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Choosing a new sofa for your home is one of the biggest design decisions you have to make. However, it can be challenging to navigate all the different styles available on the Canadian sofa market. How do you choose a style that is right for you?

In this article, we have listed and explained the features of the common sofa styles in Canada so you will be able to tell the Chesterfields from the tuxedos and modular sofas from the sectionals. We hope that understanding sofa styles will help you narrow down your choice so you will end up with the perfect sofa for you.

Sofa, Couch, or Settee

Sofa, Couch, or Settee?

Is there a difference between sofas, couches, and settees? In modern usage, the distinctions between the three have blurred and they are often used interchangeably. Which word people use often depends on where they live and their family background. However, historically, they are different pieces of furniture.


The word sofa comes from the Arabic word “suffah”. A suffah was a bench or a raised platform that was covered with blankets and cushions. Over time, suffahs, or sofas, spread to other countries and evolved.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, sofas were associated with formal and luxurious seating in Europe. European sofas often had upholstered arms, high backs, and ornate woodwork. They were used in formal living spaces or parlours and designed to accommodate several people. Sofas were associated with the upper classes and were symbols of prestige.


The origins of the word couch can be traced to Old French and the word “couche”, which meant “to lie down”. Couches were designed for lounging and reclining. They were already used by the ancient civilizations of Rome, Greece, and Egypt for social gatherings and relaxation. They were made of stone or wood and had cushions for comfort.

Unlike sofas, in Europe, couches were considered informal seating furniture in the 17th and 18th centuries. A couch would normally have a lower backrest than a sofa and sometimes it would lack arms.


It is believed that the word settee originates from an Old English word “setl”, meaning a long seat with a backrest. Historically, settees were wooden benches that had high backs and arms. Most settees were designed to seat several people.

Over time, the designs of settees changed and by the 18th century, they were associated with elegant and ornate designs. Featuring decorative details, curved backs, and upholstered seats, settees were commonly used in salons and formal drawing rooms.

Sofa Styles in Canada

Sofa Styles in Canada

Since the days of sofas, couches, and settees, sofas have evolved further and today’s consumers can choose from a wide range of styles. So whether you call it a sofa, couch, or settee, let’s take a look at the different styles you can choose from.


Camelback sofas are so-called because their backs resemble the back of a camel. Depending on the style, a camelback sofa can have one, two, or three humps on the backrest. They usually have tight backs, meaning the cushions are attached to the back. The humped backrest gives these sofas a more traditional look.

Chaise Longue

A chaise longue translates to long chair which describes these seats very well. They are upholstered sofas that are designed to be long enough to support your legs. Unlike other styles, they are not designed for several seaters but for one person to lounge on. A chaise longue will always have a back and zero to two arms. A traditional chaise longue will have a curved shape, while more modern designs will be more upright.


Chesterfield sofas are very traditional, with low, deep seats and deep tufting. Typically, the arms are rolled and they curve outward. The back of the sofa and the armrests are the same height. Classic Chesterfields are most commonly made with leather with nailhead trims.


Daybeds are usually simple designs with high backs and sides and a twin mattress. Some daybeds may be extended to make space for two sleepers. Most daybeds have no cushions on the back. They are not often chosen for family living rooms but are more commonly used in spare rooms that double as, for example, an office and a guest room.

English Roll Arm

English roll-arm sofas have deep seats and statement legs. The arms are low-lying and comfortable to lean against. Most English roll-arm sofas have loose seat cushions, while the back cushions are typically attached to the frame. The silhouette is traditional but also relaxed and inviting.

Knole Settee

The first Knole settees were first made in the 1600s. They resembled a wide throne that could seat two people. It was one of the first upholstered sofas. The original Knole settee can still be seen in Knole House, which the design was named after, in England. Modern Knole settees have deep seats and adjustable sides which are the same height as the back.


Lawson sofas have high backs, which usually match the depth of the seat. The arms are most often rolled and not as high as the back. The design is similar to the English roll-arms sofa, but the Lawson has chunkier arms and the back cushions are loose. The Lawson sofas are usually skirted and you can give it a traditional feel with a tailored skirt or a country feel with a ruffled skirt.

Mid-Century Modern

Sofas that are described as mid-century modern have tapered legs and sleek silhouettes. Some mid-century modern sofas can have a wooden plinth base but there are no ornate details on these sofas. The seat in these sofas that combine form and function, is often closer to the ground than, for example, in Chesterfield or tuxedo sofas.

Modular Sofas

Modular sofas are the most versatile sofas around. They are made up of modules that can be arranged in several different ways. You may choose to attach the pieces together or use them as stand-alone seats. How many modules a modular sofa will have depends on your space and preferences.


Recamier sofas are backless sofas. If you are looking for a modern version of a recamier, search for backless sofas. Traditionally, recamier sofas had raised, scrolled ends with nothing in the middle, which is where the term backless sofa comes from. The foot end of a recamier is usually lower than the top end.


Reclining sofas have mechanisms that allow you to elevate the base of the sofa and turn it into a footrest. They also have backs that recline and allow you to lean back further. The mechanism can be manual or motorised. While they come in several different styles and fabrics, many reclining sofas have more traditional-looking designs.

Sectional Sofas

Sectional sofas are not traditional one-piece sofas but come in units. Usually, these sofas contain two or three units that are arranged in an L or U shape. L-shaped sectional sofas typically have a chaise on one side, while U-shaped sofas can have a chaise on both sides. The arrangement of the units is prearranged, meaning they cannot be swapped around.

Sofa Bed

A sofa bed, sometimes called a sleeper sofa, is a versatile piece of furniture that can be transformed into a bed. While the daybed is a type of sofa bed, there are several others such as futons, foldouts, and pop-ups. Many sectional sofas can also feature a sofa bed section.


A sofa-in-a-box is a home-assembly sofa that comes in compact packaging. Because they are easy to transport, they are a great option for people who live in apartments or houses with narrow doorways or corridors. However, they need to be assembled at home, which is a drawback for some people. While they come in a range of styles, they usually feature foam cushions that can be packaged small without damaging them.


Like the Chesterfield, tuxedo sofas have the same height armrests and backs. However, the design of tuxedo sofas is more streamlined and modern with the arms perpendicular to the floor. The back pillows on tuxedo sofas can be loose or attached and they often have matching bolster pillows. Many modern sofas fall within the tuxedo category.

How to Choose the Right Sofa for Your Home

How to Choose the Right Sofa for Your Home?

With so many sofa styles to choose from, you can choose one that matches your style and decor. For a more modern design, you can pick, for example, a tuxedo, sectional, or modular sofa. If your style is more traditional, camelback and English roll-arm sofas are good examples of traditional sofa designs.

For more versatility, you can choose a sofa bed, a sectional, or a modular sofa. If you need to get your sofa into an apartment or through narrow staircases or doorways, consider getting a sofa-in-a-box.

As well as the style, you need to think about the material and the colour of the sofa. Leather sofas can add some luxury to the room, while velvet sofas are soft and inviting. Neutral colours are easy to match to most colour schemes and you can add some colour with cushions and throws. Alternatively, choose a bold colour if you would like your sofa to be more of a focal point.

Think about where the sofa is going to go and who will be using it. For example, if your sofa is going to be used in the main living room and by the whole family, you can go bigger as long as you do not overcrowd the room. On the other hand, if you live in a studio apartment or want a sofa for your bedroom, for example, it is better to go smaller.

If you have children or pets, you will want to choose materials that are hard-wearing, resistant to stains, and better at hiding marks. Think of dark colours or using throws to protect your sofa. You might also like to consider a sofa with removable covers, which can be washed or changed.

Do your research when you are ready to get a new sofa. Visit furniture stores to see how different styles look in real life and read reviews to find out more about the best sofas in Canada.


Today, sofas come in a variety of styles, ranging from traditional to modern designs. You can find sofas that come in one piece, in several pieces, in a box, or double up as a guest bed. The variety of styles and designs makes it easy to find a style that suits your decor and personal preferences.

As well as the style of the soda, when you are choosing a new sofa for your home, you need to think about what your space can accommodate and who will be using the sofa. Even if you are ordering your sofa online, try to visit some furniture stores to see the different styles in full size. It is also a good idea to read reviews before you make your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Today the terms sofa and couch are used to describe the same piece of furniture. Often the use of the words sofa and couch are linked to regional and cultural norms. However, historically, the two were different. Sofas were more formal, with upholstered seats, while couches were less formal and had more casual designs.

Sectional and modular sofar are similar in the sense that they are both made with separate pieces. However, sectional sofa pieces can only be used in a predetermined order, while modular sofa units can be arranged in several different ways or used independently. Sectional sofas are usually made from two or three pieces, while modular sofas can have any number of pieces depending on the space and personal preferences.

Sofa-in-a-box means that the sofa is delivered in pieces that can be packaged in boxes for easy delivery. Because they are shipped in pieces, the sofas require assembling at home. However, they are usually fairly straightforward to put together and come with all the necessary tools.