Sofa vs Loveseat: What’s the Difference?

Sofa vs Loveseat
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When it comes to living room furniture, there are plenty of seating options — sofas and loveseats are both common options. In fact, many living room sets include both.

Whether you have a large townhouse or a small apartment, how you divide up your space is essential. And the furniture you choose plays a massive role in the flow of your room.

In this article, we will provide you with all the info you need on sofas and loveseats so that you can decide which option is best for you. You'll learn the pros and cons of each, as well as how to spot the difference between a sofa and a loveseat.

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At Living Cozy, we produce our content alongside interior design and home decor experts. In this guide, you’ll advice from:

What is a Sofa?

A sofa has ample seating for multiple people — typically, a sofa can comfortably seat two or more people. It usually has a high back and can come with or without armrests. Sofas are also  known as couches.

Sofas are typically used for sitting, but a large sofa or sofa bed can also be used for lying down or sleeping. Your sofa is often the focal poing of your living room, but can also be used in the bedroom, den, home office, or in commercial establishments like hotels and waiting rooms.

Sofas come in all shapes and sizes. From sectional sofas to chesterfields, there is something for every sized family room.

Below are the standard sofa sizes based on how many people they can seat:

  • 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

Pros of Sofas

Great for large spaces

As you can see from the above measurements, sofas typically come with ample seating for the whole family.

These furniture items are great for large spaces as they occupy plenty of room. You can pair your sofa with a comfortable chair to create a conversation space in a large family room. Or, the sofa can be a stand-alone centerpiece facing the fireplace or television.

Comfort

Due to their increased seating capacity, many people find that sofas are the most comfortable seating option out there.

If it is not used by multiple people, whoever is sitting on the sofa will be able to stretch out and relax in total comfort.

Various styles

Sofas come in all shapes and styles imaginable! There are so many variations of sofas. They can be fully or partially upholstered, have various reclining options, and can seat up to six (or more) people. Then there are the vast options of colors and materials. Some come with armrests, while others are armless.

Although we mentioned sofas are great for large rooms, you can also easily find couches for small spaces.

What is a Loveseat?

So, what is a loveseat?

A loveseat is a type of two-seater sitting option. It can either offer bench-style seating or have two cushions in the style of a two-seater sofa. It typically has a high back, like a sofa. Essentially, loveseats are just small sofas.

Co-founder of Sabai, Phantila Phataraprasit, defined a loveseat as "a sofa/couch meant for two people, with lengths typically ranging between 60 to 75 [inches]. Loveseats are incredibly adaptable given their size—you can use them in entryway spaces, to compliment a larger sofa in a living room or a kids' room".

Loveseats tend to be used in smaller living spaces as the main sofa or as accent pieces in larger rooms being paired with other sofas to provide additional seating and fill extra space.

Loveseats work great as standalone sofas and can also be used tpo provide more seating in a guest room, foyer, home office, or dining room — just about any room, in the home with some seating needs, really.

Loveseats dimensions are as follows:

  • Standard small loveseat: 48" - 52"
  • Medium loveseat: 58"
  • Large loveseat: 72"

When asked about the perfect size for a loveseat, Ariella Duker of Ariella Duker Interiors said, "The perfect proportion for a loveseat is about 60 [inches] wide. Certainly, you will find a range of sizes up to about 78 [inches], but the purist in me tends to think that the larger sizes move into the sofa category, and the overall proportions, purpose, and styling tend to change as well."

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Why is it called a Loveseat?

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, years after these two-seater benches were invented, loveseats became a crucial part of courtship.

Back then, modesty was much more important and it wasn't always agreeable for two adults to spend any time alone together unless they were married. However, because these types of sofas sat just two people comfortably, they became popular places for more intimate conversations in a public setting.

This kind of seating space gave couples a chance to get to know each other and in some cases falls for each other, and so the name "loveseat" was born. Other names for a loveseat are a kissing bench or gossip chair — or if you prefer to think of the loveseat without any romantic implications a "British two-seater" or simply a "two-seater sofa" will suffice.

Pros of Loveseats

Perfect for Small Spaces

Since loveseats only seat two people, they are perfect for a small space. Whether you have a small apartment or want to tuck a loveseat into your bedroom, these bench-style seats are great for cozy spaces.

"You will often find a loveseat sitting pretty in a studio apartment where space is a commodity," says Duker.

Versatile

Due to their site, loveseats are incredibly versatile and can be used to create additional seating space in almost any room of your home.

Whether you want to include it as an accent piece in your living room, in your kid's room, in your office, or your primary bedroom - it will work!

Affordable 

Loveseats are great seating options for those on a tight budget. Without skimping on style or comfort, you will most likely be able to find a loveseat within an affordable price range.

A lot of brands also now offer modular sofas. So, where you might be starting with a loveseat in your family room, you can always add additional seating to the loveseat when guests come over.

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Sofa vs loveseat: What’s the Difference and What Do They Have in Common?

We now know what a loveseat and a sofa are, but let's take a closer look at what sets these two furniture pieces apart — and what they  have in common.

Difference: Size

Generally, a couch or sofa will be much wider than a loveseat.

Loveseats are designed to only comfortably seat two people in an intimate setting. Sofas, on the other hand, have a seating capacity of two to six (and sometimes more!) people.Whereas a couch's width range from 90" to 171" (depending on the number of seats), a loveseat rarely exceeds a width of 72".

When it comes to height, the difference is not that significant. Loveseats are typically about 28" high, while couches range between 20" and 30". The main difference in terms of size is that, on average, a sofa will be larger than a loveseat.

Commonality: Styles

When looking at a loveseat next to a sofa, the only stylistic distinction between the two is often the size. For example, many brands offer their seating options as both a sofa and a loveseat. Just take a look at the 2-piece, 3-piece, and 4-piece sofas from Burrow as an example.

Generally, though, loveseats will be designed in simpler styles and you might not get big, cloud-like, sink-into cushions on loveseat sofas.

Commonality: Comfortability

Although a loveseat may be more elegant, it does not mean it is uncomfortable.

However, a loveseat is only designed to fit two adults, and with a narrow seat and upright back, they are not designed for lounging around. The smaller loveseats — although still designed for two people, might feel a little cramped.

As the size of the sofa increases, the more comfortable it is for stretching out. Large sofas typically have deeper seats and larger cushions for ultimate relaxation

Difference: Usage

The reason why you are purchasing a loveseat vs a sofa may also differ significantly.

Loveseats tend to be complementary pieces, and it is unlikely that you will be purchasing one as your main seating for for your living space — unless you're designing a smaller space. Loveseats are more commonly used as additional seating in rooms with more space.

The reason people buy a sofa is to use it as the main seating option in their living rooms. Sofas offer enough space for plenty of people to enjoy a vibrant conversation and are great for social events.

Difference: Cost

There is a big price discrepancy between sofas and loveseats. You have probably guessed it: a loveseat is much more affordable than a couch.

This mostly comes down to the size and material used. Loveseats are generally smaller than couches and have less stuffing and upholstery material.

Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.

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