Is that a sofa or couch? A couch or sofa? How can I tell the difference? These are easily some of the most frequently asked questions we get from customers. The truth is, many in the furniture industry, particularly in North America, use the terms interchangeably with “sofa” being the more professional term. However, there are a couple slight differences between sofas and couches. Sofas are more formal and have prominent backs and armrests. Sofas are for sitting. On the other hand, couches are less formal and are more often used for lying on.
Our goal for today is to cut through the industry jargon, and provide you with a better knowledge of something we’re passionate about here at WFMO – furniture! Below, we’ll dig into the definitions for each term and their history of usage. Once we understand where these words come from, it’s easier to understand the differences between them.
What is a Sofa?
The term “sofa” is a Turkish transliteration of the Arabic noun “suffah”, which is a bench or raised platform meant for sitting or reclining. Traditionally, a suffah would be draped in fabric and adorned with cushions.
True to its origin as a bench-like piece of furniture, sofas have well-defined arms and back. In addition, sofas are usually upholstered. While you can certainly recline on a sofa, they are primarily meant for sitting. As such, sofas tend to be more formal and are perfect for the living room.
What is a Couch?
To be honest, there aren’t too many differences between sofas and couches; the biggest difference is their intended use. The term “couch” is a derivative of the French verb “coucher”, which means to go to bed or lay down. Based on this early definition, couches are clearly meant for lounging about. In other words, sofas are meant for sitting while couches are equally meant for lying down.
Lastly, while a couch may indeed have a defined back and two armrests like a sofa, it doesn’t always. A couch may have only one arm, or none at all! Given this fact, couches have a less formal appearance and are most at home in the den, bonus room, or “man-cave”.
WFMO: Where North Georgia Shops for Sofas and Couches
Hopefully we’ve answered all your questions about how sofas and couches are different! As we discussed above, most people use “sofa” and “couch” interchangeably. As a result, we’ve listed sofas & couches together on the WFMO website. Whether you’re shopping for a sofa, couch, loveseat, sectional or recliner, you’ll find a wide variety of brands priced for any budget at Woodstock Furniture & Mattress Outlet!
FAQs, Glossary of Terms, and Related Materials Coming Soon!
In the near future, we’ll be starting an archive on our website just for users like you! This collection of articles and blog posts will include answers to our customers’ most frequently asked questions, a glossary of common furniture terms, and posts like this one teaching about furniture and decor topics. As always, check our blog again soon for updates!