Sofa Or Couch? – We List 20 Great Furniture Types For You

The couch (or the sofa, depending on what home you live in) is one of the most important features in your living room. This not only ties all the furnishings of your room together but it is also the place, other than your bed, where you spend the most time relaxing.

Sofa Or Couch – We List 20 Great Furniture Types For You

There are subtle differences between a sofa and a couch, although the two terms are often used interchangeably now. A couch is a very comfy place to lie that has no arms on the side and is traditionally designed for sleeping. However, a sofa is more of a ‘seat with cushions’ and is designed more for sitting than sleeping.

So, if finding the right couch is that important, then what types are there to find? What colors of sofas and couches are available? How much will a decent sofa or couch set you back? Well, we have a list of some of the best sofa and couch types that we could find on the internet.

The Differences Between Sofas And Couches

The terms ‘sofa’ and ‘couch’ that we use today are dramatically different from the terms ‘sofa’ and ‘couch’ that were used before. The fact that they are used synonymously now is an indication of how far the words have drifted from their original context.

The word ‘couch’ comes from the French word ‘coucher’, which means ‘to sleep’. This is because the couch was primarily used as somewhere where you could stretch out and sleep. This is why couches originally wouldn’t have arms or a back, as this would impede relaxation.

However, the word ‘sofa’ is Arabic and is actually a form of seat in which you can relax and sit comfortably while you are reading or eating food.

The frame of this seat was originally made from wood, but it is padded out with cushions. It also comes with a backrest and arms.

These are some of the main structural differences between the words sofa and couch. However, we understand that certain terms change and there are no strict distinctions between these two things anymore.

But what types of sofas and couches are there? There are plenty of different varieties, which is why it is worth knowing what sofas are available so you can shop for the most suitable one for your home. We’ll have a look at some of these models as well as the type of setting they should be placed in.

Types Of Sofa And Couch

There are plenty of different varieties of sofas and couches and you’ll have to have an eagle eye to spot the minutiae that distinguish one from the other. Certain sofas and couches go better with certain sizes of living and dining rooms.

There are also sofas that work better in dining rooms, often they’ll need to be a lot smaller to accommodate the furniture, especially the dining room table.

You’ll also need to be vaguely aware of the dimensions of your sofa as well as how many people you are going to be sitting with at any one time.

For example, if you have a large family, then you’re going to want to have a sofa that is longer and deeper.

So now that you know what you should be looking for, you’re ready to see the wide range of sofa and couch types that are available.

1.  The Settee Sofa

You might not see that much of this type of sofa these days, but it does have a long and illustrious history. You can find early examples of the settee sofa way back in Europe during the 17th century.

This type of sofa is a lot smaller than some of the other varieties of sofas you might find on this list. Normally, you wouldn’t be able to sit more than 2 people on this one.

This is considered a sofa in that it has a wooden frame on the bottom with additional cushions for comfort.

This type of settee is quite comfortable and it offers you a lot of support in the back and on the armrests. This sofa is designed to keep you upright while you are seated, which is great for posture and your form.

But there are also subgroups within the settee sofa category. You can get settee sofas that are barely upholstered, resulting in a much firmer seat. This also leaves some of the wood exposed, which makes it more ornamental.

However, no matter what settee sofa you buy, you can always find some sort of upholstery on the back and the armrests, as these are the pressure points where the lower back and the arms come into contact with the sofa for long periods of time.

You might want to get a settee sofa if you are looking for something that takes up far less space, then a settee sofa might be the way to go for you. You could have a smaller settee sofa in the hallway of your home, for example.

But because a sofa like this is quite outdated now, it might be tricky to find one that is brand-new. However, if you go to some second-hand furniture stores, then you might be able to find a settee sofa of the design that you are looking for.

You can also try looking for one of these sofas online.

2.  The Chesterfield

If you like sitting in the lap of luxury, then having a Chesterfield might be the way to go. This is one of the deepest sofas on this list, going very deep to give back support but it might be a little too deep for some buyers.

You’ll be able to recognize a Chesterfield at first sight. They are very low to the ground and have thick button-style notches in the back. It also has a curved back that is quite high, but actually smaller in contrast to the height of the sofa itself.

The origins of this sofa extend back to 18th Century when the 4th Earl of Chesterfield ordered a sofa to be designed that would not crease his clothes when he sat on it.

This type of sofa soon became a marker of status amongst some of the upper classes of the time.

However, even though the origins of this sofa extend back so far, they remain popular and are made new in most furniture stores. They usually come with a lot of upholstery and padding, which makes them very comfortable to sit on.

They are usually a deep shade of burgundy or brown, which makes them great for combating stains like wine.

3.  The Loveseat

This is ideal for anyone with a smaller home or apartment. It is designed to bring people closer together, which is why it only really seats 2 people. If you have the space, you can also have this one in the hallway of your home.

This type of seat was originally designed in the Victorian era, where Victorian women wearing wide skirts needed to sit more comfortably.

However, necessity is the mother of invention and soon these seats were expanded to include 2 people at a time.

If you are living alone then a loveseat might be all that you need. This is also a great choice if you are a couple and you like snuggling up together in front of the television.

You can get sofas that are made from lots of different textures and materials, whether it is leather or cotton fabric. You’ll need to shop around to find the color and the style that you want, but it is quite easy to find these ones both new and second-hand.

You could also put a loveseat in a child’s bedroom, as you can fit smaller people on this seat. It will also fit into an attic space or playroom, making the perfect seat on which to play games.

4.  A Daybed

This is a great little piece of furniture that is designed to make you extremely comfortable, allowing you to stretch your legs out and even sleep if the mood takes you. When it comes to versatility, then it is hard to beat the daybed.

This might not be the type of sofa that you choose for your main room, but it would be suitable for a spare room or a guest room.

This is also great if you have infrequent guests staying over, as it allows you to quickly convert this into a bed with a few pillows and a blanket.

These types of bed chairs usually have a back and an armrest to provide support when you are sleeping. You can get some models where the backboard can be reclined for optimum relaxation and comfort.

You can get daybeds that are single or double, depending on where you get them from. You can get a single for your child’s room, which is great if you are trying to save on space too. This is an ideal sofa and bed combo for smaller spaces in general.

You can get daybeds that have a footboard at the bottom. However, this might make the whole thing a lot less comfortable for people who are taller, as it will force them into a more cramped seating and sleeping position.

However, if you are smaller and you want that extra degree of comfort and relaxation, as well as the ability to fall asleep comfortably as you are reading or watching a film, then we would definitely nudge you in the direction of a daybed.

5.  The Cabriole

This next sofa is very luxurious and definitely conveys a sense of romance when you are using it. This is one of the most elegant sofa types that you can find.

This is not that dissimilar to the daybed, although its design goes much further back than a daybed.

This type of sofa is generally much smaller and it comes with cushions on the side and padding in the back. This is to give you a lot more comfort, allowing you to fall asleep on it. This is great if you like reading followed by an afternoon nap.

However, there’s no reason why you can’t have one of these for a social occasion. It’s easy to imagine you and another friend sitting side by side with someone else draped over the back.

This is the type of sofa they would have had in literary salons or smokey drawing rooms during the Victorian era.

The other wonderful thing about a cabriole is the design. This comes with exposed wooden legs that are often curved and burnished.

It can also come with carved and finished wood on the back and sides. This simple design contrasts nicely with a densely embroidered pattern.

This type of sofa first surfaced in the 18th Century in France. It soon swept Europe and became a very popular sofa amongst the society elites at the time.

However, even today, a cabriole can be seen as the height of sophistication and the perfect addition to any household, both modern and vintage.

6.  The Chaise Lounge

This next sofa/chair model is one that you might have heard of before, as it is one of the most popular ornate sofas that you can find. This mixes in elements of the daybed, the loveseat and the cabriole.

This type of sofa has a very long history and there are some examples of chase lounges being used in Ancient Rome and Greece. However, during this time they were made from many different materials including cord and raw wood.

The chase lounge then resurfaced in the 16th Century, when it became immensely popular in France, especially amongst the elites. This time, it was embellished with carved wooden designs and rich patterns that made them almost works of art.

This sofa is a shortened bench with upholstered and padded elements. However, one of the main differences between this and other types of sofas is that the backrest is located only at one end of the seat.

This is the end where you rest your head, allowing your legs to extend out unimpeded.

The purpose of this sofa is in the title – lounge. This is not really designed for sleeping on, rather laying down, either reading a book or just relaxing after a long day’s work. You can even dangle your legs off the end of the sofa if you are tall enough.

You can find a chase lounge in a dressing room or a green room where people are getting ready. However, you could easily put a chaise lounge in a living room, perhaps in the corner so that the headboard is flush with the wall.

This is a great sofa to have if you have a maximalist living room with plenty of bespoke furnishings and vintage accessories. It won’t take up a lot of room, so if you fancy converting your apartment into a boutique living space, a chaise lounge will be ideal.

7.  20th Century Modern Sofa

This next sofa really rose to the peak of its popularity during the latter half of the 20th Century. This is a highly modern sofa and you will be able to buy it brand-new from most furniture stores worldwide.

This type of sofa is what could be described as minimalist. It has very few frills and design flourishes. It reflects the fashion style at the time which really emphasized sharp geometric lines and monochrome or block colors.

If you like your sofas plain and no-nonsense, then you should opt for a 20th-century style sofa.

This one also comes with very minimal padding, although you can get some varieties that have padded backrests.

These sofas are also designed to be able to clean much easier. If you have a busy household with people and creatures causing stains and spills, then having a modern sofa will certainly come in handy.

The other great thing about this kind of sofa is how versatile they are when it comes to design and color. You can get these sofas in pretty much any style, whether it is in the body of the chair, the armrests or the legs.

Another great thing about modern-style sofas is the fact that they are relatively inexpensive. If you are on a budget, then a modern sofa won’t cost you as much as something vintage.

8.  Divan

This is another style of sofa that you might already have seen just not had the name for. This type of sofa doesn’t have a back on it, but in terms of the overall vibe, it isn’t that different from a chaise lounge.

This is in a bench shape with a lot of cushioning in the backrest as well as the arm. It is symmetrical, although it is generally much longer than a chaise lounge, which will enable you to sprawl out on it.

Although, in the same manner as a chaise lounge, you won’t be able to sleep on a divan that comfortably.

This can be placed in the smallest of spaces, whether it is in the spare room or the entranceway to your home.

Divans are used as sofas in waiting rooms, so if you have a transitionary walkway where you want people to wait, then a divan might be the ideal furnishing.

The one thing we would recommend is that you do not place your divan in the middle of a room, as it has no backrest to it. Push this up against the wall for maximum effect. It will also help you to showcase a statement wall.

9.  The Recamier

This is another recliner chair that bears a lot of resemblance to a few of the chairs that we have listed like the divan, the chaise lounge, and the daybed. It doesn’t have a back, much like the divan, and it is long much like the chaise lounge.

The stark difference between this and other furniture is the fact that this comes with a rolled end at the feet and the head. This creates a bracketing effect, allowing you plenty of head and foot support.

This is another one that became much more well-known in France during the 17th Century. During this period, it came with exposed wood on the legs and intricate fabric patterning on the backrest and arms.

However, this sofa/chair model has undergone a revamping for the modern era. More contemporary renderings of this chair have them very stripped down with stark lines and simplistic bold colors.

This is great if you want something with a vintage design to fit in with a more modern home. You can also get a recamier without a head or footrest.

10.   The Futon

This is a piece of furniture that can be found in most homes, with its origins in Japan, this comes in many different shapes and sizes, but it is incredibly useful as a place to sit, relax and sleep.

All you have to do with a futon is fold the backrest down so that it forms the bottom surface of a bed. This will usually give you plenty of space to lie on, although taller users might find it a little bit constricting.

This comes with no armrests, which is great if you are going to be using your futon to just relax rather than sleep, although some people might find the lack of head support quite uncomfortable.

However, if you have a small attic room, then this is the perfect piece of compact seating for you. It can be folded away when not in use and stored pretty much anywhere.

You can also use this as permanent furniture in your playroom.

This comes in many different styles and materials, although if you want premium levels of comfort, then we would recommend that you get something made from cotton, which is soft against the skin.

11.   Sectional Sofas

This is one of the better options for a larger sofa, as it is quite deep, large and adaptable for a lot of different situations. If you have a room that is oddly shaped, then this sofa can be taken apart and rearranged to your specifications.

There are plenty of common patterns you can have for your sofa, whether it is an L-shape or a U-shape, there is enough to suit any space. This is also a great sofa to have in the middle of your living room, leaving plenty of space to move around it.

This sofa first became very popular in the USA, but now the design has been copied worldwide and is very popular in all countries. Velvet is one of the best materials this sofa can be made from, as it is smooth and very comfortable against the skin.

If you have a large family, then having one of these L-shaped sofas is perfect, as it is plenty deep and you can have it as a 3-piece design that can be extended and retracted as much as you need.

One of the great things about this is that you can get it through doors and up the stairs, which is particularly useful in a small apartment at the top of a winding staircase.

This is a great option if you are a senior user who might have mobility issues.

12.   The Camelback Sofa

It might come as no surprise that this sofa gets its name from the hump that forms its backpiece. This sofa comes with a very distinctive type of leg and foot, with a frame made largely from wood and a back that is very high in comparison with the rest of the sofa.

This was a very popular choice during the 18th Century, especially amongst the society elites. These early camelbacks were really a showcase for craftsmanship, originally produced by the famous furniture maker Thomas Chippendale.

The one tricky thing about having one of these sofas is the fact that it only comes in a one-piece design, which will make it much harder to transport.

This means that you cannot remove the cushions, which will make the whole thing very difficult to clean.

However, if you have a smaller space, then a camelback might be suitable for you, as you do not need that much room.

You can tuck them in the corner of a living room flush with the wall or you can have them in the middle of a larger room, as they still have a nice high backrest for support.

13.   English Roll Arm Sofa

This next sofa is one that was originally manufactured in England and comes with loose cushions, which means you can remove them and clean underneath. This also comes with slipcovers over the cushions, which can also be removed and washed.

This type of sofa has been used in all different scenarios, whether it is waiting rooms in doctor’s surgeries or as part of a 3-piece furniture set in a living room.

If you find a second-hand English Roll Arm Sofa, then it might have rich patterning and be more likely to blend in with vintage décor.

However, they are continually making these sofas, so you’ll easily be able to get something that will fit in with a contemporary home.

We would recommend that you get something with a block pattern and contrast it with the other colors in your living room.

This sofa is designed to be very cozy and comfortable, with plush cushions and armrests that are sunk into the main body of the sofa itself. This also has a high back, which means that you can lean on it if you are not sitting down.

If you get an English roll-arm sofa that is long enough, then you can stretch out on it and fall asleep quite comfortably.

14.   The Lawson Sofa

This sofa is a more updated version of the English roll-arm sofa in that it comes with a firm backrest and cushions for additional comfort.

The only difference between this and an English rolled-arm sofa is the fact that it has cushions on the bottom that you can comfortably remove.

This is another extremely comfortable sofa that is suitable for sitting, dozing and sleeping on. However, another difference with a Lawson sofa is that it comes with wooden arms, which might make it more difficult to get decent head support.

Old versions of the Lawson sofa also came with arm cushions that you could detach. However, a lot of buyers found these were unnecessary, so you’ll find that most manufacturers leave them off newer versions.

15.   The Tuxedo Sofa

This is a bold sofa that will certainly catch the eye of anyone who walks into the room. It is a very modern shape, with a geometrically straight form and plenty of harsh angles and deep ruts.

However, this is well cushioned, which makes it one of the most comfortable sofas on this list.

This sofa started out in the Art Deco movement in the 1920s, and the modern versions of this sofa conform to the same stylistic template.

Due to the padding on this sofa, you could easily sleep there, although one thing that might impede that is the high armrests on either side. This sofa is very dominant, making it ideal for a minimalist living room space.

16.   The Rattan Sofa

Now we have something a little different. A rattan sofa is made from strands of rattan plant and is ideal for a patio chair that you might use outside.

It comes with detachable cushions, so it won’t be too hard to sit on, but it is still not the most comfortable of all these seats.

This is one of the more durable sofas on this list, but we would recommend that you don’t leave it outside in the long term, as exposure to rain will ultimately lead to it growing mold.

17.   The Bridgewater Sofa

This is a stalwart sofa, both comfortable and practical, you might see it in a lot of homes. You can sit upwards of 3 people on this sofa, so if you have a large family or you are expecting a lot of guests regularly, a bridgewater sofa is a good choice.

This sofa has a quilted design, which is great if you like to drop off to sleep in front of the television. It has lower arms that accentuate the comfort and a skirt around the edges to hide the legs underneath.

18.   The Reclining Sofa

This is one of the most versatile sofas that we have on this list. It comes with a lever or a switch embedded in the housing that you can pull or flip to release a footrest.

This is great if you want to lay back or sleep on your sofa at the end of the day.

19.   The Pull-Out Sofa

This is ideal if you are only working with a smaller space, or you have limited rooms in which to house your guests.

This sofa will transform from a 2-seater sofa into a single or double bed. Pull-out sofa technology has come on in leaps and bounds and they are often as comfortable as regular beds.

20.   The Convertible Sofa

This is another one that switches between a sofa and a bed, although in this instance it does not come with a mattress.

This is another fantastic space-saver, allowing you to retract the bed within the sofa itself when it is not in use.


We hope that our list of the different types of sofas that you can buy has given you a better idea of which ones are the most suitable for your home.

It is so important to research your sofa before purchase, as you’ll own it for years and spend just as much time there as you would in your bed.

John Whitford
Scroll to Top