Settee Vs. Sofa


Despite their differences, sofas and settees share one important commonality; they're both used for seating. Depending upon your seating needs, a small space or a large space, and your preference for finishes, formal or informal, will have significant influences on which type of seating you choose. In either case, there's no shortage of either type which gives homeowners much to consider.


  • Both the sofa and settee are pieces of furniture designed for sitting. Because of its size, the sofa also lends itself to reclining.

Design Differences

  • A settee bears a similar size to the modern loveseat. Like a loveseat sofa, it can accommodate up to two people, whereas a full-size sofa can seat more. Settees, which are usually fabric covered, are developed from an upholstered chair, according to Graham Blackburn, a furniture maker and author. Another difference between sofas and settees is that settees commonly have a higher back than sofas.

Sofa Origin

  • In terms of design, today's modern sofa traces its ties to the French daybed. But Graham Blackburn explains that the sofa was originally used by a Grand Vizier for seating. Over time, its function has not changed, but the design has. Early sofas were filled with bird feathers, horse hair, soft plant materials or any other flexible filling. The use of springs in sofas was introduced in the early 19th century.

Settee Origin

  • The settee dates back to the 17th century and was usually covered in fabric. Over time, the settee has evolved from its initial design, an elongated upholstered armchair. Today's modern loveseat has its roots in the settee as narrow settees were called "courting settees" allowing two people to sit alongside one another but face opposite directions.

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