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What is a Divan?

A divan may be upholstered in suede.
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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2014
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The term divan is often used interchangeably with couch or sofa, but more specifically refers to a couch with pillows for its back and arms.

A standard or traditional couch is designed with three seat cushions, cushioned arms or sides and a cushioned back. The back might be domed or square, but it extends high enough to support the entire back of a person seated on it. A divan can also have three seat cushions, but in most cases the back is very low and unpadded. The back serves instead to hold two or more large pillows in place. A divan that features two large pillows is used like a normal couch and the pillows resemble rectangular cushions. Other divan models hold several large throw pillows that encircle the back and sides and can be arranged for comfort as needed. The pillows on a divan account for the height of the couch and its back support. The sides are low and unpadded like the back, with smaller matching throw pillows used in lieu of arms.

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The pillowy look of a divan makes it very inviting. Some people prefer being able to arrange the pillows to suit their comfort, in contrast to a standard couch that can only be used one way. Also, if lying on a divan for a nap, a good book, or to watch a little TV, there are plenty of pillows handy to prop up your head or feet. Another advantage of the divan is that it is easier to move than a traditional couch because of its low profile frame. Pillows can be removed and packed separately. However, some people argue that a traditional couch provides greater back support.

Like other types of couches, a divan can be purchased in a wide variety of colors and fabrics, including leather, suede and faux suede. Sofa bed divans are also available.

Generally, a divan is less expensive than a comparable couch, as pillows make up a large portion of it, eliminating the need for the kind of labor that goes into a traditional couch. If you like the flexibility and price, you may just become a divan lover yourself.

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