Homedit is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Sofa Vs Couch: The Big Debate

Quality furniture is up for debate. With the sofa vs couch: the big debate, nothing could be truer. Many people have spoken in, but who is right?

What does the public think?

sofa vs couch

People disagree over the differences between sofas and couches. Once you learn their origins and meanings, you’ll know them better.

Sofa Vs Couch Overview

Sofa Vs Couch Overview
Amanda Steiner Design LLC.

Before we begin, you should know that the words “sofa” and “couch” have the same meaning. People know what you’re talking about when you use either word.

There are historical differences between them that people recognize. A sofa is a refined, formal, and delicate piece of furniture. A couch is less formal and more casual.

People do not lounge on a sofa. People lounge on a couch. There are other differences. History reveals them. Let’s look at the origin of the names.  

History Of Sofas

History Of Sofas
Made Up Again

The word “sofa” originated in Egypt in 2000 BC. “Suffah” is Arabic for “bench.” Today, it means something different.

Popular among the upper-class, sofas were like chaise lounges.

Suffahs were popular among rich Egyptians. It wasn’t until after the Dark Ages that the furniture style returned.

Europeans began using sofas like the ones we have today. During the Victorian Age, sofas became what we know today.

History Of Couches

History Of Couches
Margie Grace

Have you wondered why churches have hard pews? Christians felt the body and the soul were opposing forces. The human body wanted pleasure.

The soul was not present if the body was in control. Comfort was a sin. Church pew designs were intentional.  

The word “couch” comes from Old French word “couche,” meaning “to lie down.” A couch was for relaxing. Afternoon naps were common. At night, people slept in beds.  

Old French thrived between the 8th and 16th centuries. Couches were popular during this period. Couches were upholstered. In the 1700s, the first modern couch emerged.

Sofa Vs Couch Pros And Cons

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper
 Sarah and Bendrix

Couches are popular in the US. Sofas are popular in the UK. Both are common and widespread in each region. 

But which is better? A sofa or couch? Which word is used when searching the internet or asking a decorator?

Here are the pros and cons:

Sofa Pros Vs. Cons

The furniture pieces add taste and class to a living room. But at what cost?


  • More refined. 
  • Easier to find.
  • Used by professionals.
  • Popular in most countries.


  • Less comfortable.
  • Not kid-friendly. 

Couch Pros Vs. Cons

 A couch can make a room feel like home and welcome any guest. But are they “nice” enough and is the word used? Here are the pros and cons of a couch.


  • Understood by most Americans.
  • Comfortable.
  • Good for sleeping.
  • Cheaper.


  • Doesn’t translate well.
  • Not as refined.
  • Hard to find.

Best Sofas Of 2021

While the word sofa and couch are the same, we’ve done the hard work for you. When people use keywords, they are looking for certain things.

These are some of the most popular sofas for those who use the word “sofa” to find furniture. 

Gracia Flared Arm Sofa

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper


Flared arm sofas are couches. They have a Victorian feel, and couches are called sofas. Another indicator are bottoms without skirts, giving an airy, and soft feel.

The sofa by One Alium Way is an example of a sofa. It has a vintage frame. It’s elaborate without looking dated. Classic parlors feature this style.  People will put them next to their fireplace. 

Kaiden Square Arm Sofa

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper

Other telltale signs of sofas include buttoned cushions with straight lines. Couches with buttoned cushions are puffier and rounder. Again, this is just an aesthetic, not a technical difference. 

This couch comes in bold colors, something you don’t’ see in many sofas. It has a retro and modern style, making it mid-century modern. It is the most popular design styles of 2021.

Arvidson Settee

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper

A sofa and settee are two separate pieces of furniture. Some use the word sofa to describe a settee, not a couch. This is an indicator of their differences.

As you can see, a settee is a sofa hybrid. It’s one of the few sofa styles that isn’t a couch. You don’t see them often, so it’s a rare find that suits many tastes. 

Speakman Square Arm Sofa

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper

Rivets are popular as couches and sofas. Their design styles are square. The example is a good sofa choice. They come in rich colors.

Green is bold and nice to look at, but other colors work well. Burgundy, blues, and neturas are easy to find. The sofas are hot items and sell fast. Colorful sofas are in high demand.

AllModern Tan Leather Sofa

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper

Tan leather sofas are trending. Tan is a natural leather color. Faux leather is available and looks real. The sofa comes in black, but tan looks genuine. 

If you like black, don’t let tan stop you from getting black. The black leather sofa is a classic and suits any room. You can’t go wrong with black in clothing or home furniture. As a color, it’s a safe choice. 

Best Couches Of 2021

Couches offer relaxed comfort and are cheaper than sofas. For the family that enjoys lying around and watching TV, they are ideal. Here are the most popular couches for those who use the word couch when searching for home furniture.

One of the hottest couch trends is the Restoration Hardware cloud couch. The couch’s hashtag has received over five million views. With a hefty price tag, RH cloud couch dupes are available at cheaper prices.

Moe Reclining Couch

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper

You won’t see many reclining sofas. Reclining couches are common. They look like three recliners sewn together. Sometimes they rock alone, and sometimes they rock together. 

This one rocks together and was designed by Winston Porter, who makes great furniture. Each section allows you to put your feet up separately, so you don’t need the same seat position as the rest of the family. 

Carly Recessed Arm Couch

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper

Another thing you’ll see more often in couches is a skirt. You can buy skirts for most couches. Buying one with a skirt is ideal because it look high-end. Because couches are cheaper than sofas, they’re better investments. 

A skirt is a good choice if a new couch is not in your budget. You can use covers or a skirt. Both are easy to find at cheap prices.

No one will know the difference and think your couch is new couch. 

Claremore Leather Couch

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper
You can find leather couches and sofas at most furniture stores. A leather couch is shapely and softer than a leather sofa. It looks nice but is stiffer. If the cushion sinks, it’s a couch. 

If you’re over the age of 25, you remember Lunette and Molly from the Big, Comfy Couch. No one would mistake that couch for a sofa. It’s far too comfortable and cozy to be anything

Birch Lane Couch Bed

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper

Sofa beds are couches more than they are sofas. Couches aren’t made for sleeping, but sofas are. If you have guests, a couch is preferable. 

The example here looks like a normal couch, but it’s a couch bed. It extends into a sleeper. It provides guests with a full bed rather than a couch.

The price isn’t much more than a sofa.

Ebern Designs Huldah Couch

Huldah Flared Arm Sleeper

If it’s retro and odd, then it is a couch. In the example, small couch has more personality than other couches combined. If you want funky, search for couches that are quirky and unique. 

The Huldah linen flared arm sleeper offers a modern touch to your home.

Should I Get A Sofa Or A Couch?

You know the history of each and have seen examples, now the choice is yours. While you can use either word when asking about furniture, choosing certain ones that reflect what you want.

If you say sofa, people will assume you want something nicer and fancier. When you say couch, they will assume you want something comfy and family-friendly.

With that knowledge, you’re free to find that perfect piece of furniture for your room. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How do I choose a good sofa?

You want to consider you lifestyle. If you have a big family, a sectional sofa would be good for your home. Families with pets and children should consider stain-resistant performance fabric.

Reclining sofas are a good option for senior citizens. A queen sleeper sofa is good for guests.

Where will you place your sofa? Measure the size of the sofa you want with the space you want to put it. Choose a style that suits the decor of your home.

Also, you want to test the seat cushions. Some people like soft cushions while others prefer harder ones.

How long will a new couch last? 

A couch will last five years or longer. It will depend on how durable it is and how much you use it. Cheap couch frames and fabric are as good as anything else.

Couch cushions will need replacing, which isn’t cheap. There are three types of couch cushions: foam, coil springs, and down feathers.

If you want a couch that lasts longer, high-quality cushions are important. Also, couches come with warranties but be sure to check before you buy.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when buying a new couch?

When buying a new couch there are a few things you should not do. The best place to buy a couch on a budget is online. But do your research before buying a couch from a vendor.

Used couches are not a good idea. They might have bed bugs, dust mites, or bad odor.

You want your couch to have a flame retardant warning tag. This will help reduce fire risk.

Sofa Vs. Couch Conclusion

A sofa is good when you want to add class and style to a room.

A chaise lounge will add a touch of class to any room. Sectional sofas are good for larger rooms.

A couch is less formal. It may not offer the style as a sofa, but it provides comfort families. A couch can be an extra bed if you have visitors.

Whatever you decide, the most important thing to consider is the style of your home. A couch or sofa are long-term investments. Don’t buy one that doesn’t fit with your home décor.