The History of the Sofa

As modern American families, we spend a lot of time the most central piece of furniture in the home: the couch. But has it always been this way? Certainly Adam and Eve didn't have a couch, and you can forget about cavemen hauling sofas into their shelters. So where does it come from?

As modern American families, we spend a lot of time the most central piece of furniture in the home: the couch. But has it always been this way? Certainly Adam and Eve didn't have a couch, and you can forget about cavemen hauling sofas into their shelters. So where does it come from?

Evidence points to seventh century Greece. In fact, the Greek word for couch is "Kline", which means "to lean" or "to recline". Four ornately carved legs held up the ancient couch that was typically used by more than one person at a time. From here we move on to Rome, where the couch quickly became a status symbol of the elite.

By the Middle Ages, couches had become scarce. They were typically only found in the French court. We also get the word "couch" from the French word "coucher" meaning "to lie down".

The popularity of the couch took off in the 18th century, and people started to refer to it as a "sofa"which comes from an ancient Arabic word for "cushion". Sofas were strewn about living rooms, where people lazed about in a most shockingly informal way.

The sofa made its way to the United States after Thomas Chippendale, the famous London furniture maker, published a furniture book. Now everyone was getting a couch, not just the wealthy. In the meantime, back in Europe, the chaise lounge was becoming popular.

In the 1960s, the couch took on a whole new look with straight lines and bold designs as furniture makers used their creativity to design couches that reflected self-expression and the times. Today, designers continue to design couches that fit a variety of styles, personalities, and functions. Check out this slideshow to read more.