Sofa or Couch … What Difference Does It Make…Or Does It?

Difference between Sofa and Couch

It’s only interior design connoisseurs who are aware of the difference between sofa and couch while for the layperson they both are pseudonyms for the same piece of furniture. Gharpedia showcases the subtle but clear differences between the two.

Let’s flashback into the pre-COVID days when upon reaching home your priority was not sanitisation!

Just picture this – you’ve had a long and tiring day at work and the drive back home has been worse due to traffic snarls. You reach home and plop into your living room sofa like a couch of potatoes, flinging your laptop bag on the side table. How heavenly eh? Whether a sofa or a couch the comfort which this piece of furniture brings can just not be described in words!

Person Relaxing on Sofa

Sofas and couches are confidantes of many of our joys and untold pains. Along with us they too view our popular programs on satellite television and streaming platforms and are witness to our tiffs and fun-times with our family members. They are literally the first point of contact for our esteemed guests and many matrimonial alliances and business collaborations are materialized on these soft platforms! Trust us, if they were blessed with the power of speech, the experiences which sofas and couches would share with us would definitely form interesting and eye-riveting content for a best-seller book!

One wouldn’t be wrong if one said that perhaps the first piece of furniture that a household purchases after a bed is a sofa or a couch. In sync with the Atithi Devo Bhavah (Guest is God) precept of India the comfort of a guest is a priority and precisely that’s why a sofa or a couch is invested-in in order to allow a guest to sit and relax when he visits the house of the host.

Guest at Home Relaxing on Sofa

So, post understanding the significance of a sofa or a couch the next step is walking into a furniture store to place an order for this useful piece of furniture; or alternatively commissioning a made-to-order piece with a carpenter. And it is here that we face a catch as we realize the universal truth that sofas and couches are not one and the same!

There’s a popular quote by William Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet – “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” which broadly emphasises the importance of functionality rather than terminology. But when it comes to sofas and couches people follow this quote religiously! And trust us this rankles those who are aware of the difference between the two.

Through this article the Gharpedia Team highlights the difference between these two integral pieces of furniture – sofa vs couch – which are slightly but markedly different in construction, style and size and function too.

Difference between Sofa and Couch

Etymology and History of Couch & Sofa

What is a Couch?

What is Couch

In the modern times, although the term ‘couch’ generally refers to small or casual sofas; yet couches exhibit some distinct differences from their formal counterparts. The word ‘coach’ comes from an Old French verb ‘couche,’ which means ‘to lie down,’ and no small wonder that the design of couches reflects this meaning perfectly!

What is a Sofa?

What is Sofa

The word ‘sofa’ owes its origin to the Arabic term “suffah” which basically refers to a bench covered with blankets and cushions. In modern parlance a sofa can be broadly defined as an upholstered bench with cushions, two arms, and sufficient space to seat several people (3-4 at the minimum). Sofas range across a variety of comfortable seating options – from sectionals to loveseats.

If you are in search of good sofa options & going to buy a sofa in near future, the blog given below would be a perfect read before you make any decision!!!

10 Tips to Choose a Sofa for Your Home!

Structure and Shape of Sofa vs Couch

Structure of Sofa and Couch

When it comes to their structure and shape, sofas generally feature two armrests and a uniform back while couches normally comprise of one armrest or none at all and a tapered back; moreover couches are smaller than sofas more on the lines of a chaise lounge and were a popular piece of furniture in the Victorian era.

In colloquial terms ‘couch’ is a slightly casual term used for a comfort-driven piece; vis-à-vis ‘sofa’ which is tad more formal and refers to a polished, design-driven piece.

Difference between Size of Sofa and Couch

Size of Sofa and Couch

When it comes to size, one can detect a ‘sizeable’ (do excuse the pun!) difference between a couch and a sofa!

As sofas are designed with the underlying objective of providing more seating space this organically translates to more floor space. Generally speaking sofas mandatorily provide seating space for four but in palatial houses they can also be bigger.

While our humble couch on the other hand, is a bit more compact and can comfortably seat two to three persons.

And hey!… Don’t forget sofas in compactly-designed houses also have a pull-out bed.

While buying a sofa, the material of upholstery is an essential factor to consider. Know in detail about sofa upholstery.

Sofa Upholstery – What should you know before Buying?

Difference in Functionality of Sofa and Couch

It is in this segment that the difference between a sofa and a couch is clearly defined and markedly visible.

Couches are generally used in more casual and informal settings like in an entertainment room or a cosy living space. PS it may be noted that we are not referring to the infamous ‘casting couch’ here!

Perhaps that explains why pets and kids absolutely dote on couches rather than sofas as couches allow them to be what they are playful, messy and fun-loving!

Pets on Sofa and Couch

While, on the other hand, sofas are apparently more formal pieces of furniture; and they adorn the living rooms of households where they send out elegant and classy vibes. Sofas and formal occasions go hand-in-hand making them the best option for homeowners who indulge in large scale entertaining.

Also Read: Exclusive Sofa Designs for Living Room

The Gharpedia Team hopes that most of your queries regarding the difference between coach and sofa have been resolved through this article.

At the end of the day it is critical to select the right piece of furniture for your home or office space basis on your requirement. Whether you call it a sofa or couch, it’s important to prioritize quality (integrity of the material and the structure); elegance; and comfort in terms of proportions and syncing-in level with your lifestyle.

Must Read:

How to Select a Sofa for Optimum Comfort?

Author Bio

Huta Raval – An English Literature and Journalism Topper, Huta Raval has graduated from the L D Arts College, Ahmedabad. Post serving for 23 years in the NBFC and Public Library Sectors her desire for ‘writing the unwritten’ brought her to the creative field of content writing. Her clientele comprises of NGOs, Blogging Platforms, Newspapers, Academic Institutions, et al.

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