Stylish and Comfortable Furniture

The Loveseat — A Romantic Past And A Practical Future

by Jason Mason

Furniture rarely conjures up visions of history or a romantic story. But the humble loveseat is one significant exception to this rule. Why?

The Origins

The loveseat wasn't originally about love, but it did reflect women's needs in history. During the 17th century, women's clothing became steadily larger and more unwieldy. With hoops and many layers of linens, crinolines, and outerwear, women simply couldn't often sit comfortably in regular chairs. Some ladies turned to the loveseats early precursor: the settee. This highback bench would eventually give way to a more specifically designed furniture piece. 

The loveseat then began its life as an extra wide chair to accommodate ladies' fashions. These wide chairs weren't particularly comfortable — often being wooden and bereft of upholstery — but they had a very feminine purpose, and they were more comfortable than many other choices.  

The Loveseat

So, how did the loveseat get its name? As it always does, fashion eventually moved on. During the 18th and 19th centuries, women's clothing slimmed down again and made the wide chair unnecessary. So, what should ladies do with all the extra room left over on the chair? Why, they should invite their suitors to come sit with them!

In a time when young men and young women rarely spent any meaningful time being together before jumping into marriage, the loveseat was a sneaky little life saver. Two people could enjoy one another's company and whisper sweet nothings in each other's ears right in a room full of their elders. 

Just to make sure that things didn't get out of hand on a loveseat, though, some pieces were redesigned so that couples had to sit separately. These 'back to back' style loveseats featured a regular-size seat on each half facing opposite the other. Two people could still sit and talk quietly, but they couldn't get into any trouble.

Modern Styles

Nowadays, couples don't generally rely on furniture to provide a secret getaway. But the loveseat has morphed to retain its useful practicality for both genders. Modern loveseats are perfect for smaller homes and rooms, allowing people to fill their home with comfort and style even if they have only a tiny space to call home.

Today's loveseats have come a long way from their origins. You can find them in just about any shape, style, and color that suits your own fancy — no matter whether it's romantic or practical in nature.