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Why Is a Loveseat Called a Loveseat?

What does a loveseat have to do with love? Well, the name “loveseat” gained popularity in the mid Victorian era and this article tells you how, and why your household living room furniture was designed and named the way they were.

White walls and floor, pink loveseat with red heart shaped pillows, small white end table with a white vase holding a small green plant, pink pendant lights hanging from ceiling

Have you ever wondered why things are named the way they are? I know I do. Like, why is a loveseat called a loveseat? What does it have to do with love, and where did the name even come from?

The name “loveseat” comes from the 19th century courting bench designed for two people to sit closer to each other while courting. This gave the couple enough space to engage in intimate conversations while being in arm’s reach. During that time period, despite not actually being close compared to today’s standards, courting couples were not allowed to be close to each other. The small sofa contributed to the romantic feel and intimate space while courting couples got to know each other.

But who came up with this term and how does it relate to the two seat chair almost everyone has in their home? Let’s find out!

Why is a Loveseat Called a Loveseat?

Beige wall and floor, pink loveseat with marron and gold throw pillows, pink and red heart wall decor, red arched room divider, gold and black pendant lights

love seat


a chair or small upholstered sofa for two persons.

According to

While this may be the modern definition for a loveseat, back in the 17th and 18th centuries the term “loveseat” had no meaning. Small sofas then were made with only one cushion and designed for upper class people to sit comfortably with their big and puffy dresses. In fact, these can be seen more as an oversized chair than a sofa with two seats.

Just before and during the Victorian era, upper class women were seen with large dresses supported by hoop skirts holding the many layers away from their legs and feet. Trying to fit such a dress into the average seat would be next to impossible and it certainly wouldn’t be comfortable to manage. This is why social and private, boudoir style, rooms were often furnished with a large chair just the right size for women to sit comfortably while wearing those huge dresses.

Brown leather loveseat with roll pillows on each end, wooden frame, curved armrests

So, when did it change from spacious women’s chairs and become a step closer to the modern loveseats we know today?

In the early 19th century, the name “loveseat” gained popularity and the seats were made with too much space for just one woman and her dress. This extra space was designed for their male courter, otherwise known as a suitor or boyfriend.

Loveseats were made with intricate carvings and designed with a peculiar S shape poking out of the center. The purpose of that modest barrier was to ensure that the courting couples didn’t get too close. Social norms in this time period, the Victorian era, considered public touching and close proximities of the opposite gender to be scandalous, especially before marriage.

Of course, as time went on, the courting bench slowly transformed to accommodate the changes in society. When it became more accepted for couples to be near each other, the divider was excluded from the design. Today the loveseat is seen as a normal part of living room sets, along with couches, chairs, and other furniture. Despite that, it is still favored by couples – courting, married, or otherwise – if only to have an excuse to be closer to each other on the intimate and small sofa.

What may have started as a status symbol became a conversation bench where two people closely speak during their courting process. The aim was to accommodate people comfortably but still possess cozy and intricate styles. From there it became a casual part of living room furniture where any two people can sit, whether they are exploring love or otherwise.

Is It Called a “Loveseat” or “Love Seat”?

Gray concrete wall, wood floor, small pink loveseat with white wooden frame, pink candles on the floor on either side, pink neon light up sign reading "All You Need Is Love" on the wall above couch

This two seater sofa can actually be called a “loveseat” and a “love seat”. Both terms are correct and can be used in any situation. “Love seat” is the original term where the word love was a simple descriptor for the courting furniture. As it gained popularity, the entire term “love seat” was deemed to be the name, rather than descriptor, and eventually that space between disappeared and left us with “loveseat”.

Either way, neither choice is incorrect.

Why is a Couch Called a Couch?

Living room white white walls, wood floor, gray and white area rug, gray couch with brown and burnt orange pillows, small wooden side table and wooden accent table with vase of flowers

According to, the couch was actually meant for sleeping on, perhaps in an office for someone working long and late hours. “Couch” was derived from a French word, coucher, meaning to lay down to sleep. Now, it is used to describe any sofa, smaller sofas or a larger sofa, with enough space for more than one person to sit comfortably.

Why is a Sofa Called a Sofa?

Blue gray walls, gray tile floors, blue gray couch with gold legs and white throw pillows, gray area rug under couch, small black metal end tables on each side with black and gold lamps

The sofa was created before the couch. Can you believe that? Well, says it is! “Sofa” was derived from the Arabic word sopha, which the French began to call sofa. The original design was a very classy and sophisticated look, adored by many women, but the term is modernly used to describe any cushioned and upholstered seat.

Can a Loveseat Still Be Called a Couch?

Living room with black leather couch and ottoman, tile floor with black and white area rug, green potted tree in corner, sliding glass dooor letting in sunlight

Yes, the loveseat can and is still referred to as a couch or sofa by today’s standards, though the clear and technical definitions you have already read above. Presently, we use the terms “couch” and “sofa” to describe almost every piece of furniture with two cushions or more, or upholstery.

What is a Settee?

Living room with wood floor, bright blue tuffed couch, white brick wall on upper half and brown wainscoating on lower half, cactus and other potted plants and trees on either side of room, standing lamp, wooden clock on the wall

Your eyes are not deceiving you, I promise. This is just a picture of a couch. “Settee” is just another name for a couch, or sofa, with enough space for seating two people or more. There is plenty of upholstery in the cushions and on the back, including the arms though at times they can be left as plain wood. A settee can even be considered a cushioned bench.

In fact, the settee started out as a sophisticatedly carved bench. Cushioning and upholstery was later added to improve the comfort of the furniture, on both the back and seating area, and that is how it has come to be the sofa we know today.

Although no one can say for certain, it is believed that the name “settee” comes from the English bench, long and wooden like described above, a settle. Yes, as in to settle down or relax. It’s quite the fitting name, and settee isn’t far from that original spelling!

What Types of Living Room Furniture Are There?

Modern living room with light gray walls, light wood  flooring, dark blue couch with matching chair on either side, small gold and black coffee table in the midde and an area rug in blue white and gold colors, wooden fllor lamp with white lamp shade

There is an abundance of furniture that is designed and sold purely for living rooms. This might mean for a small living room or one with ample floor space.

  • Loveseat
  • Armchair
  • Sectional
  • Ottoman
  • Futon

These five can be narrowed down into more specific types of sofa furniture depending on the different styles and designs they were made with. That can mean the shape of sofa backs, arms, frames, and even the legs – which only matters if the furniture has any of them! Not to mention, the size of the sofa, the amount of cushions, whether or not it reclines, has a footrest, or the individual qualities such as a barrier in the center that is used as an armrest and has cup holders.

Any of this can be specified down to a T, which is particularly true for anyone looking to design their own living room sofas or furniture. Some living rooms are peculiarly shaped, some too narrow, some too wide, and some with too much space or too little. The point is, the sofas you choose for large or small spaces, whether it be a loveseat, chair, or simple couch, can perfect or ruin the room without you even realizing it.

Finding the specific styles you like and are comfortable in when you sit is important! Even if it does turn out to be a camelback sofa with a Belgian roll armrest.