Sofa or Settee Etiquette

Sofa or settee etiquette is an interesting one for today. Are you wondering whether to get a sofa or a settee? I mean both can be classified as sofas with one being a tad bit smaller than the other. You’ll find that settees can sometimes even be referred to loveseats which are not exactly wrong but isn’t exactly right at the same time as well. You’ll find that if you do happen to buy or get yourself both, your settee will grab more attention, and unlike the loveseat which would come second, this sets them apart from each other. 

It’s not, however, a question of which one you would want in your home so as to grab attention. The big question is which one is more suitable for my home and why should I get that one instead of the other. So this journey today is supposed to help you figure out exactly that answer. We will find answers in different ways and in different sets. So put on your quiz shoes and let’s start digging for answers.

See one thing you should be clear on when choosing to buy a sofa or settee is exactly where do you want to put it and for what. I mean home and work environments are two different areas and they require two different setons.

So what we are looking at here is how to differentiate the two and find out what you really want and one way to do that is to know exactly what you are dealing with. You have to know what a sofa is and you have to understand what a settee is. That way it’ll be easier to find yourself the best choice for your home.

I know you are probably in a hurry. I mean no one really enjoys going through this sofa shopping set and all so I won’t take much of your time. So today we are going to be looking at them both and seeing what makes them both great, but also what sets them apart and why you would want the other over the other.

So put on your favorite sweater because this journey is going to change your life. So as a protocol for those who actually don’t know the difference between the two, or in the case that you need a friendly reminder on how to distinguish the two I am going to explain both of them. 

What Is A Sofa?

We all know what the sofa is. Back then growing up as a kid taking naps on the sofa was a regular thing. I still blame that childhood sofa for these napping habits I have right now. But anyways, a sofa is a padded or cushioned bench that can take up to two or more people. It comes with arms and a backrest to provide both comfort and support. It is not a couch, the two are similar but they have a thin line that separates them but I’ll do that another time. 

So you see that with a sofa it’s the basic and most popular furniture piece for family rooms, lounges, dens and so forth. Both for indoor and outdoor use. They are generally known as the life of the party or in this case the life of the living room. See with a sofa it’s a very specific tool that will either help your interior flourish and make it better or it will likely do the exact opposite of that. 

Sofas come in different styles to suit the different interior decor and suit different uses. You’ll find that some sofas are more suitable for the outside than they are for the inside. For example, we have rattan sofas that are perfect for the outdoors as they are practically designed to resist and adapt to weather elements. 

Then we have some sofas that are basically for families and busy homes, ranging from sectionals and so forth. The furniture world has even extended the practicality of a sofa to dog beds. You’ll find some dogs with matching sofas to the ones the humans actually use. If anything you’ll find that sofas are more practical than they are decorative. They are made for use and not display. For all room shapes and sizes, you will never run out of options.

What Is A Settee?

a stripped settee

So some people say that settee is just a fancy word for the loveseat. Some even go ahead to say that there is no difference at all. Well, that’s not entirely wrong but it’s not entirely right at the same time. See a settee is a long seat that has a back. Now a loveseat can come without a back note. See like a sofa, a settee is basically a medium-sized sofa, its an upholstered bench that has a back and that sets it apart from a loveseat. You’ll find that settees like sofas come in various limited styles as well. 

A settee is capable of taking in two-seaters and can accommodate more than two people at times. With a settee, it’s quite different from a loveseat as well in that it doesn’t have to take only 2 people. So This brings us back to that question: would you rather get a settee or an actual sofa? I mean what would best fit your needs and solve your problem? Below is your regular settee in case you still don’t see it, and you can see that it’s quite different from the regular sofa.



So looking at a sofa and settees you can obviously tell that they are designed with the same concept in mind. I mean we use them both for sitting. If possible they can be used for napping as well. Settees like your regular sofa come in many different styles for different etiquettes.

You’ll find that some settees have a modern set up mixed with a bit of french etiquette which you can also find on other sofas as well. You’ll find settees either in contemporary mode, modern, traditional or classic mode. Some may even come off as minimalistic, but as I said before they vary in style the same sofas do.

Another similarity between the two is that settees are as practical as sofas. I mean people really do underestimate settees because of their size, but I’m here to tell you that size doesn’t really matter. A settee is just as practical as your regular sofa.

You can either use it for the lounge, hallway, entryway, waiting rooms and bedrooms the same way you can use a sofa. You’ll find that settees tend to be more versatile than regular sofas which makes them possibly even more practical. But for now, let’s stick to the fact that both of them are actually very practical. So don’t underestimate a settee, it will definitely shock you.

Sofas and settees both provide comfort and convenience. I mean if you want to set a comfortable look in your home, getting a settee or a sofa will still have the same outcome. You can still sit and watch tv or read a book on a settee the same way you’d do on a regular sofa.

It’s not like because it’s now smaller you can’t utilise it the same as a sofa. You’ll actually be surprised that some settings are as strong and as durable as their counterpart sofas and will give you just as much service time as you’d want. It all depends on the quality you set out to buy.


Now let us see what actually sets the two apart, I mean it’s quite confusing at first it seems like a settee is just a small sofa right? Well, that definitely true but let’s see what else and how you can differentiate between a sofa and a settee.


Well, the first and most obvious difference between a settee and a sofa is in size. settees are more compact when compared to the regular two-seat sofa. Settees though they themselves come in different sizes can still be set apart from a regular sofa. They tend to be tighter and somehow look fit for only small spaces or small rooms.

You’ll find that because of their size settee are normally termed as decorative features that are rarely used for sitting and are more for the aesthetic appeal to the eye. Because of their size and all you’ll find that some settees actually look like they can only accommodate roughly only one person but well at least you know that if its a settee it will work with two people.

Now looking at the regular sofa, they are bigger and wider than your regular settee. You’ll find that a regular sofa even if it is termed as a two-seat sofa, the space it has is ample enough to still accommodate more than two people. They are basically larger than the basic sofa and will take on two to more people depending on their actual size. Besides all that sofas come in different shapes, So imagine how many people can sit on a sectional, A sofa, unlike a settee, is actually not limited to anything, it has no limit on how it can be used and how many people can sit on it. 


Settees are seen more as a decorative feature that’s why you did so many different styles of settees. However, you can also find basic sofa settees that are actually practical but they will come either in a set or with a very basic and down to earth sofa design.

So you’ll find that actually getting a beautiful and amazing settee along that suit for lounging may be a tad bit limited to the sofa look-alikes. Another thing settees, when used practically, are more to the seating side. You really can’t do much on a settee except sit and maybe just snuggle with a blanket.

Lastly settees, unlike sofas, don’t come as recliners, sleepers or sectionals. I know you’re probably wondering how a two-seater can be sectional. but yes it’s possible and it’s there. We have what are called modular settees, where the two parts come as independent blocks so you can either separate them or join them to form your settee.

Reclining settees are very common nowadays especially for small apartments or break rooms at work. So yeah there are so many things that sofas have in common with settees but I wouldn’t want to drag you through all of them so let’s get to the next stage and see where the two actually break off from each other.

Now looking at sofas, they are multi-functional depending on the type you have. You can use a sofa for more than just sitting and we all know this. As a kid or even now, how many times have you taken a nap on a sofa which extended to be a full-blown sleep until the next day?

See what I mean, you can actually sleep on a sofa and wake up without as much as a needed stretch but sleeping on love is constricted by size, unless you fall off you are going to wake up with a lot of aches best believe that. 

Space Efficiency

The good thing about sofas is that you will always find one that will cover up a problem that you have. Sofas will take up more space and that’s a given, but in terms of efficiency, I think I’d give the crown to the sofa. Settees are basic, they come as a straight-on two seats, right?

Well sofas have variations, Corner shaped sofas are known to be the most space-efficient along with the modular sectionals. They offer more seating and maximise on the limited space available. The fact that it is a corner sofa you know you can set it against a wall and it will fit perfectly and shape through even the corners. 

Now when we talk of space efficiency we don’t mean the size the sofa takes up. Here I’m looking more on the aspect rationing in the room. I mean settees yes they are smaller and will take up less space. But tell me, in a busy home with a family and kids and maybe pets how many settees do you actually need so that everyone is comfortable and has a place to sit?

Mind you settees are designed to look like medium-sized sofas so given that you have kids you may need to get another sofa or settee. Now back to space, a settee will take up little space in your home and only provide seating for two people right. But in the case that you have kids and a small apartment what’s your plan then?

Why Buy A Sofa?

So buying a sofa is one of the biggest investments and most important as well. A sofa is a long term commitment and I’m sure you know you are going to stick with that for a long time. So why buy a sofa instead. Well, sofas come in so many variations it would be close to impossible to find one to suit your needs.

I mean like I said earlier on, settees are quite basic, they don’t really offer much except seating and that aesthetic appeal. I mean if you want a decorative feature then go ahead get that settee but in terms of practicality do you really think the settee is the way to go considering the limited seating capacity and space taken?

Sofas are more durable. I know it depends on the materials used in the construction but get this. Sofas are actually designed for daily use, some are even heavy-duty sofas perfect if you always sleep or sit on the couch. It won’t wear down and might even last you a long time.

Same goes with settees and all, but settees are more to the lighter side, They can take two people and are decorative than they are practical so obviously they won’t be as durable as you’d expect. Yes, definitely some will last you a lifetime but just judging by the price and allowance that will cost you may get a sofa would be best.

Why Buy A settee?

First and foremost settees will give your room or your home a lasting impression. I think I have said this a lot of times but you see loveseats are both decorative and practical. A settee is a pragmatic piece of furniture and you can use it and play with the layout of any room.

With a settee, you can accentuate the look of your home and the fact that you find these in various and many styles make it an even better set up for any home with any interior lining. You can’t limit the flexibility of a settee the way you do with a sofa. It can be a statement in your bedroom and all. You can even set it in a patio or pool house but can you do the same with a sofa? 

You’ll find that settees like sofas come in various but at times limited styles as well. They can’t be armless, futon designed, and they can’t be sofa beds as well, but they are still sofas. They are smaller than your regular sofa but bigger than a loveseat or a chair. A settee is capable of taking in two-seaters or more, but it is not designed as a two-seat sofa.

They are bigger and can accommodate more than two people at times. So this brings us back to that question: would you rather get a settee or an actual sofa? I mean what would best fit your need and solve your problem? Below is your regular loveseat in case you still don’t see it, and you can see that it’s quite different from the regular sofa.

Final Thoughts

Do you have an answer because I think I definitely do, but I think I’ll keep it to myself? What do you prefer now? A sofa or a settee. I mean most would prefer a settee because of limited space as well as for the aesthetic appeal that the things come with. Both sofas and settees do come in various styles. However, they can’t be used differently and all but still they are worth the try aren’t they. 

When push comes to shove you may consider renting out each of the two for a while to see which one would actually suit your home more. I mean you’ll note that with a sofa there is something that it won’t perform as well as the settee does and vice versa.

You’ll also find that each of the two come with different pros and cons and the last and final decision is mostly up to you. You may need to go for further research or ask a stylist on what exactly will suit and fit your home. So with all that being said, I think it’s time that I finally took my leave and left you to thoroughly think and make a proper and decent decision, So enjoy the process and have fun with it.

Elissa Smith
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