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Sofa vs Couch: Are You Sure You Know The Exact Difference? | What's the Difference, Is there a Difference?

A lot of people around us doesn’t know the difference and often used the terms alternatively. Do you know the difference between Sofa and Couch?

No? Is it a potato couch? Just kidding!

Don’t worry! You’ll get a handful info here and will able to distinguish between both.

Many people prefer sleeping on the sofa or couch after returning home from the long day at work. Some people usually prefer lying down on the couch or sofa and watching the television, having lunch, gaming, reading books or merely relaxing.

There are no as such differences between the terms sofa and couch because these two are quite similar to each other. However, there are few distinguishing features between the two in terms of style, construction as well as the size.

So, it’s better to avoid considering them as synonyms. You need to understand the differences between both the pieces so that you avoid making mistakes considering them as one.

Differences between sofa and couch

Linguistic Difference

The linguistic difference is the most noticeable one between the two models, as there is a perfect difference between the two words in pronunciation. The words sofa and couch defines the two separate furniture pieces along with the different meanings.

Many people in the modern era, use the term couch as a slang term for a sofa. However, the couch is the term referring to the French word “COUCHE” which is meant for lying instead of sitting and has no or single armrest.

History & Etymology

History & Etymology of sofa and couhHistory & Etymology of sofa and couh

Both terms are derived from different languages. The term sofa is derived from an Arabic word “SUFFAH” which means a bench i.e. covered with cushions as well as the blankets.

The term COUCH, on the other hand, is derived from the French word “COUCHE” which describes a furniture item, popularly in use during the Victorian era according to the history. It also means to “to lay down”.

So, to consider the difference, both are two different words which are derived from the two different parts of the world.

Sofas are commonly used for referring them to the “fainting couch”. These were mostly used in the history as a place for women who can rest while wearing the corsets which were tightly fitted and limited their breathing ability.

Sofas have a complete range offering you with comfortable seating space options such as sectionals, loveseats, and others. The sofas are causally termed as Couches as well, however, it all depends on the style, setting and size differences of the sofas.

The word SOFA has a Turkish influence which roughly translates that it is a portion of your floor which is slightly raised and is fully covered with cushions and carpets. The word “SOFA” originated during the 1600’s while “COUCHE”, a French word was originated in the 1300’s.

Sofas are actually meant for the formal or hosting occasions. They are the perfect piece of furniture for the homeowners who like inviting a huge number of people for company.

According to Skip Rumley, who is the Vice President of the creative and design director at the Heritage Home Group, the terms sofa and couch are readily interchangeable but he describes everything as a sofa because he has been in the furniture industry for a long time. Rumley describes the couch as something which you can lay on, allow a dog to sit on or curl up.

Shape, Structure, and Style

When it comes to the shape and structure of these two furniture pieces, sofas comprise of two armrests along with a uniform back. However, couches usually have a single or no armrest at all along with a tapered back.

The couches may have some back cushions and a traditional couch is commonly termed as CHAISE by some individuals. Sofas are a common piece of furniture lying down in an individual’s living room. The sofas are upholstered and offer seating space for more individuals.

Both the furniture pieces, sofas, and couches are readily available in a variety of colors ranging from white, black, brown and multiple other colors.

Size Difference

When size is considered, there is a vast difference between the two. Sofas are specifically designed for providing you with extra seating space, which means it will occupy a large amount of your floor space. Sofas are usually meant to offer a seating space for 4 individuals but their sizes vary and can come in bigger sizes as well.

Couches, on the other hand, are highly comfortable and offer a seating space for 2-3 persons. The couches are compactly designed. You may find a remarkable difference between these two as the sofas might offer you with a pull out bed.


Sofa vs couch functions like seating, placement, back. arms and utilitySofa vs couch functions like seating, placement, back. arms and utility

You can easily identify the differences between couch and sofa in terms of their functions. The couches are more commonly used for informal or casual settings such as in a cozy little living space or an entertainment room for friends and family members. Couches serve as a perfect solution for those people who have smaller spaces.

Sofas, on the other hand, are a more formal piece of furniture. These are usually placed in the living rooms to offer a classy and a more elegant vibe. They are used for formal setting and occasions where it defines the taste, class, and style.

Sofas are found anywhere ranging from the home décor to offices. The modern models also serve as a fold-out-bed for the guests staying overnight at homes. They are designed for reclining or sitting rather than lying down as in the case of couches.

Couch and Sofa Materials

The material used for the manufacturing of both models is similar. Both the furniture pieces in the modern form are manufactured in the upholstered form with a fabric attached to the interior frame.

Frame Materials

The frame materials for both are made up of wood. However, in the modern era, these furniture pieces are also made of plastic, laminated board or stainless steel along with a combination of all these materials.

Wood frames for these furniture pieces are made from the kiln-dried type of maple wood. These are high-quality frame materials with no defects, knots or barks in the wood. The legs, as well as the other visible show-wood parts of the couch and sofas, are made up of wood such as mahogany, maple, walnut or other types of fruitwoods.

The padding of both models is made up of down, foam, feathers, fabric as well as the combination of all these materials. The coverings for both are made up of corduroy, soft leather or the linen fabrics.

Exterior Fabric

Both models have different types of external fabric used during their manufacturing. Both the furniture pieces are available in a synthetic, natural or natural-synthetic combination of fabrics. The use of natural fabric provides a comfortable and a softer seating but the durability is not good. It may stain easily, absorb odors or rip easily.

The synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, provide you with extra durability, they might stain, absorb odors or rip, but not that easy. However, the comfort level is not that good. Blended fabrics for sofas and couches offer you with the best of both the types of fabrics.

Natural fabrics usually include cotton and wool, and it might include leather as well. However, leather is more costly and needs a perfect maintenance. Synthetic fabrics used in the manufacturing of these furniture pieces include the polyester, nylon, faux leather or acetate. All the fabrics are coated with a layer of an anti-staining agent which offers protection for long-term.

How to Buy Couches and Sofas?

  • First of all, determine your need then set a budget. When these two things are clear they will help you to narrow down your search and save a lot of time.
  • It is very difficult to buy these furniture items because you need to understand the complete difference between the two and you should know the desired type of furniture according to your requirement.
  • You need to understand that both models are highly expensive, so must ensure that you are buying from the trusted site or seller which has a positive and high feedback.
  • Check the models from the center and pat to make sure they are not hollow from the center.
  • For fire safety compliance look for the gold UFAC tag.
  • Test drive your sofa by seating/laying/reclining to gauge if it is a good fit.
  • Both are large objects, so you must pay attention to the shipping methods as well as the costs. Some individuals offer you with a local pickup because of the shipping difficulty as well as the size.


Despite, people considering sofas and couches as the same furniture pieces, there are many differences between the two as mentioned above. Many people still refer their couches as sofas and sofas as couches interchangeably. The differences mentioned above clearly state that both the furniture pieces offer you with different functions, different styles and are available in different sizes.

Now you have all the understanding and it has become easier for you to order the furniture for your living room either a sofa or a couch.

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