Whatever it is for you – sofa, settee or couch –it will definitely be one of the furniture items that you like the most. Where does the story begin for the sofa? Do you know the history of the very furniture that we rely on every day? The story of the sofa is longer than you think.
During the mid-20th century, a journalist suggested that those who called it a sofa were upper class and the words couch or settee were used by those who formed the lower class. There is no real proof that this keeps happening and it doesn’t matter what you call this beautiful piece of furniture that sees so much family life that it’s practically a family member.
The words we use to describe the shape of the seat come from different languages and have slightly different meanings. The word sofa comes from the Arabic word ‘sofa’ which means the part of the floor that is elevated with pillows and rugs. The word coach has its roots in French with ‘coucher’ which means lying down. Settee comes from the verb ‘to settle’ and implies that one must be calm and comfortable.
No one really knows for sure when the sofa was first made, who might have come up with the idea or where the first sofa was used. What we know is that this seating style has been around for thousands of years. In the distant past, they were synonymous with wealth and status, because the rich were the only ones who were able to relax in that kind of luxury.
At some point during the industrial revolution of the 1800s, making such a seat became easier and more accessible. Sofas become cheaper to produce and thus, began to appear in middle-class homes. What we know today as a living room sofa was being formed during the industrial revolution. This gave birth to a completely new industry and manufacturers were very interested in developing new ways to increase comfort. For example, a spring was added to the sofa in 1850, making it instantly more comfortable.
It still took another century more for the sofa to become a necessity in most homes. The 20th century witnessed an increase in the use of the couch for ordinary people, when almost every household started to relax at night and initially listened to the wireless, and then watched television. The mid-20th century saw a big leap forward in innovation in design and production, giving us many iconic furniture pieces, such as the Florence Knoll Sofa for example, available at https://www.pash-classics.com/living/sofas/florence-knoll-sofa
The variety of sofas today is amazing when you think that they used to belong only to the rich and famous. They come in all shapes, sizes, materials, and colours. Then there are all variations on traditional sofas, such as mattresses, sofa beds, reclining chairs, and daybeds. Whatever your personal style and taste, there’s a sofa that’s perfect for everyone.