How To Choose A Therapy Couch

A couch in a therapist's office with sparse decorations.

The classic image of the therapy office is of a client reclining on a chaise lounge, looked over by a therapist sitting in an adjacent chair. While therapy has evolved a lot since Freud, the traditional couch has remained a mainstay.

But the one thing that has evolved, is how comfortable our couches can be. And when it comes to furnishing a therapy office, it’s important to create a space both you and the client are comfortable being in. The seating is vital to building this atmosphere. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to choose the right couch for your private practice.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Therapy Couch

It’s Comfortable To Sit On For Long Periods

Above anything else, a good therapy couch is comfortable. A client will be able to sit on it for a full session without moving around in their seat.

The cushions should be soft but provide firm support: you don’t want the client to sink completely into the back of the couch. Not only will that make it difficult for them to move around and awkward to get up at the end of the session.

However, you don’t want a couch that feels like stone. It’s worth investing in a high-quality couch with supportive cushions that will stay supportive for many years.

No one spends more time in the therapist’s office than you, the therapist. Make sure the couch feels comfortable for you too. Let your own behind be your guide! 

There’s Room For Two

If you work with couples, the couch needs to have enough room for two with space in between. Asking the couple to sit next to each other, instead of on separate chairs, can offer unique insights into their relationship.

But you don’t want them uncomfortably close, as this can make it difficult for them to speak freely. Room for two (or more) also gives individual clients some choice. They can decide where to sit.

A therapy couch should also have room for a person to lie down. The image of a reclining client looked over by a therapist with a notebook might not be entirely accurate, but, sometimes, it’s not that far off.

Being able to lie down helps some clients engage with their inner thoughts. The lack of eye contact when lying down can also be beneficial. Without the therapist in their immediate line of sight, a client might feel more willing to open up.

A Welcoming Color

There’s no right color for a therapy couch. Cool colors can be calming, while warm colors might encourage conversation. Dark colors can be overwhelming, while bright whites often feel clinical.

Consider the couch in the context of the room. You want to avoid too many clashing colors and designs, so choose a limited color palette and stick with it. The couch should fit this color scheme.

A Welcoming Fabric

It’s easy to overlook the fabric when choosing a therapy couch, but it’s worth consideration. 

Cotton and linen are both good choices for fabric. They’re comfortable and hardwearing, plus they’re available in a range of colors and designs. Cotton and linen won’t limit your choices.

What about leather and faux leather? These materials are soft and welcoming, but they can have an awkward side effect: squeaking. A couch that squeaks when a client moves can be off-putting.

Make sure that whatever fabric you choose, it’s easy to clean. Stains and marks can make the office look unprofessional, eroding trust between you and the client. Velvet, for example, can be high maintenance.

Consider A Matching Chair

A couch isn’t the only way to outfit a therapist’s office. You might prefer to use a chair, particularly if you have a small space to work with. Putting a large couch in a small room can feel suffocating.

But if you have the space for it, a couch and a chair offer versatility. The client has the choice of where to sit, so they can get comfortable and you can help them best.

Keep It Simple

No one ever wants to be confronted with a postmodernist couch during their first therapy session. While you might be tempted to experiment with unusual couch designs, it’s best to go for simplicity.

One of the benefits of the couch is that it’s cozy.  A strange or complex design just won’t have the same effect.

Finish With Cushions

Once you’ve chosen your couch, you need to dress it. This doesn’t have to be complicated. A few cushions are all you need to finish the couch and create a welcoming space for clients.

Plus, holding or hugging a cushion can act as a form of self-comfort. A throw or blanket can have a similar effect.

In addition, these soft materials act as soundproofing. By preventing the sound from traveling, you can create a more intimate space.


If there’s one thing every therapy office needs it’s a place for the clients to get comfortable. The couch is a traditional and practical choice, offering patients the option to sit or lie down.

A soft and supportive couch can help encourage clients to talk freely. Just make sure to prioritize comfort above all else when choosing a couch, and aim for simplicity.

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