Sofa vs Couch

  • Sofa and couch – actually have the same meaning but technically are different pieces of furniture. 
  • Term “sofa” is more common in the United Kingdom and some regions of the United States, while “couch” is most of the time being used in North America and Australia.
  • Although it is possible to distinguish these two pieces of furniture by their origin, size, and functionality – the differences are insignificant as both words are used interchangeably.
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What do most people do after a long day at work? Perhaps, oftentimes they come home, drop the bags, shoes, books and lay down on the couch…or maybe sofa? How do you know which is which? Is there even a difference? Technically – yes. Actually – not really… Feeling confused? Just read below and you’ll figure everything out.

Although generally, the differences are mostly insignificant – for some people they do make a sense. 


The sofa is a term that originally came from the Arabic word “suffah” – a wooden bench that is upholstered and covered in cushions. This name is popular in England and some parts of the United States.

Meanwhile, the couch is a relative of the French word “coucher” which means to lie down and sleep. It’s commonly used in Australia and North America.

Therefore, if you want to pretend as a native you shouldn’t tell the Australian to go lay down on the sofa. As well as a person from the United Kingdom do not sit down on the couch – they sit down on the sofa.


The sofa is supposed to seat up 4-5 or more people. It is usually fancier and more formal furniture that works for seating purposes, not sleeping. It is constructed to have both arms and a pretty high back seat.

Therefore, the essence of the sofa is not in its comfort but rather in the external look which is most of the time much more luxurious and expressive than a couch. 

On the contrary, the couch most of the time is smaller than a sofa. It regularly seats up 2-3 people and is exclusively designed to be the most comfortable piece of furniture at home.

Normally, it has only one arm or none at all. You’re laying down on the couch, sleeping over, binging on Netflix, eating McDonald’s, taking a nap… Shortly speaking – it’s your cozy comfort zone (happy place). Now the expression “couch-potato” makes sense, isn’t it?


From the technical descriptions, it seems that the sofa is meant to be the beauty for our eyes, whereas the couch works as a remedy for our soul.

One works more like an interior design element that can also seat up a quite big company of people, while another is a more like a comfort-driven piece of furniture designed for chilling and spending late nights with your beloved ones (or pets). 

You can see the beauty of the gorgeous, stylish sofa…

… and you can feel the comfort of the fluffy, soft couch.

For the most part, it’s just a game of terminology. Honestly, these fights about sofa and couch are truly pointless unless you are trying to win some kind of the debates. After all – it’s all about the purpose of your furniture, not the name of it!

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