A quick guide to sofa styles

I recently discovered that the terms “sofa” and “couch,” according to their original definitions, actually described two different pieces of furniture. Although very interesting, knowing the difference between a sofa and couch might not help you when buying furniture, as most people now use the two words interchangeably. What’s important to know instead are sofa styles. Here’s a quick guide that will help you when shopping online.

Camel back: These sofas have a “humped” back, which makes them easy to recognize. Camel-back sofas are usually found in traditional or contemporary homes due to their curved lines.

Inverted camel back

Lawson-style: If your top priority is comfort, a Lawson-style sofa might be your best choice. These sofas are unique because the back cushions are not attached to the frame.

Lawson Style Sofa

Chesterfield: Chesterfield sofas have a sophisticated style due to their tufted design and rolled arms. You’ll find them better suited for more formal environments, such as traditional homes.

Chesterfield Sofa

English: Also known as the “club sofa,” the English sofa has low, rolled arms that are hardly noticeable, which makes it great for casual homes.

English

Mid-century modern: If you’ve ever watched Mad Men, you’ve seen a Mid-century modern sofa. These sofas feature clean lines and simple forms.

Mid-century modern sofa

Settee: A settee looks more like a wide chair than it does a sofa. Although not the most comfortable choice, settees are beautifully elegant and fit in great with antique-style rooms.Settee

 

Chaise lounge: Go glam with a chaise lounge. These sofas either have one arm or none at all, and they are designed to allow people to relax and recline in style.

Chaise Lounge

Loveseat: Built just for two, a loveseat is a great choice for those who have small spaces or just need additional seating. Loveseats can come in various sofa styles, but are made smaller.

Loveseat

Sleeper sofa: If you don’t have a guest room but have company over often, a sleeper sofa might be worth considering. These sofas can be pulled out into a bed whenever you have overnight guests.

Sleeper

Sectional: Sectionals come in either L-shaped or U-shaped forms, and they are designed to provide you with more seating. They come in separate pieces, allowing you to rearrange based on your living room’s layout.

Sectional

By Wendy Weinert

Sofas, couches, davenports – What’s the difference?

I’m sure many of you grew up like I did thinking that sofas, couches and davenports were all the same thing. I’ve always thought they were synonyms you could use interchangeably and that certain regions in the U.S. preferred one word over the other, much like soda vs. pop. You can imagine my surprise, though, when I discovered that the words sofa, couch and davenport in fact have three separate meanings.

Couches

Fainting couch

Photo credit: South Shore Decorating Blog

Although invented prior to this time, couches became very popular in the Victorian era when they were referred to as a “fainting couch.” Couches during the Victorian period were usually armless and most often used by women wearing corsets who needed a resting place to catch their breath.

Sofas

Emerald Home Furnishings Grey Carleton Nail Head Sofa Sofa is said to have come from the Arabic term “suffah.” Originally, the word was used to describe a bench with arms and cushions. It was designed just for sitting, while the couch was created for both sitting and lying.

Davenports

Davenport

Photo credit: Spanish Hills

The word davenport actually describes a specific type of sofa, made by the manufacturing company A. H. Davenport and Company. Davenports were similar to futons, as they could be converted into a bed. Today it’s hard to tell the difference between a couch, sofa and davenport. While doing research, I came across numerous definitions and opinions that often contradicted each other. For example, some agree that sofas are more formal than couches and are mostly used for special occasions. Others say size matters and that sofas are typically larger than couches. The word davenport is often used to describe any sleeper-sofa, regardless of the manufacturing company. Additionally, many have decided that their former definitions no longer hold true and the three terms can be used interchangeably. What about you? Do you use the words couch, sofa and davenport to describe different pieces of furniture, or do you use one word over the others due to your upbringing? Tell us your story! By Wendy Weinert