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What Is a Backless Couch Called?

Updated February 21, 2017

Ideal for a smaller space, such as a bedroom or hallway, a backless couch is a style that comes in all different shapes. Common throughout the world, they vary slightly from region to region and have different names, depending on the slight differences between them and their origins.

Divan

A divan is a type of backless sofa that originated in Persia before becoming popular with bohemians in the 18th century. Comprising a long mattress-like seat, it sits either directly on the ground or on a palette type frame beside a wall. For added comfort cushions are piled up to support the sitter.

Recamier and Chaise Longue

A chaise Longue, from the French meaning "long chair," is a one-armed sofa with a very low, minimal back, half back or no back at all. A favourite in the French court, chaise longues are now often used in bedrooms or dressing rooms, providing a place to rest and relax. A recamier, is a specific type of chaise longue that has two arms, one at either side, but no back.

Fainting Couch

The fainting couch was developed in the Victorian era to help revive ladies who were prone to fainting due to their tight corsets. With ladies unable to breathe naturally, any exertion was libel to make them feel dizzy and so fainting couches would be positioned at the top of every staircase for them to recover on. Similar to a chaise longue, the couch has a raised arm to one side, often slanted for the women to recline on.

Daybed

The Victorian daybed was larger than a chaise longue and often had arms or even a small back. Modern designs, especially from the 1950s onward, often do away with arms and the back for a simple contemporary look. Generally more functional looking than a decorative chaise longue, the daybed bridges the gap between couch and bed.

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About the Author

Ali McCulloch has been working as a writer since 2009, specializing in homes, interiors, art and design. Her work has been published in "Homes & Interiors Scotland," "The Skinny" and "The Best Scottish Weddings." She holds a B.A. in textile design from Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design.