Sofa or Couch?

Furniture, decor, window treatments and even the names of rooms themselves – there’s a world of terminology that has evolved into a sort of lingo that is widely accepted. But for designers, it’s part of our job to know the difference between things like a sofa and a couch. We’ve narrowed down some of the most misunderstood terms, so you can impress everyone the next time you talk about that new cocktail table, drapery or powder room.

Sofa vs. Couch

The difference: A sofa has a full back and arms, whereas a couch does not.

Left: sofa; Right couch

Cocktail table vs. Coffee table

The difference: A cocktail table is lower, typically ranging from 11 to 18 inches tall. Coffee tables are 18 to 24 inches tall.

Left: cocktail table; Right: coffee table

Drapery vs. Curtains

The difference: Drapery is higher quality, typically featuring rings or pleats. Curtains are mostly sheer, not lined, and generally include grommets or pocket rods.

Left: drapery; Right: curtains

Media cabinet vs. Console

The difference: A media cabinet is a low, very sturdy piece of furniture that houses electronics and can comfortably hold a TV on its surface. A console is tall, narrow and rectangular – meant to go against a wall.

Left: media cabinet; Right: console

Side table vs. Accent table

The difference: Side tables are 24 to 30 inches tall, meant to be placed next to furniture pieces with arms. An accent table is smaller in scale, under 24 inches tall.

Left: side table; Right: accent table

Powder room vs. Bathroom

The difference: A powder room contains only a toilet and a sink – generally used for guests.

Left: powder room; Right: bathroom