Sofa Dimensions: How to Choose the Right Size for Your Space

Person Measuring a Sofa
When you think about the perfect lazy day, daytime naps, or binging your favorite show, it often involves your sofa. However you spend your lazy days, you want a sofa that maximizes comfort and makes the most of your living space through the placement of your living room furniture.

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 storage 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 measurement goes from the front of the sofa to the back of the sofa. The standard sofa depth is around 38 inches. It’s important to note that sofa seat depth is not the same as the overall sofa depth. Seat depth is measured from the front edge of the seat cushion to the back edge of the cushion. The average seat depth is 21-24 inches, with ‘deep seat’ sofas coming in between 26-28 inches.

Seat Height: Seat height is the distance from the floor to the top of the sofa’s  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 the height of the back cushions 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, low 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.  

If you’re considering a reclining sofa, depth is another big factor. While some recliners are ‘wall huggers’ and only need a couple of inches of clearance to raise the footrest, others fully recline and require at least two feet of space.

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 sofas. If your needs go beyond the average sofa dimensions, you can measure to see if your space accommodates a modular sofa. These allow you to connect three-seater and two-seater sofas with chaise sectionals, corner sofas, and accent chairs for a truly custom furniture piece that fits your living area.

What are the Average Loveseat Dimensions?

Delilah Loveseat by Apt2B
Delilah Loveseat by Apt2B

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.

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 ideal 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 dimensions): 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

What to Consider When Measuring for a Sectional Sofa

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.”

There are considerations 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.”

To really get a good picture of how a sectional will fit in your space, clear the room and use masking tape to create an outline of where the couch will go. If you plan to use your existing coffee table, side tables, or built-in shelving behind the sofa, use a tape measure vertically to see if the backrest height, seat height and sofa arm height will work with the other furniture.

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How to Choose the Right Size Couch for Your Space

1. Know your size needs

The size of the sofa for your home office, entryway, or other small space will differ from one that fits your family room or a sofa bed for your guest room.

Derby suggests choosing a sofa that is two-thirds the size of the wall you’re looking to fill. “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. Know 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 modern sofa, 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, like a leather sofa. 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? Or are you ready for a design overhaul and want your new sofa to guide the style?

3. Keep in Mind Who Will be Using the Couch

Before starting to shop for your new sofa, stop and think about what you’re planning 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.

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:

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.
Sasha Weilbaker
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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