Do you know the difference between a sofa and a couch?

I have a really simple quiz for you. Just one question, but the answer might surprise you!

What do you call the item in your living room or family room that you and another person or two might sit on to visit or watch a movie? I see you reaching for your phone. No cheating now. Step away from all electronic devices and use that big computer above your shoulders. Have your answer? Ready, set go…

Most of you folks probably blurted out “couch,” while others might have said “sofa.” And some fancy pants might have shouted out “settee.” (don’t think I didn’t hear that!)

In many respects, everybody is right.

I know, so anti-climatic. But – this is the part where things get interesting – there are some distinct differences between a sofa and a couch. Keep on reading if you want some fun facts for the daily morning meeting at the water cooler or go lay down on your sofa, or is it couch? I gotcha now.

The word sofa derives from the Arabic word suffah that means a bench. There is also Turkish influence from the word sofa that roughly translates to a portion of the floor that is raised and covered with carpets and cushions. The origin of the word sofa can be traced back to the 1620s. The word couch can be traced back to the 1300s and derives from the old French verb couchier which means to lay down.

I get it, you just want to relax, but, you can start to see some of the differences. Sofa has a more sophisticated association with it while a couch is simply a place to lie down. So let’s put on that cool little detective hat like in the old movies and dig into this a little more.

Did you know there are multiple styles of sofa arms? Think you can name them all? Learn about them here

There are differences between a sofa and a couch, but a lot of the use just comes down to semantics. Here is the boiled-down Bob’s notes version:

  • A sofa is larger, more sophisticated and a gathering place for conversation.
  • A couch is smaller, more functional and a comfy place to lie down.
  • Who knew a 2-foot puppet had so much knowledge?

Shop couches…err… sofas now!

About the author / Bob

I consider myself the luckiest spokespuppet ever because I get to talk about the thing I love the most everyday – furniture! Tufted headboards, rustic finishes, the difference between a sofa and a couch (yes, there is a difference)… I could go on and on. Oh, I just love furniture and I’m SO excited that I have this blog to share my passion with you! It may take me a little longer to create posts – have you ever tried typing with clay hands – but I look forward to talking furniture with you!

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