An armless sofa is most commonly referred to as a settee. A settee is defined as an upholstered seat for two or more people, having a back but no arms. Other names for an armless sofa include a loveseat or coupe sofa.
Quick Facts on Armless Sofas
- Armless sofas typically seat two people and have a back but no arms.
- Common names for armless sofas are settee, loveseat, and coupe sofa.
- Armless sofas are great space-savers and can fit into small areas.
- They have an intimate feel and are cozy for cuddling and conversations.
- Armless sofas come in many styles like contemporary, transitional, and traditional.
What Distinguishes an Armless Sofa?
An armless sofa, also known as a settee, can be distinguished from other types of sofas in a few key ways:
- Lack of arms – The main identifying feature is the lack of arms on either side.
- Compact size – Armless sofas are smaller in width compared to regular sofas.
- Intimate seating – The lack of arms gives an intimate feel since people seated are closer together.
- Space-saving – Their narrow design allows them to fit into smaller areas and spaces.
- Comfortable for two – Armless sofas are optimized for seating two people comfortably.
The absence of arms is the hallmark of this type of sofa. An armless sofa will also typically have a shallow depth and width to accommodate two people sitting close together. The back and support for an armless sofa will be similar to a regular sofa.
History and Origins
Armless sofas have been around for centuries and can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Here is some background on their origins and history:
- Daybeds in ancient Egypt over 5,000 years ago were early prototypes of the armless sofa.
- Intricately decorated settees were popular in the 1600-1700s French court.
- Settees with exposed wooden frames were introduced in the early 18th century.
- Upholstered armless sofas emerged in the late 1800s after the invention of coil springs.
- Mid-century modern style settees became popular in the 1950s.
Though armless sofas have evolved in terms of style and construction, the basic form and purpose has remained largely unchanged over history. Ancient civilizations recognized the appeal of compact, armless seating for two people to sit close together and converse.
Popular Styles of Armless Sofas
Armless sofas are available in a wide array of styles to match any room’s decor. Here are some of the most popular styles:
Contemporary armless sofas have clean lines and a sleek, modern look. They come in bold colors and fabrics like leather. Platform bases and chrome legs are common contemporary features.
Transitional settees blend elements of traditional and contemporary styles. They often have streamlined shapes with sloped arms and neutral upholstery.
Traditional armless sofas have classic details like rolled arms, nail heads, turned feet, and floral fabrics. Curved silhouettes and skirted bottoms are other traditional design cues.
Casual armless sofas have relaxed forms and practical fabrics like cotton, linen, or microfiber. Simple legs and loose back cushions are typical casual style traits.
Tufted armless sofas feature buttons punched into the upholstery. They have a classic, ornamental look fitting formal spaces.
There are also modern twists on these styles like mid-century armless sofas with angular frames or rustic styles with reclaimed wood. The options are vast for personalizing an armless sofa.
Advantages of Armless Sofas
There are many excellent benefits to choosing an armless sofa, such as:
- Space-saving – Great for small spaces, apartments, dens.
- Versatile placement – Can be floated in a room or placed against a wall.
- Intimate seating – Encourages closeness and connection.
- Compact size – Fits through narrow halls, doorways.
- Cost-effective – Usually costs less than larger sofas.
- Easy to customize – Change look with slipcovers, throws.
The compact footprint of an armless sofa enables flexibility in room planning and layouts. Their cozy size also creates inviting spaces for relaxing or entertaining guests.
Where to Place an Armless Sofa
One great advantage of armless sofas is their versatility of placement within a room. Here are some of the top placement options:
Position an armless sofa in the center of a room to divide the space. The back can face the entryway or view.
Against a Wall
Push against a wall, leaving walking space behind. Flank with floor lamps or accent chairs.
Sit across from chairs or another sofa to create a conversation area.
In a Corner
Tuck into a corner to use awkward small spaces.
Dividing a Room
Place between spaces like living and dining rooms to delineate areas.
Provide seating in an entryway, mudroom or foyer.
The adaptability of armless sofas lets them work in ways regular sofas can’t. Take advantage of the flexibility in your layout.
How Big Should an Armless Sofa Be?
When choosing an armless sofa, consider the ideal size based on your room and needs:
- Loveseat size – 48-66 inches wide. Best for very small rooms.
- Apartment size – 66-72 inches wide. Fits well in studio apartments.
- Standard size – 72-84 inches wide. Accommodates two average adults.
- Oversized – Over 84 inches wide. Provides very roomy seating.
Measure available floor space before purchasing. Allow for walking clearance of ideally 36 inches or more. Standard armless sofas work well for most homes, giving two people cozy seating without overwhelming a room.
How to Style an Armless Sofa
There are many ways to stylize an armless sofa to complement your room:
- Layer throws and pillows for color and texture.
- Add side tables for drinks, lamps and accessories.
- Up the comfort factor with ottomans for kicking up feet.
- Incorporate artwork above the sofa.
- Pair with accent chairs or benches.
- Use an area rug to define the space.
- Float in the center of the room.
- Include plush cushions.
When styling, make sure any additional furnishings don’t obstruct walking paths or traffic flow. Place items like side tables within arm’s reach. Give the sofa breathing room on each side.
Best Fabrics for Armless Sofas
Consider performance and lifestyle when selecting upholstery fabrics for an armless sofa:
- Leather or Faux Leather – Great durability and easy cleaning.
- Cotton – Natural fiber that breathes well.
- Linen – Casual look that resists pilling.
- Microfiber – Affordable with family-friendly resistance.
- Polyester – Variety of textures and patterns.
- Wool – Natural material with insulating properties.
- Velvet – Luxurious look but requires vigilance.
Test out fabric swatches. A slim armless sofa shows more wear and stains over time. Performance-type microfibers or leather are good choices for longevity and kid-friendliness.
Settee vs Loveseat – What’s the Difference?
The terms settee and loveseat are often used interchangeably for armless sofas. However, there are some subtle differences between the two:
- Can seat up to 3-4 people.
- Often has exposed wooden legs.
- Upholstered in lighter fabrics.
- Less padding and cushioning.
- Straight back and no arms.
- Intended for only two people.
- Fully upholstered base and legs.
- Available in heavier fabrics.
- Deep seat cushions.
- Curved backrest.
The settee evokes a more delicate, ornamental feel while the loveseat is made for comfort and cuddling. However, today most armless sofas are called loveseats even when in a settee style.
Tips for Buying an Armless Sofa
Here are handy tips for choosing the perfect armless sofa for your space:
- Measure room dimensions and entryways.
- Think about your decorating style.
- Consider your lifestyle and needs.
- Test fabrics for durability.
- Assess seat cushion comfort and support.
- Imagine sofa placement.
- Check reviews from other customers.
- Coordinate with other furnishings.
Make sure to sit in display models at furniture stores. An armless sofa should be roomy enough for two but not overwhelm a space. Take your time deciding and choose quality construction for longevity.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are other names for an armless sofa?
Other common names for armless sofas include settee, loveseat, coupe sofa, two-seater sofa or couch, and tuxedo sofa.
Why choose an armless sofa?
The top reasons to choose an armless sofa include space-saving size, versatile placement, intimate feel, affordable cost, and design flexibility.
How long do armless sofas last?
With proper care, a quality armless sofa should last 7-15 years on average. Factors affecting longevity include frame construction, cushion materials, and fabric durability.
What colors work best for small spaces?
Lighter neutral colors like tan, light grey and soft greens or blues visually expand smaller spaces. Bold patterns and dark colors tend to make rooms feel more confined.
Should I get a 2 or 3-seater sofa?
For an armless sofa, a 2-seater is recommended for average size spaces. Go up to a 3-seater if you have a large open concept room or entertain larger groups regularly. The extra seating will come in handy.
How much space do you need behind a sofa?
Ideally allow 36-48 inches behind a sofa for comfortable circulation. At minimum, provide room for a walkway about 24 inches wide behind and around sofas.
Can you put an armless sofa in a bedroom?
Absolutely. An armless sofa adds convenient extra seating to a master or guest bedroom. Place at the foot of the bed for a lounge area or use to fill an empty wall space.
An armless sofa, also referred to as a settee or loveseat, is an excellent seating option for compact spaces. With an intimate feel and versatile placement, armless sofas can fit into any size room. Their cozy dimensions are suited for close seating while the stylish designs match all decor types. By following the tips provided, you’re sure to find the perfect armless sofa to fill your space with comfort and function.