What is a Settee? Key Differences, Examples and Where To Use Them

Add style and glamour to your rooms with a stunning settee bench!
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A settee bench is, hands down, the most underrated piece of décor furniture for this year.

A settee loveseat or even a traditional tufted settee is perfect for those who love to assemble a custom set of furniture for their room. They break away with often safe and generic sets to create elegant living spaces with tremendous personality and elegance.

What is a Settee

A settee bench is an elegant version of a traditional couch and loveseat. Vintage settees feature high, straight backs, exposed wooden legs, and some form of cushioning and upholstery to accommodate guests while creating rooms with artistic depth and sophistication.

Their formal look and feel make settee loveseats an excellent accent seating, meaning that they’re mostly there to add glamour and elegance to your living room, entryway, bedroom, or any other small space around your home. While they can double as secondary seating options, it’s hardly their strong suit since they feature little padding and cushioning, at least compared to the best sofa for this year.

Today we’ve hand-picked our favorite settee furniture for this year, straight from the best furniture brands catalogs. Without further ado, here are our top picks:

The Lauren Crown Victorian Settee

Victorian settees were a symbol of rank and wealth in British society.

This stunning camelback sofa from Laurel Crown is a Victorian settee that fully conveys class, status, as well as a sophisticated taste in furniture. This gorgeous furnishing is carved, sanded, and finished by hand to replicate the same gothic influences that made Victorian furniture such coveted pieces.

The Victorian era witnessed the rise of interior design as a popular, almost necessary discipline to elevate homes as equally fashionable and classic living environments. This Victorian settee reflects how important it was for wealthy citizens to have artistic furnishings that provided visual appeal and comfort in equal measure.

In the old days, high-ranking British officers would hire an expensive personal upholsterer to customize their Victorian settee. Today, Laurel Crown lets you choose fabric, leather, or velvet as your settee bench upholstery, as well as 9 different colorways (each displaying a complex composition of exquisite patterns) without breaking the bank!

The Bjorn Tufted Settee

The Bjorn is made showcases rolled arms and turned legs for a more traditional appearance.

The Bjorn Mini Sofa is a sophisticated tufted settee that fits just as well into classic libraries as it does in downtown studio apartments. This settee bench it’s a cross between an armchair and a sofa, easily accommodating up to two guests.

The Foam filling of this tufted settee makes it perfect for browsing your tablet or phone during a lazy afternoon or reading some classical literature with a cup of tea. We recommend pairing this beautiful tufted settee with an ottoman of similar color and a nice Alpaca blanket to add that European gentlemen’s club’s vibe to your living room.

The Halvorson Dining Settee

The Halvorson is the perfect support piece for your dining room, acting as accent seating and storage unit all at once!

The Halvorson Bench is the ideal dining settee for traditional-style homes, concealing bottles, table mats, or table runners that don’t fit in your cabinets.

This versatile settee bench doubles as that additional seat for dining rooms where there’s not much room to spare, showcasing dark walnut finished legs, as well as a brown linen-like upholstery just like 19th-century European estates furnishings displayed.

What’s more, this dining settee is similar to an extended ottoman coffee table. You can place it beneath a classic painting to demonstrate great decorating taste or use it as a practical entryway seat to put away your everyday essentials in a hurry!

The Routh Black Settee

This eye-catching black settee adds a refined, glamorous aesthetic to your living room.

The Routh Velvet black settee instantly elevates your living room (or bedroom) by rounding up white lamps, chocolate-colored coffee tables, and beige throws with its eye-catching high-back silhouette and crystal button tufting.

Black will always be associated with elegance and sophistication. This elegant settee bench is the perfect mini-sofa for any space you want to jazz up with luxury and rich contrasts.

Let’s say you want to add a bit of flair to a white-themed bedroom with excessive spare space: the stylish Routh black settee will add appealing contrast while serving as the perfect seat for listening to your favorite podcasts, reading books, or clearing your mind before going to bed

The Christopher Knight Settee with Storage

Add elegance and convenience to your entryway, bedroom, or living room with this gorgeous piece!

The Christopher Knight settee with storage delivers the glamour and sophistication that settees are known for. But it comes with an equally unconventional and functional twist in its design: storage capacity!

This settee with storage comes with a hinge and pressure mechanism that reveals ample storage space. You can safely store your board games, pillows, blankets, and books in a matter of seconds, allowing you to keep your spaces clutter-free ahead of unannounced visitors.

The deep button tufting and gorgeous brown faux leather surface make this settee with storage an excellent piece for mid-century and contemporary-themed homes alike. The minimalist, refined design, together with the luxurious diamond stitch pattern, are guaranteed to elevate your room’s aesthetic and overall functionality.

The Andice Settee Loveseat

Maximize comfort and style in your living room with this timeless settee.

The Andice by Willa Arlo is the perfect settee loveseat for modern and classic living room setups. It provides a comfortable seat for couples and friends who drop by your place to catch up on life and share some drinks.

This lively settee bench has a charming silhouette that is elegant and surprisingly easy to clean. Its velvet upholstery comes in 5 different colorways to best match your living room’s style. Plus, its foam-filled seat and back support make it comfy and easy to move.

This versatile tufted settee bench is also ideal for large entry halls. The Andice settee loveseat perfectly fits beneath your entryway’s horizontal mirror. The piece allows guests to lay down their purses, coats, and cashmere scarves as they do a quick check-up on their make-up and hair.

The Cumbria Velvet Settee

The Cumbria adds a touch of style to any living room or home office!

This Hashtag Home green velvet settee brings all the comfort and space-conscious design of a minimalist sofa at an excellent price. It’s an ideal centerpiece for studios and bachelor pad living rooms that need to save valuable floor space without sacrificing style and vibrance.

The Cumbria velvet settee weighs little more than 60 pounds, making it an easily movable furnishing that lets you mix things up and refresh your place’s aesthetic.

What’s more, the Cumbria settee bench lets you fill bare corners and empty walls where you get the feeling that something is missing. You can transform some of your home’s negative space into equally stylish and functional corners you’ll look forward to visiting throughout the day.

For instance, you can combine this modern velvet settee with a boho floor lamp next to it to create a work-free area where you can enjoy a nice cup of joe with an even better book or novella.

The Theodore Alexander Antique Settee

Add an exquisite touch to your indoor spaces with this sun-king-inspired settee.

This Theodore Alexander essential is the perfect antique settee for homes inspired by 19th-century French classicism. This rolled arm settee takes inspiration from Versailles’ many canapé pieces (lounge seat furnishings with supports at both ends that lacked back support), used to accommodate high-born guests during the royal family social occasions.

This luxurious settee bench is best placed in Roman-inspired hallways where neutral-colored walls and slender vase plants synergize with abundant natural light. The antique settee also matches Georgian style sofas due to its exquisite woodwork, allowing you to create a beautiful tea party area.

With this antique settee, you’re one phone call away from savoring finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and soft chocolate croissants with your most treasured friends!

The Jared Armless Settee

The Jared brings a bit of classic flair to any living environment.

The ACG Green Jared armless settee adds a fresh look to any contemporary living room where trendy and traditional furniture pieces band together as part of their unique decor.

This armless settee has a stunning curved frame that perfectly matches classic end tables, allowing you to create entirely new environments out of nowhere. You can also place this piece by the window to create a charming reading nook where you can enjoy nature and all it has to offer.

The elegant Jared settee bench has a foam-filled curved back support and a buttoned seat cushion that dissipates body heat towards its side and lower layers, keeping your seat fresh at all times.

Last but not least, this armless settee comes in four color variations that fully adapt to your living room’s color palette, adding a touch of class and lounging comfort to your home’s indoor social areas.

The Charlotte Home Outdoor Settee Cushion

The Charlotte cushion provides some much-needed comfort to rugged outdoor furnishings.

The Charlotte Home outdoor settee cushion turns any uncomfortable patio bench into a sofa you want to sit on for hours on end. This vibrant 5-inch thick microsuede cushion stays comfortable at all times, even when faced with rainy or sunny weather.

With this settee cushion, you can turn your patio settee benches into comfortable social hubs for you and your guests. Any backyard sofas with a seating area of 42 inches of width and 19 inches of depth are a perfect match for this bulky outdoor settee cushion.

What’s more, this Charlotte Home cushion has a sewn closure that makes it fully reversible and spill-proof, protecting each of its 18 different vibrant colorway options!

The Oxendine Settee Chair

This settee chair is a versatile addition to small living rooms and home offices.

The George Oliver Oxendine is a versatile settee chair that you can place pretty much anywhere. This cute settee bench works exceptionally well in nurseries, pool houses, and studio apartments. Still, it’s also a convenient living room addition that makes your whole space look elegant and clutter-free.

This convenient 2-person settee chair is a little small to be considered a loveseat, but if you have an ample bedroom, this George Oliver settee bench might be just the thing you need to make your personal space that much more comfortable.

What’s more, you can place the Oxendine in a home office environment to take a quick break from sitting in front of your work desk for several hours. What’s also cool about this settee chair is that it doesn’t take too much space, and its foam-filled back and seat cushion make it easy to clear your mind when tackling demanding projects at home.

The Kayahan Wayfair Settee

Breakaway from traditional and classical decorations with this gorgeous settee bench!

The Mercer41 Kayahan is a unique Wayfair settee that lets you express your style with no compromises, adding the same high-octane glamour Hollywood Regency interiors are known for.

If you’re looking for a statement piece that’s dramatic, sensual, and modern, look no further than this Wayfair settee. Perfect for ultra-chic bedrooms (and just about any setting that needs a daring touch of luxury), the Kayahan helps you create clutter-free living environments that mix metal decorations with pastel colors and textures.

We recommend pairing this avant-garde settee bench with high-shine decorations, lacquered coffee tables, and metallic floor lamps to play up its luxurious velvet upholstery.

The Jezebel Blue Settee

Give a French twist to your living room with the Jezebel blue settee.

The Jezebel from Andover Mills is a blue settee specifically designed for modern spaces where natural wood tones, cream-colored walls, and greenery create a cozy atmosphere.

Regardless of its hue, blue in all its magnificent gradients are known for their calming and anxiety-reducing effects. Nature abundantly exhibits it every day in our morning skies, making it an inherent part of our days and an unmistakable symbol of freshness and openness.

This blue settee perfectly matches an elegant coastal-styled home, but it can also pair up with modern wooden furniture pieces if you’re in need of vibrant contrasts in your living spaces.

What’s more, the Jezebel settee bench creates the illusion of more floor space whenever it’s paired with large rugs, making it the perfect chill-out piece for nurseries, home offices, and refitted attics that now serve as your kid’s gaming room!

The Caroline High Back Settee

This beautiful settee bench features an exquisite wingback design covered in velvet upholstery.

This House of Hampton high back settee combines a soft, deep seat with a 19-plus inches high back support for superior comfort. This piece effectively turns traditional and contemporary living rooms into a classy indoor environment for you and your guests.

The Carolina settee bench features a foam-filled, wingback design that mimics a Chesterfield Sofa’s delicate texture. The charming velvet upholstery on this high back settee beckons you to sit back and treat yourself to a sugary delight after classes.

Furthermore, House of Hampton designed the Caroline as a low-maintenance sofa that only needs a lint roller and a vacuum cleaner to keep it in perfect condition for years!

The Lauryn Upholstered Settee

This beautiful settee comes with delicate linen upholstery.

The Lauryn by Ophelia & Co. is our favorite upholstered settee for this year. This upholstered settee checks all the design and aesthetic boxes interior designers look for: a charming silhouette, a premium linen upholstery, and a solid wood frame.

The slightly arched back and chesterfield style top instantly catch the eyes, while its delicate linen upholstery beckons you to sit back and relax. The upholstered settee’s structure and fabric reminisce classical French furnishing themes and design by displaying elegance and casual style in equal measure.

Overall, the Lauryn upholstered settee is the kind of piece that brings harmony to elegant homes and is best paired in classical or contemporary homes with soft color palettes.

The Joss & Main Cane Settee

Inspire your home with this vintage square arm settee!

The Sandoval cane settee by Joss & Main features a unique reclaimed wood and rattan mix that looks straight out of Italian Tuscany. The sturdy rubberwood frame and solid wooden legs come with a delicate reclaimed wood finish that perfectly blends in any entryway or bedroom balcony.

This cane settee also comes with cushioned foam filling and a rattan insert on its back to keep you comfortable and well-supported at all times. The delicate beige upholstery adds a touch of charm to your living room, seating corner, or porch, turning it into a fantastic vintage piece that every interior designer recommends for this year.

Settee vs. Sofa

The difference between a sofa and a settee in our days is almost non-existent. Both terms refer to a comfortable furniture piece with enough room to accommodate two or more people depending on the furnishing size.

However, from a historical point of view, each piece of furniture was produced by two different cultures to address their needs for comfort within indoor environments.

Settees trace back their origins to western medieval Europe, while sofas provided comfort in the east during the first caliphates. If we could go back in time, we’d notice how settee and sofas were used differently within manors, tents, palaces, and villas, both fulfilling the need to show their owner’s status.

What is a sofa?

Sofas focused more on lavishly cushioned designs, providing a relaxing sitting or lying down experience for everyone within a Caliph’s chamber or an Arab lord’s private quarters. The word sofa derives from the Arabic-translated “soffah” that defined a mixed furniture piece that merged carpets and cushion-covered floors into a more stable, standalone lightweight sitting option.

Later on, as the French kingdoms battled and came into contact with the Iberic and North West African caliphates, the sofa started to make its way into western Europe and up to the British Isles. Master artisans at the time readapted this eastern furnishing by evolving it into an upholstered bench that included generous arms, plush backfilling, and smooth to the touch upholstery.

Difference Between Settee and Sofa

On the other hand, Settees originate from “setls,” which referred to rustic wooden benches with beautifully carved backs and concealed storage beneath their seats. The first-ever settees offered everyday convenience and decor to homes and halls alike.

During winter, craftsmen and tailors would add cushions known as settee foams (similar to our present-day outdoor settee cushions) to add warmth and a more comfortable seating experience to their owners.

It’s fair to say that settees later become almost artistic, decorating pieces that helped nobility and bourgeois members create beautiful indoor environments within palaces and states. The palace of Versailles serves as an example of how settees and their elegant curved shapes, intricate wood carvings, and rich-patterned backs served as more amicable seats for ladies with large dresses.

Review

In the age-long battle between settee vs sofa, we believe it’s finally time to admit that each excels at their own niche. Comparing a sofa vs settee is pointless because each piece fulfills entirely different purposes, with sofas providing comfort and convenience above all and settees adding elegance and artistic depth to your indoor spaces.

Just as you wouldn’t decorate an entryway or your bedroom with a huge sofa sectional, you wouldn’t use a settee as the ultimate cuddling spot ahead of a Netflix series binge.

With both furniture pieces finding their origins all the way back in the Middle Ages, their purpose and form have mutated to better accommodate us (their creators and users) in a rather spectacular way!

Interior designer and fashion fanatic with a passion for modern styles, coastal living, and European fashion trends. Can be found dreaming of the beach when not blogging about design and style trends!
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