The Splendor Of The Settee

The Splendor Of The Settee

The settee is a perfectly sized, intimate addition to any interior.

The term settee refers to a seat with arms and a back made for two or more people. The antiquity of the settee finds itself in royal roots as a platform and ruler’s throne in Ancient Arabia. Who knew?

The terms “Sofa” and “Settee” seem to be used synonymously. Yet there is quite a difference between today’s sofa and the graceful elegance and simplicity of the settee. It was not until the 17th century that the settee originated from the upholstered double armchair furnished with cushions. Settees from the 17th century commonly were not upholstered but utilized cane seating. Also common were more narrow settees known as “courting settes” or “loveseats”, in which two individuals could sit side by side. It is said that the French craftsmen dominated the market of these elegant seatings. During the 18th century the lounging chair, termed ‘couch’ moved closer towards what we consider sofas today. Interestingly, the word ‘couch’ comes from the French word ‘coucher’, which means ‘to lie’. The word ‘suffah’ is Arabic for ‘long reclining bench’ and the word ‘sopha’ was Arabic for cushion. Who knew? The most common French term for sofa is ‘canape’, which is a low-backed style. The ‘sofas’ or settees, once used soley for private rest and reflection began to be utilized during social gatherings and social settings to receive guests. It was not until the Industrial Revolution that the settee, or couch, became a primary furniture item in all households, not just the upper classes. In the 20th century the settee took on more modern flair in design, as well.

The Elegant Settee: A Perfect Proportion

Settees can transform a room. There are so many elegant and unique versions available today. Fortunate are those of us that can acquire the antique settees of yesteryear. Craftsmanship and elegance, indeed! However, many of the settee benches created today are based on classic European designs. The alluring antique styles have been replicated from the original designs. The aesthetic style you choose simply depends upon the purpose in which you intend to use the settee, and in fact, how much space you are working with. Even in large, grand rooms, there is an extraordinary appeal for the settee. For smaller spaces the settees provide perfect proportion in the use of space. Purpose and function without the typical bulk of today’s larger couches and love seats. Settees are wonderful accents in any space and can also blend beautifully with your existing furniture. There truly is a style for everyone. I adore the settee as I live in a 1936 Bungalow with lots of charm but limited space. The settee’s compact size allows it to work perfectly in hallways, bedrooms and of course, in the living room. Actually, just about anywhere there is a spot to perch from, the settee is a perfect gathering for conversations or solo reflections. Among many of the supersized furniture pieces of furniture available today, it is worth pondering the grace and sleekness of the majestic and versatile settee. Splendour, indeed. (That said, there are certainly beautiful slimmed versions of traditional couches, too! I just adore the settee!)

Whether you choose a classic settee bench with cane seating, a tailored upholstered version or a settee tufted in sumptuous fabric, the settee will surely grace your interiors with style and purpose. I say continue the trend of smaller pieces. Rethink your spaces. Gain back square footage while making a dynamic statement with a settee! Paired with a low table or ottoman and flanked with side tables and a cluster of chairs-perfection! Let’s return back to smaller, intimate seating and confer together on a chic settee. Unique and with a fashionable presence…less is indeed more! Splendor on the settee….perfection of size and style! Style and sophistication, indeed.



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