Settee Vs Couch: What’s The Difference?

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Settee vs couch: here’s the difference. A settee is usually smaller and slimmer than a sofa than a couch. Sometimes, people use settees to give a home a more sophisticated look. Let’s explore each piece of furniture to see which (or both) makes the most sense for your home.

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What’s The Difference Between A Settee Vs Couch?

A white settee in a living room

You can describe both settees and couches as cushioned benches with back support and armrests designed for two or more people to sit on. The only difference is that settees tend to be slimmer than sofas and are generally not as large. Some couches can seat up to ten people, while settees are usually limited to two or three seats.

Settees can also be considered more formal than couches and are used for social events rather than casual use. People who want a more formal setting for entertaining sometimes have both a settee and a couch in their homes: a settee for hosting social gatherings and a couch for everyday use.

The table below compares the characteristics of a couch and a settee, so you can decide which piece of furniture meets your needs.

LengthNumber Of SeatsUsePrice
SetteeSmall to medium (30-50” long)1-2 peopleSpecial occasions, entertaining$1,000 on average
CouchLarge (70-87″ long, usually 84″ long)2+ peopleEveryday family use$600 on average

What About The Word Sofa?

Wondering what the difference between a sofa vs couch is? Today, they refer to the same piece of furniture. Some people used to think of a sofa as slightly more formal than a couch, but people use the words interchangeably today.

What’s A Chaise Sofa?

A chaise is a long, upholstered seat designed for one person to recline. The term “chaise” comes from the French term “chaise longue,” which means “long chair.” You can think of a chaise as a chair and footstool in one. A chaise always has a back and may have zero, one, or two armrests.

Some chaises are contoured, providing better couch ergonomics to unwind and relax, while others are more upright and can seat one person reclining or two people sitting next to each other.

How Many People Have Settees In Their Living Rooms?

Sofas are much more popular than settees because they can fit in well in almost any home decoration setting. Settees, on the other hand, go well in more formal living rooms.

What Different Types Of Couches Are There?

Aside from settees, there are many other kinds of couches.

Corner Sofa

If you have a larger family or have a lot of friends over fairly often, a corner sofa is useful for entertaining everyone at the same time. A corner sofa essentially looks like two sofas at right angles to each other, and this piece of furniture is a great way to use limited space.

Sofa Bed

Originally called a “fold-a-bed,” a sofa bed is made from a wood or metal frame and a foldable mattress. They make it easier to have more guests over, especially if you don’t have a guest room. While sofa beds have a reputation for being uncomfortable, there are things you can to do fix this, such as buying a mattress topper or putting a foam shield between the frame and mattress to “shield” you from the bars of the frame while you sleep.

Standard Couch

A standard couch or sofa comes in different sizes, with the most common being a three-seat couch.


Loveseats are designed to seat two people and tend to be 50” long in the seating area (not including the sofa arms). The term loveseat became popular in the 1800s to refer to a couch that let two courting people sit close together.


Why Is A Sofa Called A Settee?

The term “settee” may come from the Old English “setl,” meaning “a place to sit.” “Settee” may have been a fanciful variant of the word “settle,” which has the same root word of “set.”

Do People Still Say Settee?

In the US, a settee refers to a slimmer and smaller version of a couch. In parts of the UK, people use settee, couch, and sofa interchangeably to mean the same thing.

Is A Small Couch Called A Settee?

Yes, a small couch is called a settee. What about the difference between a settee vs loveseat, since they’re both small couches? A settee is for two or more people, while a loveseat is for only two people.

Is Settee American Or English?

Using “settee” to mean the same thing as “couch” or “sofa” is English. Using “settee” to mean a slimmer, smaller couch is American.

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Lucy Henderson is a Seattle-based home décor expert and creator of Palladio Interiors. She loves writing about design trends, home-interior inspiration, and home-decorating tips. She's a fan of coziness and simplicity.