If you’ve ever walked through a furniture showroom, you’ll see many couch styles available to choose.
Sofas and couches come in all shapes, styles, and sizes, which can be overwhelming. This article will define 23 different types of sofas and couches so you can narrow your search to help you wade through the endless options.
Not every couch will work in every space, so consider what features will work best in your home!
23 Different Types of Sofas and Couches
Without further ado, check out explanations of 23 popular styles and types of sofas!
The mid-century modern sofa uses clean lines and a refined, thin look. You won’t find super bulky cushions or dramatic arms and backs with these couches, as they use simple shapes and straightforward designs.
This style was most popular between the 1930s and 1970s but still finds its way into modern minimalist homes. The armrests are usually square and feature simple upholstery like leather or linen. With a lower backrest and decent support, it’s generally comfortable for sitting.
Loveseats are just more compact sofas designed for no more than two people. The term loveseat comes from the fact that the sofa is small and intended for a couple! These sofas are ideal for tighter spaces or in entryways as decorative lounge pieces.
People also style them in spacious bedrooms, adding a cozy and eclectic aesthetic. The cushions can be loose, or a loveseat can have an attached back where the cushions are built-in. Loveseat designs are often plush and encircle the user, creating a soft, romantic feeling.
Sectionals are currently one of the most popular types of sofas. They can be L-shaped, U-shaped, or set up in a straight line, making an extra-long couch. Sectionals usually have detachable sections, so you can rearrange the layout to fit your space and needs.
These couches are typically large and designed for living rooms, ideal for a family movie night or board game. The sectionals often come with detachable cushions that cover a hardback.
One of the most iconic sofa styles is the Chesterfield, a popular style in the early 1900s. It’s similar to mid-century modern sofas but has an even more rigid and tight design, perfect for minimalist homes and simplified styles.
People also refer to it as the straight-back sofa, as this is one of its defining characteristics. The sofas are boxy in a classy and beautiful way that adds elegance to a space.
A sleeper sofa or trundle bed is a sofa that pulls put into a bed! Note that sleeper sofas are different from futons, as they have a mechanical mechanism to set up the bed, and the couch cushions do not double as the mattress.
Sleeper sofas usually have a front rail you pull to reveal the mattress underneath and look similar to a Chaise lounge when closed. While these sofas can be lovely, their main feature is functionality and comfort.
A Tuxedo sofa can often be confused with a Chesterfield, but the main difference is the arms. A Chesterfield’s arms are more robust and round, while a Tuxedo sofa has thinner sides and only straight lines.
This style often has a tight back with built-in cushions and features dainty throw pillows. Again, these sofas are making a comeback as people with minimalist taste love the simple, boxy appearance.
A settee might fit the definition of a sofa the best, as it’s a large and wide chair that can be for sitting but is also conducive to laying or reclining. This style is popular in the UK but is becoming more prominent in American homes.
The stiffer form will look like a widened dining room chair, while the more casual versions will resemble a giant ottoman or squished loveseat. Settees are the perfect compromise between a big, cushy chair and a wide loveseat.
A pallet couch can be the perfect piece of furniture for people with a more boho eclectic style. These couches have legs and a base that resembles moving pallets topped with soft cushions and pillows.
Pallet couches are backless and have a casual and unfinished feel. These couches look lovely with blankets and other accents, or they can be simple, offering a generous seating space for many people.
Chaise lounges are one of the most interesting sofa styles, with a distinct and elegant design. These beautiful sofas have been around since ancient Egypt and have remained popular over the centuries.
Chaise lounges have a long list of uses, as they can sit poolside, add to a bedroom, or be a cozy seat in a living room. While Chaise lounges are supremely comfortable, they’re also stunning, so some people incorporate them as a design element. They have a high back that slopes down on one side into an arm.
Knole couches are a quirky crossover of settees and loveseats. Some defining characteristics include a deep seat you can sink into and adjustable armrests. They usually have small details and accents on the back, like braids, buttons, or tassels.
These couches have been around since the 1600s but aren’t too common today. They aren’t the most comfortable as they often have a straight back, great for sitting to put your shoes on but not for relaxing and watching TV.
Day beds are a mix of a twin bed and a couch. They often use metal or wood with a defined frame and one large cushion that is essentially the size of a twin mattress.
You can sit on a daybed like a couch or lay down lengthwise and treat it like a bed. More modern styles have storage drawers underneath or shelves on the side. They aren’t common in modern homes but fit into vintage or rustic houses better.
A Lawson-style sofa is one of the most popular and well-known styles. It’s designed for comfort and always has back pillows and cushions separate from the frame.
The arms sometimes curve slightly up and out, creating a wide seat so more people can fit. These couches have a similar design and size to a Chesterfield, but they are more clunky and fluffy.
Most people are familiar with reclining chairs, but there are also reclining sofas and couches! There are a few different configurations to choose from. Some reclining sofas are the size of a loveseat and recline as a whole.
But you can also find sectional-like sofas that recline individual seats, so everyone on the couch can control their own spot! Reclining couches are sturdy and suitable for gaming setups, living rooms, and home theaters.
Bridgewater sofas are stunning, with a distinct silhouette and style that perfectly blends casual and elegant. The arms roll gently to the side and are substantially lower than the high back.
They usually have tufted upholstery with a built-in back cushion and a closed bottom, meaning you do not see the legs. They are comfy and suitable for almost any room or purpose. Bridgewater couches allow you to sink into them and feel cozy and warm!
Low-seated couches offer a cozy appearance, as they sit super low to the floor. Sometimes they have short, slender legs, or the bottom of the couch is directly on the floor. Low-seated couches come in a variety of sizes and can be armless.
Most couches sit at a height that makes it easy for people to stand up, but low-seated couches are not. They fit into all aesthetics and usually have a simple, streamlined design.
English Roll Arm
English roll sofas have a peculiar arm style, which is short and tucked close to the couch. They come close to being armless, but they do have short, stubby arms that curve seamlessly out of the back of the sofa.
These couches have a deep seat and plush back, making them super comfortable and inviting.
One of the most recognizable sofa styles is the camelback couch. It has flair and elegance, ideal for lavish spaces with vintage decor.
The back of the couch has a high arch in the middle, which dips on either side and then slightly rises as it reaches the sides. The arms are also curled outward in a whimsical way that is appealing to many.
Cabriole sofas have a unique appearance, as the arms and back are one piece that curves widely around the seat cushion.
These sofas are typically skeletal with little padding or cushion. One of the most distinct elements is the exposed wood around the frame, accented with fabric sections. They’re popular in vintage homes and diverse spaces.
A deep-seated sofa is what it sounds like, a sofa with a high back, high arms, and a low seat that cradles you. Deep-seated sofas can be set low or high or be sectionals!
They typically have detachable cushions and pillows, making for a super plush and inviting design perfect for an afternoon nap! You’ll find them in more informal environments.
Curved sofas are similar to a cabriole, but not restricted by certain design elements. Curved sofas can be soft and wide, about the size of a daybed, or compact like a loveseat.
You can even find curved sectionals that work in large spaces. These couches have a stunning modern feel with hints of the funky aesthetics from the 70s and 80s.
Armless couches are self-explanatory. Couches and sofas without arms can be cold and stiff but work well in larger spaces with a modest yet colorful feel.
Armless sofas can come in any material but are often leather or canvas, coinciding with the simple and industrial vibe. Armless sofas aren’t common in homes, but you may see them in lobbies, offices, or waiting rooms.
A slope arm couch is defined by its curving arms that start high toward the back and gently slope down toward the front. They usually have detachable cushions on the back and bottom, using comfortable but affordable materials like linen, cotton, or polyester.
These couches are usually comfortable, but not as plush as other styles like the Lawson. While some can be long couches suitable for three to four people, most are more compact, like a loveseat.
As discussed, sleeper sofas have a hidden mattress that folds out using mechanisms. But a futon is a simpler version with the same concept. It’s a standard sofa, but the back can lay flat, turning it into a bed.
The cushion is typically a foldable mattress designed for futons, so you can sit on it as a couch or lay it flat to make a small bed. They originated in Japan and are popular in smaller homes where dual-purpose furniture is convenient.
Key Features Of a Sofa
While many aspects go into creating a couch, there are three key features to consider when shopping. The sections below explain various back, arm, and material options you can choose from. Before you commit to a couch, make sure you’ve considered these elements.
The back or absence of a back is a key feature of any sofa or couch. Some couches are backless, but couches with backs fall into one of three categories: tight back, cushion back, or loose back.
A tight back cushion is fully attached to the couch, offering a firm, solid feel. Couches with a tight back will not have detachable back cushions, as the cushion is built-in to the couch. Tight back couches are more common for decorative furniture and have fallen out of style.
A cushion back sofa has a thin and hard attached back, requiring attachable or fitted cushions so people can lean back comfortably. This style is customary in sectionals and was super popular for years but is becoming slightly less prevalent.
A loose back is similar to a cushion back but has a more casual, eclectic look. Instead of perfectly fitted back cushions or attachable cushions, the back of a loose back couch has large throw pillows. These pillows can look more scattered and loosely fit the couch’s back. This style is becoming more popular as people desire a more eccentric and relaxed style.
The different types of sofa arms are endless! A few common sofa arm styles include curved, sock, panel, pleated, track, English rolled, set back, wedge, and slope. Some arm styles were discussed in the list above, like English rolled.
A curved arm is when the sofa arms curve inward, while pleated arms have the upholstered sort of tucked and twisted into the end of the arm. Slop arms are one of the most dramatic styles, as it begins high attached to the back of the couch and dramatically slope down toward the front of the cushions, giving the arms a wave-like look from the side.
Track arms are more rigid and defined, with sharp lines and accents like studs or nails. And there are also plenty of couch styles that don’t have any arms, creating a clean and sophisticated look that is also a space-saver.
When shopping, consider how you enjoy resting or sitting and whether or not the arms are conducive to your preferences.
You can upholster a couch or sofa in practically any fabric, from corduroy to polyester to velvet to satin! Other popular materials include cotton, leather, linen, wool, silk, acrylic, hemp, rayon, nylon, and acetate. A couch’s material is one of the most important aspects to consider when picking out a new couch.
Some people love leather because it’s rustic and easy to clean, while others want the luxurious and soft feel of velvet. Materials like silk and satin won’t put up with wear and tear as well as polyester or cotton.
If you tend to spill on your furniture, choose a fabric that is easy to clean and maintain. But you can opt for a richer fabric if you don’t have children or pets and keep your home super clean.
Remember, you can always have a couch reupholstered with your favorite material if necessary!
You can refer to the frequently asked questions section below for more information on couch and sofa styles.
How do I identify my sofa?
The best way to identify what type of sofa you have is to define the type of arms, back, and material. These are the key features of a couch or sofa, as mentioned above. Assessing these elements can help you determine what type of couch you have!
Which types of sofas are most comfortable?
Some of the most comfortable options include sectionals, Lawson sofas, deep-seated couches, and Chaise lounges. These four types of sofas are super cozy to hunker down on and are often larger and plusher than other sofas on this list.
What are the qualities of a good sofa?
A few factors contribute to a sofa’s overall quality. Consider the frame material, frame joints, cushion filling, upholstery material, and construction when buying a new couch. You want a sofa that uses sturdy, premium materials that will guarantee the couch lasts years and offers top-notch comfort.
What is a round sofa called?
Ottoman-type round sofas are typically referred to as a settee, or more specifically, a Borne settee. Some people also call them round settees.
What is a sofa without a back called?
Aside from being called backless sofas, couches without a back can also be called a divan or recamier. You may also refer to a backless couch as a Chaise lounge or a daybed.
What is the difference between a sofa and a couch?
Most people use the words couch and sofa interchangeably, but there are some slight differences worth noting.
The word couch comes from the French verb “coucher” which means to go lay down or retire to bed. This definition implies couches are for laying down, relaxing, and maybe even sleeping. But the word sofa comes from the Arabic noun “suffah” referring to a bench or platform intended for sitting.
Technically, sofas are for sitting and couches are for laying or sleeping. Couches typically have a less formal appearance, but this is not a requirement for the definition.
Furniture shopping can be daunting, especially if you know little about styles and aesthetics. Whether you need a new table, couch, or lamp, knowing what options are available can help you make the right decision.
Hopefully, this list can help you narrow your search and find the couch or sofa that fits seamlessly into your space.