very different because in a sofa your feet would touch the floor but in a couch, reclining couch, fainting couch, chaise or chaise longue, your legs would be elevated. Due to the fact that many people sit on a sofa the way they would on a couch the terms may have become blurred.

There are a lot of terms in the interior design business that are thrown about and not used properly and couch has certainly been adopted to mean sofa in layman’s terms, but if you want to sound “in the know” when talking about furniture remember that a sofa is a sofa and a couch is an elongated chair shape.

Besides creating beautiful functional rooms to enhance and express our clients’ lifestyle, one of our jobs is to also educate our clients on the world of interior design. It can be an intimidating place to a lot of people so we like to make it a friendlier and fun experience.


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