Couch vs. Sofa

Couch vs. Sofa - Dixie & Grace

In my first year of studying the decorative arts, we were instructed to never use the word "couch".  The proper word is "sofa".

There was a time, when l heard the word couch, I would cringe. A beautifully well-made upholstered piece that seats more than two, should always be called a "sofa".

The name "couch" brings to mind an over-scaled, poor quality, piece of furniture.  One that is roughly made, with inferior plywood, inexpensive foam and a low quality fabric that is held together with a toxic latex backing because the threads are so loosely woven. 

If your budget requires the purchase of a "comfy couch" in a low price point, I would strongly suggest making sure it is from a manufacturer that offers non-toxic low VOC in their foams, glues, dyes and other materials, and, I might add, not produced by exploited workers in another country, which seems to be the case from one of America's most famous retail shops.  A sofa may look beautiful on the outside, however, always "look under the hood".  An article in Sunset Magazine describes one woman's experience in purchasing a sofa that caused allergic side effects from the "off gassing of toxic materials". 

Caveat Emptor: I can not recommend a sofa from any of the large online retailers or retail big box stores. The value is less than one quarter of the price because the majority of expenses from these companies are invested in creating the "smoke & mirrors" image, i.e. beautiful room images, showrooms and catalogs. This is why they can offer large discounts. Big Production Big Showroom Big Prices and Big Discounts to make you feel like you got a Big Deal! There are a few new online shops for sofas that are priced at $2,000.00 and under and claim to be made from  materials that do not contain harmful chemicals.

Here are a few manufacturer's that claim to be made in America in a medium price ranch. These sofa's are made in America and are available in small boutique furniture shops or from interior designers and average $2,500 to $ 5,000.00 depending on the fabric.

  1. Lee Industries
  2. Four Seasons
  3. Lee Jofa and Kravet

If you are looking to make an investment in a high quality sofa, you will need to purchase through an interior designer [ASID] as the most beautiful bench made hand-crafted furnishings are available through trade only showrooms. 

Here are the American made companies of the highest quality often specified by leading interior designers:

  1. O'Henry House Ltd
  2. Donghia
  3. Gregorius Pineo
  4. Dennis & Leen

 A custom sofa by O. Henry House Ltd "Luxembourg" available on Dixie & Grace. O'Henry Sofa with custom fabric in a woven cotton blend by Jasper

O. Henry House Ltd Sofa and Chairs in a Florida home courtesy of Coastal Living.

Publications of O.Henry House Ltd. courtesy of their website.

O. Henry House Ltd. sofa in the Spanish apartment of well know designer Michael Smith.

Before purchasing take the time to read a few reviews from Consumer Affairs as in this example regarding Restoration Hardware or Sitejabber reviews of One Kings Lane. 

I, of course, always recommend consulting with a professional interior designer and call or email Dixie and Grace with questions regarding products from our shop.