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What is a Loveseat?

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  • Written By: Wanda Albano
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2014
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A love seat, sometimes spelled "loveseat," traditionally means a small sofa or couch. The term most likely derives from the fact that its diminutive size can only allow a maximum of two people to comfortably sit together at a given time.

Popular culture would have us believe that the love seat originated as a very wide chair. This wide chair came about as an answer to the pressing need of women in previous centuries to be able to sit down while attired in the voluminous fashions of their day. As use of crinolines and petticoats declined, people began to notice the extra space in their chairs. And thus, the love seat was born.

Whether the above notion is true or not is debatable. What is certain, however, is that most people do agree that the love seat first gained popularity during the Victorian era. Its virtue was seen in the fact that it allowed courting couples to sit close enough to each other that they could talk without being overheard, and yet still not touch. The love seat addressed the lovers' desire for private conversation, while still maintaining an appearance of decency and prudence as was required by the social norms of the day.

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Like its larger sister, the couch, or sofa, the love seat was first seen as an elitist piece of furniture, used only by the upper classes. However, during the Industrial Revolution as couches and sofas found their way into the homes of the working class, the love seat also gained a following. In recent years, it has become somewhat of a staple in more compact city homes, and has become nearly indispensable to the newly-independent small apartment dweller.

A modern love seat usually measures anywhere from 53 - 60 inches (127 cm -152 cm) in width, 34-38 inches (86 cm - 96 cm) in height, and about 34-38 inches (86 cm - 96 cm)in depth. Of course, the height and depth measurements may vary, although it is generally accepted that a couch measuring drastically more than 60 inches (152 cm) in width might be too large to only fit two. Modern love seats comes in many designs, colors, and materials, and may even accompany a regular couch as part of a set. They are sold in most furniture shops.

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anon298911
Post 5

Dating from before the American civil war, love seats, as commonly found in the American South, have a low, narrow seat, a sloping back with a grippable hardwood rail, are armless, being just over four feet wide. Aptly named?

abiane
Post 4

@wecallheranan - Have you tried a wicker love seat with cushions? I know many people think that they should be kept for outdoor use, but with removable cushions or covers they are super easy to clean.

Other than that you should definitely look into a microfiber material if you want a softer or more modern look. You can clean those up with just a little bit of dish soap and water. It's great!

wecallherana
Post 3

@babyksay - I agree that a small couch or love seat can work well when space planning for smaller spaces. My favorite type is the leather love seat in pretty much any color but white because it's easy to clean and we have five kids.

gameaddicted
Post 2

@babyksay - We have a reclining love seat in our home and it takes up a lot of space as well as being bulky and heavy for moving purposes. The same thing goes for love seat sleeper sofas as well - they are super heavy!

babyksay
Post 1

Love seats are typically used in order to save space. There are a lot of giant options out there now that include love seat sectionals in case you need a little extra seating. They are great options, but can get a little pricey.

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