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6 Alternatives to Couches

Humans have loved sitting on couches even from way back 2000 BC. The Egyptian pharaohs and the nobles in Rome particularly enjoyed the pleasure and the privilege of the couch while the lower class citizens were confined to stone benches. Unfortunately, the end of the Roman Empire in the 5th century also wiped out the existence of the couch. For almost 1,000 years, humans only used the trunks, benches, stools and beds for seating more than one person. By the turn of 16th century, however, European artisans began to reimagine and reinvent the couch. The popularity of couches rode along the Industrial revolution and didn’t take that long again until it became a common piece of household furniture for all classes.

Couches are staple to the living room. But not all living space has room for the traditional three-piece suite and not everyone is willing to invest in one. That’s why there are viable alternatives you can consider to keep your living room cozy and stylish.

Related: Living Rooms with White Couches | Living Rooms with Gray Couches | Types of Low-Seated Sofas | Top Sofa Brands

1. Loveseat

Black loveseat with a rubberwood frame and a button-tufted faux leather upholstery.Source: Hayneedle


  • They generally cost less to buy than a traditional sofa because they are so much smaller.
  • Due to their smaller size, they are a lot easier to move around the room. They can easily fit through a doorway and be moved to a new location inside the home, or even to a new home without a lot of hassle.
  • They’re great when you want extra seating but don’t have all of the necessary space to devote to a full sofa, such as in a smaller living room, bedroom, or reading nook.
  • Typically, you will be able to find a love seat for less than the cost of a full sofa because they are so much smaller.


  • They are not a great option if you like to nap during the day or lie down in the evening when watching TV, as they are just too small for most people to do this comfortably.
  • While they work very well in seating groupings, they don’t offer enough space to sit when used just by themselves.
  • In the wrong-sized room they will look too small, so homeowners have to be careful with proportions when placing a loveseat in their home.

2. Armchairs

Blue arm chairs with double cushion seats and walnut-stained rubberwood legs.Source: Hayneedle


  • Because they are smaller, they can easily fit into tighter spaces in your home without appearing too cramped. They have less visual weight than other seating options, and will generally keep a room looking lighter and less cluttered.
  • Armchairs can easily be reupholstered if you want to change the appearance and décor of your home or living room without going over budget. Instead of larger sofas, which can cost a lot of money to be reupholstered, because there is such a small amount of fabric used on armchairs, it’s not cost-prohibitive to do this.
  • There are a number of seating arrangements you can make with a pair of armchairs instead of using a large sofa. This is especially useful if you have a living room that is an odd shape, or has a feature like a large fireplace that you want to focus on.
  • Guests will be able to easily turn their seating so they can enjoy the conversation and not feel left out.
  • If necessary, an armchair can be moved to the bedroom or another room to get it out of the way if you need to open up more space in the family or living room. This makes it possible to play games, spread out a large project you are working on, or just open up the space for a party without a lot of hassle.


  • Unless you are careful about the armchairs you buy, they can end up being rather uncomfortable to sit on.
  • They have to be used in a seating arrangement, otherwise they simply won’t offer enough space for guests.
  • If the armchair isn’t comfortable enough, it can be difficult to use a pillow to support the back as they aren’t generally very deep with extra space.

3. Daybed

Handcrafted daybed in an antique silver color scheme.Source: Houzz


  • Daybeds come complete with a full backboard that runs along the back of the piece of furniture, which offers support during the day if you want to use it more like a traditional sofa.
  • With armrests on the side, daybeds can even feel like an armchair, giving the user enough support to lean up against them while they sit.
  • There are some daybeds which offer built-in storage underneath. While regular sofas and loveseats don’t have enough room under them to store any items, this is a great way to squeeze out extra storage space if it’s a little tight in your home.
  • Unlike love seats, which are too small for someone to lie down on comfortably, daybeds are designed for sleeping, which means they are perfect for taking a nap, resting when you don’t feel great, or stretching out when you are enjoying a movie.
  • This is a very affordable way to get extra seating as well as a place to sleep in your home.
  • Because they use standard size mattresses, you won’t have to worry about buying a new one if you ever want to update the style of your daybed.


  • A lightweight back on the daybed will need to be up against the wall for support, which limits where you can place the bed in the room.
  • They are more difficult to move around the room due to the weight of the mattress, so it’s not as easy to rearrange your home on a whim with this piece of furniture.
  • Without extra pillows, the daybed can be very uncomfortable to sit on and use like a sofa and it is very difficult if you like to lean back while still having your feet touch the floor.
  • Most versions do not come assembled, and it can be very tricky to assemble a daybed by yourself.

4. Banquette

Dark gray banquette with a high bacrkrest.Source: Hayneedle


  • This is ideal if you have a very narrow living room that can’t hold larger pieces of furniture, but still want a place for guests to be able to sit.
  • Some options come with storage under the bench, which is great for stashing books, magazines, toys, or even blankets and making it easy to quickly tidy up the living room.
  • Can be used later with a dining room table if you need additional seating.
  • Easy to move around to the location where you need more seating.
  • Perfect for small spaces such as a bay window where you want extra seating to enjoy the outside view, but don’t want to block the whole area with a large piece of furniture.


  • Not comfortable for stretching out and lounging and can be difficult to sit on for long periods of time.
  • Most don’t have arms, which can make it uncomfortable for the person using it as there is no way to lean.

5. Sectional Sofa

Reversible sectional sofa with medium firmness.Source: Wayfair


  • Unlike a traditional sofa where the piece of furniture is straight, making it difficult for people to sit on it and talk to each other easily, sectionals come in a L or U-shape that allows everyone to interact. This is especially important for homeowners who love to entertain.
  • Instead of having to buy multiple sofas, loveseats, or armchairs to get the seating you need, this one piece of furniture will take care of all of the seating needs for your living room or family room.
  • It can be pushed into the corner of the room to maximize the space, or pulled out from the wall to give the room a more unique look and a focal point.
  • Most are covered in either microfiber or leather and are very comfortable to sit on as well as easy to clean. This makes them ideal for a busy home with kids who may spill while they are sitting.


  • Just because you bought a sectional sofa that worked perfectly in your current home does not mean it will easily fit into a new home, which often means you will have to get rid of it and buy a new one.
  • It can be almost impossible to rearrange the furniture in your living room when you have a sectional sofa, as there may be only one way that all of the furniture will really work well together.
  • These pieces are incredibly heavy, making them very difficult to move from one room to another. In addition, because of their shape, they are very hard to get through a doorway without either one damaging the doorframe or having to take the door off of the hinges to create more room.
  • Due to their appearance, they don’t work well in a formal living room.
  • It’s important to pick a color and design that you love, as it’s such a large piece of furniture and will probably be the focal point of the room. The wrong upholstery decision is not only costly to repair, but can also create a look in your room that you don’t like.

6. Convertible Sofa

Blue convertible sofa made out of microfiber and pinewood frames.Source: Wayfair


  • While regular sofas only work to provide seating during the day and an uncomfortable place to rest during the night, convertible options are great for overnight guests when you don’t have a dedicated guest room or want to set up an air mattress for them to use.
  • Available in different colors, patterns, and styles, it’s easy to match the décor of your room.
  • They provide a foundation piece for the rest of the family or living room to be planned around.


  • While they combine the best of both beds and sofas, they are not nearly as comfortable as either a true bed or sofa due to the springs inside the unit itself and the way they fold up.
  • Before folding them up after use, it’s imperative that they are well cleaned or they can develop a moldy and musty smell.
  • Because of the built-in mattress, this piece of furniture is extremely heavy and difficult to move.