What do you call a seat that’s long and upholstered, with a back and arms?
A sofa or couch?
It’s not a joke. This is our attempt at being educational.
These days, most people use the two words interchangeably – and we’d never dream of correcting anyone on their term of choice. It’s a free world and you can call it whatever the heck you want.
But let’s just say…
As much as ‘Couch Club’ would have had a nice ring to it, there’s a reason why we’re the Sofa Club.
Technically, there is a difference between a sofa and a couch – historically, anyway. And if we’re talking about the styles available in our store, ‘sofa’ is the term you should technically be using.
‘Couch’ comes from the French word ‘coucher’ – which means, ‘to lie down’.
Originating in the 17th century, it was traditionally used to describe a lounge seat, with arms at one or both ends – but with no back panel. A bit like what we’d now call a daybed or chaise longue.
Fast forward to 2022, and this definition still kind of coincides with the way ‘couch’ is used today - i.e. as a casual word to describe casual seating. The type that encourages you to lie down and enjoy some after-work solitude, take a power nap, curl up with the dog, Netflix and eat pizza on a Saturday night etc.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term ‘sofa’ originates from the Eastern Mediterranean. And it’s derived from the Arabic word ‘soffah’ – which was defined as a ‘part of the floor raised a foot or two, covered with rich carpets and cushions and used for sitting upon’.
It’s believed the word, and the concept of the ‘soffah’, came to the UK via France in the 17th century.
The design was developed into something that would be more recognisable today (i.e. a long, upholstered seat with a back and arms) – thankfully! Raised flooring certainly doesn’t sound very comfy. And by the late 18th century, ‘soffah’ had suddenly become ‘sofa’ and it was a popular piece of furniture in homes across England.
Historically, there is a slight difference. And based on the above definitions – officially – at Sofa Club, we sell soffahs sofas. Not couches. Why? Because all of our styles are long, upholstered seats, with the addition of both arms and a back panel.
But does it really matter which term you use?
It’s just semantics. Sofa and couch may have started life as very different things. Which is why – technically speaking – ‘sofa’ is the correct term for the products we stock. And nowadays, it is the most common term that people use. Ergo, we’re called Sofa Club.
But meh 🤷♀️ Either way, people get what you mean. If you’re looking to buy one, it certainly won’t matter whether you search Google for a sofa or a couch. And as knowledgeable as we are about the true difference between the two, we won’t judge you for your choice of language.
Shop at Sofa Club for a sofa, couch, settee, loveseat, futon, chaise longue… use whatever word you want. We don’t mind. The important thing is, you’re in the right place. And with so many statement ‘seating options’ in our collection, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for.
Which word slips off your tongue most easily? Sofa or couch?
We’d love to know.
Once you’ve chosen a style and it’s been delivered safe and sound to your home, tag us in a pic of your new seating on Insta – using #JOINTHECLUB and either #sofa or #couch.
Or if you’d like to impart more (very useful) knowledge from our in-house experts – about the definition of the word sofa, the long history of upholstered seating, or just the styles available in our store – you’re welcome to get in touch any time. Send us a message via WhatsApp and we’ll get back to ASAP.
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