Sofa or Couch

Ancient Greek sofa with one arm rest. [3]

A sofa also known as a couch is an essential piece of furniture in living rooms although it is also seen in large bedrooms. Previously considered as a piece of furniture used only by the rich and famous, nowadays the sofa can be found in homes of lower and middle income groups.

Earlier, sofas used to be filled with bird feathers or horse hairs. Nowadays they are filled with springs, rubber foam, air, or water. The filling is masked with textiles, leather, or plastic. A wide variety of sofas are available to suit every taste and budget.

Few variations of sofa

* 2-seater (loveseat)

* 3- or more seater (settee)

* Canapé (3-seater with ornamentation)

* Chaise Longue (a long couch with a single armrest)

* Chesterfield or Davenport (Futon-style couch with area under seats used for storage, named after the Earl of Chesterfield and the now-defunct A.H.Davenport Company. Chesterfield sofa is true English sofa with leather upholstery and settee style low legs)

* Divan (mattress on the floor or on low height structure with plenty of cushions)

* Futon (opens to double as a bed)

* Lofabed (futon mattress and davenport base combination)

* Ottoman (1-seater doubles as footstool)

* Sectionals (generally maximum up to four sections with two or more seats comprising a section, angular joined at 90 degrees or any other chosen angle)

* Sofa set (2 armchairs and 2- or 3-seater sofa)

Being an important part of the living room, a sofa can also be complemented with other pieces of furniture and accessories. Usually recliners, chairs, stools, footstools, bean bags, center tables, coffee tables, corner tables, antique pieces, china vases, silver candle stands, crystal bowls, rugs, carpets, paintings, family pictures, flower vases, cabinets for books, television, music system, desktop computer, and curio pieces are used along with the sofa in the living room.

Sofas are inviting and contribute towards a homely, warm atmosphere. The practice of watching television while slumping on a comfortable couch has given rise to a social phenomenon titled, “couch potato”. In numerous theatrical, television, and cinematic settings, the couch has become an indispensable stage property. The sofa has also become a status symbol as it reflects the taste and economic position of the owner of the house. However, primarily used for sitting, the sofa combines the purposes of socialization, relaxation, and decoration.


1. John Gloag, A Short Dictionary of Furniture rev. ed. 1962. (London: Allen & Unwin)


3. The image used here was first published in the 1st (1876–1899), 2nd (1904–1926) or 3rd (1923–1937) edition of Nordisk familjebok. The copyrights for that book have expired and this image is in the public domain.


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