Why the F not: A sofa at the dining table

eclectic dining room green sofa

Photo via Mend etc.

Sure there are banquettes and benches often found at the dining table. But what if you’re partial to something more flexible? Something that will double as place to lounge when you’re not entertaining? I submit the option of a good old, versatile, easy-to-find, couch.

It’s an exc option for a small space where rooms need to do double duty. It can also work for a larger place where you want extra lounging options or areas to congregate.

But since couches aren’t usually designed for a dining table, it’s important to think through a configuration that will be practical and comfortable as well as stylish. Because form over function does not fly when it comes to dining.

A sofa at the dining table—things to consider

Height

Sofas are typically lower than dining chairs, and you don’t want your guests to feel like kids at the grown-up table. So be sure to measure your table height and consider how that will work with the sofa you have in mind. If it’s too low, you try using casters on the legs, or perhaps an extra cushion, as long as it doesn’t get too funky aesthetics- or comfort- wise.

Depth

A couch will also usually be set back farther than a chair, and you don’t want an ab or arm workout during dinner (although that could be an interesting way to cancel out the calories you’re eating). And you can’t easily scoot in a couch. One solution is to add some pillows that will bring the seat forward. Just make sure they’re firm enough to keep diners upright.Crate & Barrell banquette seating Crate & Barrell banquette seating, $2,200

Cushiness

This is not the place for a down-filled situation. You want firm cushions that encourage an attentive posture since people will be eating here, not watching Netflix (until later, maybe).

Fabric

For obvious reasons, easy-to-clean fabric like leather (or faux) or microfiber will be the best choices for seating that will be used in the presence of food. Velvet is so tempting though.

Sofa, settee, loveseat, banquette?

When searching for a couch or sofa for your dining table, you may want to search for “settee” or “loveseat,” depending on the size you need. Usually, a settee is larger than a loveseat but smaller than a couch. A “banquette,” refers to usually-built-in seating against a wall. You can achieve basically the same thing by pushing a high-backed loveseat or settee against a wall in front of your table.

Armrests?

An armless piece might be more practical for use at a table—I imagine armrests being mainly collectors of food stains in this situation. It’s also much easier to scoot into your seat when armrests aren’t getting in the way. A case could be made for arms, if the piece is long enough to allow easy in and out. 

Sparrow & Wren Sadie armless loveseat, $855 (marked down 25%!)  

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