Couch or Settee? Is there a Difference?

What Is the Difference Between a Couch and a Settee?

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We all need a comfortable spot to relax on after a busy day at work before retiring to bed and a sofa is obviously the best lounging spot. Well, our kids also need a suitable place to do their homework or watch their favorite television program, not forgetting our friends and relatives when they visit, they also deserve a perfect chat spot.

While a settee has a curved back with both armrests for maximum comfort and support while sitting, a couch may have an armrest or lack both making it convenient for lying down only. But the main difference between a couch and a settee is the number of people they can both sit comfortably. While a settee seats 2 to 3 people, a couch can seat more than 4 people. Plus, sectional couches are even great as they can seat close to 7 people.


When sofa hunting, you are most likely to come across a couch, a sofa, and a settee, however, if you don’t know the difference between them, you will assume they are one and the same. There is a substantial difference between the three, but a sofa and a settee almost hold the same features. To help bring to light the difference between a couch, a settee, and a sofa, we are going to discuss each of their origins in detail.

What Is a Settee?

The word settee originates from an old English word “setl or settle” which means a long wooden bench with a curved back and is upholstered with fabric specifically meant for sitting. Today, settees are made even more comfortable just like sofas as their seat and back features high-density form cushioning for maximum support while sitting or lounging.

As a matter of fact, settees and sofas don’t have many differences given the fact that both their feet are made of wood which also makes them appear raised off the floor. And although a settee does sound like some fancy word commonly used in England, they are used interchangeably (sofa and settee) today to mean the same thing.

What Is a Couch?

Couches are cozy and literally, every homeowner would want one in their spaces. They lack armrests or may have one making them so attractive and many people prefer them as compared to sofas which appear formal and suitable for sitting only.

A couch is a type of furniture originally meant for lying on. They lack both armrests and may not have a comfortable backrest for sitting, however, couches are used today in many homes for either sitting or lying on. They are also commonly found in homes or office lounges as they are classy and offer more seating than sofas and settees.

Is it a Sofa, a Settee, or a Couch?

Today, it is very common to find different people referring to them as either a sofa, a couch, or a settee. In short, these terms are used interchangeably to mean the same thing. However, you are most likely to hear everyone referring to them as a sofa, and in a real sense, a sofa does sound like the “preferred” and suitable name to refer to them.

On the other hand, a couch does seem like the most common term used in the US and literally, no one is talking about the settees, but since sofas and settees don’t have many differences between them, then it’s ok to refer to them as a sofa.

And since a sofa does seem like the common term used to describe any form of furniture used for sitting on, a couch does seem like a posh name for those people who want to be unique.  However, a settee can still be referred to as a sofa.