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What's the difference between Sofa and Couch?

Quelle est la différence entre un canapé et un canapé ?

Many people usually confuse the words ‘sofa, and ‘coach’ without knowing. And while your choice of term is your prerogative, it’s not pretentious to try and learn the difference especially if you work as a designer or industry professional or simply care about historical accuracy. In that spirit here is a look at how these two pieces of furniture and the subtle differences.


Couch vs. Sofa

The term ‘couch’ has a French origin dating back to the seventeenth century. In contrast, the term sofa is only a few centuries old and rooted in the Turkic word ‘suffa’ meaning living room. Over time, the Ottomans started referring to any raised seating platform as ‘suffa’.


Thanks to trade and travel between the Ottomans and Europeans, the latter started using ‘sofas’ to refer to raised platforms with cushions. By the 19th century, sofas became the term for any piece of furniture with armrests, a backrest and cushions for accommodating a number of people comfortably.


That being said, usage of the terms has become commonly interchangeable by most people in everyday life. But while you have the carte blanche to use whichever word comes naturally to you, please understand that there are slight differences and it is important to get it right in certain situations, for example when ordering from a manufacturer. Let’s get into some differences worth noting!



There are endless possibilities when it comes to sofa designs in the market. This is because customers can make custom orders for arms, backs, upholstery and other features. They come in more structured designs with larger features for extra support while you are sitting or curling up.

Couches have soft cushions for better relaxation. Additionally, they feature a single arm or no arms. You can place them in chill spaces like man cave, bedroom, or library. In terms of design, we are talking small, playful pieces with softer lines, and often with or without armrests. They are also typically stuffed or layered with pillows and throws for lying on.



Speaking of structured design, sofas are more suitable for formal setups than couches, which tend to play with different features, making them suitable for furnishing up a mancave or setting up a space for casual use.



Proper placement of sofa vs couches allows you to create balance in your space. Sofas are good enough and well-structured and act as essential items in living rooms and other designated places, especially for welcoming visitors. Couches are all about comfort and the lounging appeal, making them ideal for lounging areas, entertainment rooms or family spaces.


Should You Buy a Couch or Sofa?

You can't go wrong with either a sofa or a couch as they both offer functionality. Nevertheless, there are various considerations that can help you determine their suitability for your space while making a purchase. Ultimately, it depends on your setup and personal preferences.


If you want to achieve a comfortable arrangement in your space, ensure you consider how the sofa or couch design compliments the size and type of your room. Buy a couch if you want something to both sit and lie on, and go for a sofa if you desire a piece of furniture for a formal space.


When selecting a sofa, you need to think very hard about the design and appearance because it will be the primary piece of furniture and the focal point in the entire space. On the other hand, you can relax about design and aesthetics when shopping for a couch for everyday use.


But some people have hybrid spaces for both welcoming guests and relaxing. In such cases, it doesn’t matter whether you choose a sofa or a couch as long as it is suitable for your lifestyle and needs. You can even consider recliners, bi-folds, pull-outs or dolphin designs allowing you to use the same piece for sitting and sleeping.


Above all, consider the quality of the fabric, frame, cushions and arms and back padding.  If you plan to buy sofas or couches just once and get some room to breathe before having to buy again, choose designs that can last at least ten years given decent care. Furniture costs money, so choose carefully. In case you need help, our experts are available every day of the week. Visit our store to look at some fantastic sofa offers and speak with our experts for help.


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