While there is nothing wrong with sofas in general, you may need a creative couch alternative if you have a smaller bedroom that simply won’t support a full-sized couch. You shouldn’t feel like you’re boxed in with traditional options, especially when space is at a premium. There’s several choices available for couch alternatives, and they’re a great way to fit into your decor while offering you seating space.
If you don’t have a guest bedroom but have overnight guests, the couch alternative may be all you have to offer them. So, you want something comfortable, and we’re going to outline 21 couch alternatives for you to consider below.
There are dozens of couch alternatives available to choose from, and some may fit your space better than others. So, knowing what they are can give you options when you shop.
Couch by Kurt Siegfried / CC BY-NC 2.0
21 Couch Alternatives to Consider
Our goal is to give you a good spread of couch alternatives to fit into a huge range of rooms, styles, and space requirements. Our goal is to show you the variety of benefits they offer over a traditional sofa.
1. Bean Bags
If you have kids at home, this couch alternative is going to be a huge hit with them. Bean bags are one of the most exciting options on the list. While they may not be the most comfortable items to sit on and work (not that a couch is much better), they make a comfortable seating area to lounge on as you unwind or during the weekend. They also give you an excellent space to sit down, watch television or play video games for hours without an issue.
Also, bean bags are flexible enough to be able to move them around easily without too much effort on your part. They don’t need to get confined to a single room either. If you want to bring the bean bag into the bedroom or out on the terrace or balcony, you can do it quickly and easily. You can’t say this about a traditional couch.
Also, when you compare it to a traditional couch, a bean bag chair doesn’t cost nearly as much. You can also easily get it refilled over and over again to keep it nice for years. If you live alone, it’s a great thing to have. It won’t take up a huge amount of valuable floor space, and you won’t need to break your bank trying to outfit your home with elaborate furniture pieces. You can choose from a huge range of colors to make it easy to match to your decor or pick something wild and have it stand out.
2. Built-In Bench
You may have outdoor benches, but one great couch alternative is a built-in indoor bench. Installing this bench along a wall or two benches on perpendicular walls is a great alternative to a traditional couch. These benches usually feature wood in the design, but you can also get them made out of concrete to look like a natural wall extension. You can easily decorate them with brightly colored throw pillows for cushions, and this will help your guests relax for hours at a time.
Also, if you feel like changing your decor around your couch alternative, you can swap out the pillows to match. Benches can offer more versatility than a couch too. You can easily pair them with chairs and a dining table or coffee table to create a nice conversation nook, catch-up space for friends and family, or a reading corner.
3. Chaise Lounge
A chaise lounge is like a couch, but it has legs like a chair. The seat is also elongated for people to stretch out and get comfortable. It’s a very elegant piece of furniture that lends a very European, sophisticated look and feel to the space. You may hear it shortened to just a chaise too. If you look at the French definition, a “chaise” is a chair while a “chaise lounge” is a longer reclining chair.
The literal translation is long chair. This is very similar to a traditional deck chair that you see outside, but it usually has a rich upholstery on it that is meant for indoor use. It usually isn’t durable enough for deck furniture. This is a very comfortable couch alternative that you can lounge on or sit and work. If you usually work from home and you want to switch it up from sitting in your usual chair at a desk, this option will allow you to recline and work comfortably throughout the day.
However, this isn’t a fantastic thing for a long-term workstation. It can help you with your posture in the short-term, but it can eventually get uncomfortable as you try to concentrate and get comfortable. This simple design won’t take up as much floor space as a traditional couch, and it can make your room feel much more spacious without sacrificing room to recline, unwind, and relax.
4. Convertible Sofa
This couch alternative functions like a bed and a couch. The bed portion will fold down to form a base of your couch when it’s not in use. When you want to sleep, all you have to do is remove the couch cushions and pull the bed out. They make a great alternative because they look like a couch once you tuck the bed away into the base, and you can easily pair them with a table. This is the option out of everything on the list that mimics the look of a traditional couch the most.
However, it goes a step further as it’s also a bed. This comes in really handy when you have guests stop over and stay for the night and you don’t have a dedicated guest room. It also saves you from having to purchase additional bedding. However, this isn’t the most comfortable bed or couch to have.
Since this couch alternative has dual capabilities, it doesn’t come with a lot of cushion or padding for either the bed or couch portion. So, they won’t be comfortable for sitting for long periods of time. They’re also extremely heavy, and they’re much heavier than a standard couch. So, it’s very difficult to move this type of couch around your space, and it can easily weigh over 100 pounds.
A daybed is very similar to a futon, and you can use it as a bed and a couch. The main difference with a daybed is that the frame is a very solid structure that you can’t manipulate like you can a futon. It comes with a three-sided frame on it with two shorter sides that you use as a footboard and a headboard.
When you use this couch alternative as a couch during the day, the longest side will work as the backrest. The sides will be your armrests. Daybeds come with an upholstered mattress, and this makes it great for sitting, lounging, or sleeping. If you plan to use this option instead of a couch for your seating, you can put a few cushions over it to make it more comfortable.
6. Farmhouse-Style Wood Bench
If you’re someone who likes the farmhouse design style and you don’t have the room for a full-sized couch, a wooden bench in the farmhouse style is a great way to go. It has taller backing that gives you slightly more comfort when you’re sitting on it, and it keeps the rustic style that the farmhouse design is known for. You won’t have to add any details to the bench to give it welcome character because it’s already rustic furniture. If you want to enhance it a little, you can add a smaller throw pillow or two.
7. Floor Cushions
Who made the rule that you stick to all conventions when you’re furnishing and decorating your home? This is especially true when it comes to couch alternatives. There’s no hard and fast rule that states you need to have a couch in the living or family room. In fact, it’s easy to get rid of all conventional furniture and make your floor a cozy and comfortable seating space. Floor cushions can instantly make your room look warmer and much more inviting with a Bohemian flair.
If you live alone, are young, and or have people over very infrequently, floor cushions are a nice way to keep your home’s look spacious and light. If there are older people living with you or you plan on hosting eldely guests, this isn’t a great option. What’s even better, floor cushions don’t have to get fixed to one area. You can easily pick them up and move them around without an issue.
If you’re living in a rental, buying floor cushions as a couch alternative makes them easy to maneuver. You can also experiment with a wide range of fabrics, styles, and colors to find your own unique look. It shouldn’t break your bank to swap out the cushions, and you can replace the outer coverings or get them re-feathered to change the color and style. They’re light and convenient alternatives that work in large or small rooms. You could even experiment with a minimalist Japanese floor seating design without eating your floor space.
8. Floor Cushion Sectional
If you like how comfortable a couch is but you want something a little more unique, using a floor cushion sectional as a couch alternative is a great option. This option is very similar to your standard floor pillows, but they come outfitted with a backrest. This allows you to sit in them the same way you would a couch. These sectionals can easily be modular, and you can combine them into a U or L shape just like you would a modular sofa. So, you’ll have enough seating for a larger group of people.
A futon has a bad reputation when it’s in an adult’s home, but no one can deny that this piece of furniture is one of the most functional and convenient additions you can add to your home. They are very comfortable, and they don’t take up a huge amount of space. If you have a guest visiting, they’re a great couch alternative to give your guests sleeping or seating space without giving up your bedroom.
Since this option has a foldable design to it, you can put them away when you don’t need them. It won’t tempt you to lounge around when you’re working from home. At the same time, if you’re relaxing and you want to stretch out in front of the TV for the game, it’s a great way to do so.
You can find futons in a huge range of colors and styles to brighten up your room. Also, just like couches bring a huge amount of aesthetic value to your home, the futon offers design versatility. You can experiment with colors and fabrics to match your decor style. If you’re strapped for space or live in an apartment, a futon is a nice way to ensure that you have room to sit while keeping your valuable floor space. However, since they’re usually wooden frames, you do want to ensure that your dog doesn’t chew on it.
When you envision a hammock, you typically see it hanging between two palm trees on a beach at an exotic destination. However, believe it or not, a hammock is a fantastic couch alternative. Hammocks may be an unconventional choice, but they’re also much more cost-effective than a traditional couch.
Also, hammocks are much easier to clean and maintain. You don’t have to worry about spilled food or drinks damaging your hammock like they would a more expensive sofa. If you don’t want the clutter in your room or you live in a studio apartment, a hammock is a great space saver. When you’re not using it, you can roll it up and stash it away.
A hammock is a unique couch alternative that can help you save floor space, and it’s easy to put to the side or roll up during the day when it’s not in use. Hammock by Ashbridge Studios / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Another good couch alternative is the inflatable chair or couch. They may sound very tacky, but they can be a great way to tie a room together while being surprisingly comfortable. They’re also extremely affordable for anyone who is on a really tight budget. Since they feature PVC as the material, they’re some of the cheapest seating arrangements you can purchase on the current market. The only piece you’ll need to set them up is a pump.
Also, these chairs are very portable. If you need more chairs in one room, want the chairs out of your way, or you’re moving, you can pack them up and take them with you without any hassle. One downside to this couch alternative is that they can pop. If something punctures the chairs, they’ll deflate. They also can’t handle heavy play, and they’re not great for lounging. The design makes it impossible to lay on these chairs, and the plastic can retain heat to make them very hot to sit on.
12. Japanese Floor Mat
This large floor mat is a futon cushion laid out as floor seating at the core. It’s stylish and comfortable. All you have to do is put down a few oversized pillows and you have a great spot to lay out and relax. The nice thing about this couch alternative is that it is effortless to add a fun element to your room, and it doubles as a nice padded sleeping space for any guests.
A lot of people like to put this couch alternative on the patio, but it also goes well in smaller rooms. No matter if you have a large family or you live alone, this is a stylish and interesting way to furnish your room without eating up your floor space. It works to serve the same purpose as a couch, but it elevates your style quotient while making it better to add a warm touch to your home. Everyone likes to sit on the double cushion length seats that this piece of furniture adds.
If you’re by yourself, you can stretch out across an entire loveseat to enjoy an afternoon or relaxing or watching television. If you have guests over, a loveseat is a spacious enough seating area to accommodate two or three people. It’s one of the best ways for a single person to furnish their home, especially when you don’t need a huge couch.
If you only have people over once in a while, the loveseat is adequate enough to replace your sofa. However, even if you had a couch, you would have to have other seating arrangements in place. So, no matter if you pick out a loveseat or a couch, it’s a very solid piece of furniture. Even a loveseat with a poor design looks elegant and fashionable. You can play with a range of colors and fabrics to get the perfect pick for your space and design aesthetic.
14. Oversized Chair
Oversized chairs are much wider than your run-of-the-mill chair, but they’re not quite as wide as a loveseat. With this couch alternative, you’ll get the plushness that comes with a traditional sofa with a lower price tag. Also, its a piece of furniture that won’t take up your whole room. They offer more than enough space for you to sit with your legs crossed or folded under you comfortably. They’re plush enough to sneak in an afternoon nap too. It’s also wide enough to share, so you can easily snuggle up to someone special or a pet without being squished in.
Many people know that a sofa isn’t necessarily the most comfortable sitting option you have available to you. In fact, sitting for hours on a couch can cause hip and back pain due to pressure points. In this case, reclining in a comfortable chair for longer times is usually more comfortable. Depending on the settings and the model, a reclining chair lets you sit at different angles and degrees to keep your feet elevated. It’s much more relaxed sitting in this position, and it can improve your circulation while relieving swollen feet and your discomfort levels.
16. Tatami Mat
Instead of a traditional couch, you can take inspiration from another culture and try out Tatami mats. You add this mat to the floor and then set plush cushions on it to help play up your oriental theme. Also, a simple mat with stylish cushions works wonders to open up your space and add seating anywhere you can think of. It’s a great option for larger gatherings.
A settee gives you the exact same compact seating space for up to two fully-grown adults as you’ll get with a loveseat. However, it comes with four legs like a chair. Also, this design tends to offer much less of a chunky look than a couch does, and it lends an air of elegance and sophistication to your smaller living spaces. This couch alternative also looks very stylish when you pair it with a more contemporary-style coffee table.
18. Swinging Chair
If you like the look of rocking chairs but you think they’re too old-fashioned for your style, a swinging chair is a nice couch alternative. They’re an eye-catching option that can start a conversation when your guests see it. Also, the swinging motion is calming when you sit down to relax after a long day.
A contemporary swinging chair is available as a single-seat cocoon or bubble. Some offer enough space for two people to get in at the same time and swing. However, you will want to double-check that it is firmly attached to the ceiling to manage the weight of two adults. You will also need clearance space behind it.
19. Wicker Floor Mat
You can lessen your carbon footprint and increase your dedication to living a green lifestyle by using a wicker floor mat. This is made out of 100% natural ingredients, and it’s stylish. Larger floor mats can also double up as additional seating areas for intimate gatherings to keep people off of the cold floor.
20. Window Seat Bench
One variation of the built-in wall bench is the window seat bench. It gives you a pretty place to sit, and it allows you to look out over your yard. Some of these couch alternative designs give you additional storage space under the seat.
21. Wooden Seat Bench
The final couch alternative on the list is a wooden seat bench, and a low-slung bench gives you ample seating areas without taking up a lot of floor space. It also fits into the minimalist theme with style and ease. You can use them in a range of settings too. It works well alongside your bed or in the back of your office for guest seating.
We’ve outlined 21 couch alternatives that you can consider if you’re low on space or don’t have the budget for a traditional couch, one of the items on the list could work for you. You can take a look and decide which ones will work best for your design style and needs.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.