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Settees vs. Sofas: 4 Key Differences

If you’ve been furniture shopping lately, you may have come across a term you’re unfamiliar with: settee. After a little bit of research, you’ll find that the settee definition is a long upholstered seat for more than one person, but we think the true meaning can be better explained by noting the differences between a sofa and a settee. It all comes down to four traits that help distinguish one from the other, and those include size, function, design and style.

1. Size

The most significant settee distinction is its size. With a width that ranges from about 50” to 70”, settees are quite a bit smaller than sofas, which can run anywhere from under 80” to over 90” wide. Settees are more like benches, because they’re meant to seat fewer people than sofas. Settees are also not as deep as sofas, so you sit more upright.

2. Function

Since they’re more petite in scale, settees also function differently than sofas. Whereas sofas traditionally belong in the living room, settees can go anywhere. Settees for small spaces are a no-brainer, so they can go in a bedroom, office, parlor or breakfast nook to provide just the right amount of seating.

3. Design

While you won’t typically find an armless sofa, many settees either have no arms or very slim arms, so they don’t occupy a large footprint. Their legs are also tall and exposed, and their cushions are almost always attached for a very streamlined effect. Padding is minimal, as the goal is geared more towards providing a sophisticated look rather than offering sink-in comfort.

4. Style

Taking into consideration their design, size and function, it comes as no surprise that settees are often a touch more formal than sofas. While sofas are casual, comfortable and made primarily for lounging and relaxing, settees are chic statements. They offer tailored details and graceful elements that elevate any space.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.