Is it "Couch" or "Sofa?" Which Goes Best with "Potato?"

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Blaine Wieland, President of Home Reserve, a fourth-generation furniture company, settles the long standing debate about whether itÂ?s "a couch" or "a sofa".

When someone calls their furniture a 'couch' I assume that they must be a comfort driven person

"When someone calls their furniture a 'couch' I assume that they must be a comfort driven person," he explains. "The word conjures up images of a sleepy Saturday afternoon or a quiet evening with a book. On the other hand, when someone calls their furniture a 'sofa'it seems to imply that they think in terms of design and how everything works together in their decorating plan."

But besides personal style, which is the right term to use? The answer is sofa. The reason is simply because couches are not sofas. A couch is the armless variety of furniture that one would have seen in the Victorian period, as in "fainting couch." It was a place for the ladies wearing those tight fitting corsets which restricted breathing to be able to "sit a spell." The root of the word from the French has to do with "to lie down."

In our more modern times, we've added arms, taken off the legs, and call it a sofa, which is in keeping with the Arabic roots of that word which implies a meaning along the lines of "a bench" or someplace meant for reclining or sitting, but not laying.

Blaine added, "So there it is. Here in America what most folks have in their living room is a sofa. They may call it a couch but a sofa by any other name is still…a sofa. Use this information with caution. You can go ahead and feel superior when you overhear someone using the wrong term but don’t point it out. It won’t do to go around irritating all the 'sofa potatoes.'"

Home Reserve, LLC makes ready-to-assemble sofas, loveseats, chairs and ottomans. Sold directly to customers via the Internet, this new furniture category offers built-in storage, changeable covers in 60 fabrics and shipping in 5 to 10 business days via UPS. Their web address is

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