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Arts & Culture

A Short, Romantic History of Loveseats

Get ready to fall in love with this cute, dreamy, and space-saving seat

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Photography: Michael Angelo Chua Styling: Dagny Madamba & Paula de Guzman

Imagine this situation: you're in the middle of a crowded room, and there is that magical moment where you catch a lady’s eye, and you are drawn in. She is shy, and looks away, but you inch closer to her and join her on the couch, which is so tiny—it seems to seat one-and-half people, not two—and the fit is snug. You look into her eyes again, and this time, there is no escape.

If you were lucky enough to have experienced this situation, you would have probably sat on a loveseat. It could’ve happened during Jane Austen’s time, and in the era of Downtown Abbey, or even in present-day Manila. But first, what is a loveseat, and what makes it different from a settee, or an ordinary couch, for that matter?

The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the “love seat” as a “wide chair capable of, not necessarily designed for, accommodating two people, whose intentions are implied in the name.” It is a seat for love, indeed. But according to this design blog, the original purpose of the loveseat in the 17th and 18th centuries, was to accommodate a lady and her voluminous dress of that period, as her skirt’s crinolines and panniers sometimes spanned four feet across.

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From the 19th century onwards, however, loveseats were made to fulfill its purpose, which was to seat two lovers. Victorian loveseats had S-shaped forms wherein the lovers sat front-to-back (in a seemingly neck-straining, unromantic way).  Settees are sometimes considered loveseats, but these have higher backs, and usually stiffer—wood is the common material—and thus less comfortable.

These days, the diminutive size of loveseats makes it more effective for small condo units and homes, rather than for romantic tête-à-têtes. But who’s to stop you? So sit down, hug, and snuggle to your heart’s delight. Here are five modern loveseats you’ll fall in like with. 

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