The Standard Sofa Dimensions. Plus, How To Measure For Your New Sofa: Advice From Experts

Person Measuring a Sofa

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When you think about the perfect lazy day, it often involves your sofa. Sitting on your sofa, to be exact. Maybe with a drink in hand, catching up on your favorite show? However you spend your lazy days, you’ll want to ensure that your sofa meets the standard for maximum comfort, because that’s what it’s there for, right? And maximum comfort includes not just the sofa itself, but its placement in your living space.

While looking for the sofa that will complete your perfect lazy day, here are the sofa dimensions to measure for, according to the experts.

Meet the experts

To create this guide to couch sizes and measurements we consulted a range of furniture and interior design experts. In this guide, you'll hear from:

Sofa Sizes and Dimensions: The Must Knows

As each space is unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule of thumb for sofa placement. Knowing how to correctly measure your space will make your search for the right sofa just that much easier.

According to Toussaint Derby, the need-to-know measurements for a sofa are width, depth, and seat height. “The width and depth are obvious suspects, as you want to make sure you’re getting the right size sofa for the room you are buying it for,” explains Derby. “If you have a small space and you get a really big sofa, it will easily overwhelm the space.”

“The width and depth are obvious suspects, as you want to make sure you’re getting the right size sofa for the room you are buying it for."

Knowing who you’re shopping for can also make a difference in buying a sofa that you, your family, and your friends will find comfortable. For Derby, an emphasis on seat height is important. “For someone like me, with long legs, seat height is important for comfort reasons. But it’s also important when considering what coffee table to choose,” said Derby. “If it's too low, it will be uncomfortable and feel odd coupled with the sofa, when sitting and trying to place drinks or other items down.”

Sofa Width: Sofa width is the distance from the edge of one armrest to the edge of the other. Standard sofa width is usually around 90 inches wide, with anything much smaller than that considered a loveseat.

Sofa Depth: Sofa depth is the measurement from the front of the sofa to the back of the sofa, the standard size of sofa depth clocking in at 38 inches.

Seat Height: Seat height is the distance from the floor to the top of the sofa’s seat cushion. Most seats are 17” or 18” from the floor, but it’s normal for seat height to range from 15 inches to 20 inches.

Below you can see a size and dimensions breakdown for The Inside's Modern Sofa:

Modern Sofa Dimensions
Modern Sofa by The Inside

Here are the measurements highlighted in the graphic: 

  • Height: 32"
  • Depth: 33.5"
  • Width: 89"
  • Seat height: 20"
  • Seat width: 84"
  • Seat depth: 22.5"
  • Arm height: 24.5"
  • Clearance: 5.25"

Watch out for the Seat Back Height and Seat Depth

According to Natasha Adams, “the size and scale of the piece should be in proportion to the room, along with consideration for the user and use.” She recommends watching out for seat back height and seat depth, as those often overlooked proportions have the potential to affect user experience in a big way.

“A high back and neck support are important if you’re a big movie watcher,” explains Adams. “But if you prefer your sofa to be more of a design piece, lower backs are seen as more stylish, and can be advantageous in open floor plan living, as it does not create too much of a visual barrier in the space.”

When it comes to seat depth, “a deep seat can be uncomfortable for small people, while shallow seats can leave the long-limbed cramped and unsupported,” says Adams.  

Make sure to take the above factors into consideration when measuring for your sofa. Is your intended use to watch movies with friends in your living room? Maybe save the chic low back sofa you’ve been eyeing for another time— and go for the piece with extra soft back cushions.

What are the Average Couch Dimensions?

According to Toussaint Derby, the average size sofa is around 88” to 90” wide.

“Generally speaking, something smaller than that might be considered an ‘Apartment Sofa’ or loveseat, and anything beyond that may be considered ‘oversized,’” explains Derby.

Jessica Harris agrees, saying that, “Sofas come in large and small sizes, but the standard sofa size is 90 inches wide, 38 inches deep, and 34 inches high.”

However, keep in mind that there are many different types of sofa. If your needs go beyond that of average sofa dimensions, with proper measurements you’ll certainly be able to find the piece of furniture that meets your needs.

What are the Average Loveseat Dimensions?

Delilah Loveseat by Apt2B
Delilah Loveseat by Apt2B

Loveseats aren’t just for lovers. For those looking for a comfortable addition to a small space, such as a studio apartment, a loveseat might be just the right piece of furniture. But what are its average dimensions?

According to Derby, the average loveseat is 65 inches wide, with some wiggle room. “Some smaller loveseats can be around 52 inches wide, so there is a range, just be wary of anything smaller than that,” says Derby.

Loveseats also make great additions to seating areas with multiple sofas, as their small size works perfectly perpendicular to the more traditional three-seat sofa. Creating an L-shaped seating arrangement in your home is perfect for those looking to entertain large groups or host family gatherings.

Ballpark Sofa Sizes

Although sofa measurements vary, below is a guideline to standard sofa dimensions by size:

  • Two Seats (Loveseat): 65” width x 38”
  • Three Seats: 90” width x 38” depth
  • Four Seats: 117” width x 38” depth
  • Five Seats: 144” width x 38” depth
  • Six Seats: 171” width x 38” depth

Anything You Should Consider When Measuring for a Sectional?

For many, finding a sectional sofa of the right size can be difficult. According to Jessica Harris, “Measuring for a sectional can be a bit trickier than measuring for a traditional sofa because each ‘section’ can have a different dimension.”

To ensure that the sectional of your choice fits your space correctly, Harris advises taking careful measurements. “From the actual design itself, to the space you plan to put it in, you want to get that measuring tape and ensure you record accurate numbers for the overall width, depth and sofa height,” Harris says. “These measurements encompass the longest and widest parts of the sectional and are therefore important in understanding if the couch will complement, or clutter, your living space.”

However, there are benefits to sectionals that you wouldn’t expect. Julia Dempster advises using a sectional as a room divider or piece that can easily fill a large space. Additionally, a sectional’s “high arms will block the sight lines, and if you have side tables on either side, restricts usage and accessibility.”

How to Choose the Right Size Couch for your Space

1. Know your size needs

Before starting to seek out a sofa, select the space in your home or apartment that you’re looking to fill. A sofa for your home office or other small space might differ from one that fits your family room or a sleeper sofa for your guest room.

Derby suggests choosing a sofa that is two-thirds the size of the wall you’re looking to fill, as “if the sofa is too large and takes up the entire wall, it will feel too large for the room.”

When considering the shape of the sofa you’re looking for, Julia Dempster recommends selecting a sofa based on how it will interact with the room it’s in. “If the room has a low ceiling, opt for a sofa with a lower back to keep the design in proportion to the room’s height,” Dempster advises. “I recommend checking the sofa’s depth because if it is too deep it may be too imposing if the room is narrow.”

Read more: Expert Advice: How to Measure a Sofa

2. Understand your Style Preferences

Just as there are many different sofa dimensions, there are also a variety of sofa styles to choose from.

“If you enjoy clean lines, simpler designs and are a fan of mid-century design, a contemporary style couch could be the one for you,” says Jessica Harris. “These designs are typically characterized by casual lines and details, and the emphasis is placed on comfort, flexibility and practicality rather than a specific look.”

However, for those that prefer classic pieces, you might want to consider something more traditional. Traditional designs “often resemble what you grew up with,” Harris says, “but they’ve been refreshed with color palettes and upholstery that are suitable for today’s interiors. Rather than having a dated look, traditional sofas have a sense of timelessness.”  

Before hopping online to select your new sofa, think about what style you’re looking for. Are there sofa styles you’ve admired in the past? Does the rest of your space’s interior design embody a specific style? Also, do you want a chaise? If so, now’s the time to develop your style preferences.

3. Keep in Mind who Will be Using the Couch

There are just as many ways to use a sofa as there are types. Before starting to shop for your new sofa, stop and think about what you’re looking to use it for.

“If you live alone in a small apartment and use your couch to simply unwind and watch television, it may not make sense to purchase a large couch,” says Harris. “However, if you live with roommates or your family, or use your home to entertain, you may want the extra seating that a larger couch can provide.”

After all, “family movie nights, entertaining friends, and as a kids’ hang-out space… these can call for vastly different options,” says Toussaint Derby.

Additionally, consider who will be using the sofa on a regular basis. Small children and pets may warrant more durable construction and upholstery than a piece meant for a single adult.

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Written by
Sasha Weilbaker
Sasha Weilbaker is a freelance writer with bylines in Thrillist, Business Insider, and The Vegetarian Times. She's particularly interested in the intersection of sustainability and materials. In the wild, she can be found cycling around New England, scouting coffee shops, or obsessing over new podcasts.

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