Difference Wiki

Divan vs. Sofa: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 3, 2023
A divan is a couch-like piece without a back or arms, often used as a seat or bed, while a sofa is a cushioned bench with a back and arms for seating.

Key Differences

A divan is a piece of furniture that is traditionally used in the Middle East as a seating area, and it has been adapted in Western furniture as a type of couch or bed without back support or armrests. It is often placed against a wall with cushions for back support. Sofas, on the other hand, are designed with built-in back support and armrests and are a staple in most living rooms for comfortable seating.
Divans are versatile pieces that can be used as a bed, particularly in their original context, or as a low couch when adorned with cushions and throws. They may also have a wooden or metal frame with a mattress-like seating surface. Sofas are primarily used for seating and are not typically designed to double as a bed, though sofa beds are a specific kind of sofa that can transform into a bed.
In modern décor, divans can add a touch of elegance and simplicity to a room, often being used in more minimalist or bohemian settings. They can be accessorized with large pillows and are sometimes combined with a bolster to lean against. Sofas are usually the central element of a living room set and are chosen to provide both comfort and style. They often dictate the aesthetic of the room.
The choice between a divan and a sofa may also reflect a difference in lifestyle or cultural preference. A divan could be preferred in a lounging area designed for relaxation or even meditation, promoting a more laid-back atmosphere. Sofas represent the more conventional and structured approach to living room furniture, often accommodating more people and providing a traditional look.
Both divans and sofas serve the purpose of seating, but each brings its own unique style and function to a living space. Whether choosing a divan for its chic, adaptable qualities or a sofa for its comfort and familiarity, both can be tailored to fit the design and functional requirements of the user's home.

Comparison Chart


Typically has no back or arms.
Includes a back and arms.


Used as seating or a bed, often against a wall.
Primarily used for seating.


Requires additional cushions for back support.
Comes with built-in back support.


Minimalist and can be bohemian.
Can range from modern to traditional.


May have a lower profile and less structure.
Usually more structured and raised off the floor.

Divan and Sofa Definitions


A long low sofa without a back or arms, typically placed against a wall.
The spacious room was furnished with an ornate divan draped in rich fabrics.


A piece of furniture for sitting, fully upholstered, and designed for multiple people.
Their velvet sofa was the centerpiece of the apartment.


A divan can serve as a narrow bed, especially in Middle Eastern decor.
Guests can sit or nap on the divan in the study.


Sofas are typically the primary seating arrangement in a living room.
The large sofa accommodated the entire family during movie nights.


A divan often acts as a lounge seat in a casual setting.
The sunroom’s divan was her favorite spot to read and relax.


A sofa is a comfortable seating option with cushions, a back, and arms.
They just bought a plush new sofa for their living room.


A divan in a guest room can be used as a seating area or a bed.
They set up a divan in the office to accommodate overnight guests.


Some sofas, known as sofa beds, can be unfolded or converted into a bed.
They unfolded the sofa bed for the unexpected guests.


A piece of furniture used for seating, similar to a couch but without back support.
She arranged colorful pillows on the divan to create a cozy corner.


A sofa may come in sections, known as a sectional, to provide versatile seating arrangements.
The new sectional sofa provided ample seating for the spacious den.


A long backless sofa, especially one set with pillows against a wall.


A long upholstered seat typically with a back and arms.


A counting room, tribunal, or public audience room in Muslim countries.


Are divans comfortable to sit on?

With proper cushioning, divans can be very comfortable.

What styles do sofas come in?

Sofas come in various styles, from contemporary to traditional.

Are there different types of sofas?

Yes, including Chesterfields, sectionals, and loveseats.

What is a divan used for?

A divan is used for seating or as a bed, with cushions for support.

Do divans come with storage options?

Some divans have built-in storage underneath the seat.

Can a sofa be converted into a bed?

Yes, if it's a sofa bed, it can fold out into a bed.

Can I customize a divan?

Yes, many stores offer custom fabrics and sizes.

What’s the average lifespan of a sofa?

A good quality sofa can last from 7 to 15 years or more.

What materials are sofas made of?

Sofas can be made of leather, fabric, velvet, and more.

Can divans be used outdoors?

Some divans are designed for outdoor use with weather-resistant materials.

Is a divan suitable for formal settings?

It can be, especially when styled with luxurious fabrics.

How many people can sit on a sofa?

Depending on the size, sofas can seat anywhere from two to seven people or more.

Are divans easy to move?

They are often lighter than sofas, making them easier to move.

What sizes do sofas come in?

Sizes range from compact loveseats to large sectionals.

Is a divan a good choice for a small apartment?

Its compact design can be ideal for limited spaces.

Can I use a sofa in a commercial space?

Yes, many sofas are designed for commercial durability.

Are divans more affordable than sofas?

They can be, due to their simpler design and construction.

How do I choose the right divan for my space?

Consider the size of your room, decor style, and the divan’s intended use.

How do I maintain a sofa’s shape and comfort?

Regularly fluff cushions and rotate them for even wear.

How do I clean a sofa?

It depends on the material, but most require vacuuming and spot-cleaning.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons