Have your sights set on a new seating piece, but not sure if a vintage sofa or a settee is the best pick? While sofas tend to dominate the lounge seating game, sometimes a settee is really all you need. If you’re trying to make the call on which one’s the best fit for your space, read on! We’re breaking down everything you need to know. 

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What is a Sofa? 

A sofa is a wide seating option meant to accommodate three people or more. The average sofa is between 80” to 90” long. Sofas generally feature removable seat cushions and back cushions, although that’s not true of all sofas. In general, sofas are usually fairly boxy in shape. 

What is a Settee?

A settee can be visually likened to a cross between a sofa and a chair. It has a much shorter length than a sofa, usually clocking in somewhere around 55” to 60.” Settees generally seat two people, although it is often possible to squeeze in three. Settees tend to be more formal-looking, possessing a more upright silhouette. Because of their compact nature, settees are often more sculptural in nature than sofas, as well. French settees, for instance, often showcase curved, barrel backs. Similarly, Danish Modern settees will often include dramatic, wood-sculpted arms.

What Are the Best Ways to Use a Settee? 

Perhaps the most common reason homeowners contemplate a settee is when they’re decorating a small living space. In the event a full size sofa won’t fit in your space, a settee can make a suitable stand-in.

Designers also love to use settees in unexpected ways, such as in lieu of dining chairs on one side of a dining table. Using a settee can provide the illusion of a built-in banquette. You might also consider dropping one into a kitchen with extra square footage. A settee’s formal silhouette makes it a seating option that doesn’t feel out of place in the context of a kitchen, the way, say, a more lounge-y loveseat might. 

Settees are also popular choices for bedrooms. If you have an especially large bedroom, placing a settee at the foot of a bed is a stylish way to utilize the extra space. It’s also a trick worth employing in a studio apartment. A bed with a settee placed at the foot can create distinct living and sleeping quarters. Whereas a sofas will overhang the foot of a bed, a settee will fit neatly within its dimensions, creating a polished look. 

Lead image design by Summer Thornton Design, Inc. / Photo by Josh Thornton


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January 11, 2022

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